A child decides: Heaven or hospital?

A child decides: Heaven or hospital?


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5-year-old Julianna Snow is dying of an incurable disease. She suffers from CMT, or Charcot Marie Tooth disease. The disease is a neuromuscular disorder that disables Julianna’s body from performing normal locomotive functions. This tragic disease also weakens the immune system drastically, meaning when Julianna gets sick, her body can’t fight it off; sicknesses like the common cold or a slight cough worsen and become life-threatening.

People are criticizing the young girl’s parents’ decision of giving their daughter the decision of choosing whether she wants to continue living under the hospital’s care, or “go to Heaven”. There was a Facebook page made dedicated to Julianna. The members of the page write to Julianna telling her she does not have to die, and that even though she won’t have good quality of life, she should let the doctors take care of her so that she can fight through it and live her life as long as she can. Julianna’s parents, though, claim that she is mature beyond her years, and that even though she is only 5 years old, she understands most of the concept of death. Her mom, Michelle Moon, assured Julianna that though she won’t be joining her daughter in Heaven, soon they would meet again when Julianna is “healthy in the sky”.

Julianna’s decision was made quite clear. She tells her mom and dad everyday that she hates going to the hospital. She endures an abundance of painful medical procedures just so she can stay alive. She is not allowed to take any sedatives or anesthesia because her body is too weak and her heart could give out due to low beating rates while she’s asleep. This means that Julianna feels everything, especially when tubes are inserted down her throat and liquid suctioned out of her lungs so that she can breathe.

Relating to a current social issue that argues whether or not a terminally ill patient should be able to decide if they be taken off life support or not, this situation is especially difficult to fathom. Though she is a child, my opinion is that she should at least be given this decision without criticism from adults. It is obvious that the young girl is beyond her years since she is able to articulate something she is sure of. If Julianna can’t endure any more of the painful treatments and gets ill again, it is unlikely that she will survive anyway. Her parents have thoroughly explained to her what her situation is, and Julianna has come to terms with her fate.