Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dissection for Dissection's Sake:


The case is Ross v Saberhagen Holdings Inc., which has been filed in the Superior Court of King County, Washington under Index No. 08-2-02434-2.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can only be caused by inhaling asbestos. It inevitably is fatal. This is not in dispute.

James Ross, who lives in the Seattle area, has worked with asbestos and has contracted mesothelioma. This is not in dispute.

So what's the dispute? There apparently is a stupid-ass court rule which requires autopsy as a condition of a settlement payment to a mesothelioma victim's estate. James Ross does not want his remains autopsied. He believes that the autopsy is unnecessary because, barring some sort of accident or violence, when he passes on, there would be no question that his death will have been caused by mesothelioma.

Understand that Ross could, if he chooses, preemptively have his remains exempted from the autopsy if he were to declare that autopsy violates his religious beliefs (a stance I myself would in fact take were I in his unfortunate situation). Ross acknowledges that, unlike my own religious beliefs, his personal religious beliefs (whatever they may be) do not per se prohibit autopsy. But Ross objects to autopsy based upon on his personal moral values, religious beliefs notwithstanding.

And so, Ross has instructed his attorney to bring a lawsuit to declare this stupid-ass court rule unconstitutional because it requires inquiry regarding the cadaver-to-be's personal religious beliefs.


My comments:

(A) A quotation from the late Justice Michael Musmanno:

"Those who have no respect for the dead can have but little appreciation of the dignity of man, either living or dead." -- Kotal v. Goldberg, 375 Pa. 397, 405, 100 A.2d 630, 634 (1953) (Musmanno, J.).



(B) In this day and age of MRI and CAT Scan technology, can't they do a "virtual autopsy" of Mr. Ross when the time comes? That way they can see what went on inside of him without cutting him open. I don't know where Mr. Ross stands on the subject, but as for me, I have neither moral nor religious objection to such procedures.


(C) We have men and women who could have chosen safer and easier alternatives, but who have chosen to put on the uniform and place their lives on the line to fight to defend our liberties. James Ross surely has lots of things he wishes to accomplish and experience before he departs from among the living, but he has chosen to put his time and money into fighting for his right to have his earthly remains accorded some respect after his departure. And he is also fighting for your right, and my right, and everyone else's right to not have their corporeal infrastructures violated if we so choose. Accordingly, I publicly express my appreciations to Mr. Ross now, while he is still alive. Thank you, James Ross!


(D) Have you ever wondered why the cost of litigation and legal services has gotten more expensive of late? Have you ever wondered why the cost of health care has gotten more expensive of late? Have you ever wondered why the cost of insurance has gotten more expensive of late? James Ross might be on to something as far as connecting those mysterious fiscal phenomena!

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