Terminal Illness, Socialized Medicine, and the Question of Individual’s “best interest”
In April 2018, Alfie Evans, a 23-month-old child, died in the UK. He suffered from a degenerative neurological illness. His parents wanted to get further treatment for him outside the country, but the hospital authorities and courts denied permission. This article addresses three dimensions of the case: a) state intervention in individual’s health decision-making, b) potential violation of a human right, and c) the problematic nature of the state policy of socialized medicine. I engage René Girard anthropological theory of violence and mimesis to argue that this case highlights how states enact sacrificial violence upon the terminally ill as a part of maintaining coherent public order.
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