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Terri Schiavo's Final Days

Terri Schiavo's family's quest to head off the court-ordered starvation set to begin Friday at 1:00 p.m is out of judicial options.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A state appeals court Wednesday refused to block the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube later this week in the long-running right-to-die battle between the woman's husband and her parents.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland turned down a request from Bob and Mary Schindler for a delay while they pursue further appeals, and for a new trial on their daughter's fate.

Schiavo, 41, suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped beating, and court-appointed doctors say she is in a persistent vegetative state.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, has said she told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents dispute that, and say she could get better.

Terri's husband Michael Schiavo recently turned down a $1 million offer to let his wife's parents decide her medical treatment.

The Florida Legislature and Congress are both moving through bills that would block the feeding tube removal, but the court has already struck down Terri's Law in Florida which rescued her from an earlier death-by-starvation order.


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Comments (155)

I have a question. If they ... (Below threshold)

I have a question. If they remove the feeding tube, can the parents feed her through her mouth? Like with liquids? I understand that she can swallow.

So much for the "he's doing... (Below threshold)

So much for the "he's doing it for the money" option.

I think the Schindlers foug... (Below threshold)
Library Lady:

I think the Schindlers fought for the right to try and feed her but it was denied. I heard she swallows her saliva but have never heard that she could swallow anything else. Sad situation.

The Florida legislature cha... (Below threshold)

The Florida legislature changed the wording in their new bill to suit the court's requirements as stated in their last opinion. At the very least, it may give DCF time to work which it did not get from Judge Greer (although the FDCA is still set to give a decision on the DCF appeal by tomorrow afternoon). It's not over yet.

And as far as 'he's not doing it for the money'.. would you want to look like a creep by accepting $1 million dollars to cede control over your wife? It still doesn't address the notion that he may have something to hide.

So you can't starve a horse... (Below threshold)
Don:

So you can't starve a horse, you can't starve a dog, you can't starve a convicted murder, even one on death row, and you can't starve a terrorist in custody, but you can starve Terri Schiavo??? WTF???

This is the first I've hear... (Below threshold)
metrognome57:

This is the first I've heard about this story, so let me get this straight: the woman has been in a coma for 15 years; her doctor says she's in a vegatitive state; the judge has seen "'clear and convincing' evidence she would not want to be kept alive in her current state."

Her parents "dispute that she is in a vegetative state, saying she laughs, cries, interacts with them and tries to speak."

OK, now somebody's not being completely candid here. She can't be in a vegatative state AND interacting with her parents at the same time. So who's one sandwich short of a picnic - the husband (whose story I find plausible) or her parents (who are apparently OK with her prolonged coma and the husband's suffering, and hope that some future technology will save her, and have tried to buy the husband's acquiescence to continue life support)?

Gosh, that's a toughie. Not.

The judge that made this ru... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

The judge that made this ruling should have his food withheld also, at least until until Terri dies. Throw in a little duct tape and handcuffs to prevent him from expressing his discomfort and he might just realize what he's done.

FWIW dept., bear in mind th... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

FWIW dept., bear in mind that DCF *has* already investigated these same allegations previously & found no substance to them. In addition, the case has repeatedly worked its way through all judicial levels, trial, appellate, *state* supreme court, & *US* supreme court, & those trying to "save Terri" have lost at each step; Occam's Razor tells us that it's dang nigh impossible for ALL of those judges to be moron s or have a wish to kill her.

As far as any supposed "denial of due process" (one of the "save Terri" crowd's favorite gut punches lately), the best rebuttal to that "argument" was delivered today by the 2nd district appeals court's chief judge:

"Not only has Mrs. Schiavo's case been given due process, but few, if any similar cases have ever been afforded this heightened level of process."

At what point do the self-righteous (not to mention the politically brown-nosed) become honest & remember that the law is still the law, even if they have suddenly found it to be inconvenient?

Sometimes, the law is an as... (Below threshold)

Sometimes, the law is an ass. As are those who defend the indefensible on the basis that it's the law.

For her husband to have end... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

For her husband to have endured the abuse he has for as long as he has, I think we can safely assume that he earnestly believes he is doing what his wife wanted. At many, many points, he could have given up and handed guardianship over to her parents. He could have divorced her. He could have cut and run and most people would understand that the strain of it all just got to be too much.

He didn't do any of those things. He consistently fought for what he believed was right for his wife. His actions have shown that over and over again.

As for due process, how many court rulings does it take before due process is served? How many people think that murderers should be taken out back and shot as soon as they are convicted? This odyssey has weaved its way up and down and through the court system for many years. Enough is enough.

Her family has hope. They truly want to believe their daughter responds to them despite medical evidence to the contrary. I wouldn't want it any other way. However, there comes a time when reality has to set in. Just as her husband thinks he is doing the right thing, her parents think the same. People want to paint the husband as acting selfishly, but, in a sense, so are the parents. They don't want to lose their daughter even though she is already lost. Denial is a powerful force.

You don't need to Google fo... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

You don't need to Google for very long to discover the horrific and extended suffering Ms. Schiavo will endure during her execution by denial of water and nourishment. Our society would not deliberately do this to an animal, and yet some of the commenters on this and previous threads seem to defend, or at least not care about this issue.

If you are so certain that her life is now worthless and death is what she wants, why not a lethal injection or a bullet to the head? Perhaps one of you (or perhaps even Judge Greer) would like to volunteer to do the honors.

Shame on every one of us if this murder occurs.

"If they remove the feeding... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"If they remove the feeding tube, can the parents feed her through her mouth?"

No, the judge won't allow it, and she has never had a swallow test done (he wouldn't permit one) so it is unknown whether or not she can tolerate food or liquids orally.

I am kind of surprised the legislature didn't write a law similar to the one they are writing now, requiring written wishes to have food/water witheld in situations like this. I think this is a good idea as it is. If there was more than just Schiavo's word that she made the comment, and there was something in writing I might feel differently.

Last dehydrating and starving somebody to death has got to be one of the most inhumane ways to kill somebody, even if they had put it in writing.

1. Some people are awfully... (Below threshold)
Gina:

1. Some people are awfully quick to conclude that anyone who has less than a perfect life must die, even if they are conscious able to respond to their own mother with a smile, as Terri is. People can and do sometimes recover completely or partially from long-term "vegetative states" and comas with appropriate therapy -- even after decades. Reportedly Terri Schiavo has not even had an MRI -- the "gold standard" minimum to determine brain activity and properly diagnose a persistent vegetative state. She hasn't had appropriate tests because the husband, and apparently the judge, want her dead. Read this article for more details:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/johansen200503160848.asp

She deserves and needs everyone's help and prayers. Read this article too:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/dl20050315.shtml

As far as the record shows, Terri allegedly has not had proper rehabilitation therapy -- not even training to help her learn to swallow food and liquid on her own. Her "guardian" (husband living with another woman) allegedly hasn't even taken proper care of her teeth -- several had to be extracted due to neglect. He just wants her dead.

2. Do you know that Terri's own friends were allegedly concerned for her safety from her husband before she "mysteriously" ended up with brain damaged? Hypothetically, what if a man abuses her wife so badly that she almost dies, then denies her treatment to try to make sure that she never recovers enough to tell what he did?

3. The fact that the husband wants her dead is not good enough. There could be at least four possible bad motivations for killing someone who is mildly brain damaged, none of which have anything to do with her best interests: 1. Spite toward her parents. 2. To cover up evidence of abuse or a criminal assault that caused her brain damage and to make sure she never comes out of her coma and tells the tale 3. To cover up evidence that he hasn't taken proper care of her since she became hospitalized 4. To avoid the cost of her care and keep that money for himself or his lover.

4. No parents should be forced to stand by while their son-in-law starves their daughter to death.

metrognome57,You s... (Below threshold)

metrognome57,

You said it yourself that you're new to the story. Some of us have been following it for years. Please take the time to actually read up on the story before you start talking out your ass. Allow me to help by pointing out some basic facts:

1) Terri is not in a coma. She is not on life support. The only thing she requires is a feeding tube, and that may not be necessary if she is given the propery therapy.

2) Not all doctors agree that Terri is in a vegatative state. The judge rejected any testimony by a doctor to contradict what one doctor said.

3) Mr. Schaivo's motives have long been in question. He lives in an adulterous situation with another woman, has children by her, and desperately wants his "wife" to die.

4) Terri did not leave any written proof that she would want to die in a situation like this. The only testimony to be found supporting that she would wish to die comes from her "husband".

5) Terri has been denied, by her "husband", any therapy whatsoever. All windows in her room are blocked off. No decorations whatsoever are allowed inside her room. Her parents and friends are denied access. That doesn't sound like a loving, "suffering" husband to me. Another person in the same situation but given proper treatment and therapy has a good chance to recover greatly.

Don't spout off if you don't know the whole story.

People can and do recover f... (Below threshold)
Gina:

People can and do recover from long-term comas and vegetative states even after decades.

Read this (man recovers from coma after 19 years):

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/09/health/main562293.shtml

Terri smiles and laughs and moves. She has not even had a scientifically valid diagnosis of a persistent vegetative state, nor a MRI, one of the minimum tests that would be needed to make a trustworthy diagnosis. Read this:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/johansen200503160848.asp

Terri reportedly smiles at her mother, laughs, responds to pain, and shows many other signs of life. Just as don't kill newborn babies just because they aren't fully engaged in their world, we don't kill adults over their parents' objections. Terri needs and deserves our support. The claim that her husband has only her best interests in mind, and that she expressed a wish to die, is really unreliable. Read this:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/dl20050315.shtml

Terri has been denied the treatment that might allow her to partially recover: inadequate dental care, resulting in teeth having to be pulled, no proper therapy to teach her to swallow on her own, no cognitive therapy that I'm aware of, no outings with her family. Some of her muscles are contracted as is common in such injuries -- therapy can help with that. In the case of others who have recovered from these kinds of injuries, a lot of stimulation from the family has been very helpful. If you take someone who has suffered a brain injury and then deny them therapy to recover from it, can you then point to their lack of progress as proof that they are a lost cause, and pull the plug?

Have you read about the woman in a coma whose doctors, including her own husband, decided it was time to pull the plug? When she tried to wave her arms to object, they assumed it was just a reflex or a seizure of some kind, and persisted in their belief that she was in a vegetative state and would never recover. Not only did she recover (after a nurse eventually proved that the woman was able to write words with her finger), but she went on to have a child and is still alive today and rooting for Terri.

Try going to Google and typing a few words like "coma doctors husband speak." You'll find story after story of people who recovered from comas after doctors said it was time to pull the plug. Don't take my word for it; do your own research.

I don't know whether Terri's husband is acting out of spite toward is mother in law, or just wants Terri dead so that he doesn't have to think about her anymore or pay anything for her care, or perhaps worries that if she wakes up from her semi-coma she will have damaging things to say about the incident that lead to her brain damage (she was reportedly home alone with her husband, whom some of Terri's family or friends feared was abusive toward her at the time, when she suffered her "unexplained" brain damage).

Whatever HIS reasons, Terri is a partially-conscious, sometimes smiling, relatively young person who, with proper therapy, might even be able to say a few words, learn to maneuver a wheelchair and swallow soft foods. She can be alive 10 and 20 years from now, really living at some level and bringing joy to her parents even if all she can do is to give them a smile.

Just two words: Sara Scant... (Below threshold)
MMM:

Just two words: Sara Scantlin

I just can't understand why... (Below threshold)
minnie:

I just can't understand why people have so much trouble accepting that the LORD works in mysterious ways. Who are we to define what a "miracle" is in the His Eyes?

GOD chose to Bless Terri's parents by making the shell of her former body continue to grimace, excrete, wake and sleep as if she were still present, so they could live in comforting denial and become world famous. In Terri's case, He chose to Love her by atrophying massive sections of her brain and replacing them with her spinal fluid, nevermore to be restored.

I suspect some here are similarly Blessed, and may not even know it. Take comfort in believing with all your hearts that God surely wants you this way!

Regarding Steve L.'s commen... (Below threshold)

Regarding Steve L.'s comments:

1. Re: "abuse" the husband has taken. First, the husband elected to become her guardian--the reason being suspect since he had the lawyer he was working for meet her parents at the hospital with the guardianship paperwork for their signature on or near the day she was admitted for the collapse. This is suspect because it placed him in complete control of the medical information pertaining to Terri.

When he became her guardian--he assumed the fiduciary duty of acting in Terri's best interests. This, under the law, subjects him to scrutiny by the court system. It offends me that the MSM keeps talking about HIS RIGHTS in the matter. He has no rights--he had duties and he has certain powers which he must exercise only in accordance with the law. The court is bound by the law to scrutinize and remove him should he fail to act in her best interests The Court has failed on many occasions to compel him to act in accordance with the laws put in place to protect wards against guardians failing to act in the interests of the wards.

2. Has Terri had due process? No. She has not had a guardian ad litem (a lawyer to act in her interest in the event that a guardian's interests potentially conflict) since 1999. The judge removed the last one--that ad litem recommended that the tube NOT be removed. The judge has acted as her ad litem. This is a total conflict as he is NOT an advocate for her--but is a finder of fact. He does not have the authority under law to act as her ad litem.

Of course, the MSM has not discussed what the law actually says in this case.

Typical

Bark bark bark bark bark. ... (Below threshold)
minnie the barking moonbat:

Bark bark bark bark bark. Bark bark bark bark bark.

minnieYour are mis... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

minnie

Your are misinformed. The only tests that can determine that Terri's cortex has "liquified" are MRIs and PETs, neither of which Terri's husband has authorized for her. She has only had the less expensive and far less diagnostic CT scan.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/johansen200503160848.asp

minnie, do you hav... (Below threshold)
ginabina:

minnie,

do you have to be such an insufferable b*tch?

I like this one. The Eight... (Below threshold)
James:

I like this one. The Eighth Amendment guarantees that (ostensibly) painless lethal injection on a psychopathic 17-year-old is "cruel and unusual" but the painful starvation death of a perfectly innocent woman is not. Nice.

And to the gnome guy above: the husband's suffering? Yeah, that whole starting-a-new-life-with-another-woman thing is, um, grieving. That's it. Grieving.

