The New York Times
: Immigrant's Health Crisis Leaves Her Family On Sideline
Decision-making on behalf of patients in persistent vegetative states is always a delicate matter, especially if, like Ms. Nyirahabiyambere, they have not left a directive. Her case, which has received no public attention, underscores the thorny issues that arise when a severely brain-damaged person's life is sustained by medical technology. With thousands in persistent vegetative states, the issues regularly surface in hospitals and courtrooms — what constitutes "futile care," what power should doctors or lawyers have to stop treatment and what role should financial considerations play. In Ms. Nyirahabiyambere's case, her immigration status adds another layer of complexity (Sontag, 3/3).