After reading about Charlie Gard’s case in the news recently it led me to question who holds the right to children best interests. For those of you who are unaware of what happened to Charlie Gard, let me break it down for you… Charlie died at 11 months after a long legal battle between doctors and parents over his right to live after being diagnosed with a rare medical illness.
On the one hand is Charlie’s parents side of the argument- obviously Charlie is their child so surely they should be able to made decisions on behalf of him? For example as a child your parents would make all decisions for you like taking you to the doctors if u were unwell or even just something much simpler like what you would eat. So surely they should be able to help decide what is best for you in this aspect of your life as well? I mean after all who knows you better than your parents do. Their argument was to try anything in order to keep their child alive, including possibly going abroad for treatment as they would rather try than let their child die without a fight.
However on the other hand, Charlie was the patient of a consultant who of course would have Charlie’s best interests at heart. Clearly he knows Charlie’s situation best and the best options as he is qualified in the area. The doctors opinion was that any treatment would be hopeless and to let Charlie die in peace. But should his scientific knowledge be placed above maternal and paternal love for Charlie?
It’s a tough decision to make, and on the one hand I understand where the medical professionals in Charlie’s life are coming from however sometimes you have to go through the worst to get to the best and who knows what another chance for Charlie could have done. I do see the doctor’s point of view that to prolong a child’s suffering is not in the best interests of the patient, especially when tests show that a patient non responsive. So who’s side are you on?
Earlier today I met my friend for a coffee and we had one of those rainy day deep convos- the type where everyones feeling a bit glum and she just let those tears that had been stocked up since the last episode explode out. During which this process she told me she thought she had depression. She explained that she googled the symptons and had done several tests online and overall had self diagnosed herself which severe depression. However after comforting her when I proceeded to ask her what her next step would be she was unsure. It’s all simple when you have a physical injury as you immediately think to go and see someone but a lot of people who are mentally unstable need encouragement from family or friends to go and see someone and a lot more support is needed to be put in place. That conversation let me to think, is mental health being taken seriously enough these days?
With approximately one in four people experiencing a mental health problem each year in the UK and in England one in six people reporting a common mental health problem each week (like anxiety or depression) according to studies surveying residences in England, there is no doubt at all the mental health is a common and serious issue within society today. Whether this increase has been due to money, benefits and jobs making it harder for people to cope or not is debatable, however the number of suicidal thoughts has been increasing vastly lately and this is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently.
There has been a recent effort within the governments actions to try to resolve this issue which has not been addressed fully and has introduced a plan to recruit 2000 additional nurses, consultants and therapist posts created in child and adolescent mental health services, with 2900 additional therapists and 4800 additional posts for nurses and therapists working in crisis care settings.
I believe that although more could be done this is definitely a significant step forward into aiding people with mental health issues as although they may not be tangible and visible, they can have just as much of an affect on a persons life as a physical issue can. Increasing our mental health can lead to a much stronger connection between the mind and body and is a vital aspect to a full recovery from a vast variety of conditions.
After all, survival begins in a persons mind.