(First Things) – Imagine the pain. Imagine the sleepless nights. One minute you are leading an ordinary life. Then something awful happens to someone you love—a heart attack, an accident, or a disease. Suddenly, not only are you coping with that tragedy, but you find yourself in a dispute with doctors or other family members over your loved one’s care, a literal matter of life and death.
You take a stand. You sue and are sued. Lawyers attack you. Bioethicists accuse you of acting irrationally. In the worst case, you find yourself in the Klieg lights of media-sensationalized controversy. You are mocked. Your motives are impugned. Your personal life is dissected. Your bank account is drained. I call this crucible the “bioethics-sphere.”
I have never been in the bioethics-sphere, but I have worked with—or reported on—many who have. Three cases that made international headlines stand out vividly in my mind, circumstances in which ordinary people acted in extraordinary self-sacrificial love. CONTINUE