Parents Allow Dying 5-Year-Old to Choose 'Heaven over Hospital'
Five-year-old Julianna Snow is dying of an incurable neurodegenerative illness called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
She's stable at the moment, but the muscles that control her breathing are so weak that any germ that comes her way, even just the common cold virus, could kill her. If she survives, doctors say she will likely end up on a respirator with very little quality of life.
Her parents, Michelle Moon and Steve Snow, asked Julianna, when she was just four-years-old, if she wanted to go to the hospital the next time she becomes dangerously ill, or if she wanted to stay home and go to heaven.
Michelle documented the conversation on her blog:
Michelle: Julianna, if you get sick again, do you want to go to the hospital again or stay home?
Julianna: Not the hospital.
Michelle: Even if that means that you will go to heaven if you stay home?
Michelle: And you know that mommy and daddy won't come with you right away? You'll go by yourself first.
Julianna: Don't worry. God will take care of me.
Michelle: And if you go to the hospital, it may help you get better and let you come home again and spend more time with us. I need to make sure that you understand that. Hospital may let you have more time with mommy and daddy.
Julianna: I understand.
Michelle: (crying) - I'm sorry, Julianna. I know you don't like it when I cry. It's just that I will miss you so much.
Julianna: That's OK. God will take care of me. He's in my heart.
The controversial decision to let Julianna choose heaven over hospital has caused a debate about whether or not a five-year-old should be able to make their own end-of-life choice.
How much say should a child get in what medical treatment they receive? And at what age? Let us know what you think in the comments.