Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ten-Year-Olds as Honorary Adults

According to Erica Ritz, a ten-year-old (name withheld) is tough enough to take a gun from two adult burglars and use it to scare the burglars away, without even shooting them...


Even if we allow that most burglars are not exactly the mental or moral equivalents of adults, this is still a great story.

Meanwhile, some readers have probably already received multiple petitions on behalf of ten-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, whose family think it might extend her life (current life expectancy: three to five weeks) for her to receive an adult lung transplant:


Kathleen Sebelius' remark is startling to me; the question I'd be asking, if I were U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, is how much longer Sarah Murnaghan could reasonably be expected to live even with the transplant. I've hesitated to sign the family's petition until I see medical testimony that this child could (1) survive the transplant and (2) accept a donor lung and (3) have any hope of doing anything more, with however much time the operation might buy her, than wish she'd been allowed to die in peace.

How close to adulthood is a ten-year-old child? Morally...or medically?