Is It Murder?

by Arnold Nelson

Before I start I want to tell you the story is totally fiction, it was completely made up by me. I'm telling it to prove a point.

One day an old man collapsed in his house and was rushed to the hospital, when they got to the hospital he was in a coma. When the doctor started attaching machines to him his daughter said Wait, my dad does not want machines attached to him. She gave the doctors a notarize letter with her father's wishes written out. So the doctors took the machines away and they hook up a feeding tube to him. They also hooked up and IV tube. Then they moved him to a regular room. He laid in that room for several days. His lungs still pumping air and his heart still pumping blood, but not much else. Finally the doctor told the family You might as well take him home. There is nothing we can do for him here. He will be more comfortable playing at home.

So the family took him home and made him as comfortable as they could. Once a day a nurse would come in and look at him. He stayed like that for about six months, his lungs still pumping air and he is heart still pumping blood.

One morning when one of the daughters went in to look at him she found that his lungs were not pumping air anymore, and his heart was not pumping blood anymore, he was dead. The nurse also found that the feeding tube had been shut off. She called a detective and the coroner. The coroner came in and examine the body and the room, then he took the body away to do an autopsy.

The detective came in and started asking questions first he talked to everybody in the house then everybody who had visited him in the last 24 hours. He got the same answer from all of them. They all notice the feeding tube was shut off, but they refused to do anything about it.

When the detective was interviewing the oldest daughter she said Sir, may I please ask you a question?

The detective said Yes.

The daughter said Sir, can you kill a dead man?

The detective said No, if a man was already dead you cannot kill them a second time.

The daughter continued As far as my family and friends were concerned my father died six months ago when he slipped into the coma. So you see sir, no crime was committed.

The detective said Unfortunately, according to the law, your father was still alive until someone disconnected the feeding tube. So according to the law, it is a murder, and I have to investigate.

Later when the detective was sitting in his office, writing up the report. He was not sure how to proceed. There had been 25 people that saw him in his last 24 hours, some very prominent including his minister. They all said exactly the same thing. They all saw the feeding tube was shut off, but did nothing. The detective thought to himself, I can't bring all these people in here and accuse them of being accomplices to a murder. First off it would really bog down an already overworked court system. What would it accomplish anyway? I don't think that we will ever have enough evidence to prove any of them guilty of being an accomplice. I don't think we ever be able to prove who actually shut off the feeding tube. Then he remembered the daughter's words Can you kill a dead man? He finally finished his report by saying, I don't think we will ever find out who actually shut off the feeding tube. We have 25 people who saw the tube shut off and did nothing. I don't think it would do any good to bring them in and try them as accomplices. Case closed.

When the old man was buried. On his gravestone was his birth date and they put the day he died was the day he fell into the coma.

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