There are so many issues on... (Below threshold)
Cao:

There are so many issues on this case. The separation of powers issue--the judge is virtually ignoring all the laws that support her right to life, the fact that he's ruling for her death when she's not in a "persistent vegetative state" but will not allow new testing to be done, she has not had any rehabiliative care for 15 years including dental care, the fact that he's approved spending the money that was reserved for her rehabilitation for lawyer and court fees to end her life, that she has sustained injuries that are consistent with trauma (including but not limited to trauma to her neck which Michael Baden says is consistent with strangulation), the fact that her husband has a live-in relationship and 2 children by this other woman. The judge has struck down giving Terri a divorce, giving her parents custody, and interestingly, Michael's lawyer has a book out called "Litigation as Spiritual Practice". He is also on the board of the hospice Terri is in. Michael should not be her guardian since he might have caused her condition, and Terri has been denied her own legal representation. And those are just what I can think of off the top of my head.

cool - minnie's out on paro... (Below threshold)
tee bee:

cool - minnie's out on parole again.

In other news, it's heartening to see so many people who care about Terri's plight. Starving someone is not like unhooking the respirator; the body function is normal and only shuts down under the same circumstances as Minnie's cellmates - when intentionally deprived of food, water or air. Last time the court tried to facilitate "justice," Terri hung on for nine days without food and water.

She swallows at least 2 lit... (Below threshold)
Cao:

She swallows at least 2 liters of liquid a day-her own saliva. She was fed by spoon until Michael put a stop to it. A nurse testified that she likes jello-she fed her with a spoon, but the 17 medical affidavits on file from MD's attesting to her responsiveness, and how she could respond if given therapy, have not been admitted in court. She is not hooked up to ventilators or any equipment to sustain her life. The only thing she needs to live is food and water, just like you and me.

I fought to protect a loved... (Below threshold)
been there:

I fought to protect a loved one from years of abuse and eventual murder by dehydration. The courts, the agencies that are supposed to protect the aged and disabled and the local police stood foursquare behind the abusers/murderers.

I was raised around elder care and was warned in the early 70s that this sort of thing was on the way. From what I have been told by good doctors and nurses the killing machine is going full speed already.

I have no sympathy for anyone who would kill another person in such an inhumane manner and view their supporters and protectors as subhuman filth.

Clear enough?

A texas baby died today aft... (Below threshold)
George:

A texas baby died today after a hospital removed his feeding tube. The mother's story differed greatly from what the hospital said. Sadly, the hospital won and had more power than the childs DNA mother.

Let's go right to Dr. Wolfs... (Below threshold)
Bill:

Let's go right to Dr. Wolfson's December 2003 report as guardian ad litem, appointed as a the result of "Terri's Law" (abstractappeal.com/schiavo/WolfsonReport.pdf)

1. "aggressive" therapy through 1994, including a trip to California for the implantation of an experimental brain stimulator. No results.
Terri fails at least 3 "gold standard" barium swallow tests.

2. Terri's parents actively encourage the husband to move on and date other women. They later admit they did this as a tactic to get him to give up guardianship. Recently they've accused him of a conflict of interest over this, without mentioning their role in the process.

3. At the October 2002 trial, to determine if there are any medical techniques that can improve her condition, despite the many affidavits posted on their website, the only neurologist the Schindlers can find willing to testify is under investigation by the medical board. He is later found guilty of financial exploitation by the board and spends over a year fighting to clear his license.

He claims incredible results for his techniques, but is completely unable to back up his claims with case histories or references to peer-reviewed medical literature. His clincial claims contradict known neurological theory.
(http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/tcd.html)

Even Wolfson later notes the poor quality of his medical opinion, rejected by both the trial and appellate courts.

4. There continues to be NO verifyable evidence that Terri can improve. Even the newest affidavits advocate alternative therapies such as hyperbaric treatments, where no evidence exists as to its efficacy in treating brain injuries.

Not surprisingly, the physician advocating the alternative treatment often owns a facility that can provide such treatment. Cash only, no insurance (public or private) accepted.

5. At least one of Terri's friends testified at her malpractice trial that she was sure Terri had bulimia. Bulimia perfectly explains her low potassium level leading to the heart stoppage on the night of her collapse. It also explains why she stopped menstruating several months before.

The jury at the 1992 malpractice trial agrees, awarding close to $7 million in damages (later reduced to about $2 million in a settlement before appeal)

6. 10 years after the malpractice trial, almost immediately after the parents lose the October 2002 trial, they claim that the evidence of a bone scan taken a year after her collapse, and the interpretation by Dr. Walker, shows she was abused which caused her collapse.

But Dr. Walker, who never personally examines Terri, later admits in deposition that all the injuries he alleges could have just as easily been caused by the fall, the paramedics, and the physical therapy she received.
(http://www.hospicepatients.org/dr-walker-t-schiavo-bone-scan-deposition.txt)

Here's the CT scan:
miami.edu/ethics/schiavo/CT%20scan.png

As Dr. Wolfson noted,
"Theresa's neurological tests and CT scans indicate objective measures of the persistent vegetative state. These data indicate that Theresa's cerebral cortex is principally liquid, having shrunken due to the severe anoxic trauma experienced thirteen years ago"

St. Louis neurologist Dr. <... (Below threshold)
been there:

St. Louis neurologist Dr.
William Burke describes death by starvation: "A conscious person
would feel the de-hydration just as you or I would.… They would go
into seizures, their skin cracks and bleeds and they may have
nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucus membrane. And
heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying of the
stomach lining…. They feel the pain of hunger and thirst. Imagine
going one day without a glass of water…. Death by dehydration
takes 10 to 14 days and is an extremely agonizing death."

There is a lot of question ... (Below threshold)

There is a lot of question about the motivations of the estranged husband. Last night he had another interview on ABC.

After examining the uncontested facts and Schiavo's statements, it is clear that he is not rational.

Viewing the video from the interview makes this even more obvious. He chooses to "believe" what he wants to reinforce a very weak psyche. That doesn't change the facts and the fact that innocent people should not suffer from his self-imposed delusions.

George, you make reference ... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

George, you make reference to the Sun Hudson case (the Texas baby). Before you commented on how sad this was, did you bother to read the easily obtainable medical information about the baby's condition? Did you try to understand why the mother's story may have been just a little bit "off"? Did you try to find out how long the court ordered treatment? Did you try to do anything in the research department If so, you would know that the hospital removed his VENTILATOR tube not his FEEDING tube. It's okay if you didn't research this before giving your opinion, but a little research could have enlightened you.

"been there" - you could ha... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

"been there" - you could have just stopped typing after "a consciuos person"

Ms. Wilson my information o... (Below threshold)
been there:

Ms. Wilson my information on Ms. Schindler-Schiavo comes from people that have stood by her bed.

Where does yours come from?

Like I said I fought this same battle. I have heard the argument that the victim was not "really" alive and that they felt no pain when they were tortured to death.

There is a real world outside of William & Mary College and a great deal of it is not pretty or fair.

When you have been harrased and assaulted for trying to protect the life of another defensless person, when your car has been sabotaged and your dog killed in attempts to get you to back down perhaps you will have a different perspective.

Unfortunately may would advocate the path of allowing the innocent victim to be tortured and killed in foavor of personal comfort and the vauge hope thaat the perps would back off.

Those my little friend are the true problem. There is one Michael Schiavo and one Judge Greer butthe re are thousands of people (AKA useful idiots) who believe that who wins American Idol is more important than the right of a severely disabled person to live in comfort.

"been there"-I am sincerely... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

"been there"-I am sincerely sorry for whatever brought you to your level of grief, but let me point out that demeaning my thoughts with "my little friend" doesn't particulary strengthen your point. Ms. Schiavo is in a PVS, proven to the stringent requirements of the law. Ms. Schiavo is in a PVS, proven by every neurologist who ever examined her while NOT under investigation by his own medical board. Ms. Schiavo, therefore, is not "a conscious person".

Again schoolchild, where do... (Below threshold)
been there:

Again schoolchild, where do your "facts" come from, USA Today?

I'm sorry my mistake. I rea... (Below threshold)
George:

I'm sorry my mistake. I read the story and made a simple error. I have been following the Schiavo case for a long time and just have all of this on my mind. Please forgive me. I feel in both of these cases the wrong decision was made. The only thing I thought should happen with the baby was- let him die naturally. Obviously with its condition it couldn't survive. But, for the mother, they should have let him go on as long as possible.

My facts, as opposed to pro... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

My facts, as opposed to propaganda, are gleened from the thoughtful and analytical analyses of numerous items of court documentation. As I am sure you are certain to agree, if it has not been subjected to cross-examination, it is not a "fact". That is which is empirical is to be relied upon, that which is anecdotal is just for story-telling.

Stacy,Sounds like ... (Below threshold)

Stacy,

Sounds like your just the sort of person I need to review my analysis at Homepage link.

The bottom line for me is that:

1. Only Terri knows what she wants/wanted. Even then, it should be understood by all Americans that we are not a nation that starves the indigent. This is a violation of our decency.
2. The government is ordering her execution.

George-I know on the surfac... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

George-I know on the surface, the story seems almost euthanasia-like. However, the baby was in pain. His body structure was literally crushing his lungs and he could not breathe. It's a tragedy brought on by an act of nature, not by the hospital. It was an ethical decision about continuing futile care that is actually CAUSING pain. The question was "When do you stop futile, painful measures?"

Bill,I am afraid tha... (Below threshold)
susan:

Bill,
I am afraid that the doctor who has diagnosed Terri has not performed the test that is considered to be the normal course of action in this situation. That is an MRI. All neurologists would tell you that is the only test that can determine brain function -a CT does not. She has not had proper care and has had teeth rotting and bed sores. She has been neglected. That alone should disqualify her current guardian and doctors. That is, if you care about the person, instead of making this a "right to die" test case.

Paul-Okay, if I agree with ... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

Paul-Okay, if I agree with you, how do we reconsile the fact that we are forcing people to live with feeding tubes at a cost of at least $80,000 a year with the fact that the new Florida Medicaid cap is set at $1 million. I'm certainly not saying cost is a set value for life. I'm just saying, who is addressing the long-term situation. What have you done to make certain that the legislature passes a bill that includes an exemption from the spending cap?

Stacey,Read my post ... (Below threshold)
susan:

Stacey,
Read my post above. She has been diagnosed with PVS by a man who is a right to die activist with an agenda. He once diagnosed a man who could get around in a wheel chair with PVS. That is ridiculous.
So in you super iformed analytical, factual opion why have they not done an MRI which is standard medical practice in these cases?
They don't want to find anything. What other conclusion is there?

Ms. Schiavo is in a PV... (Below threshold)

Ms. Schiavo is in a PVS, proven to the stringent requirements of the law.

This is a dodge. This is hottly disputed. The evidence is actually against PVS (read the court record).

However, Greer seems to be extremely biased. So that is the essential dysfunction of this case: an extremely poor trial judge.

The protestion against that is to examine the facts, not to appeal to questionable authority.

Susan-are you asking a ques... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

Susan-are you asking a question, then answering it, then asking it again as a means to obtain MY answer or as sarcasm? If you want MY answer, here it is. First of all, three neurologists testified in court that she is PVS. The quackwatch.com guy and the radiologist disagreed. Second, an MRI is used to show functioning portions of existing cerebral cortex. A simple peek at her head CT would prove why this test was unnecessary.

Repeating: If it is so cert... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Repeating: If it is so certain that 1) her life is now worthless and 2) death is what she wants, then why inflict the torture of starvation? Why not simply a lethal injection or a bullet to the head? That's what we do with unwanted or badly injured animals, why not in this case?
And finally, perhaps one of you who holds such certainty about her condition and the legality of this execution might consider volunteering to administer the coup de grace.

Stacy,We are not f... (Below threshold)

Stacy,

We are not forcing anyone. It is you who is trying to force us.

The thing is that as a nation, we have formed a longstanding consensus about what normal standards of decency are and are not. We provide shelter, food, and housing for the indigent. This is the society that you have chosen to be apart.

If you don't like that standard, you are free to speak against it. However, you may not apply your new standards to anyone but yourself until a new consensus is formed.

You must have heard of a living will. As an adult you are free to execute one. That should solve 90% of the problems. Your final complaint may be that no one will put you down if you are unable. Well, that's the way things are. I don't think we need to "accomodate" you on that account. Your deprivity should not be forced on us.

If we did we would not remain a decent society for long.

I did not know this was cau... (Below threshold)
George:

I did not know this was causing pain to the child. That does change the spectrum. I have to agree with you then.

Paul-the easily obtainable ... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

Paul-the easily obtainable remedy to a biased trial judge is the appellate court. The Schindlers availed themselves innumerable times. So unless every judge up and down the judicial system is biased, you have your proof.

Paul, seriously, enough phi... (Below threshold)
Stacey Wilson:

Paul, seriously, enough philosophy, just answer the question. How do you solve the conundrum? I did not put spending caps in place, but they are there.

McGehee : "Sometimes, the l... (Below threshold)
TJ:

McGehee : "Sometimes, the law is an ass. As are those who defend the indefensible on the basis that it's the law" ... Well Said!

Minnie : "GOD chose to Bless Terri's parents by making the shell of her former body continue ..." ... wow, under normal circumstances I would find this kind of comment mildly amusing. Given that someone's LIFE is hanging in the balance I find it atrocious. Welcome to the club, here is your sign.


/TJ

why inflict the torture ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

why inflict the torture of starvation? Why not simply a lethal injection or a bullet to the head? That's what we do with unwanted or badly injured animals, why not in this case?

If only that were lega. If it were legal to give her a lethal injection, would that solve the problem for you? Is it the death or the starvation? Keep in mind that she will be so heavily sedated that she'll feel nothing once the feeding tube is removed.

Stacy,As a citizen... (Below threshold)

Stacy,

As a citizen you are obliged to think and criticize. This is the obligation of citizenship.

You are still dodging.

The entire court system is broken and need to be fixed. The written law has been made a sham by judges who invent rules where none have been legislated. We have deferred to them unquestioningly for too long. During this time partisan hacks have been put on the bench in place of prudent jurists. By your logic, Dred Scott would still be the law of the land.

That was the decision of the Democrats for the past 40 years.

As a result, they have zero authority for you to appeal to in this argument.

