Monday, 3 March 2008

Is Technology The Villan?

An interesting discussion with Rex Murphy on CBC radio last night had a National Post columnist questioning whether or not technology was the villain and not in fact, Robert Latimer.

For those of you not familiar with the case, Latimer is the farmer father who killed his severely disabled daughter. Many people called the case out and out murder, others a mercy killing.

What I found interesting however, last night, was the discussion around technology in the case. The truth is that in any other day and age, Robert Latimer’s daughter would not have survived childbirth. She was however, resuscitated five times. The end result was a child with little quality of life and a tragic circumstance that eventually rightly or wrongly, ended in her death by her own father’s hands.

In my mind, I agree with the Post columnist, that the real questions in this debate that are being ignored have to do with ethics and technology. Just because we can, does that mean we should? And what does that mean both legally and morally?

The questions around guilt or innocence are one thing. But looking in the rear view mirror at those choices that were made in the operating room – those are potentially the place where we truly need to start and look to figure out who the real villain is. And in fact, in this case it might just be the technology, speed of change and our lack of ability to keep pace with the ethical and social questions that come as a result of it.


Jay, writer said...

In such situations, it's really difficult to point fingers or to find out exactly where everything had gone wrong. Was it technology? I'm not too sure either. Because even if technology failed this case, it could have saved countless others. Perhaps there is no villain at all. But just life.

Leigh said...

I don't disagree @Jay...just thought the notion that what the technology enabled was an unexplored question in the case...

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