In 1990 Helga Wanglie, an 86 year old woman, suffered cardiopulmonary failure. She was put on a respirator, fed intravenously and injected with antibiotics. Although she remained in a vegetative state, her family insisted that she be kept alive. For the next 17 months $800,000 was expended on her maintenance. As we continue to make breakthroughs in medical technology, we increase our ability to extend life in situations that previously guaranteed death. Consider the above situation, similar to the more recent Terri Schiavo case. Consider the abilities weve gained with stem cell technology, which has now allowed us to grow new organs. The rapid advancement of medical technology has helped humans to gain enormous control over life and death. But with great power become great responsibility and brings to light considerable ethical concerns.
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