Stacey,I was being s... (Below threshold)
susan:

Stacey,
I was being sarcastic, yes. Because you were being pretty condescending. The facts are that CTs are not used in these kinds of cases. Call a neurologist and they would say that a CT is too blury to tell anything and anything unless there is extreme brain damage (which would put her in much worse condition). There are plenty of reputable doctors who agree to this. You have to use an MRI. Why not do this? I hope that if the same happens to me or you they don't rely on a test that is inconclusive to diagnose my brain activity.

In a perfect world the cour... (Below threshold)
been there:

In a perfect world the courts would be honest and honorable. I can tell you from first hand experience that they are not.

While you are looking through your law dictionary for your next tirade you might pause on the term “hearsay”. The court decided that TS-S would not want a feeding tube based only on the “good word” of one person “hearsay”. If a friend of hers had stated that Terri told her she could have her record collection in the event of severe debility she would not have gotten them, as there was only “hearsay” and no written directive to that end. What is wrong with this picture?

While I am sure that line 22 of your parents form 1040 is quite impressive that does not automatically give you the right to presume that I agree with any of your opinions so carefully implanted in your head within the halls of that fine institute of education.

If you choose to believe in the fairy tale of a fair system looking out for the weak that is your choice. However, the elitist, I know more than you attitude you display does not fly well in the real world. If you ever go there you might just find that out the hard way.

I Strongly suspect by now you and several other readers of this blog view me as a contemptible bastard. If so you are in good company including the new head of the DNC. I’d rather be right than popular though.

Stacy, As to your ... (Below threshold)

Stacy,

As to your question about cost.

What has the government done in all other cases? We spend the money. There is no limitation, only commitments. By your logic, how do you propose to fund SS? The situation is the same.

Otherwise, we would be measuring the utility of each life (and liberal arts colleges would be shut down).

Former "vegetative" patient... (Below threshold)
been there:

Former "vegetative" patient speaks at Schiavo rally

Clearwater, Florida, Mar. 16 (LifesiteNews.com/CWN) - Last
Saturday a rally of over 300 supporters of Terri Schiavo and her
family's battle to save her life heard the firsthand account of the
sufferings and remarkable recovery of Kate Adamson. Struck down
in 1995 at the age of thirty-three by a rare double brain stem stroke,
Adamson, then a mother of two young girls, was completely
paralyzed; she was unable even to blink her eyes. Like Terri
Shiavo, the medical staff treating her questioned the merit of
continuing the administering of food and water.

Terri Schiavo, although not nearly as severely disabled as
Adamson once appeared to be, is slated to have her feeding tube
removed at 1 pm this Friday. Like Terri, at one point Kate
Adamson's feeding tube was removed for a full eight days before
being reinserted due to the intervention of her husband (also a
competent lawyer).

Frequently described by medical authorities as a humane way to
die, Adamson-- now nearly fully recovered from her stroke--
testified before the crowd that this form of legalized execution was
"one of the most painful experiences you can imagine." Unable to
respond or to indicate awareness, Kate Adamson asserts, "I was
just like Terri...but I was alive! I could hear every word. They were
saying 'shall we just not treat her?'...I suffered excruciating misery
in silence."

This personal testimony confirms what Terri supporters have long
held-- that the execution sought by her husband Michael Schiavo is
anything but painless and humane. Furthermore, Kate's remarkable
recovery to nearly full mental and physical health-- she still suffers
partial paralysis of her left side-- gives Terri supporters hope that
Terri too may still experience a similar recovery, if granted proper
care and treatment.

During her early-afternoon speech Kate declared that "If they want
to kill Terri they should have the guts to put a gun to her head"
rather than condemn her to such a slow and painful death. She
finished off by summing up the full import of the Schiavo case,
saying, "The measure of a society is how they treat the least of us.
Life is sacred or meaningless, there is nothing in between."

susan,the CT scan ... (Below threshold)
Bill:

susan,

the CT scan shows such clear damage none of the conventional neurologists at the 2002 trial questioned that the cortex was "primarily liquid"

your assertion that "She has not had proper care" is directly contradicted by Wolfson, guardian ad litem, in his December 2003 report, as well as previoud guardian ad litems in the case.

He is substantially more credible than the claims of the parents and their attorneys.

Remember, whether or not Terri had a living will doesn't matter _at all_ to her parents.

They would not remove the feeding tube even if they knew it was her wish; they would refuse to honor even a written directive to remove the feeding tube, regardless of whether or not they believed she was in a PVS.

That makes it extremely unlikely they will ever be guardian.

"If it were legal to give h... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"If it were legal to give her a lethal injection, would that solve the problem for you?"

I am not the person you addressed this to, but for me it is kind of a both.

I am bothered by the death aspect, and think absent actual written and signed by terri herself documents, that she should not be killed. If terri had written out a living will, that detailed the things she did and didn't want done, this debate would have been over a long time ago, but I think the evidence that she wanted to die is pretty dubious.

But, if the government is going to allow a man to legally murder his wife, at the very least they should accord her a more humane death than dehydration. If we execute prisoners by lethal injection, surely we can do something to make her death quicker and painless.

Bill,You're stretc... (Below threshold)

Bill,

You're stretching the word "proper" past the limits of the English language.

All guardians found that there was no rehabilitative work for many years. Additionally, she suffers from direct neglect dental, now skin ulcers, untreated infections, and lack of therapy.

Mantis: On what do you base... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Mantis: On what do you base your assertion that Ms. Schiavo will be heavily sedated when they stop providing her with food and water? Do you have information that no one else has? And to answer your question, it is her murder that concerns me first and foremost, and then and only then, the method.

On what do you base your... (Below threshold)
mantis:

On what do you base your assertion that Ms. Schiavo will be heavily sedated when they stop providing her with food and water?

Standard procedure, friend. This, if it happens, will not be the first time a feeding tube is removed. Do you think they do such things without sedation? What would be the purpose? Sadism?

On what do you base your... (Below threshold)
julie:

On what do you base your assertion that Ms. Schiavo will be heavily sedated when they stop providing her with food and water?

Standard procedure, friend.

This is a non answer. Do you have any proof as to what the protocols are in this situation?

This, if it happens, will not be the first time a feeding tube is removed. Do you think they do such things without sedation? What would be the purpose? Sadism?

There's an old joke. Q: Why are veterinary pediatric medicine so alike? A: Because the patient can't complain. I guess one could include Ms. Schiavo in that bit.

So, the goal is to remove her feeding tube and let her die but still supply pain meds? Only problem is, is that she won't have a good route to administer them without an IV. And they never give you so much that your respirations are depressed below a certain rate even if you are screaming in pain. IM pain meds could be a problem b/c you are assuming circulation won't shut down significantly. I assume she doesn't have a whole lot of muscle mass to begin with let alone good circulation. Is she going to be sunctioned? She's going to need it if you got her doped up. If she aspirates her secretions, wouldn't that be outside of the protocol of letting her die by starvation and dehydration? She'll probably become septic. I guess antibiotics are out, too. Even though they would alleviate pain.

Yeah, I think it's pretty sadistic.

To me, the most important p... (Below threshold)

To me, the most important point in this case, the one that trumps all of the others, is whether or not it has been proven beyond a legally reasonable doubt that having her feeding tube removed is what Terri wanted in this situation. That's the standard we use when we kill someone, or even put them in jail; that's the standard we should use in euthanasia cases.

It sure seems to me that the "prosecution's" case is based on hersay and conjecture, and the "defense" has raised reasonable doubts. This really isn't dependant on whether Mr. Schiavo is a loving husband or a money grubbing sadistic bastard, or whether Terri's family are loving people who just want to take care of her or are a bunch of religious nutters living in a dream world.

It may be that Michael Schiavo is completely trustworthy in this case; that Terri did say that she wanted to have a feeding tube removed under these particular circumstances; that she fully understood the possible situations and ramifications and it wasn't just an off the cuff remark; that perhaps she even told her blood relatives her wishes and they are just in denial...but it sure hasn't been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

I'm more worried about killing someone who doesn't want to die, than not letting someone die who does want to die; just like our legal system is more worried about not putting an innocent person in jail than letting a guilty person go free.

That's what this Florida legislation does. It sets high legal standards for proving a person's wishes in euthanasia cases: standards that have not been met in this case.

"To me, the most important ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"To me, the most important point in this case, the one that trumps all of the others, is whether or not it has been proven beyond a legally reasonable doubt that having her feeding tube removed is what Terri wanted in this situation. That's the standard we use when we kill someone, or even put them in jail; that's the standard we should use in euthanasia cases."

I agree. We would not be debating this, if she actually had it in writing.

But there are a few things that make me doubt her wishes:

#1 She never told any of her family and friends. My mom and I had a long discussion about this (I knew what she wanted and didn't want and I told her). I just can't imagine making that kind of decision, and not telling anyone in my own immediate family or any of my close friends.

#2 If I remember right, she made the comment almost offhand after watching a moving about someone on a respirator. There is a huge difference between having a respirator removed and a feeding tube removed. Most people who have living wills often do not ask that feeding tubes be removed if they are the sole source of support (I think most people do not want to sign up for death by dehydration). I think it is difficult to extrapolate that because she said she didn't want to be hooked up to machines that it meant she wouldn't want a feeding tube. Two very different things.

Also, I have long been troubled that during the lawsuit Michael was all about the therapy, and taking care of Terri, but once the checks were cut, he was all about murder. It really bothers me that the state has essentially cooperated in allowing a man to murder his wife for gain (and yes, even if there is no money now, if he had had his way, when he wanted it, he would have been a millionaire). And even if it was about the money then, he can't make it be about money now, because it would prove all of us who think it is about the money right (hence turning down the offer of a million dollars to give up guardianship of Terri).

Also, regarding pain medications-IM pain medications aren't nearly as effective as IV meds. To keep a person well sedated, they need IV medications-oral (which is out anyway) and IM just aren't as effective, there will likely be holes, also, I am not convinced that there is a way to totally sedate her to the point that she feels no pain. I had drugs in labor-they didn't take away the pain, I coul still feel contractions and they still hurt, the meds just took the edge off.

Paul,your comments... (Below threshold)
Bill:

Paul,

your comments reveal how little experience you have with patients in long-term care settings.

Bedsores are impossible to prevent.

Even using alternating-pressure mattresses, people as immobile as Terri still get bedsores.

Terri was fortunate to avoid them for as long as she did (13 years before her only bedsore)

Even Christopher Reeve fell to sepsis from the lowly bedsore.

People lose teeth all the time in long-term care settings. It is very difficult to keep teeth clean when the person cannot cooperate with you.

All of the guardian ad litems appointed, even Wolfson, went out of their way to praise the care given Terri.

I find them more credible than the parents and their attorneys, who will literally do or say anything to keep the feeding tube inserted for another 5 minutes.

Remember, they would never remove the feeding tube, even did they know beyond any doubt that it was her wish.

None of the "aggressive" (Wolfson's term) therapies worked the first 4 years after her collapse, even the implantation of the thalmic brain stimulator.

It is very unlikely any conventional rehab facility would agree to take her after the complete failure of previous therapies.

The only people offering therapy at this point appear to be the doctors who filed the most recent affidavits.

None of their therapies are conventional.

Though they claim almost miraculous results from such alternative treatments as hyperbaric therapy, there is NO support for such claims, from either case studies or peer-reviewed medical literature.

Their "therapies" are very expensive, cash only please.

No conflict of interest there. :)

The legislature can pass al... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

The legislature can pass all the laws they want, but it won't mean a thing. They cannot pass a law that is retroactive in nature. They can't say that she must give consent when she is already in a state that prevents that consent. They can say that future patients must have given written (or otherwise indisputable) consent.

Now, they might be able to pass a law that says that X number of doctors must agree to this, that and the other thing before removing the feeding tube. Even in that case, the courts may not allow it because there are previous rulings permitting the tube to be removed. At this point, the best anyone can hope for is that people learn lessons from this situation and go forward.

I've followed this story cl... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

I've followed this story closely from Day One, being not just a Floridian but a medical researcher to boot. My profession is often also described as being "professional skeptics" -- we assume nothing. As such, I don't base judgements on hearsay, in particular hearsay from people who have clear agendas or vested interests.

Having a thick skin I'm also amused at the veiled comments attempting to discredit clinically- & legally-based conclusions in favor of emotionally-based ones. Perhaps another thing to consider in addition to the evidence would be the fact that there's a self-determination issue here as well; while Terri did not leave a living will, a number entities legally & morally empowered to do so have rendered rulings saying that Michael is the one who speaks for her, no one else. Different courts have all found that the choice is his. If simplistic platitudes such as "the law is an ass" are the best that can be found to dispute that, it would seem that says a little about the level of emotions involved. };)

Flail away if anyone feels led to; it won't raise my blood pressure even a little, nor change the facts either. I for one’ve never really felt qualified to wear a gold-plated badge that says "Deputy God" on it that empowers me to make moral judgements on what's best for other people; last I checked messiahs usually weren't self-appointed, anyway.

"The legislature can pass a... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"The legislature can pass all the laws they want, but it won't mean a thing. They cannot pass a law that is retroactive in nature."

Actually, the legislature can make and pass laws that are retroactive. In this case, Michael could probably sue and say that it is impossible for Terri to give consent and therefore the retroactive part of the law can't apply, but the legislature certainly can pass retroactive laws.

"Different courts have all found that the choice is his. "

And this is truly what sucks, Michael is the only witness to the fact that Terri said she wanted to die, and he is also the one who stands to gain the most from her death. A person who is in a position to make tons of money off the death of another person, should not be the person making decisions about her death.

Basically the government has made itself a party to murder.

I can show you the autopsy ... (Below threshold)
been there:

I can show you the autopsy report on our person that states "NO DRUGS FOUND". Bill, Mantis that means zero pain control. Of course the same report claims the dehydration was caused by a stroke not the failure to hydrate.

That is nine days of torture "friend". This fact, altough not grilled in court by George Fellows was given to me in writing by the State medical examiner. A person part and party to the coverup of the crimes.

As far as the statement about no pervention for bed sores, BULL. At one time before the right to die became all the rage with the left bedsores in a facility like Woodside were concidered criminal neglect. Again kids I was raised around elder care. This is not just something I saw on CNN.

