Monday, February 11, 2008

Dax's Case

Who Should Decide?

Produced by Unicorn Media, Inc. for Concern for Dying

  • "This video tape does a superb job of raising questions about individual rights and responsibilities in terminating care." - Death Studies

This gripping documentary poses the ultimate bioethical problem. Does a patient have the right to refuse treatment? Taking the painful case of Dax Cowart, who in his twenties was critically burned in a propane gas explosion, the film examines the issue from all perspectives.

The accident left Dax sightless, helpless, disfigured, and in constant pain. He insisted that he did not want to live, for it was clear that he would always be severely handicapped. During his long hospitalization he was subjected to painful treatments, which he demanded to have terminated. But he was denied the right to make the decision.

The film spans a ten-year period, allowing one the perspective of time. Dax made a great deal of progress over the years. He moved into his own house, started a business and married. Yet he has never changed his mind that he should have been allowed to die, and in fact made several suicide attempts after he was first released from the hospital.

We hear the positions of doctors, nurses, family and friends both at the time of the crisis, and again ten years later. Their conflicting views leave one to wrestle with how "Dax's Case" should have been decided.

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