Posts Tagged ‘Prins Johan Friso van Oranje-Nassau (1968-)’

A tableau I published on July 7th. this year (1)

Prince Friso of the Dutch royal family has been now for 6 months in what is called PERSISTENT VEGETATIVE STATE (PVS). (2)

The transfer to a UK hospital may pose legal problems, as procedures for ‘ending life’ in cases where there is no more chance of recovery is problematic in the UK – as we know of a recent case of a man that sought help for ending his life that had no future – and the formal refusal of a British court to allow ‘euthanasia’ in his case.

The Netherlands does have a more liberal law in this sense.

There are hardly any examples of people in PVS that regain consciousness, and even less that have any chance to function again as a human. Younger people stand statistically a bit more chance than middle age people like Prince Friso. In most cases ‘economics’ (the extreme high costs of keeping someone in such a permanent vegetative state) form the decisive argument for halting such treatment in a specialised medical ward.

In the case of the Royal House of the Netherlands the financial means are not a problem, but this affluence creates an ethical problem.

Recently a Dutch governmental medical advice commission did propose to scrap certain extreme expensive medications for a small group of special patients. This to cope with the ‘economic crisis’. This caused an uproar as life prolonging medication, even in cases of prolongation of life of weeks or months, should not be denied. Many spoke out in this way. From specialised medical staff to patient organisations and laymen. (2)

Now how does the Dutch Prince who is kept in permanent coma in a British private hospital, fits in this discussion?

Royals are human beings like any other, are they not? They do die after all like anybody else. Those who play their role in keeping monarchies alive, need to reflect also on the limits of prolonging life and the morals and ethics needed, there where we all have to face the sometimes paradoxical consequences of the ingenuity of modern medicine. (3)

We have now witnessed a state of exemption since the avalanche accident in Austria this winter of half a year. However sad it is, also royals should come to a decision, that may be harder to take because of their wealth.

The bereavement process of the family must have been frustrated and one wonders why the wife of Prince Friso has not had the courage to, or has been kept from, ending this ‘high tech’ medical ordeal.

Interview and photographs of Prince Friso and his wife Mabel and they way they enjoy London as the place were they work and live in the M magazine of Dutch daily NRC/Handelsblad May 2006. I did fade the Prince into an image of the brain surgery  specialised Wellington Hospital where he is kept in coma now.

One hopes that Dutch Queen Beatrix who is used to control family affairs with an iron hand, will come to see that her hand is not the hand of God when she orders to pull the plugs out. It is time – also for a prince – to die.

(1) 7/7/2012 News -tableaus by Tjebbe van Tijen: “When is Prince Friso Allowed to Die?”

(2) “Unlike brain death, persistent vegetative state (PVS) is not recognized by statute as death in any legal system. In the US and UK, courts have required petitions before termination of life support that demonstrate that any recovery of cognitive functions above a vegetative state is assessed as impossible by authoritative medical opinion.

This legal grey area has led to vocal advocates that those in PVS should be allowed to die. Others are equally determined that, if recovery is at all possible, care should continue. The existence of a small number of diagnosed PVS cases that have eventually resulted in improvement makes defining recovery as “impossible” particularly difficult in a legal sense.[4] This legal and ethical issue raises questions about autonomy, quality of life, appropriate use of resources, the wishes of family members, and professional responsibilities.”  [Wikipedia on PVS]

(3) Radio Netherlands Worldwide; 31/7/2012: “An emotional debate is underway in the Netherlands over the value of a human life. On Sunday, a Dutch health insurance body announced that it was recommending that certain expensive drugs no longer be covered.”

(4) Radio Netherlands Worldwide 24/8/2012: An influential Dutch ethicist (Heleen Dupuis, former professor in medical ethics at the University of Leiden) has said that if Queen Beatrix’s son, Prince Johan Friso, had been hospitalised in the Netherlands after his ski accident, doctors would have already stopped his treatment.

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte 17th of February 2012 comments…. (*)

He who fears can form no judgement about the Sublime in nature; just as he who is seduced by inclination and appetite can form no judgement about the Beautiful. The former flies from the sight of an object which inspires him with awe; and it is impossible to find satisfaction in a terror that is seriously felt. Hence the pleasurableness arising from the cessation of an uneasiness is a state of joy. But this, on account of the deliverance from danger [which is involved], is a state of joy conjoined with the resolve not to expose ourselves to the danger again; we cannot willingly look back upon our sensations [of danger], much less seek the occasion for them again.

Bold, overhanging, and as it were threatening, rocks; clouds piled up in the sky, moving with lightning flashes and thunder peals; volcanoes in all their violence of destruction; hurricanes with their track of devastation; the boundless ocean in a state of tumult; the lofty waterfall of a mighty river, and such like; these exhibit our faculty of resistance as insignificantly small in comparison with their might. But the sight of them is the more attractive, the more fearful it is, provided only that we are in security; and we readily call these objects sublime, because they raise the energies of the soul above their accustomed height, and discover in us a faculty of resistance of a quite different kind, which gives us courage to measure ourselves against the apparent almightiness of nature.

Now, in the immensity of nature, and in the inadequacy of our faculties for adopting a standard proportionate to the aesthetical estimation of the magnitude of its realm, we find our own limitation; although at the same time in our rational faculty we find a different, non-sensuous standard, which has that infinity itself under it as a unit, and in comparison with which everything in nature is small. Thus in our mind we find a superiority to nature even in its immensity.

[“Critique of Judgement”  (1790) Emanuel Kant; section “Of the Dynamically Sublime in Nature par.28 Of Nature regarded as Might.”]

The day Prince Johan Friso of the House of Orange-Nassau (1968-) was grabbed by an avalanche he had helped creating himself in the Austrian ski-resort of Leche.

Deliberations on the day after, when Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced to the press that he has postponed his own ski-hollidays, he was about to enjoy. The day – also – that “the whole Dutch nation” – those willingly and unwillingly not on ski holidays – are absorbed in hours of non-news television broadcasts on a crisis created by a reckless prince.

A day of associative thoughts – that keep surfacing despite a personal tragedy – about a ‘continuous economic crisis’, the supposed ‘symbol and example function of the Dutch Royal House’ to foster national unity, and the ‘non-austerity private pleasure routines‘ of  that same royal family and the government.

".. that the whole of the Netherlands sympathises with them very much..." Non altered screen shot, to see the original television news item click picture...

(*) The tableau is based on a screen shot from the Dutch television news of February 17th 2012, most probably in the room of the Prime Minister. When watching television, in my mind the painting behind the head of Mark Rutte -some sort of Italian landscape with a mountainous skyline – kept changing into something else: a painting by Turner of an avalanche. “The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons”  by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), first exhibited 1810.

So I swopped in the Turner picture. Turner saw the Alps in 1802 when visiting Switzerland, but never did witness an avalanche. Newspaper accounts of an avalanche in the Canton of Grison in 1808, did inspire this painting. From this we learn that ‘awe of nature’ is mostly not direct experienced but mediated indirectly. In the case of the painting of Turner it has been early 19th century journalistic ekphrasis that produced an almost abstract rendering of the power of nature.

Dutch mainstream media have launched themselves in a campaign with endless hours of drama-devices to reconstruct the ‘avalanche moment’ and its aftermath: snow specialist, ski-specialists, doctors, surgeons, journalists in front of Austrian hospitals, television crews standing in front of palaces without their residents in the Netherlands, and so on. Other news from ‘the rest of the world’ with other disasters are – to this very moment of me writing this – dealt with in a minimal way or even plainly neglected.

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