The letter of the law does not allow for dehydrating people to death. Instead thw color of the law allows death by dehydration under futility of care polocies that state no doctor is obligated to give medical treatment that will not cure a medical problem. Further by their definition hydration is medical treatment.

The Doctor that helped to murder my family member views old age as a disease. Cool huh? Nothing cures that so let's bring back action T-4 and be kind to all of the useless eaters.

Look at Terri Schiavo if you want to make it easier to kill people like her gang because you are looking into your own future.

Bill,Nonsense.... (Below threshold)

Bill,

Nonsense.

Bedsores are preventable. The dental problems (five teeth pulled) came about because of the fact that Schiavo forbid dental care.

The brain is an adaptive organ. It needs stimulation in order to work well (just like you needed to get the facts about the case before you barraged me with wishful thinking). Therepy and rehabilitation must be continual. Here again, they were forbidden by the estranged husband.


Why do you indulge yourself in these wishful fantasies? The facts are not even contested by Schiavo.

Would it make you feel better to imagine that Terri had proper care from a person who was trying to kill her for the past ten years? Does that help clear your conscience?

Schiavo has problems dealing with reality and acknowledging facts he doesn't like. I see he is not alone.

bill-infoproAs som... (Below threshold)

bill-infopro

As some sort of professional you should be among the first to admit what you don't know.

Here no one knows Terri's wishes. In fact, if you think about it, you will realize that you don't know your own mind fully until you actually experience a situation. You might have a general idea, but not with absolute precision.

Death is terminal. There is no imprecision allowed. One a choice for death is made that is it.

Now, who is playing messiah? You would have the decision made by someone else. How reasonable is that?

This is certainly not the mental attitude of someone that is open to the scientific methodology. It sounds more like an extreme belief in a unproven dogma to me.

This is just sickening. ... (Below threshold)

This is just sickening. Where the hell is the justice in all of this? I'm so angry about this, I can't see straight.

There is a common misreport... (Below threshold)

There is a common misreporting done on this issue. I've caught the AP once again today asserting that Schiavo is ALLOWED to remove hydration and food.

The fact is that Greer (the trial judge) actually ordered Schiavo to do this.

This is an important misrepresentation by the media. The government is actually ordering the death of an innocent person.

What they are finally doing... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

What they are finally doing is about time, so this woman's body can die with dignity using sympathetic care and it's about time.

Anyone who has not been in this position before has no right to make a judgement. If you know about vegetative states, brain death, brain stem death, euthanasia, you might have something worth discussing but unless you've been in the shoes o Terri Shiavo or her husband, then you have no right to speak at all.

Cindy

Cindy,How is it th... (Below threshold)

Cindy,

How is it that you can say in one breath that no one has the right to judge and in the next that she should die.

Aren't you being a bit of a hypocrite?

Is there any stipulation/re... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Is there any stipulation/requirement by the Court that the murder be conducted as painlessly as possible... i.e. under "heavy sedation" as suggested by Mantis?

I ask (knowing the answer) because if it isn't so ordered by the court, isn't it likely that her "guardian-husband" will choose to spend the money on his new honey rather than pay for the meds....which likely cost more than a toothbrush? [/sarcasm]

Hiya, Paul!"As som... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Hiya, Paul!

"As some sort of professional you should be among the first to admit what you don't know."

Yup, good advice, for everybody. And if one notes carefully (which is of course the only way we *should*, right? ), one will see that I didn't presume to say I knew what Terri's wishes were. What I said (& which is of course correct, ) is that multiple courts at the trial, appellate, *&* supreme (both state & federal) levels have held that Terri's husband is the only one empowered to speak for her. (I always make sure of my facts efore speaking since I've always held to the maxim that to be righteous one must by definition first be right. )

A somewhat interesting (to me at least) aspect of this that most people aren't aware of, is that Judge Greer is not only a Republican, but a faithful Southern Baptist; however, he has said, quite literally in so many words, that his oath is to follow the law, & that there is no icon of the 10 Commandments in his office.

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/03/06/Tampabay/Quiet_judge_persists_.shtml

On a somewhat related topic, isn't a little odd that many of the people who say they follow the 10 Commandments (specifically, "Thou shalt not make unto to thee any graven image"), are in fact violating that commandment but insisting that said image be posted in government courthouses?

That of course gets us back to yet another topic, i.e., whether or not the US is a Christian nation. It is not now, & never has been, but naturally that's another argument for another day. :) [Anyone with an interest *in* it, though, might want to research the Treaty of Tripoli, penned primarily by George Washington himself. The relevant core of it is this: "...the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."]

bill-infoproI don'... (Below threshold)

bill-infopro

I don't put Greer on quite the pedestal that you do. His decisions speak for themselves.

There are many points at which Greer seems to be off on his own outside the law. Most conclusively, he has actually ordered the starvation of Terri.

Woudn't everyone agree that in the US, we should never allow the government to order our deaths if we have committed no capital offense?

Greer has also not allowed feeding by mouth, an MRI or PET scan, etc. So, any reasonable person would not hide behind his robes. He has run amok and should be impeached.

In the US, citizens are ultimately responsible for the government. Otherwise, Dred Scott would still be the law of the land.

I have compiled an organized and filtered list of sources on the affair for your reference.


On the issue of religion -- I stay out of that. We should not impose a religious standard to this as a matter of common debate. I don't know what Greer's spiritual status is nor do I care. I will judge his actions.

:) Remember my mantra: "As... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

:) Remember my mantra: "Assume nothing." I don't elevate Greer to any sort of exalted heights, I just note he doesn't pander to the pseudo-pious. I take nothing personally, & my only agenda's the facts, which is why I don't get emotionally caught up in the case as many do. (It's also why it's dang nigh impossible to get my goat. ) Different people have different interpretations of the law, which frankly I think is a *good* thing. The fact is that Greer's decisions have been pretty consistently upheld by higher courts; as the saying goes, law isn't decided at the trial level, but at the appeal level. Per my previous reference to Occam's Razor, I figure they all know the law better than I do, so I don't presume to evaluate either Greer or his decisions -- I just state what the facts are, & that's all. If anyone wants to take issue with that, they aren't taking issue with any stance of mine, just with reality. :)

That said, I *do* personally consider it somewhat arrogant for the legislature & John Ellis Bush to repeatedly presume to tell people how they can live their lives, as well as repeatedly attempting end runs around the separation of powers doctrine, but as with the "Christian nation" issue, "that's another arg...." :)

This the way I see it. And ... (Below threshold)

This the way I see it. And it is kind of simple. People had strokes ect. long before we had modern medicine like feeding tubes. So I feel like if the parents are allowed to feed her by hand then that is what should be done. That is what humans did for a long long time!!!! She will probably die of natural causes soon anyway, unless it is true that rehabilitation will make her better. If so, great. If not, then she will have died not having starved to death and at with her loving parents by her side.

Oh, BTW, just to make sure ... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Oh, BTW, just to make sure it didn't look as though I was ignoring Paul's offer of resources, I wasn't., nor do I necessarily suspect it to be biased in any direction. It's just that as an info junkie by both profession & disposition, I follow vetted sources daily as a matter of course myself, so there wasn't any reason for overkill. :)

bill-infopro,Inter... (Below threshold)

bill-infopro,

Interpretations of the law should not involve disobeying the plain language of the law. Otherwise, why have laws at all?

We all know some of the basics from the Constitution i.e. we are a nation of the people" and we can consider how the current case of Schiavo relates to this proposition.

It does not take much expert information to deduce minimal deductions.

So the question is really to each of us, "What does our citizenship mean to us?"


There are many, many related and unrelated issues to get excited about in this case. My principle interest stems from my consideration of the implications of this situation to our liberal democracy. There are times when citizens need to become involved and express (and have) their considered opinions to government.

People are doing this now for the first time across the Middle East. Wouldn't it be a pity if we thought so little of our citizenship and democracy that we missed this exceptional opportunity?

The ultimate check and balance is the people. Today, the people need to weigh in on how the judiciary has been handling itself as Justice Scalia has made the need for such checks and balances plainly obvious in his dissents.

It's all POV -- your deduct... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

It's all POV -- your deductions & interpretations will likely always be different from a third person's, & theirs different from mine. Which of course is why we have the defining "standards" (quotes, since they aren't always) of judicial interpretation of the law. The fact that Greer's decisions have consistently been upheld would seem to be evidence that senior levels of qualified reviewers all agree he got it right, & each succeeding level that upholds just serves as additional confirmation of that. Sometimes it's active, sometimes passive (e.g., the USSC's refusal to hear Jeb's attempt to overrule the FL SC), but either way sooner or later a decision becomes definitive.

I could argue all day that that segregation is the law of the land, but odds are people would just be increasingly amused if I did, since all of *them* would have learned otherwise in 8th grade civics class (or whatever they're calling it this era).

I picture the Founding Fathers laughing their collective keisters off at the antics of all the current executive/legislative/judicial "Mine's bigger than yours is" foolishness. }:)

bill-infoproNow yo... (Below threshold)

bill-infopro

Now you are decending into relativism.

Look, democracies depend on debate and discussion. The presumption is that we can learn from each other and reach conclusions that are approximately logical and good for the common interest.

Otherwise, why waste your time discussing such things here? There must be people at the chat sites who will talk about anything.

In fact, ALICE here will chat you up indefinitely.

Heck, there's not much I li... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Heck, there's not much I like better than a good sophistic argument; I can do it till the cows come home, from either side. But unfortunately my world has bigger fish that need frying in it, so much as I'd like to count the angles (*&* angels) on the head of a map pin, I'm afraid I can't, at least not right now. :) As far as descending into relativism, I'm not, at least not on the Schiavo case -- the facts are pretty solid, judicially speaking, any/all protestations notwithstanding. Greer's decisions have been upheld consistently up the line, so judicially speaking that's pretty much that, unless the appeals courts suddenly do a 180 & start reversing his decisions (which I'm sure we'd all have to agree isn't too likely, given their collective track record of *not* doing it in the Schiavo case).

Like I say, my only agenda's the facts, & they speak for themselves, regardless of who likes it or dasn't. Sayonara, kiddoskis, the old man's got stuff to do. :)

bill-infoproYup th... (Below threshold)

bill-infopro

Yup the facts are solid -- solidly against Greer.

Refute any of these charges if you are able.

RE: mantis, Old Coot, julie... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: mantis, Old Coot, julie, and possibly others

There was some question as to whether or not chemical/other aid could be provided for Mrs. Schiavo's sedation/pain relief. This is a statute that I found for Floridians:

TITLE XXXII - REGULATION OF PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS
Ch. 458
S. 326

458.326 Intractable pain; authorized treatment.--

(1) For the purposes of this section, the term "intractable pain" means pain for which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, the cause cannot be removed and otherwise treated.

(2) Intractable pain must be diagnosed by a physician licensed under this chapter and qualified by experience to render such diagnosis.

(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a physician may prescribe or administer any controlled substance under Schedules II-V, as provided for in s. 893.03, to a person for the treatment of intractable pain, provided the physician does so in accordance with that level of care, skill, and treatment recognized by a reasonably prudent physician under similar conditions and circumstances.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, and no treatment authorized by this section may be used for such purpose.

History.--s. 3, ch. 94-96; s. 100, ch. 97-264; s. 4, ch. 99-186; s. 6, ch. 2002-78.

There is a Federal Bill that I believe to be in limbo at the moment called the Pain Relief Promotion Act that has a sister bill in the Senate. I don't know if they were folded into the Controlled Substances Act or not since some of its issues deal with euthanasia. It's also possible that the bills have been tabled until medical marijuana issues have been resolved. Suffice it to say that whatever the Federal law is, most states have laws that empower patients to have/request as much medication as necessary to relieve pain without consequence to the doctor from adverse effects from medication or without penalty from the government for its administration. Pain relief is a patient's right.

Currently pending law covering this at a national level may be reviewed at the Office of Legislative Policy and Ananlysis.
see H.R. 1863—National Pain Care Policy Act of 2003 and H.R. 2507/S. 1278—Conquering Pain Act of 2003.

H.R. 2507 and S. 1278, companion bills, contain broad provisions related to the development of guidelines for the treatment of pain and Internet access to them by providers, quality improvement education projects, pain coverage quality evaluation and information, and family support networks in and insurance coverage of pain and symptom management. NIH-related provisions would require the Secretary of HHS, acting through the Director of NIH, to convene a national conference to discuss the translation of pain research results into health services delivery, including mental health services to people experiencing chronic pain and those needing end-of-life care. The Secretary would be required to use appropriated but unobligated Departmental funds for this conference.

I suspect Shiavo will be provided with whatever medication she needs such that pain will not be an issue. The physicians just will not be allowed to administer enough of a dose to kill her acutely. That (acute intervention to accelerate death) is for other law to address and is not allowed under current Florida statutes.

To all those who want Terri... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

To all those who want Terri Schindler-Schiavo put to death and are using the "it's legal because she's in a persistant vegetative state" argument:

Here's is what the definition of PVS is in Florida law:

12) "Persistent vegetative state" means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:

(a) The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of any kind.

(b) An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.

Notice there is no "or" between these two statements. Both (a) and (b) must exist for the legal definition of PVS.

Now watch this video.

Watch this one too.

And this one.

Once you have read the legal definition and watched these videos, and only after you have done all this, feel free to post how much you would like Terri to starve to death. That way the rest of us will know exactly the type of people we're dealing with.

And if you want to use the hubby's excuse that "these videos are edited and she's non-responsive most of the time," guess what? It doesn't matter. If she's responsive for only sixty seconds out of each day, she doesn't legally qualify as being in a PVS.

If this crap really has to ... (Below threshold)
G.:

If this crap really has to happen, I think Terri's husband and the Judge should have to be in her room the entire time to watch it from beginning to end. Complete A_ _ holes! You and bill 'INFOPRO" (LOL :-D) should too. Stacy. Friggin Cold
A_ _ "plastic" people- UNREAL!!!

I put up the wrong link to ... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

I put up the wrong link to the legal definitions.

Here is where you can find Florida's legal definition of PVS. Just click on the "Definitions" link.

I would have linked straight there, but the Florida Senate web site uses HTML bracket characters in its URLs for that level, and it kills the comment parser.

If this crap really has ... (Below threshold)
ginabina:

If this crap really has to happen, I think Terri's husband and the Judge should have to be in her room the entire time to watch it from beginning to end. Complete A_ _ holes! You and bill 'INFOPRO" (LOL :-D) should too. Stacy

WHILE being denied food and water!

For the Record the rufusal ... (Below threshold)
been there:

For the Record the rufusal of the US Supreme Court to hear the case was not a ruling against Bush. It was only a refusal, without a reason being given, to hear the case. Speculation by Mr. Bill is about as relivant as a CBS exit poll.

As for this load of equine excriment:

-------------------------
What they are finally doing is about time, so this woman's body can die with dignity using sympathetic care and it's about time.

Anyone who has not been in this position before has no right to make a judgement. If you know about vegetative states, brain death, brain stem death, euthanasia, you might have something worth discussing but unless you've been in the shoes o Terri Shiavo or her husband, then you have no right to speak at all.

Cindy

-----------------------

Cindy your are the quintessential useful idiot even to the point of using the trendy, politically correct name for legalized euthanasia "death with dignity".

I HAVE BEEN THERE

I would strongly suggest you read an earlier post giving a womans account of going eight days without hydration when she was deemed a life unworthy of life.

What are your creds? Did you read a magazine one time? Perhaps you took a biosthics class in your Jr. year at college?

So just what gives you "the right to speak"?

Beyond the issue of the life of Terri Schindler-Schiavo is the issue of protecting the most basic human, civil and constitutional rights of vulenerable persons.

The so called right to die is new creation to protect those that want to hasten the death of others. No way shape or form is it to protect people like TS-S

Moreover (and this is dir... (Below threshold)

Moreover (and this is directed to the likes of Cindy), how is dying of starvation "dying with dignity"? Are you actually READING the garbage you type? You try going for food and water for six days, then you tell me how that's "dignified". You will be such a disheveled wreck, it is not even remotely funny. I have seen what happens to people when they even skip a few days of food and water, let alone six. It is abominable to treat anyone that way, dying or alive, and this judge has NO business at all ordering it to be this way.

Terri's case is not one of a "clean break", where pulling the proverbial plug will end her life straight away. This is starvation, a long and drawn out dying process, pure and simple. We don't tolerate it with others. We shouldn't have to for her.

Actually, (Calling the bluf... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Actually, (Calling the bluff *&* raising the pot by a couple of hundred – I don’t do penny-ante, sorry. ), I personally would have less than 0 problem being there when the tube is withdrawn. In addition, I’ve also been present when life-support was terminated for a family member with Alzheimers. So you see, I've seen much worse in my current job *&* others, so emotion-based meandering attempts to bait me don't really have much of an impact, either in terms of rousing emotions *or* impressing me intellectually. To balance the scales, tell you what -- let me make you make you a counter-offer. }:) I’ll show up to do that, & you show up to take Terri's place ad infinitum in mindless-existence-land in case Dubya’s ill-conceived attempt at bypassing the law makes it to his desk. … Yeah, somehow I didn’t *think* that would be a really enticing proposal.

On the "ruling against Bush" question, I agree -- technically that is in fact correct. Technically Redmond makes a good OS, too. What is also correct, & in not merely a technical but an even larger (as in, practical upshot) sense, is that the USSC refused to hear Jeb's appeal. That is only done in cases where the court deems an appeal has no merit.


In other words, they don't fritter their precious time with a case that should never have come to them. If that isn't the practical equivalent of a "ruling against," then such a critter does not exist. To quote a character that I'll wager few here have ever even heard of, much less are familiar with, one Mammy Yokum, "Ah has spoken."

Mammy Yokum eh?Now... (Below threshold)
been there:

Mammy Yokum eh?

Now it all makes sense to me Bill is Senator Phogbound and has been partaking of kikapoo joy juice.

If only it was true Al Capp and his creations had a great deal more respect for others that this guy.

---------------------------

Mammy, born Pansy Hunks, was the pint-sized, highly principalled, cornpipe smoking leader of the Yokum clan. Her lethal right undercut, sometimes called the "good night Irene punch" helped her uphold law, order and decency. She seemed the toughest character and kept up the integrity of the strip. Her mantra was "good is better than evil because it's nicer".

bill-"INFOPRO-?" (Please!) ... (Below threshold)
G.:

bill-"INFOPRO-?" (Please!) You already do- penny-ante. The name "INFOPRO" HAHAHA (what-is-that?)speaks for itself. Egomaniacal, pontificating Jerk. How old are you? Bait you for what? There's nothing there. Tell you what, if- I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.

"Ah has spoken"----Well "Lil'Abner" you still have a long way to go, and one hellu'va lot more to learn about life and being a member of the "human" race.

Nice to have a confirmation... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Nice to have a confirmation of my earlier statement about emotional attacks appaently being the best attempts that could be drawn on to try to refute the facts. And yes, I admit it's true that I still have a lot to learn; I hope it stays that way. I'd hate to think what God might do to me if I attempted to be as all-knowing as some 'round these parts. }:)

The infopro, BTW, is not necessarily what I am (although I am, of course), but what I do; try inserting a hyphen & see where it takes you.:) I didn't think I'd have to explain the obvious to this crowd, but....

Speaking of "obvious," I got a HUUGE chuckle out of the apparent level of ignorance in some of the people on The Hill who're presuming to assume the mantle of both omnipotence *&* omniscience. I give you the esteemed Sen. George Allen, (R)VA: "We can't just sit by and allow this innocent woman to be starved to death. It's logical to presume that people want to live."

It would also seem logical to presume from that statement that Sen Allen is not exactly what you might call "up" on the generalities, much less the particulars, of this case. He might want to read up some on the case he's trying to play God on. He might also want to read up on the fact that GOP policy has historically been to defer to the courts, state legislatures and families in cases similar to this one. }}:)

Oh, I have a great deal of ... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Oh, I have a great deal of respect for others -- so much so, in fact, that I'm willing to let people make their own decisions instead of having resolutions they don't want forced on them by outside entities. }};) Nice paste job, BTW -- I could've done the same but didn't need to search anything out to use the analogy; I grew up reading Li'l A, Bringing Up Father, Pogo, Gasoline Alley, & Alley Oop among others -- lots of wisdom in those old comics, you betcha :) And in answer to the person who asked my age, I was born in the Truman administration; that should cover it, I'd think. :)

bill-infopro may suffer fro... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

bill-infopro may suffer from a condition known as rectal-cranial inversion. So many empty words, so little to say. Trolls are sometimes fun to watch, but not on this sad thread about a lady who soon may be murdered. .

"What is also correct, & in... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"What is also correct, & in not merely a technical but an even larger (as in, practical upshot) sense, is that the USSC refused to hear Jeb's appeal. That is only done in cases where the court deems an appeal has no merit."

Actually, you can't say the court ruled definitively in favor of the original court, sometimes the SCOTUS just chooses not to take a case, because they don't want to hear it, and at a later date they could take up a similar case and rule the other way. A refusal to hear a case doesn't mean anything about the merits of the case, it just means the court doesn't want to take it. They could take a similar case years from now, and rule against the trial court judge-one thing about the SCOTUS is that there are very few cases they are obligated to hear.

If we are agreed that no on... (Below threshold)

If we are agreed that no one knows Terri's wishes and also agreed to the fact that she is being executed by the courts, then it follows that it is the courts that are forcing their tyranny on us.

OK, who wants to argue that? Bill?

"I've seen much worse in my... (Below threshold)

"I've seen much worse in my current job *&* others, so emotion-based meandering attempts to bait me don't really have much of an impact, either in terms of rousing emotions *or* impressing me intellectually. To balance the scales, tell you what -- let me make you make you a counter-offer. }:) I’ll show up to do that, & you show up to take Terri's place ad infinitum in mindless-existence-land in case Dubya’s ill-conceived attempt at bypassing the law makes it to his desk. … Yeah, somehow I didn’t *think* that would be a really enticing proposal."

You DO realize that this is a Florida law that they are trying to pass, and that George W. Bush is NOT the Governor of Florida, right? I don't believe for a second that you know a single thing that you're talking about, and you're just being a troll for the sake of being a troll.

The facts boil down to this - Terri Schiavo has not received a single MRI or PET scan since her admittance to a hospital, which would get to the core of these problems straight away. She is NOT braindead, she has displayed signs of consciousness and, had her husband allowed speech thereapy, she'd speak more than the few words she does now. She is not kept alive by anything else, save for that feeding tube, because she does not need other equipment. Michael Schiavo was the sole person present when Terri lost consciousness, the sole person to call a hospital, and the SOLE beneficiary of the $1.6M malpractice settlement. You TELL ME how this isn't at all suspicious, and that she doesn't deserve a chance at treatment and continuing living.

Michael Schiavo's entire case rests on HEARSAY which, last I checked, wasn't all that useful in a court case. He is the ONLY person who makes this claim that Terri doesn't want to be kept alive the way she is now, and naturally doesn't have corraborating evidence except his own word. No written documents, nothing. It blows my mind that this judge ignores the patently obvious - Michael is NOT looking out for the best interests of his wife - and just rubber stamps what he wants.

The legislation that they are trying to pass in Florida, and get to Governor Jeb (see that, Bill? J-E-B) Bush's desk is designed to be in compliance to the court's original complaint about the first "Terri's Law". This time, it should survive judicial review and Terri and others will not be prey to overzealous spouses like Michael Schiavo.

Bill at the age you were re... (Below threshold)
been there:

Bill at the age you were reading your comics I was reading The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Mark Twain, a fair amount of world history (pre-liberal revision), several US Army TMs, and even Mein Kampf.

I like the funny papers too but there are more informitive writings in the world. Sadly it seems you are incapable of even absorbing the lessons from the good, fictional people of Dogpatch.

I was fortunate enough to have people around me that encouraged me to think for myself rather than repete what ever the line of the day was.

There were your ilk around too. Petty little people who had to strut and crow to try to appear to themselves and others like a creature of some importance.

So puff out your chest and tell us all how much better you are than us mere mortals Billy boy (or is it bully boy?). We're all just so impressed.

AD: There was s... (Below threshold)
julie:

AD:

There was some question as to whether or not chemical/other aid could be provided for Mrs. Schiavo's sedation/pain relief.

Because she will not have an IV, because they will give her anything by mouth, because she has poor muscle mass, because her circulation will be compromised, there is no way she can be administered any type of pain medication effectively. She needs an IV.

I suspect Shiavo will be provided with whatever medication she needs such that pain will not be an issue.

If a pain med is not delivered in an effective manner it's worthless. Plus, she can't communicate that she is in pain. As she becomes weaker from starvation and dehydration any objective signs of pain may not be observable.

458.326 (3) and (4)
Which means they will administer no pain meds if her respiration is 12 or below regardless of any pain she may experience.

458.326 (1) For the purposes of this section, the term "intractable pain" means pain for which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, the cause cannot be removed and otherwise treated.

Except her pain can be removed and otherwise treated by IV and food.

I never heard of any state pain care policy. I looked it up and it was enacted in Calif in 2005. Problem again is with the definition of intractable – her pain is not intractable.

Make that: because... (Below threshold)
julie:

Make that:

because they will NOT give her anything by mouth

And if they did administer pain med by mouth, it would be difficult to get it down her, keep it down her, and for her body to absorb it effectively.

Please leave bill-infopro a... (Below threshold)
G.:

Please leave bill-infopro alone. He is not worth the time to argue with.The case is a no brainer.He's old enough to know better.So is Judge Greer and Terri's husband and their ilk( insert bill, others,etc).What intrigues me is Judge Greer's motive in all this.Besides political dumbassery, or just dumbassery(You choose).Anyone have a clue about him? bill, go away, ive read your ilks view.
>:-)

Greer is not a unique case.... (Below threshold)
been there:

Greer is not a unique case. It seems all too common these days that courts choose favor the guardian over the ward. Basicly what it comes down to is money and greed.

As the baby boomers age there will be more and more people needing health care and services. With less people paying into the system profits drop.

T-4 and the Holocaust had their roots in the euthanasia of the elderly and disabled in Germany towards the end of WWI. There was a system in place to "educate" the german people about the kindness of removing the burden of life from the disabled.

The problem is progressive. If you know what to look for it is easy to see the subtle and not so subtle "lessons" in todays culture.

TS-S is one very visable victim of the move towards medical killing but there are thousands of victims every year that you never hear about.

G. wrote:What int... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

G. wrote:
What intrigues me is Judge Greer's motive in all this.Besides political dumbassery, or just dumbassery(You choose).Anyone have a clue about him?

He has some nebulous ties to the Hospice of Florida Suncoast, the organization that runs the hospice where Terri is interred.

George Felos, Michael Schiavo's lawyer and all-around New Age Death Cult kook, was a chairman of the board of the Hospice of Florida Suncoast.

I'm pretty sure Felos is going to write and sell another book about his latest wonderful, spiritual woman-killing journey. What compensation Greer is getting for this, Satan only knows. Maybe setting judicial precedent to funnel more goverment money into the Tiergartenstrasse known as the Hospice of Florida Suncoast.

She is going to go through ... (Below threshold)
McCain:

She is going to go through what my dad went throught, but in his case it was his written wish.

My questions about this topic are simple:

1. Is it morally acceptable to honor someone's PVS instructions?

2. Did she leave PVS instructions with her husband. Obviously nobody can know this [lesson, do this in writing unless you want to put your spouse through years of hell.]

3. Is she in a vegetative state or not?


The first question is the most interesting to me. Other than that, this is hardly an important case in the pro-life movement. The second question is unknowable, while the 3rd has been concluded by the courts on the evidenc of medical professoinal.


What are PVS instructions?<... (Below threshold)

What are PVS instructions?

What, for that matter, is PVS?

What is human life? What is thought?


We can measure certain things, but we still cannot understand the answer to the above questions. Here, even the golden rule fails us because we do not know what one would want or even if it is possible to want.


The only reason for killing a person in this condition is to relieve oneself of the burden of caring for them. Is there anything redeeming about such a sacrifice?


Here is the thing. We don't even know why it is that we have free will. Yet we do. It is totally inexpicible given a mechanistic view of biology. There must be some extradimensional nature to ourselves. Something in addition to a pure physical existence.

So, given that. You have a decision that no mere mortal can answer with any exactitude. However, be reminded that the only reason for killing a person in this condition is to relieve us (not them) of a burden.

