We look forward to the same reaction in the two cases. Because, of course, the same situation and facts should indeed give us the same reaction. We wouldn’t want to think that anyone reacted according to anything other than the facts now, would we?
Terri Schiavo was the woman in a right to die case. Should she be allowed to die or strenuously be kept alive? One reading of this was:
Senator and physician Bill Frist opposed the removal of her feeding tube and in a speech delivered on the Senate Floor, challenged the diagnosis of Schiavo’s physicians of Schiavo being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS): “I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office”. Frist was criticized by a medical ethicist at Northwestern University for making a diagnosis without personally examining the patient and for questioning the diagnosis when he was not a neurologist.
That was widely criticised at the time. Diagnosis from remote watching of TV footage might not be all that reliable.
Now we’ve Julian Assange:
More than 60 doctors have written an open letter saying they fear Julian Assange’s health is so bad that the WikiLeaks founder could die inside a top-security British jail.
The 48-year-old Australian is still fighting a US bid to extradite him from Britain on charges filed under the Espionage Act that could see him given a sentence of up to 175 years in a US prison.
In the letter to the British home secretary, Priti Patel, the doctors called for Assange to be moved from Belmarsh prison in southeast London to a university teaching hospital.
They based their assessment on “harrowing eyewitness accounts” of his 21 October court appearance in London and a 1 November report by Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture.
Hearsay from supposed eyewitnesses is better or worse than video diagnosis?
These people are going to get the same stick Bill Frist did, aren’t they? Or is it that, well, you know, Assange, Wikileaks, politics, this is different?