Friday, January 11, 2008

Compasion vs Justive

The two are not always synonymous. I've been following this case with interest since it was first reported. In short a Ghanaian woman, illegally in Britain, came down with bone marrow cancer while here. She has been under treatment receiving dialysis under the NHS, but full treatment would require a bone marrow transplant. Having determined she could receive this treatment in her home country, she has been deported. Britain covered the costs of transport home, and offered to cover the next three months of her treatment while she re-adjusted. She does not have the funds for any further treatment at home, and the likely outcome is that she will die.

Background is that she came here originally on a visitor visa, then tried to transfer to a student visa, but was unable to obtain a place in any training course due to poor English language skills. Her student visa was revoked on returning to Britain from a visit to Ghana. She does not contest to her being here illegally.

Clearly the compassionate thing to do would be to treat her. She is a widowed mother of two, her death will result in two orphans needing care (it is unclear from any reports where the children are). However, is it just? The simple truth is that we can not cure every ill person in the world. A bone marrow transplant is expensive, and also requires a donor. If she received it, another person would be delayed in getting the treatment, and possibly die. What of the compassion for them?

I struggle with this case, I really do. My heart tells me she should be treated, my brain says it is right she is now in her home country. What do you think?


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