Persistent Vegetative State... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Persistent Vegetative State.

To me, the most interesting aspect of this debate is whether or not it is moral to honor someone's instuctions upon reaching a vegetative state. Obvously, if you don't want to live like Terri Shaivo, you should put that request in writing. But if you do, is it a moral request? It is an important point in this case because the husband claims she gave those instructions orally. We don't know if that is true or not, but that is irrelevant to this question.

So the reason might NOT be to relieve oneself of a buden, since it could easily be to honor the request of a wife at what has amounted to great personal hardship. We simply cannot know whether the motivation is greed or heroism.

If the request were in writing, does that change anything? That is my question. And if the request was oral instead, does that change anything morally for the husband?

I maintain that Terri is ... (Below threshold)

I maintain that Terri is indeed not in a persistent vegetative state, and cannot be proven as such because Michael Schiavo has forbidden any of the brain scans to prove that she is in such a state (Red Flag #1). He has been obstructing any form of examination (Red Flag #2) for as long as Terri has been this way. What makes this very weird is moving Terri from the hospital, where she can get treatment, to a hospice, where people go to (usually) die in comfort and then putting her on Medicaid. It's just a little too bizarre that he is behaving this way, and Judge Greer's rampant insistence that the law be followed to the letter in terms of keeping the spouse in charge of care, when there is clear conflicts of interest all over the place (Greer's own stake in Terri's hospice, Micheal's lawyer's stake, Michael's stone-walling and the gains he stands to make from Terri's death, the fact that Michael HAS ANOTHER WOMAN AND CHILDREN, just to name a few).

It's just mind-bending.

McCain-I would say if a per... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

McCain-I would say if a person informed themselves and left instructions regarding ventilators, feeding tubes and other means of support in writing in the case of PVS, then it probably isn't immoral to honor those wishes. Although, I think it is probably immoral to starve/dehydrate somebody to death, but then that would require the active killing of the person with drugs, which may cross the line into immorality.

Hard questions to debate, but in this case I think it is immoral, since we don't have any clear instructions in this case. The Florida law may in the end be too late to save Terri, but I think in the case of having a feeding tube removed, that it is not unreasonable to require written instructions.

Venilators are not the same as feeding tubes. Turn off a venilator, and death comes pretty quick, and without days of pain. Shutting off a feeding tube is going to involved a long drawn out death, that comes with quite a bit of pain, which is difficult to manage (given that oral and IV meds are out).

People make these off hand ... (Below threshold)
julie:

People make these off hand remarks while watching a movie, "Oh, i don't want to live that way! Just pull the plug." And that is suppose to suffice as informed consent. If I were in that situation, I would want at a minimum an IV.

Also, it was more than like... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Also, it was more than likely they were watching a movie about a ventilator, ventilators and feeding tubes are not the same thing, and when people do living wills regarding what treatments they do and don't want and under what circumstances they want intervention to stop, feeding tubes and ventilators are handles seperately.

It is difficult to infer that a person who mayhave said they didn't want a ventilator also meant they didn't want a feeding tube and wanted to starve and dehydrate to death.

RE: julie's post (March 17,... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: julie's post (March 17, 2005 10:52 PM) and pain relief / legal statutes

Because she will not have an IV, because they will give her anything by mouth, because she has poor muscle mass, because her circulation will be compromised, there is no way she can be administered any type of pain medication effectively. She needs an IV.

This is known? I understand they will not provide nutrient or fluid for sustaining life, whether via IV, per oral, or through osmosis, but has it been declared that no IV for pain is to be allowed? Her circulation will be progressively compromised but it will continue until she dies. To that end some medication will reach important, and not so important, nerve centers to ameliorate pain.


If a pain med is not delivered in an effective manner it's worthless. Plus, she can't communicate that she is in pain. As she becomes weaker from starvation and dehydration any objective signs of pain may not be observable.

It may not be perfect but it is not worthless. Now, I'm not an anesthesiologist or neurologist, so it would be difficult for me to say to what extent compound X need be present in neuromuscular synapses to be efficacious. However, I feel pretty confident that experts could administer an appropriate amount to ameliorate her pain. Yes, both subjectively and objectively observable signs of pain will fluctuate with her condition, but there are known schedules of medication dosage to approximate what a certain body mass in a certain condition will require. As I said, would it be perfect? Of course not, but this is better than nothing and will ease pain.


458.326 (3) and (4) Which means they will administer no pain meds if her respiration is 12 or below regardless of any pain she may experience.

It doesn't say that at all. The disclaimer "in accordance with that level of care, skill, and treatment recognized by a reasonably prudent physician under similar conditions and circumstances" provides every bit of wiggle room required by the attending physician to administer ad libitum. A physician may not intentionally apply medication to euthanize but may provide medication as s/he sees fit to relieve the patient without fear of criminal prosecution. The limitations to drug therapy are limited primarily because of concomitant addiction which does not apply in the Schiavo case. (It is not the termination of life that scares these doctors, it is the fear of criminal prosecution, and that is a main reason why this legislation takes so long to codify.)


458.326 ... "intractable pain" means pain for which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, the cause cannot be removed and otherwise treated.
Except her pain can be removed and otherwise treated by IV and food.

We all understand this to be an exceptional case where the option of IV/oral administration of nutrient will not be allowed. I don't believe pain relief regimes will be forbidden due to the extenuating circumstances.


Problem again is with the definition of intractable – her pain is not intractable.

I'll repeat my previous allowance. While normal sustenance will be forbidden and the law currently prohibits that intervention, physicians will be allowed to treat the "intractable pain".

If it is proven to me that pain relief via IV is forbidden, I'll reconsider some of my response. My ultimate position remains, admittedly, pretty fixed, but I am always receptive to new infromation.

If her "guardian" would not... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

If her "guardian" would not spring for the price of a toothbrush, why does anyone think he will authorize payment for a bunch of expensive pain medication? Nothing in the court's order requiring a painless murder. Nah....she's PVS, won't feel a thing, right?

RE: Old Coot's post (March ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Old Coot's post (March 18, 2005 10:55 AM)
...authorize payment for a bunch of expensive pain medication? Nothing in the court's order requiring a painless murder. Nah....she's PVS, won't feel a thing, right?

Who is saying PVS and pain sensation are synonymous? One is a higher order neurological condition and the other is of more basic and distributed composition... quite different indeed.

I doubt the authorization of payment will be a limitation. Someone will intervene and recognize pain is present. Someone, maybe not the same entity, will authorize introduction of pain relief. Remuneration will not be the primary concern at that point... it will be to remove acute/acutely chronic pain. Compensation will be addressed at a future date and will be supplied by the "guardian", the guardian's parents, a kind benefactor, or the hospital's taxing district or other universally shared and funded resource pool. Hospitals are not coin-operated entities where one must provide exact change at point-of-sale or nothing gets done. Does the "guardian" have to OK every single hospital function? I doubt it even though the pain relief issue is not trivial.

AnonymousDrivel: Well said... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

AnonymousDrivel: Well said. I hope you are correct. My (perhaps poorly written) sarcasm is just my way of venting. There is testimony from some of her former caregivers that they were forbidden (by her husband-guardian) to clean her teeth, forbidden to place padding in her hands to prevent painful muscle contractions, etc. We may never know the truth.

Plainly spoken, I don't want to be a part of her murder, but if it must happen, it should be done quickly and as painlessly as possible....which IMHO precludes death by thirst/starvation.

RE: Old Coot's post (March ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Old Coot's post (March 18, 2005 11:44 AM)

There is testimony from some of her former caregivers that they were forbidden (by her husband-guardian) to clean her teeth, forbidden to place padding in her hands to prevent painful muscle contractions, etc. We may never know the truth.

Hmm. "Never know[ing] the truth" are probably the most appropriate operative words. I've not read all the testimony but somehow I think a great deal of context is in order. Some of that testimony sounds suspicious though, again I admit, I've not read every word of this multiyear saga. Perhaps the actions were as exact and unsavory as detailed.


...but if it must happen, it should be done quickly and as painlessly as possible... which IMHO precludes death by thirst/starvation.

I think that would be a humane response. I'd prefer that quicker / less painful options be allowed. Florida, however, does not offer such an option so a moot point for now.

McCain,How can we ... (Below threshold)

McCain,

How can we honor a commitment to a person when we don't know what they want?

A person could say, "If I ever get like that, I don't want to live". But when they get "like that" they understand that "that" is not what they thought. There will be some uncertainty involved. They only one who knows for sure how they will feel at an instant in the future is the person once they have reached that instant. Once the instant is over, they may feel different.

You cannot honor a commitment to someone who doesn't know what they are saying. The only interpretation we can give such statememnts is that the person would wish to avoid the situation if they could. That doesn't tell us anything.

There is no dignity in suicide that requires the corruption of others. In fact, there is no dignity in suicide.

But when they get "like... (Below threshold)
mantis:

But when they get "like that" they understand that "that" is not what they thought. There will be some uncertainty involved.

So would you object to it if that someone put it in writing in a living will? If someone expressed that in this exact situation, they would not want to live? They couldn't have forseen exactly what it would be like, but those are still their wishes. Should they not be honored?

Mantis,You underst... (Below threshold)

Mantis,

You understand that the whole premise is ill-posed. So what you are really asking is whether or not I would step in and assume some authority over your life in terminating it.

Personally, I would not feel comfortable with such a decision. It is one thing to say, "Don't do anything extraordinary and futile to save me"; it’s another thing to say, "kill me".

The general rule should always be, "Don't kill". Our society believes that eating, sleeping, etc. are normal functions that each person has an inherent right. Look at our definition of torture.

However, no one will stop you if you say, “don’t feed me”. We have to know that it is your choice and yours alone and that you have the demonstrated capacity for understanding the choice at hand. The choice must be well-considered and rational.

What if there is uncertainty? In that case, we can only do what we would be absolutely certain that you would want up to the limits of common decency. If we would not treat a terrorist in a certain way, we ought not to treat an innocent person in that way either.

We cannot take full responsibility for your incapacitation. Before you become incapacitated it is your responsibility to make your own arrangements and provide your own safeguards. If you fall into our hands, you should expect that we will treat you in the same manner no worse than how we treat terrorists.

Today, our standard is that we will respect living wills that call for "no hydration" under certain circumstances. You've been given fair warning. We even have forms.

Just Me made the comment th... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Just Me made the comment that:

"'What is also correct, & in not merely a technical but an even larger (as in, practical upshot) sense, is that the USSC refused to hear Jeb's appeal. That is only done in cases where the court deems an appeal has no merit.'

"Actually, you can't say the court ruled definitively in favor of the original court, sometimes the SCOTUS just chooses not to take a case, because they don't want to hear it, and at a later date they could take up a similar case and rule the other way. A refusal to hear a case doesn't mean anything about the merits of the case, it just means the court doesn't want to take it."

And of course if one pays close attention, I didn't say that the USSC "ruled in favor of the original court." What I said was that they refused to hear the appeal, which carries the standard connotation that they feel the appeal has no merit (or that the appellant has no standing, which is for all practical purposes the same thing). The practical upshot of either the former *or* the latter is identical. ;)

Old Coot's stab at painting me as a troll I actually found quite amusing, considering the increasingly vituperative remarks that have become standard in this thread for those who seem to feel I have an ideological axe to grind on this issue. [Isn't it interesting how for many people, the closer a deadline for an issue gets & the more emotion they have invested in it, the more strident & emotionally antsy their remarks become? :) Yet another advantage of looking at issues from a strictly objective POV -- one doesn't fall into the trap of hitching an emotionally intense wagon to a falling star. :)]

Now poor Paul, on the other hand, asks me to fall into the obvious trap of agreeing to a false premise: "If we are agreed that no one knows Terri's wishes and also agreed to the fact that she is being executed by the courts...." Since we *aren't* agreed to that, the supposition the premise is based on is moot as well, QED, i.e., to wit, to woo, & ipso facto id est factotum.

College Pundit, of course, would like me to think I'm confused: "'...in case Dubya’s ill-conceived attempt at bypassing the law makes it to his desk. … Yeah, somehow I didn’t *think* that would be a really enticing proposal.'

"You DO realize that this is a Florida law that they are trying to pass, and that George W. Bush is NOT the Governor of Florida, right?" Had CP been watching the news instead of the thread, he'd have known that I of course *was* in fact referring to the attempt being made to craft a federal law, since the attempt by the FL legislature had been defeated somewhat earlier by the state senate's refusal somewhat earlier to go along with the house's "irrational exuberance." Or maybe CP just wasn't aware that Dubya & Congress were trying to weigh into the matter as well. }:) And of course again the dreaded T-word makes its appearance, not to mention what in the '50s was called the "big lie technique" (If you say something long enough, & loud enough, & often enough, people will start to take it as the truth.) "Michael Schiavo's entire case rests on HEARSAY which, last I checked, wasn't all that useful in a court case." It would appear that CP needs to check into the source documentation on the various Schiavo court cases as well as the news. :) God, this is getting to be like shooting fish in a barrel -- Oh, well; one plays the hand one's dealt, I guess.

Now Been There, OTOH, is actually a little more muscular, but he made the assumption that all I read was the comics. Second of all, for his era & mine, what we were reading then doesn't really play into our abilities now, but for the record, at the same time I was reading the comics I mentioned, in addition to Twain & Hitler just like he was, I was also reading Scott (as in, "Ivanhoe") Spenser, Dickens, Bacon, Faulkner, Steinbeck, & a few other "light classics." But then there come those darned not-so-veiled insults again: "Petty little people who had to strut and crow..." If I either took things personally or had a thin skin I might have been affected by that. Thankfully, though, neither's the case, so....

One thing that really *does* amuse me is the confab going on here & elsewhere about whether Michael will spring for an pain meds/whatever. Apparently folks have been so busy reading the blogs that they weren't aware that the settlement trust fund money was all but exhausted quite some time ago, & that Terri is receiving care because she's on the hospice's indigent list. One wonders if people even bother to check their facts at all any more....

This is known? I underst... (Below threshold)
julie:

This is known? I understand they will not provide nutrient or fluid for sustaining life, whether via IV, per oral, or through osmosis, but has it been declared that no IV for pain is to be allowed?

No iv means no iv, not no iv except for pain meds. Are they going to start and stop iv's just to give her pain meds q x d? prn? No. If she isn't going to be hydrated, I don't' see how a heplok will even work.

Her circulation will be progressively compromised but it will continue until she dies.

Her heart may pump, but her veins will collapse and it will be close to impossible to start an iv, it will compromise the effectiveness of the absorption of IM drugs. Sometimes, circulation can completely shut down to your lower body.

To that end some medication will reach important, and not so important, nerve centers to ameliorate pain.

For the sake of argument, assuming that is true, it's not good enough. You're having 4 impacted wisdom teeth pulled and I provide you with aspirin. Some med will reach important, and not so important, nerve centers but do you want to argue that is adequate? And let's say, you throw up the 2 aspirin I give you. Hey, I gave it to you! That the route was ineffective is not my problem!

It may not be perfect but it is not worthless.
Not good enough. It's not humane.

Now, I'm not an anesthesiologist or neurologist, so it would be difficult for me to say to what extent compound X need be present in neuromuscular synapses to be efficacious. However, I feel pretty confident that experts could administer an appropriate amount to ameliorate her pain.

Boy, are you in for a rude awakening if you or a love one ever become seriously ill. Only recently has pain management been recognized as important. As I already indicated there are all sorts of problems regarding managing pain for her.

Yes, both subjectively and objectively observable signs of pain will fluctuate with her condition, but there are known schedules of medication dosage to approximate what a certain body mass in a certain condition will require. As I said, would it be perfect? Of course not, but this is better than nothing and will ease pain.

Not good enough. It's not humane.

458.326 (3) and (4) Which means they will administer no pain meds if her respiration is 12 or below regardless of any pain she may experience.

It doesn't say that at all. The disclaimer "in accordance with that level of care, skill, and treatment recognized by a reasonably prudent physician under similar conditions and circumstances" provides every bit of wiggle room required by the attending physician to administer ad libitum.

The disclaimer is routine malpractice/negligence language. The standards of care is that you do not further depress a patient's respiratory rate if it is 12 or below by giving pain meds. There may be some slight variation in that rate but not by much.

A physician may not intentionally apply medication to euthanize but may provide medication as s/he sees fit to relieve the patient without fear of criminal prosecution.

How is giving a drug that depresses the respiratory center of your brain when your respirations are already so low the drug would be contraindicated because it could kill a patient, not euthanasia? It's certainly not within any standard of care.

458.326 ... "intractable pain" means pain for which, in the generally accepted course of medical practice, the cause cannot be removed and otherwise treated.
Except her pain can be removed and otherwise treated by IV and food.

We all understand this to be an exceptional case where the option of IV/oral administration of nutrient will not be allowed. I don't believe pain relief regimes will be forbidden due to the extenuating circumstances.

Never said they would be. I said she would not be adequately medicated and gave a number of reasons why and why this was inhumane. This type of treatment would not suffice for someone dying without a mandated court order. Their pain would be adequately treated. People are trying to sell what happens in that there will be minimal discomfort. Bullshit.

You are arguing special license to give pain meds because of intractable pain. Her pain is not intractable under the definition . Because a court won't allow an IV does not change the statutory definition of intractable pain.

I'll repeat my previous allowance. While normal sustenance will be forbidden and the law currently prohibits that intervention, physicians will be allowed to treat the "intractable pain".

They will not be allowed to treat her pain in the most effective manner. Why do you think they won't give her an IV? If you don't feed her or give her antibiotics if she gets ill she is still going to die soon anyway. Palliative care generally includes hydration because to do otherwise is unnecessarily painful. So, why won't they give her an IV and allow her to be properly medicated?

If it is proven to me that pain relief via IV is forbidden, I'll reconsider some of my response. My ultimate position remains, admittedly, pretty fixed, but I am always receptive to new information.

It's not my job to convince you of anything.

Interesting how the clamor ... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Interesting how the clamor has died down now that the tube has been removed. :) (And yes, folks, no fooling, it actually has been.) Maybe some folks are in shock, or maybe it's just anti-climactic, or maybe who knows what.... Now might be a good time to broaden the focus (It's become a little tunnel-visionized what with all the volume.) & reflect on bioethics for a few minutes. Here's an article that should provide a good bit of food for thought for those who're actually *honestly* intellectually involved in this. The term "slippery slope" comes to mind, although not for the reason some here might think. };)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7231440

Bill,It is an argu... (Below threshold)

Bill,

It is an argument, not a premise. If you don;t agree to an obvious truth statement, then we all expect you to explain. Otherwise, I will figure that you are engaging in sophistry.

Here are the questions you need to answer to support your contention:

What are Terri's wishes?
How you know them with certainty?

Lets start there.

I'd agree that adding "It i... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

I'd agree that adding "It is an argument, not a premise. If you don;t agree to an obvious truth statement, then we all expect you to explain. Otherwise, I will figure that you are engaging in sophistry." does make it definitely an argument, not an exercise in logic. And adding that to the cake mix :), since it isn't an obvious truth statement, then there's no need to explain. And since there's no need to explain, there's no need to assess as sophistic. As noted above (somewhere around the 7th/8th floor, I think ), if the mood strikes I can work a quality sophistic argument from either of its respective P'sOV, but since all I've really mainly been doing is stating facts & rebutting specious claims ("troll," "petty," etc.), one thing that definitely is an "obvious truth statement" (I promise I'm not mocking you, I just liked the turn of the phrase. ) is that I'm not engaging in sophistry.

I'm sure it might seem as though I am to some who're used to such behavior (or at least *think* they see it) in people who disagree with their perspective, but since I'm an odd duck already in that I don't rise to emotional arguments or bogus claims, it should follow logically that I don't behave sophistically either. As the old commercial about summer colds went, I'm "a different animal."

RE: Paul Deignan's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Paul Deignan's post (March 18, 2005 05:38 PM)
What are Terri's wishes?
How you know them with certainty?

To be fair to bill-infopro, he did say that he wanted to "broaden the focus" a bit. I interpreted that as meaning to escape the shackles of the Shiavo saga specifically and address things more globally, in fact as policy. Should we change policy? Are current laws inadequate? How do we implement the appropriate laws to accomodate or empower the individual above an interventionist government, opportunistic legislators/judges/deists, or for that matter, should we? Who's realm reigns supreme when debating the singular most important facet of one's existence - our essence?

I submit that ultimate control radiates outwardly from the individual. "Victim" at the core. Next is spouse/mature children, then parents, then extended family, then designated friends. Beyond that I've not yet decided, but you can be damn sure it isn't some politician or priest no matter how divine in their own mind. My right to live my life trumps their intention however sincere or contrived. Let them obsess about their own problems and leave me alone. Should they ignore that demand, I'll make it my focus to haunt them from the grave until they join me in the afterlife... at which point we'll have words and I'll smack 'em in the face. Can someone help me put those sentiments into law, especially the haunting bit?

Now, if I've not presented to paper or person my wishes adequately, then it is my own fault for being negligent, and I do not deserve full consideration since, by default, I have placed an undue burden upon those upon whom I proclaim to care. They should be allowed to decide my fate, even if it is a mistake, because they do not deserve to be punished (an ethical burden if not an emotional and financial one as well) for my irresponsibility. By that same token, I have NOT relenquished that authority to a government or ANY of its tentacles and I expect strict adherence to the hierarchy that I've so far defined. Are these expectations unreasonable?

Oops. "Whose", not "who's".... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Oops. "Whose", not "who's". Duh.

RE: julie's post (March 18,... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: julie's post (March 18, 2005 05:14 PM)

...Are they going to start and stop iv's just to give her pain meds q x d? prn? No. If she isn't going to be hydrated, I don't' see how a heplok will even work.

The IV would be drip line into major vein so starting/stopping is not a problem.


Her heart may pump, but her veins will collapse and it will be close to impossible to start an iv, it will compromise the effectiveness of the absorption of IM drugs. Sometimes, circulation can completely shut down to your lower body.

A major vein is not going to collapse. To the point of circulation ceasing to lower body (I'm almost certain one would need to be very close to death for this), coma will likely have already come into play.


For the sake of argument, assuming that is true, it's not good enough. You're having 4 impacted wisdom teeth pulled and I provide you with aspirin. Some med will reach important, and not so important, nerve centers but do you want to argue that is adequate? And let's say, you throw up the 2 aspirin I give you. Hey, I gave it to you! That the route was ineffective is not my problem!

We're not talking aspirin here - we're talking high concentration opioids or other drug that may be administered focally and not peripherally.


Boy, are you in for a rude awakening if you or a love one ever become seriously ill. Only recently has pain management been recognized as important. As I already indicated there are all sorts of problems regarding managing pain for her.

I had a close relative in another state die six months ago and pain management was not a problem - during his last days, he got whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. I accompanied a member of my immediate family in my home state through surgery less than a month ago - he got whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. Maybe we're just lucky.


How is giving a drug that depresses the respiratory center of your brain when your respirations are already so low the drug would be contraindicated because it could kill a patient, not euthanasia? It's certainly not within any standard of care.

Does every pain medication depress respiration? It is not even agreed that strong opiates do. Further, the Florida Law as I read it allows doctors to prescribe pain medication even to the point of death since the intent is to help the patient and not to euthanize. That would fall into the realm of proper care especially considering this extreme example.


They will not be allowed to treat her pain in the most effective manner. Why do you think they won't give her an IV? If you don't feed her or give her antibiotics if she gets ill she is still going to die soon anyway. Palliative care generally includes hydration because to do otherwise is unnecessarily painful. So, why won't they give her an IV and allow her to be properly medicated?

Could you provide a link illustrating the prohibition of IV for drug intervention in Schiavo's case? I'm surprised at this and think it (IV for pain relief) should be allowed.


It's not my job to convince you of anything.

Well, to be honest, you're spending an awful lot of time parsing my comments to not be trying to convince me of anything. At any rate I just though it would be useful to the debate to know with certainty what is and what is not allowed for Schiavo's care. Empty rhetoric is rather pointless since the continued focus is so specific. We are making very specific judgement calls which warrant very specific facts - to ignore them makes any judgements based on them irrelevant and inapplicable.

Bill,It is obvious... (Below threshold)

Bill,

It is obvious that you are unwilling to answer the simple question, "Do you know Terri's wishes?"

The fact that you cannot and will not acknowledge that you are being asked this question demonstrates that you engaged in honest debate.

Sophistry bill. It's a waste of time. My argument stands.

Anonymous,

All of these issues have the same basis. What is the person's wishes and how can they be known with certainty.

Anyone who wants to discuss these issues needs to start there. If that can't be answered, there is no standing in a democracy for derivative arguments.

... are not engaged ... (Below threshold)

... are not engaged in honest debate.

I had a big point by point ... (Below threshold)
julie:

I had a big point by point response but I am not going to post it. Your link is junk, by the way. More akin to Medicine for Moonbats. You don't know what you are talking about and are just making things up or grabbing them off the internet without any idea what they mean. It's obnoxious and arrogant and a waste of my time. I swore I would never get into a discussion about the law with a non lawyer again for the same reason. And, now I'll add medicine and you to the verboten list. Your inability to empathize with other people's suffering is off putting, to say the least.

RE: Paul Deignan's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Paul Deignan's post (March 18, 2005 09:35 PM)
All of these issues have the same basis. What is the person's wishes and how can they be known with certainty.

If wishes remain as either abstract or explicit thought, and only thought, shared between loved ones, then derivative argument will inevitably follow, otherwise these issues do not necessarily have the same basis. I should think that written thought or intent while in a state of coherence should trump the esoteric as potentially unsavory as that might be. Can we know with certainty if someone might change their mind (assuming they have the coherence to think such things) about life or death post trauma? No, we cannot. However, I think we as individuals should have the right to make educated guesses as to the life we think we might or might not want should the horrific occur.

As it stands now, law allows such daliance. It seems to me to be the best compromise to respecting one's right to live and to die. I'll allow any individual to address their spirituality when creating the survival guidelines while alive and cognisant of being, and I'll follow those desires to the best of my ability in view of the unknown that may or may not lie beyond our Earthly existence. I don't have to know what they are thinking or not thinking while vegetative - I'll have a record serving as roadmap to do the most righteous. I hope the roadmap is a written one but verbal will suffice in view of the hierarchy that I described in a previous post. Note that the spirituality need not be of a particular denomination or creed... it may be, and not unreasonably, agnostic or atheistic in nature.

Anonymous,Unlike h... (Below threshold)

Anonymous,

Unlike hand grenades and horseshoes,a person cannot be "part dead". Where is the possibility for compromise in the case of uncertainty?

Once dead, that's it. Death is terminal. The one thing we cannot allow is to compromise other's fundamental right to life because we are somewhat inclined to believe something more than something else.

The ability to know intent is fundamental.

RE: julie's post (March 18,... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: julie's post (March 18, 2005 10:47 PM)
I had a big point by point response but I am not going to post it. Your link is junk, by the way. More akin to Medicine for Moonbats. You don't know what you are talking about and are just making things up or grabbing them off the internet without any idea what they mean. It's obnoxious and arrogant and a waste of my time. I swore I would never get into a discussion about the law with a non lawyer again for the same reason. And, now I'll add medicine and you to the verboten list. Your inability to empathize with other people's suffering is off putting, to say the least.

So I would take it that you are a lawyer and a physician/nurse? Wow, you have a lot of time to post on the web... but your experience is still impressive. I'm sorry if I am being "obnoxious" and "arrogant" and am "wast[ing]" your time. I'd prefer that you post your "big point by point response" and that you would enlighten me among other misguided readers. Why not share your insight since you are the only one that knows what we're talking about?

About the links - I supplied a link that provided a contrarian view to pain medications depressing respiration unduly. This particular link mentioned opioids but there are assuredly others. Ultram/Tramadol is another though there is a slight chance of dyspnea. I don't have a PDR to scan at the moment. However, the fact remains that not every pain medication will depress respiration by default so there is an option for relief. We clearly won't agree on the level of relief since no matter what I say, you'll say that it is insufficient and the process is inhumane. I can't debate that position anymore. Next, I'd still like a bona fide link showing that IV medication is not allowed for Mrs. Schiavo understanding that there is a chance that typical veins may collapse at some point during intervention, that capillary flow may diminish transiently or permanently, and that the statute reads "(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, and no treatment authorized by this section may be used for such purpose." I read over and over that IVs in general are not allowed but still do not know if IVs for medication are an acceptable exception. Until I see a legal statement clearly stating that this modality of pain relief is, as you put it, verboten, I'm not buying it.

Finally, spare me your judgement on empathy. I have treated plenty of chronically ill patients of all ages and demographics in the clinic to understand it, so your preconceived notions are falling on deaf ears. Further, one need not have that experience anyway to be empathetic. And you talk off putting. Frankly, julie, I'm a bit surprised. I expected more.

RE: Paul Deignan's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Paul Deignan's post (March 18, 2005 11:01 PM)
...The ability to know intent is fundamental.

OK. I gather that in view of this fundamental that you do not recognize or support living wills or advanced directives? If this is an incorrectly derived conclusion, under what conditions do you accept them? And in what form?

Bill,You're not in... (Below threshold)

Bill,

You're not in a good position to be asking much here because you have been dodging questions yourself.

Why do you waste your time doing this?

Anonymous,Not at a... (Below threshold)

Anonymous,

Not at all. In fact, I just wrote a reply on this earlier (a few posts up).

I don't know if Julie's pos... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

I don't know if Julie's post was addressed to me, since she only mentioned "your link" & didn't say whose (After all, there *have* been quite a few posted by different folks.), so I won't bother with it beyond noting that I read the vituperation & figured that if it *was* for me, that it was apparent that the link hadn't been followed or read. :) I did, though, want to address a point Paul raised; i.e., that I haven't answered whether or not I know Terri's wishes.

Frankly, one might've thought the answer to the query would've been self-evident without *need* for any sort of explanation (or even having the question itself even asked to begin with ). Since I'm neither God, Michael Schiavo, nor Madame Ninotchka, it's unlikely in the extreme that I *could* know them, any more than it'd be too likely that anyone else here would. The only person I could hazard a guess *might* know would be her husband, so that by its very nature trumps any guesses anyone here might make. Since I don't make a habit of specializing in the guessing bidness , I didn't presume to try; just call it a character flaw. :) What I did do, of course, was to note that there's only one person who actually *might*, & we all know how he feels, }:)

I really do get quite a few chuckles out of the antics of a number of the denizens here; reminds me a lot of the trolling & occasionally amateurish attempts at baiting that go on on a number of the usenet NGs I've lurked/participated in over the past couple of decades. A lot of the folks there had trouble with the concept that someone might actually be better at their games than they were but chose not to indulge in such transparent absurdities simply because it didn't make any logical sense to. I guess as long as there are schools there'll be sandboxes, & the highly contagious Keyboard Immunity Syndrome will infect more folks than it won't.

Some folks, fortunately, have an unusually high resistance to the aforementioned affliction & are thus better equipped to keep their cool than their less fortunate compadres. :)

[I'd almost put money down that there'll be attempts by troll wanna-be's to rake me over the coals for *that* obviously true statement too. Won't bother me in the slightest if they try. As noted, since I specialize only in facts & not emotional rants, neither my blood pressure nor my ire are too awful likely to head northward. Oh, I admit it *can* be done, of course; it's just that the amount of force required is higher than any I've seen exhibited in this particular sandbox. To thieve a great line from Arlo Guthrie, "I'm not proud .. or tired." After all, it doesn't take a great deal of energy to parry novitiate thrusts. :)]

Bill,So, after all... (Below threshold)

Bill,

So, after all the heeing and hawing, you are actually agreeing with the first point of my three point argument.

Are we agreed then that we (and that includes the "husband") do not know Terri's wishes with certainty?

Bill,BTW, why the ... (Below threshold)

Bill,

BTW, why the "husband" rather than the parents? SInce the parents knew Terri for many more years and were formative in the development of her ideas, it makes sense that they would have knowledge superiority over a "husband" of a scant five years.

Why would you not presume that the parents know better?

RE: bill-infopro's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: bill-infopro's post (March 19, 2005 01:17 AM)
I don't know if Julie's post was addressed to me...

The "Medicine for Moonbats" link and mildly cantankerous banter of law towards the end of this thread? Julie is clearly addressing me. I'm the idiot and my drivel offends.

I'm just amazed at how often these online discussions devolve which is why these debates of sensitive issues should be done in person. Politics can be a rough and tumble debate and everyone accepts that; hence, extreme positioning is par for the course. Other issues that are infinitely more personal should be handled with a bit more care. Sadly, it isn't.

RE: Paul Deignan's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Paul Deignan's post (March 19, 2005 12:42 AM)
Not at all. In fact, I just wrote a reply on this earlier (a few posts up).

I see. OK, so I'll cut to the quick based on this post: Paul Deignan at March 18, 2005 04:42 PM

It seems to me that a written directive is your mandate to ensure than a benevolent state not intervene. That would certainly be ideal and not unreasonable. I should think a consensus could be attained to define such a requirement.

As law stands now, however, oral directives are accepted with the spouse as default custodian. While an outsider may debate the merit earned by or motivations ascribed to such a companion, guides have been codified, appealed, and concluded. Until new law is created or new interpretation of old law is tested/appealed/accepted, then we are stuck with this nebulous inevitability.

Anonymous,There is... (Below threshold)

Anonymous,

There is no such creature as a "benevolent state", just people in charge that haven't taken advantage of you yet to your knowledge.

Oral directives are not acceptable. This is the first case where the people are asked to accept this nonsense. We do not.

Think of that. Anyone could claim anything. Here the evidence is that Terri did not wish to be put to death, it is only that a judge willfully decided to dismiss that evidence. It could be a third cousin instead of the "husband" claiming that Terri "wants to die". A third cousin would be possibly more credible in this case.

It could be a person totally unrelated with an imaginative story. It could be me claiming that you prefer not to have an IV if you are unconcious. You would be at the mercy of the unelected judge.

As we see with Greer, the judge would not even need to follow the written law -- not even defer to Congress or statue.

You may feel OK that no one would possibly lie to a judge about your wishes. How smart is that?

Foolishness is not a good basis for legal precedent. Why empower tyrants?

"Are we agreed then that we... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

"Are we agreed then that we (and that includes the 'husband') do not know Terri's wishes with certainty?"

Nope, Paul, we are not agreed to that, as I'm reasonably certain you already know. };) (And he calls *me* a sophist. ) There's a significant difference in saying that the only person who might be in a position to know is Michael, & saying that "the 'husband' [doesn't] know Terri's wishes with certainty." Sorry, ace, but you can't sucker me -- I've been observing trollers for too long to be that inexperienced at spotting them. But don't worry, you haven't bored me yet, either; good absurdist arguments to me are a little like Jackson Pollock paintings -- they're a little nonsensical & I haven't had the desire to make one since I was in the 5th grade, but I can certainly appreciate the beauty in them. ;)

RE: Paul Deignan's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Paul Deignan's post (March 19, 2005 02:13 AM)

I used the term "benevolent state" to portray a state that has the intent to sustain life by default, a position some would say was benevolent. I don't believe in a benevolent state either but more as an intrusive entity in wait that, while necessary, needs be checked.


Oral directives are not acceptable. This is the first case where the people are asked to accept this nonsense. We do not.

You are incorrect. Oral directives are acceptable and default to the spouse first. This is the first case that has been litigated to such a degree but it is not the first case where oral directives determined terminal/PVS/profoundly-incapacitated patient outcome. I just went through this with a family member in my state and the priest and hospital told me and the patient that the spouse, by default, makes life-death determination in lieu of definitive documentation. If you prove to me that is wrong, I'll be on the phone with the hospital's ethics board to complain post haste. I accept this position though I need not worry about vocal orders now because mine and my families are written. I do not know the law of every state regarding oral advance directive; suffice it to say, it exists.

As far as potential abuse by a malevolent third-party, that is possible; however, there is an order of precedence that determines who decides first. A judge is not going to allow just anyone to come up and claim primary responsibility. No judge will toss that responsibility out indiscriminantly. They are loathe to deviate unless the decision is forced upon him/her. I just don't accept that "a person totally unrelated with an imaginative story", or even you, is going to walk in to court and into a hospital and past other relatives to hijack a patient. Hypothetically, it could happen, but I just don't think that to be a rational consideration.

Clarification: "oral advanc... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Clarification: "oral advance directive" is probably not the proper operative word. I use it in place of any legal phraseology that would be more precise.

Bill,Now you have ... (Below threshold)

Bill,

Now you have preformed a complete 360 on the simple question of whther it is possible to know Terri's wishes with certainty.

Congratulations! You are now arguing with yourself over the most basic and irrefutable truth statement.

You don't even know your own mind. The argument should be good. Please proceed wthout me.

Nice try, Paul, but unfortu... (Below threshold)
bill-infopro:

Nice try, Paul, but unfortunately for the premise (And it *is* one in this case, not an argument. ) & assumed connected conclusion, that damned old reality tends to intrude at the most inopportune times. }:) Case in point, the House committee's rebuff by the USSC. It really is something of a shame that they're frittering our precious tax $$ on useless efforts like trying to get the USSC to buy into cutting the judiciary's throat. Asking the high court to establish the slippery-slope precedent of congressional overrides any time it gets a wild hair up its toches is about as bright as the proverbial peeing in a blue serge suit. It may make you feel good whilst doing it, but nobody else is going to care, & sooner or later you're going to have to get the suit cleaned.


I do hate having to say it (since it might give the impression that I'm being a Dutch Uncle), but you're not really too good at what you're attempting. Spend a few months in some of the more troll-oriented usenet NG's (say, for example, rec.org.mensa) & you might pick up enough pointers to have a chance of making a semi-successful run at rebutting my points. :) Frankly, based on the graduate level of r.o.m., I tend to think you might be overmatched by some of the brighter lights there, but it might be worth a shot, so I recommend it for whatever little or much it might be worth.

One person in particular to look for there would be a fellow by name of John Tibbs -- he carries a lot of the same stuff in his backpack that you do, so I'm 95%+ sure the two of you'd get along swimmingly. :) Unfortunately John tends to be a bit myopic & buys into getting played like a $2 fiddle, but he just doesn't give a flying rat's patoot so he never acknowledges it even when it's spelled out for him by people who don’t know he’s a troll. As the saying goes, he's only here for the beer, & the heck with the free lunch.

RE: bill-infopro's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: bill-infopro's post (March 19, 2005 08:55 AM)
rec.org.mensa

Surprisingly high obsession with religion. Is that typical or did I hit a bad streak? From what I read, the brighter bulbs seemed to be out to dinner leaving a few 30W incandescents. Clearly my random sampling was not representative.

I'll return some other day and lurk for "John Tibbs" and your signature style. It could be fun.

I keep hearing/reading abou... (Below threshold)
Larry:

I keep hearing/reading about how cruel it is to starve someone including some posters here. It is done thousands of times a month here in the U.S.A.

I had to make the decision to pull nutrition/hydration from my father since my siblings were absent, my mother away to get insulin injections. The doctor on his rounds told me that my father hadn't produced any urine for 24 hours and would die from uremic poisoning. He had been comatose for over a week due to renal failure. His brain and heart were in great shape for a 77 year old man.

Making that decision was the hardest thing I ever did. When my mother returned to the hospital, I told her what I had done, that if she wished, we could call in the nursing staff and have the tubes reinserted. My mother agreed and I think she was actually relieved I had made the decision and she didn't have to.

My father lived 36 hours after feeding and hydration was withdrawn. He slept peacefully, no movement until the final moment when he did open his eyes for the first time in a week, furrowed his brow as if about to cry, gurgled a minute, than quit breathing The whole time my mother was holding him telling him she loved him and that she would someday join him (she then developed liver cancer and followed him). We kept his lips moist with vaseline and cold water cloths, slipped small chips of ice between his lips when the nurses weren't around. He had family with him the whole time.

Now when I hear Tom DeLay calling folks such as I names like "medical terrorist" "murderer" "homicidal" these unpleasant memories of my father's last days come crashing in on me again, but it was his expressed wishes not to prolong his life when he was dying.

Larry,You are a me... (Below threshold)

Larry,

You are a medical terrorist.

Congratulations on murdering your father. What a piece of work you must be.

I had a brother hooked up t... (Below threshold)

I had a brother hooked up to machines to keep him alive. He was diagnosed with Spinal Meningitis when he was four months old. He was shortly hooked up to all sorts of machines to keep him alive. My mother and father having four other children were desperatly trying to decide what was the right action. The doctors said that he would be a in a "vegetable" state for the rest of his life. Unsure of what action to take my parents prayed by his bedside. They wanted help on making the right decision. They were willing to take on the hard work of caring for him-because they loved him, but didn't know if that's what they were supposed to do. The second the prayer was through the heart monitor stopped. They suddenly felt that this was the way it was supposed to be. Within minutes, my brother passed away. I am sure it was a hard decision, but they had God on their side.

To pull the plug on someone isn't an easy thing to do, and I DO think that Terri Schiavo's husband has a lot to hide. If your wife was in the state that Terri was in, wouldn't you be by her side-all the time? Why didn't he say anything about her wishes right after it happened? He waited years to say "Oh, I forgot. Terri didn't want to live like this." That's pretty hard to believe. After all those years he decides to say something. If that's really what she wanted why did it take so long for him to come forward? Besides, where's the proof that she told him that anyway? There was no papers, no evidence. Isn't that called "hearsay"? Where were the judges on that? Not to mention that he has been living with another woman for how long? No one can tell me he had god on his side. Leaving his wife in that state and living with another woman. Isn't that considered Adultery? They were still married! Come on! He didn't care about Terri. He just wanted the power to control her, and her fate.

Terri was not in any harm. She wasn't having complications. Why not let her parents care for her? It would get him "off the hook", like he wanted. Obviously she was loved by them. They saw what was behind the tubes and machines. I saw videos about Terri and she was smiling and following a balloon around the room. She knew when her parents entered the room. You can't tell me she was brain dead. She was making progress. You could see that in the videos. No judge wanted to see that though. Terri Schiavo's husband will pay for his actions eventually. I just hope that laws are passed in the future to stop this from happening again. The courts should not have been involved to make this decision in the first place. They couldn't have cared less. That's my opinion. Say what you want, but Terri Shiavo's husband is a creep.




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