March 23, 2005
I've really been hesitant to post anything about the Terri Schiavo case down in Florida. It's been pretty public so I'm guessing most people know about the case -- basically, Terri Schiavo collapsed some 15 years ago and has been in what doctors call "a persistent vegetative state." For the past 8 years, her husband Michael has been fighting her parents to pull the life-support feeding tube. A potential conflict of interest is that Michael now lives with another woman and has 2 kids with her. The immediate urgency is that a circuit court judge (Judge George Greer) down in Florida ruled in favor of the husband and Terri's feeding tube was removed 5 days ago.I have been hesitant because I'm not completely sure what the best solution is, but also because the solution I think I would take doesn't seem to be very popular with fellow Republicans. Yes, inevitably, this as become a slightly (though not completely) politicized issue as some congressmen (mostly Republicans) raced to pass a bill to allow Terri's parents to petition a federal court about the matter. The parents basically lost in federal court early this week and took it to an appeals court where they were also not heard.There has been a lot of criticism of Congress getting involved in something that is not at all their business, passing a questionable bill that trumps state rights. I would have to agree with the critics. This should be a matter the husband (Terri's legal guardian) makes. My gut feeling is that I agree with the husband as well in removing the tube. If indeed she is in a completely vegetative state, then why artificially keep her alive. The argument to that is that she can breathe on her own and her parents claim that Terri can sometimes respond to them. My religion holds live sacred and says one should endure to the end, but I ask the question of what happens when you reached the end, you have no real control and your body is being forced to keep operating? The fact of a slow death-by-starvation also makes me cringe. Can't there be a better way? However, several have said that starvation is actually quite peaceful.What I will admit to is that I don't have all the facts and most others don't either. Given what seems to be the vastly dominant view, Terri "died" a long time ago and letting her finally die is a humane act. What do other think? I'm curious.
Posted by charr at 6:56 PM
I was just reading another blogger's post about this. Her take is that she is tired of hearing about it! And that 15 years in a vegetative or semi-vegetative state is long enough. I think the parents just don't want to deal with her death. Since it's legally up to the spouse to decide, I don't understand why the courts keep overturning his wishes. I guess the last major court decision said it should be based on what Terri would want and the husband chimed in that she wouldn't want to be kept alive like this.... It's really a mess. I don't think she should be kept alive with a feeding tube. I'm sure she would rather be free of her body and in heaven. I think the TV news is just sensationalizing this case so much it's disgusting. Every 30 seconds her contorted face is onscreen. I would be mortified if I was plastered all over the airwaves in that condition.
Ellen, I agree with everything you said.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?1) Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, and Tom Delay are all world renowned neurologists.2) 22 successive court battles that all ended in exactly the same way means there is something wrong with the courts, not the Schindler's case.3) Mike Schiavo is after money, which is why he turned down 1 million dollars and 10 million dollars to sign over guardianship.4) Congress and the State Legislature of Florida have nothing better to do than pry into the private medical affairs of others.5) Pulling life support is bad in Florida when authorized by the legal next-of-kin, but pulling life support is good in Texas when you run out of money and the mother pleads not to pull the plug on her baby.6) Medical diagnoses are best performed by watching a highly edited videotape made by Randall Terry rather than in person by trained physicians.7) Minimum wage-making nursing assistants are more qualified to diagnose a persistent vegetative state than experienced neurologists.8) Cerebrospinal fluid is a magical potion that can mimic the entire functions of a missing cerebral cortex.9) 15 years in the same persistent state is not really enough time to make an accurate diagnosis.10) A feeding tube that infuses yellow nutritional goop is not really "life support".11) Jesus was wrong when he said that a man and woman should leave their parents and cleave only to each other.12) Marriage is the most sacred of all unions, except when it isn't.13) Interfering in a family's private tragedy is a great reason to cut short a vacation, but getting a memo that warns a known terrorist is determine to strike inside the US is cause to relax and finish up some R&R.14) Pro-lifers are really compassionate people which is why they are hoping that Michael Schiavo dies a horrible painful death.15) The Supreme Court of the United States and the State Supreme Court of Florida mean "Maybe" when they are saying "No!".16) Due Process is properly Infinite Process - unless you've been summarily deemed an Enemy Combatant, upon which it's Duly Infinitesimal.17) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a bleeding heart liberal.18) Seven Supreme Court Justices were appointed by Republican presidents, so it's Clinton's fault.19) The President says it is imperative to "err on the side of life" - except when you're Governor of Texas and there are potentially innocent convicts to be executed without further delay.20) The President says it is imperative to "err on the side of life" - except when you're President Bush and the imperative of "Freedom's (Forcibly) On The March" necessitates the ongoing slaughter of non-combatants.
I got word this morning that Terri passed away. I have to admit that I'm glad it's over -- that now it won't be a major media topic. Plus, she's in a much better state now.