Un no a la tecnología médica

Por una dramática ironía del destino, uno de los mejores cardiocirujanos del mundo, Michael DeBakey recientemente fue sometido a una operación del corazón en la que se utilizó una técnica que el había diseñado en el hospital donde trabajaba. Lo que hizo que la anécdota fuera más interesante es que, en ese momento, DeBakey tenía 97 años y que la operación se realizó en contra de su voluntad expresa.

Como se recomienda a todos los pacientes, DeBakey había dado instrucciones previas: mientras gozaba de buena salud especificó el trato médico que querría en el caso de que enfermera y no pudiera expresarse por sí mismo. Indicó específicamente que no quería ser sometido a cirugía.

Un principio cardinal de la ética médica contemporánea es que los pacientes tienen el derecho a tomar este tipo de decisiones, y que los médicos están obligados a cumplir sus deseos. El no tomar en cuenta la voluntad de un paciente una vez que pierde la capacidad de tomar decisiones –como sucedió cuando la esposa de DeBakey irrumpió, según se informa, en una reunión nocturna del comité de ética del hospital y exigió que se realizara la cirugía –viola el respeto a la autonomía de los pacientes que se ganado con tanto esfuerzo en los últimos veinte años.

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