Infant kept on life support
May 3, 2002 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Infant kept on life support for the sake of the father. Moises Ibarra is being held in jail on child abuse charges and if his 7 month old son is taken off LF, Ibarra will be charged with murder (doctors say the son is basically brain dead and will not recover from his injuries). Meanwhile, the mother wants her son off LF so he can "go to heaven." (Looks like a real life soap!)
posted by Why (7 comments total)
The "Law and Order" episode has probably already been filmed.
posted by plaino at 9:55 AM on May 3, 2002

well, that is pretty fucked up.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:30 AM on May 3, 2002

I don't understand why the father can't be charged with murder regardless (I mean I understand it, I just don't understand it). The kid has, for all intents and purposes, been murdered already. He has no higher brain function, he doesn't even have enough brainstem function to keep him breathing, so he's only "alive" by virtue of the fact that he's on a ventilator, and even if some miracle happened and he regained enough brainstem activity to breathe on his own, he's never going to regain his higher brain function. It seems really illogical that there's a difference in legal terms between someone's actions causing death, and someone's actions causing a persistent vegetative state (and in this case a persistent vegetative state maintained only by life support).
posted by biscotti at 12:06 PM on May 3, 2002

While I agree with you entirely, biscotti, defining "death" to include lack of higher brain function would have enormous implications in the abortion battle. The pro-lifers would never allow it. Zygotes don't have brains, so "killling" them wouldn't be murder under the new definition.
posted by jpoulos at 12:26 PM on May 3, 2002

But, jpoulos, we already do define it that way: "In legal terms defined as "brain death", i.e., loss of higher cortical functions.", "in man, manifested by the loss of heartbeat, by the absence of spontaneous breathing, and by cerebral death.". This child meets two of the three criteria in the latter definition, and his heart is only beating because he's on a ventilator (and is therefore breathing).
posted by biscotti at 12:56 PM on May 3, 2002

Hopefully the state will have some compassion and allow the child to be removed from the machines.

Especially, since the mother wants that.
posted by SuzySmith at 2:44 PM on May 3, 2002

The procedure seems fairly clear, to me:

1) Termination of Parental Rights on the father.
2) Mother chooses compassionate end for the child.
3) Father charged with homicide. This part can wait; there's no statute of limitations on murder in most jurisdictions.

biscotti, death defined for purposes of a homicide charge isn't the same thing as death for other legal purposes.

jpoulos, the California homicide law has special definitions for the killing of a fetus, basically excluding abortion. So do many other states.
posted by dhartung at 4:33 PM on May 3, 2002

« Older   |   Boeing creates "flying machine" called a "Blimp." Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments