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Battle To Save Terri Schiavo Shifts To Washington

Terri Schiavo's feeding tube is set to be removed at 1:00 pm, barring last minute reprieves.

President Bush comments on Terri Schiavo, "The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues, yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern."

Update (12:15pm): U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) today released the following statement, which in theory provides that last minute reprieve:

The Senate and the House remain dedicated to saving Terri Schiavo's life. While discussions over possible legislative remedies continue, the Senate and the House are taking action to keep her alive in the interim.

HELP Committee Chairman Mike Enzi has requested the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Schiavo at an official committee hearing. He has sent a letter to the Schiavos to appear at a hearing on Monday, March 28, 2005 regarding "Health Care Provided to Non-ambulatory Persons." The purpose of the hearing is to review health care policies and practices relevant to the care of non-ambulatory persons such as Mrs. Schiavo.

Federal criminal law protects witnesses called before official Congressional committee proceedings from anyone who may obstruct or impede a witness' attendance or testimony. More specifically, the law protects a witness from anyone who -- by threats, force, or by any threatening letter or communication - influences, obstructs, or impedes an inquiry or investigation by Congress. Anyone who violates this law is subject to criminal fines and imprisonment.

There's no indication that the removal of the feeding tube has been delayed in response...

Update 2(2:10pm): Judge Halts Removal of Feeding Tube After Congress Intervenes

MIAMI, March 18 -A Florida judge has delayed an order to remove the feeding tube from a brain-damaged Florida woman at 1 p.m. today after Washington lawmakers intervened by issuing subpoenas for the woman and her husband to appear at Congressional hearings later this month.
Update 3: (3:07pm): The original judge smacked down the judge in Update 2...
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) - The presiding judge in the case of Terri Schiavo ruled Friday that the feeding tube keeping the brain-damaged woman alive must be removed, despite efforts by congressional Republicans to block the move by seeking her appearance at hearings.

Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer refused a request from U.S. House attorneys to delay the removal, which he had previously ordered to take place at 1 p.m. EST. Greer determined that it should go forward about an hour after another judge issued a temporary delay blocking the tube's removal.

The tube is coming out today...

Update 4(3:52pm) Terri Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed Fox News


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Comments (118)

AMEN GWB...AMEN... (Below threshold)
Debra:

AMEN GWB...AMEN

She has no brain. She's not... (Below threshold)
flaime:

She has no brain. She's not even human any more. Let her die.

One particularly troubling ... (Below threshold)

One particularly troubling aspect of this case is the fact that Terri Schiavo's husband is the driving force behind the "right to die" argument, and he's apparently moved on with his life, even though he won't divorce Terri. I suspect this has a lot to do with the $1.4M Terri was awarded in a 1992 malpractice suit (a detail that news coverage has pretty much left out).

Also, having permanent brain damage is not the same thing as being "vegetative."

If Michael Schiavo is allowed to do this to his wife, Scott Peterson should be freed, and all charges dropped against Mark Hacking.

I think that if she's subpo... (Below threshold)

I think that if she's subpoenaed, she'll have more to say than any of the professional baseball players who have been up on Capitol Hill.

BoDiddley, if Mr. Sciavo on... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

BoDiddley, if Mr. Sciavo only wants to "kill" his wife for the million dollars, than please explain why he didn't take the million dollars offered to him by the independant business-man, he turned it down flat out. And comparing this to the murder of Laci and Connor Peterson is just ignorant.

When my quality of life rea... (Below threshold)

When my quality of life reaches that of a hydroponics farm, I pray my loved ones have the guts to turn off the faucet.

RE: Laurence Simon's post (... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Laurence Simon's post (March 18, 2005 10:31 AM)
I think that if she's subpoenaed, she'll have more to say than any of the professional baseball players who have been up on Capitol Hill.

Topical and bitingly insightful. Very clever.

PS - Canseco was the only realist of the bunch. Sosa may have had a language-barrier excuse... so what was McGwire's? Embarrassing. That's the highest intellect MLBPA and Congress could muster?

Bo-Diddley - the $1.1M is a... (Below threshold)
flaime:

Bo-Diddley - the $1.1M is almost entirely gone paying for her care thus far, and is controlled by the courts, so no he didn't fritter it all away. $300K of the settlement was awarded directly to Michael.

I'm going to offer a new ru... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

I'm going to offer a new rule that certainly won't make me any friends here:

Before obsessing about the travails of the Terri Schiavo case and posting commentary to such issues, one must have his/her own house in order.

Seriously, we all understand this tragic case to be particularly emotional and divisive. However, why is it so? Is it because of political positioning? Or is it because we want to share our relative ethics on life or debate its very definition? OK, but make sure that when you do that you have cared about your own self and family enough to have created your own living will so that we don't have to repeat this exercise should you become the victim and the media/litigators/legislators latch on.

Would it not be more productive to your own lives to redirect the effort of this debate to personally and explicitly clarifying what you will or will not do under circumstances similar to Schiavo's? Could that not be the legacy she leaves whenever that date arrives - that her example motivated action on your part to define your (non-)existence?

For all of you already with living wills, please carry on since you have taken sincere and concrete steps to cement your position. You deserve more consideration for your position.

Let the flames begin...

D-Hoggs:What do yo... (Below threshold)

D-Hoggs:

What do you qualify as "ignorant" about the comparison? Both Michael Schiavo and Scott Peterson want(ed) their respective wives out of their way. And to date, nobody has offered any solid reason why Michael won't simply divorce her and allow her family to take care of her.

There are thousands of people who have been left by disease, trauma, or old age in a situation where they must be assisted to live. To say that this lady should be starved to death is simply barbaric.

And to Timmer and flaime--go to her foundation's website: http://www.terrisfight.org/ and watch the videos of her. They're not by any means pleasant to watch, but they do indicate that she's at least partially cognizant of her surroundings and can respond to various stimuli. Again, this is not a person who is truly in a vegetative state. This is an individual with a severe disability who can only expect limited recovery at best.

If you truly never want to risk being in the same state as Terri, sign an advance directive while you can. Simple as that. She didn't, and she has a family who cares for her and is optimistic about the level of function she may be able to achieve, in stark contrast to a husband who wants her out of his life.

Also, the amount was $1.4M, with an additional $250,000 that went to Terri previously, and an additional $600,000 to Michael. Nearly $1M was to go into a medical trust fund to be only used for her medical expenses, but some (perhaps nearly all) of that has been used to pay Michael's legal expenses--not necessarily towards her care--with the blessing of Judge Greer, who has ordered feeding to be removed on several occasions.

the $1.1M is almost enti... (Below threshold)

the $1.1M is almost entirely gone paying for her care thus far, and is controlled by the courts, so no he didn't fritter it all away. $300K of the settlement was awarded directly to Michael.

One has to wonder how much he is going to get from life insurance policies.

I promised myself to confin... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

I promised myself to confine my bile to the previous thread, but can't resist. Her "husband-guardian" apparently was too cheap and uncaring to buy her a toothbrush. That's a sarcastic way to describe the fact that she has lost numerous teeth due to massive decay caused by neglect. I am ignorant about PVS (and many other things) but do have special knowledge about dental care for incapacitated persons. Extent this obvious lack of concern to other facets of her care and it is a tribute to her inner-strength that she is still alive.

Oops, I meant "advance dire... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Oops, I meant "advance directive" and not "living will" since BoDiddly's term is the more precise one.

D-Hoggs"if Mr. Sciav... (Below threshold)
Red:

D-Hoggs
"if Mr. Sciavo only wants to "kill" his wife for the million dollars, than please explain why he didn't take the million dollars offered to him"

You are joking right? He is going to get the money if she dies because of life insurance policies. He is not going to accept a buy out as he would look like the pond scum that he is.

No one makes a deal if the deal is no better than the eventual outcome. Michael moved on with his life and he should with this as well. Seems like he had no problem forgetting about Terri when he moved in with his "common law" wife and had kids.

He would never take the money in the way it was offered because it would expose him for what he really is.

Oh, please, Joser. "Contro... (Below threshold)

Oh, please, Joser. "Control freaks?" You're as much guilty of being one of those in your support of putting her to death. Michael has NOT taken care of Terri. He said he was going to, but once the first monetary awards were dropped into his lap soon after her incapacitation, that talk ended. You talk about thinking rationally, but you simply cannot rationally say what Terri would or would not have wanted. Her alleged wish to "be put asleep" (what is she, a dog?) is nothing - NOTHING - but hearsay about an offhand remark she supposedly said while once watching a movie. She had no written directive. Tell me, is it rational to make a life-or-death decision based upon hearsay? Hardly.

Oh, and Joser, what do you ... (Below threshold)

Oh, and Joser, what do you think is rational about Terri's wishes regarding her marriage? Do you think she'd want to remain married to a man who is engaged to another woman whom he has had children with?

Um, Joser . . . one other s... (Below threshold)

Um, Joser . . . one other small item:

". . .long after her soul has departed her body probably . . ."

When, exactly do you consider that the soul likely leaves the body? Cessation of brain activity? Cessation of cardiac/pulmonary function? She certainly doesn't suffer from either.

And as a sidebar to you, personally, you should really look into properly equipping yourself with some basic tools before attempting to engage in a debate. I'd start by looking into a few topics like "idea development," "sentence structure," "word usage and grammar," and "spelling."

Yikes, perhaps one would ar... (Below threshold)
McCain:

Yikes, perhaps one would argue that the ends justify the means, but what the hell is the federal government doing in this case? As fetuses continue to be murdered, and prisoners are sentenced to death row, they spend valuable time on this ONE PERSON, which is sucking all the life out of more important problems. Oh yeah, they had time for baseball players as well.

I agree with those who sugg... (Below threshold)
frameone:

I agree with those who suggest that this case is a good chance for everyone to reflect on their personal values and then put in writing what course of action they would prefer if this were to happen to them.

But let me also throw this out there. This entire scenario is, as I understand it, the result of modern medical technology. Without technological assistance Schiavo would die a natural death. With extensive physical therapy could she learn to swallow again? Is she even capable of learning? If that option has not been tried then it should be. If it has with the current results, then what we're really talking about is whether or not it is morally ethical and responsible to sustain life unnaturally, that is beyond the body's natural ability to sustain itself. IN that case, how can we say for sure that it isn't the feeding tube, a man-made technological instrument, that isn't thwarting God's will here? Just a question.

If nothing else, Terri Schi... (Below threshold)

If nothing else, Terri Schiavo's plight has taught me a lesson:

After 14 years of being in the wilderness (so to speak), I may have a special woman in my life...so special, we may begin to talk of marriage. One of the first things I will do with her, should she become my wife, is to sit down and discuss this issue with her, if anything similar to Terri's condition should happen to me or to her, and put this in writing and get it notarized.

Perhaps THAT is the moral of the story here, not whether the feeding tube should be removed. I can't make that kind of decision over anyone, it would agonize me. That's why I would turn it over to GOD and let Him make that decision.

Excellent thoughts, Macker.... (Below threshold)

Excellent thoughts, Macker. Terri's life is important, but so are our own lives. Everyone needs a will. Don't let live-or-death decisions for you be made by a handful of people based upon nothing but hearsay regarding something you may or may not have said one time.

<a href="http://story.news.... (Below threshold)
Macker it isn't just a matt... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Macker it isn't just a matter of discussing it with her, but putting it in writing.

The problem with this case is that there is nothing in writing, and the only witness to her supposed desire to die, is the man who will benefit most from her death.

As for Michael not taking the money-he couldn't-he has painted himself into the "I am not doing this for money" corner, and to take it now would only prove him to be the scum he actually is. A man who has moved on with his life, with another woman and children, should not be the person making these decision.

Her parents want to take care of her in their home-why not give them their wish-it isn't going to hurt Michael-and it isn't going to hurt Terri.

frameone, without "technolo... (Below threshold)

frameone, without "technological assistance," as you call it, diabetics would die a natural death, too. Your point of view, if accepted, would call for an immediate cessation of any medical research.

This isnt' a case of someone trying to disconnect life-support from a person who's brain-dead. That is done daily, as it's generally recognized that after brain activity ceases, life has ended, with no regard to the state of the body. Terri still has (obviously) significant brain activity. The only thing she depends upon medically for existance is a feeding tube--the same medical device that keeps numerous survivors of throat and esophageal cancer alive every day. Are you (and others here) really willing to withhold food from this lady, who likely knows at least something about what is going on around her, who does respond to tactile and verbal stimuli, who would almost certainly feel pain, and watch silently as she starves to death over the next couple of weeks?

I'm curious, too, as to which decision would, in your line of thinking, be infringing more upon God's territory? The decision to actively attempt to sustain life or the decision to actively end life?

BTW, I know I'm delving into a little theology here, but the concept of anything "thwarting God's will" is really a stretch. Either God is sovereign or He isn't. If He isn't, then He isn't God--He's just another guy trying to get His way. I personally hate the "leave it up to God" cop-out. The old saying goes: "Pray like it's all up to God, but work like it's all up to you." He really doesn't expect us to just "enjoy the ride."

re Frameone:Excellen... (Below threshold)
David:

re Frameone:
Excellent point, but...
Shortly after the malpractice lawsuits were concluded Michael Schiavo prohibited all rehabilitation efforts for Terri. He refused all attempts to see if Terri could be taught to be fed by spoon. He also determined that toothbrushing was a form of rehab and prohibited that, as well as oral abd gyn exams until recently.

A petition to the court (Judge Greer) requested that spoon feeding be attempted if the feeding tube were d/c-ed. The judge refused, with the reason that Terri might choke and die.

At this point, no one knows what Terri's capabilities, or wishes are.

One more little item, then ... (Below threshold)

One more little item, then I promise to be quiet for awhile (and I promise I'm not trying to re-direct this debate):

It's almost humorous to me that folks like frameone will fiercely defend the rights of homosexuals to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," when discussing the right to marry, but they're unwilling to stand up for the simple right to "life" for people like Terri.

Maybe homosexuals choose to be so, maybe they don't. We know Terri didn't choose to be in her particular state. If either group is entitled to the special consideration given to minorities, shouldn't it be those who are severely disabled?

There is a lot more going o... (Below threshold)

There is a lot more going on here than a 'brain-dead' woman. Her husband will not let any doctors examine her. Judge Greer is going on hearsay testimony of one person. Terri's condition was brought about under suspicsious circumstances.

I agree that most of the settlement will be gone and Michael Shivo has turned down the $1Mil. But since there has been some speculation that he beat his wife & that lead to her condition could indicate he wants her dead so she can't testify against him. It would be hard to spend that $$ while in prison.

As for Judge Greer and his constant insistance on killing this woman, I can only assume that Shivo has something on him.

We should always err on the side of llife. If Terri DID have a living will, or there were multiple witnesses that could testify to her wishes, then I say society should respect those. However, Judge Greer is deciding this woman's life on less testimony than would be valid in a probate hearing.

Bo -- You're absol... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Bo --

You're absolutely right that technology plays a vital role in sustaining life everyday. I should have thought my comments through a little more. My ultimate point though, clumsily expressed, is that deciding this issue becomes even more complicated, if not impossible, when and if we reduce it to discerning God's will which seems to me to be fairly strong strain in the debate.
When Macker writes "That's why I would turn it over to GOD and let Him make that decision." I take it to mean that this is a private matter between a person and their god. That's the only way that this can be decided. Terry's husband says he knows Terry's will and he's a practicing Catholic so I assume he's prayed over the matter. How could anyone here dare to presume that this isn't good enough?


A petition to the court ... (Below threshold)

A petition to the court (Judge Greer) requested that spoon feeding be attempted if the feeding tube were d/c-ed. The judge refused, with the reason that Terri might choke and die.

That's pretty bass-ackwards logic. He can order her to definitely die from startvation/dehydration, but refuses to allow her swallowing to be medically tested because she might choke and die? This moron shouldn't be on the bench!

Bo -- I don't know... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Bo --

I don't know what should be done in this situation. I just believe that there's been way too much outside interference now with Washington getting involved.
My fiance's grandfather suffered a stroke last year at the age of 95. He's a tough old guy. After being paralyzed, mute and on a feeding tube, he, through his own efforts and with family at his side, is off the feeding tube and able to make audible sounds, move his arms and walk. The greatets danger now is that he keeps getting out of his hospital bed at night and falling. His daughter (my fiances mother) had a decision to make in the hours after his stroke whether or not put him on a ventilator. She decided that they should use it. Even now that he's off the ventilator and feeding tube he requires 24 hour supervision to keep him from getting up and walking. It's putting my mother-in-law in extreme debt for private nurses and short of strapping him down every night there's no other viabel option. This is a scenario that could go on for years.
Not two days ago, she asked me and my fiance over the phone to promise her that if what happened to her father, happened to her, we should not try to resucitate her. What can you say to that? I'd be damn pissed if we tried to carry out her wishes and then some governor told me I couldn't and some blog posters called me a greedy bastard because they had a better idea of what God wanted.

RE: Dwayne "the canoe guy"'... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Dwayne "the canoe guy"'s post (March 18, 2005 01:24 PM)
As for Judge Greer and his constant insistance on killing this woman, I can only assume that Shivo has something on him.

...However, Judge Greer is deciding this woman's life on less testimony than would be valid in a probate hearing.

Say what you will about the court's interpretation of law, his handling of evidence, and any legal motivations of such, but I find your assumption overtly scurrilous and unfair. You are extrapolating that Mr. Schiavo has some dirt on the judge and that is why he has ruled the way he has? Hyperbole for some sort of effect? That's a heck of a smear that you have just leveled... care to elaborate?

Judge blocks feeding tub... (Below threshold)

Judge blocks feeding tube removal
Posted by: Jinx McHue at March 18, 2005 01:13 PM

They changed it! >:( Why can't these news websites use different URLs for different stories or different versions instead of constantly changing the story on one specific page?

Everyone that would want to... (Below threshold)
Net:

Everyone that would want to be kept alive the way Terri is, please raise your hand. From personal experience, I saw my Grandmother waste away in a nursing home for 5 years, after massive strokes took all of her brain activity. She couldn't do anything! She told us that she didn't want to live in a nursing home or when she didn't recognize anyone anyone. But being as she was the one to sign the papers to have the feeding tube put in we couldn't have it removed. She lost more than 100 pounds and had many bed sores before she died. She didn't know anyone and slept most of the time. Yes, there were times when she would smile but, most of the time she would moan and cry, kind of like a baby, but with no meaning. At least when a baby cries, it has a reason. I loved my Grandmother, but she didn't want to be kept alive this way. Even though she had the feeding tube put in she had also sign a do not recessitate order at the same time.
Look into your own heart and tell me you would want to be kept alive this way? She is being kept alive artifically, she can't swallow her own food and can't speak or have control of her own bodily functions. And if your wondering, I don't want to be kept alive this way. I believe that the only way they should be put in is if there is a chance of life without it later.

Look into your own heart... (Below threshold)

Look into your own heart and tell me you would want to be kept alive this way?

As I wrote on my blog, there's a difference between stating "I wouldn't want to live like that" and "I want to be put to death if I end up like that." No one wants to end up brain damaged. No one wants to live like that, but that's not the same as wanting to die if one ends up like that.

I wouldn't want to live like that, but if I do end up in such a state, I wouldn't want to be put to death and I especially wouldn't want to be starved to death. We can't do that to an animal, so why can we do it to a person? Can anyone answer that question for me? Anyone?

She is being kept alive artifically,

So? As someone rightly pointed out earlier, people on insulin are being kept alive artificially. Do we stop giving them insulin and let them die? Critically injured people are kept alive artificially. Do we stop trying to save the lives of people involved in car accidents? Do we stop trying to save the lives of children who get hurt?

she can't swallow her own food

She's never been given the chance to re-learn how to swallow food, however, as far as I know, she swallows saliva just fine.

and can't speak or have control of her own bodily functions.

Well, Heaven forbid we let anyone with disabilities like that live! Hey, let's starve severely developmentally disabled people (like ones I work with) if they can't speak or control their own bodily functions! Many of them can't. Next, we'll put para- and quadrapelegics out of their misery by starving them to death, too.

Meanwhile, I am forbidden to kill the bats that invade my attic every year.

Go figure...

Re: Frameone's comment<br /... (Below threshold)

Re: Frameone's comment
"Not two days ago, she asked me and my fiance over the phone to promise her that if what happened to her father, happened to her, we should not try to resucitate her. What can you say to that? "

You can say "put it writing, mom, you want a DNR." Terri didn't, and there is serious question whether she did feel that way. And if Terri's family didn't love her and want to take care of her, chances are "some governor" wouldn't have tried to say Michael couldn't remove the feeding tube and bloggers everywhere wouldn't be calling Michael a "greedy bastard".

Re: Net's comment -
"Look into your own heart and tell me you would want to be kept alive this way? She is being kept alive artifically, she can't swallow her own food and can't speak or have control of her own bodily functions. And if your wondering, I don't want to be kept alive this way. I believe that the only way they should be put in is if there is a chance of life without it later. "

We're all free to decide what we would like to have done in a situation like this - and yes, the lesson we have all learned is to put it in writing. However, affidavits have been filed by some of Terri's nurses stating that she can swallow to a certain extent and she tries to speak and even can say a few words. The fact is, her husband has not allowed her any sort of therapy that may allow her to swallow and even speak since the day he received the malpractice award, so we don't know whether there's going to be the ability to remove it again later.

Terri's family has compiled affidavits from about 30 doctors who believe she should be examined again to verify the diagnosis of PVS (which sounds very doubtful based on the testimony I've read) and that she could benefit from therapy that has been denied her, and I personally think that needs to be done.

A Florida judge has dela... (Below threshold)
mantis:

A Florida judge has delayed an order to remove the feeding tube from a brain-damaged Florida woman at 1 p.m. today after Washington lawmakers intervened by issuing subpoenas for the woman and her husband to appear at Congressional hearings later this month.

I certainly don't suppose to know what should be done with this woman (though I think the law states it pretty clearly), but I think this reveals that in this age where machines can keep our bodies alive long after we are gone there should be legal ways to end a life purposefully and quickly (instead of starvation). However, I do hope that if I were in a situation like Terri's, Congress would not get involved, but instead would focus on the important issues before them, like what baseball players inject into their asses.

As I wrote on my blog, t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

As I wrote on my blog, there's a difference between stating "I wouldn't want to live like that" and "I want to be put to death if I end up like that."

I want to be put to death if I end up like that. I would prefer something quick like lethal injection, but if they had to pump me full of drugs and starve me because the law says so, so be it. If I didn't leave a living will (I have one, but for the sake of argument), I would want the hospital/courts to listen to my wife, who would have a better idea than anyone how I felt about it. So in this I'm in agreement with the law.

I'm curious, how would people who oppose the removal of the feeding tube like to see the laws changed, if at all? For the sake of argument, forget whether or not Terri is PVT, but rather what do you think should be done with those who are? Shouldn't their spouse (or other next of kin if not married) be the one to decide? If it is your position that a)Terri is not PVT, or b)the entire Florida judicial system is out to kill this women and are ignoring the facts, then nevermind. In essence, should the law be changed? And if not, what the hell is Congress doing involved in all this?

Posted by: mantis at March ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Posted by: mantis at March 18, 2005 02:59 PM
...but instead would focus on the important issues before them, like what baseball players inject into their asses.

Or what asses get injected into baseball.


Too harsh? Heh, have you (generic) listened to the recent testimony?

"She is being kept alive ar... (Below threshold)
Pamela:

"She is being kept alive artifically, she can't swallow her own food and can't speak or have control of her own bodily functions. "

There is evidence that she was improving with therapy before the court awarded money for her care. After the money was awarded the husband demanded all therapy be stopped. He will not allow even the stimulation of a TV or radio in her room. I think the biggest problem with this is that Michael Schiavo says one thing but lives another.

He has a fiancee and children with her. They have apparently been together for years.

He refuses to even allow regular checkups or medication for illnesses Terry might have. He spent some of the money for her care on legal fees to get her feeding tube removed. He would not allow Terry to even attempt to swallow on her own.

I think Terry should be allowed to have therapy to see if she shows any improvement in her cognitive abilities and/or ability to swallow on her own. If her parents are willing to take care of her it will be no problem for Michael. He could divorce her and get on with his life.


Of course, he does want her cremated immediately after she dies. I wonder why?

Shouldn't their spouse (... (Below threshold)

Shouldn't their spouse (or other next of kin if not married) be the one to decide?

Sure, if one has a will stating exactly what their desires are and who should execute them (the desires, I mean). If not, all you've got to go on is - at best - hearsay. Life-or-death decisions should never, ever be based upon hearsay.

Not everyone has a living w... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Not everyone has a living will Jinx. If they don't, you're saying, the next of kin should have no say? I suppose you should write your congressman about changing the law then.

Net: I have to tell you tha... (Below threshold)

Net: I have to tell you that deciding whether or not a person should be starved to death based on whether or not YOU want to live like that way is a pretty self absorbed point of view. This is not about you and how you wish to live. This is about Terri, and Terri is Catholic. Her husband never mentioned that she had supposedly expressed a wish to die rather than be incapacitated until he won a lawsuit on her behalf, giving him money.
Lots of money.
There is no reason to believe that Terri really doesn't wish to live this way. There's even less evidence that she would wish to die this way.
Hardly anybody would choose to live that way, but that doesn't mean they would choose to die this way.
Terri swallows- she swallows her own saliva, and she might be able to swallow food, but neither her husband nor Judge Greer have permitted her to have a swallow test or permitted anybody to feed her.
Christopher Reeve was incontinent and wore a diaper, I believe.

I've blogged more about this, including the self-absorbed point of view that Terri should be starved to death because others wouldn't want to live like her.

Our daughter is profoundly retarded. I bet you wouldn't want to live like her, either, but we have no intention of shortening her life, regardless.

Btw, Terri's brain is not g... (Below threshold)

Btw, Terri's brain is not gone. She has not ever had an MRI, and the test they did use is not good enough to diagnose PVS.

For more on that, see my blog- I tried adding the links here, but it didn't work.
Terri's never had an MRI, never had any doctor spend the time with her necessary to diagnose PVS.

mantis--you are totally cor... (Below threshold)

mantis--you are totally correct in your first post. The law does state clearly what should be done:

Florida Statute 765.309 Mercy killing or euthanasia not authorized; suicide distinguished. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.

Someone else may want to delve into the question of why the judiciary involved (Judge Greer, most notably) seems intent upon neglecting Florida law in this case?

No law in this case needs to be changed--just enforced.

frameone: It's ... (Below threshold)
julie:

frameone:

It's putting my mother-in-law in extreme debt for private nurses and short of strapping him down every night there's no other viabel option.

And, God forbid that you or your fiance actually give her a hand, either fianancially, or with caring for him. You go on and on in every thread with your phony iamliberalcompassionateguy and youallarebloodsuckingfascists meme. You're a joke.

"I'm curious, how would peo... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"I'm curious, how would people who oppose the removal of the feeding tube like to see the laws changed, if at all? "

Okay I will play. First I would require that any desires in this must be put in writing.

If there is nothing in writing and there is a dispute between family members (ie in this case the only person who says Terri wished to be removed is her husband, all of Terri's family and friends say Terri never told them of her desire), then I don't think the person/people who stand to benefit monetarily from the death of the person, be the one who gets to make this decision. I would probably say that in these cases a guardian ad litem be appointed to actually make decisions for the patient, and I think absent clear indications of their desire, that the government should er on the side of life and continue the feeding tube.

Basically this law can easily be a lesson to anyone who feels passionately about this, and if they are too lazy to get their wishes in writing, then a consequence of their procrastination is that they may end up on a feeding tube until they die.

Oh and I also think that if... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Oh and I also think that if the decision making spouse has moved on, gotten himself a live in girlfriend and started making babies, that the law should pretty much remove their right to make decisions for the spouse. Having a person move in, and making babies with them, is pretty much an emotional divorce, even if it isn't a legal one.

But julie liberals believe ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

But julie liberals believe that making the taxpayer foot the bills is the way the show compassion-liberals only believe in showing their compassion through government programs, they don't want to actually be reponsible for any care and support themselves.

or to permit any affirma... (Below threshold)
mantis:

or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.

I think the law considers not feeding someone that is incapable of feeding his/herself as a natural process of dying, and the feeding through a tube as unnatural, and therefore does not consider this type of thing euthanasia.

Just Me,Your idea ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Just Me,

Your idea of a guardian ad litem is entirely reasonable, but how far does that go? Imagine a situation in which a patient could either undergo risky surgery with a poor chance of survival, or without surgery would probably live but suffer brain damage as a result (this is not all that uncommon). The patient is unable to make the decision for him/herself, should the next of kin get to make that decision, or a guardian ad litem?

Oh, and as interesting as your idea of emotional divorce may be, how would one prove that in court?

And as far as this goes:

liberals believe that making the taxpayer foot the bills is the way the show compassion-liberals only believe in showing their compassion through government programs

Utter bs. I'm a liberal and I show compassion in many ways not at all related to "government programs". You reveal yourself as very close-minded and ignorant with statements like that. Just think about all of the liberal charity and aid groups that get no government assistance.

Would these same people che... (Below threshold)
tom:

Would these same people cheering her murder been cheering if the "husband" had blown her head off with a .44?

If not, what is their argument? ? Aesthetics? That it is messier? But surely a quick death is less cruel than starvation. I am not arguing either way on the ethics, but to pretend taking life is not talking life...that is sickening.

To clear up some misconcept... (Below threshold)
Net:

To clear up some misconceptions, my Grandmother was diabetic and used insulin, this is very different than a feeding tube. My Grandmother didn't have any nerve response in her body, including her head, she lost most of her hair as well. You could touch the bed sores on her and there was no response.
And there was no possibility of recovery. Second my Grandmother couldn't swallow, not even saliva, it flowed out the side of her mouth into towels. At times the nurses had to suction the mouth and throat to remove flem that built up.
I am not being mean spirited or hateful. I am giving my experience and insight as to what happened with my Grandmother. She was not going to get better and definitly got worse. There is so much more to this than what can be written about.

Terri had a gaurdian ad lit... (Below threshold)

Terri had a gaurdian ad litum appointed for her by the court. That guardian, after looking into things and visiting Terri, said that Terri would not want to be put to death and was responsive.
Judge Greer dismissed that guardian and never appointed another.

This is the closest thing t... (Below threshold)
James:

This is the closest thing to an argument the pro-death crowd can come up with (complements of Joser, above): "...you can't dispute that Terri Schiavo probably expressed her wished[sic] to be put asleep if she were ever to become as she is now." (emphasis mine)

Translation: "Well, the husband (who stands to gain from her death) says she would have wanted it this way. How could you deny her wishes (which her husband assures us were hers)?" This would be a farcical situation if the implications weren't so deadly serious. I mean, it sounds like the plot of a Simpsons episode, Mike being played by Side Show Bob.

--

I've said it elsewhere, and I'll repeat it here -- take out the emotion from both sides. Forget about whether you, the observer, would want to die or not in the same situation. Take out your morals, your ethics, your view on the sanctity of life or the importance of "dignity". Frameone wants to talk about what "God might want" and people regulating your right to die with dignity. No, no, no. You can argue opinon -- who can know God's will? -- until we both die of old age, and nothing will be accomplished, I promise you. You must look at it objectively. Consider the options analytically. There are four possible outcomes:

A) Terri wants to die, they kill her: everybody's happy. That's a point for death.
B) Terri wants to die, they let her live: Terri suffers silently. Eventually, she dies anyway. Maybe in the next few years, she either develops enough mental function to convey her wishes, or brain-scan technology evolves enough to get that evidence out of her. She is killed after suffering against her wishes for a while.
C) Terri wants to live, they let her live: everybody's happy, obviously. Point for life.
D) Terri wants to live, they kill her: Terri, obviously, is not happy, wherever she is. Mike is unaware of this, as he is too busy playing with the new rocket car he bought with the insurance money.

OK, last comment not *exactly* objective, but you get my drift. There's two "win-win" propositions, so the analysis comes down to which of the other two propositions is worse: is it worse to kill a person who wants to live, or force a person who wants to die to live against their will? I would contend that, regardless of your personal view on the sanctity of human life, you have to err on the side of caution because in one of those cases, you can always change your mind later. And, of course, legal precident is on the side of "let her live" regardless of what she wants -- see "Kevorkian, Jack".

Aside to mantis et al: no, the next-of-kin should not not not make the decision, because you never know if the next-of-kin has a conflict of interest. I can totally see a case where some heartless nephew of a childless tycoon destroys the living will and says he's "sure his uncle wanted to die", when the opposite is true. Maybe not exactly like that, but I'll bet similar situations have arisen, and there's *nothing* to stop it in a system where next-of-kin decides. Err on the side of life, the side of caution, and if you want to die make sure you say so ahead of time.


Don't even get me started on how they kill her -- this is a much clearer 8th Amendment violation than the bullshit about killing 17-year-old psychos. IF they're going to kill her, at least do it with a lethal injection or something.


It's been said here that the blogosphere has a disproportionate concentration of lawyers. Would one of them have anything to refute my argument as I've laid it out?

--

P.S.: The only one niggling doubt I have in this, and in any change to the laws that would be required, is that I wouldn't want to see the courts force an uninsured family into bankruptcy. Still working on how to avoid that one. I wouldn't want to be put in a situation where some apparently-hopeless relative sucks up my life's savings and permanently destroys my hopes of a nice life and retirement just because they neglected to make a living will. Hrmmm... that's one for Hillarycare, 999,999,999,999 against.

Mantis I guess you didn't g... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Mantis I guess you didn't get the sarcasm.

Although in general, liberals do seem to think the government is the answer to every woe in society-and you can't deny this.

Oh and Net Terri can and does swallow her own saliva.

Just watched the remarkable... (Below threshold)
Palmateer:

Just watched the remarkable news conference conducted by Michael Schiavo's attorney George Felos. He roundly condemned members of BOTH parties for the subpoenas sent from Washington. Incredible statement!

JUlie --"And, God ... (Below threshold)
frameone:

JUlie --

"And, God forbid that you or your fiance actually give her a hand, either fianancially, or with caring for him. You go on and on in every thread with your phony iamliberalcompassionateguy and youallarebloodsuckingfascists meme. You're a joke."

This is classic. I brought a personal story to the table here in attempt to clear away the idea that I approach this issue from an ideologically rigid view. What I get in return is a straight up ideologically dirven attack.

For what it's worth, my fiance's mother lives in Toronto and we live and work in Los Angeles. My fiance travels back to Toronto as often as she can to help out. I dropped her off at the airport this morning but she has a job to do here as well.
My fiance has offered her mother money and been refused and then found other ways, without her mother knowing, to get the money to her. When her mother found out she was furious. I'm currently working and putting myself through school but when I've been back to Toronto numerous times since this began I spent alot of the time at the hospital often on my own so that my fiance and her mom could take a break together. Time is what I have to give and I give it when I can.

One of the things that make these situations so difficult is that they, like much of life, don't happen when all the stars are aligned so that every thing can turn out hunky dory. Life isn't like that, Julie, and it's simply amazing that you think your smug, corrosive response is in any way appropriate.

I suppose I should feel ashamed that this happened at a time when everyone involved is strapped for cash or that fate has us living 3,000 miles away?

Julie, you're response is typical of conservatives. If something bad happens it must be your own fault. It's just incredibly that you would write what you wrote.

"But julie liberals believe... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"But julie liberals believe that making the taxpayer foot the bills is the way the show compassion-liberals only believe in showing their compassion through government programs, they don't want to actually be reponsible for any care and support themselves."

You guys are incredible. I mean this is seriously corrosive to intelligent discussion.

I mean this is seriously... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I mean this is seriously corrosive to intelligent discussion.

Welcome to Wizbang, friend, where they got both kinds of conservatism, country and western, and ever thing to the left of that is leftist, commie, terror-lovin' scum that want to take your money and murder your children. ;)

Actually, there are lots of regulars here that are reasonable, but hey, this is the internet, and some people will say a lot to you that they wouldn't dare to your face.

This is classic. I broug... (Below threshold)
julie:

This is classic. I brought a personal story to the table here in attempt to clear away the idea that I approach this issue from an ideologically rigid view. What I get in return is a straight up ideologically dirven attack.

Tough shit. Your only purpose in coming here is to attack people who disagree with you. You're always railing against us on ideological grounds no matter what the topic.

[snip tiny little violin music]

If any of that were true, you would have volunteered it. And now that you have volunteered it, even if it were true, I'm not impressed.

One of the things that make these situations so difficult is that they, like much of life, don't happen when all the stars are aligned so that every thing can turn out hunky dory. Life isn't like that, Julie, and it's simply amazing that you think your smug, corrosive response is in any way appropriate.

All your responses are smug and corrosive in every thread you post. Now you are trying to sell that you have more insight or that your life is more difficult than 99% of the people here? Yeah, we know you are special since you keep telling us you are.

I suppose I should feel ashamed that this happened at a time when everyone involved is strapped for cash or that fate has us living 3,000 miles away?

Well, I wouldn't act superior about it.

Julie, you're response is typical of conservatives.

And you're a typical left-wing moonbat.: "Look at me! I'm compassionate! Look at me!" Blech.

If something bad happens it must be your own fault.

If something bad happens, you expect everybody but yourself to be responsbile.

It's just incredibly that you would write what you wrote.

Considering the junk you are always posting, I find your incredibility, just like the compassion you constantly wear on your sleave, disingenuous.

frameone--In all fai... (Below threshold)

frameone--
In all fairness to you, I don't pretend to know what exists in your fiance's life, whether career or you (which would be truly sad, considering that you two aren't even married), which prevents her from carrying out what was once considered a duty to one's elders. To put it bluntly, she has no business in L.A. if her family needs her in Toronto.

I'm not particularly surprised at your outrage against Julie (and what I'm sure is forthcoming against me), at the suggestion that you and/or your fiance aren't doing enough for her family. And I don't mean that as a slight against you, but rather a commentary on what society has become. Whether we're talking abortion or euthanasia, the direction things are headed indicate that if person A will be a burden or a bother to person B, then person B is within his or her rights to get rid of person A. Doesn't matter if person A is unborn, or in the twilight of life, or incapacitated through no fault of his own. We're far to busy in the 21st century to take care of someone who can't pull his own weight.

All this is symptomatic of a "ME" centered society, and I know this trend won't reverse until we hit rock bottom (btw--that's genocide, in case you're wondering).

Twenty years ago, what is being done to Terri as we debate the case would have been unthinkable. That's about the time that anti-abortion groups started telling us that after abortion would come extermination of the aged and afflicted. Obviously, nobody listened.

You guys are incredible.... (Below threshold)
julie:

You guys are incredible. I mean this is seriously corrosive to intelligent discussion.

Intelligent discussion? Since when are your not so cleverly hidden politically driven lectures to everyone intelligent discussion?

some people will say a l... (Below threshold)
julie:

some people will say a lot to you that they wouldn't dare to your face.

Why? Are you that ugly that you would scare people away? lol

Here here mantis. I alwa... (Below threshold)
julie:

Here here mantis. I always get a kick out of how shallow a pool that is swam in around here.

Yet you are always dropping in.

Having spent a big portion of my few years living so far tutoring people in English and grammar, as well as tutoring autistic children of poorer families, it'a kind of an ironic,

It's kind of ironic that you think this makes you Albert Schweitzer. Most people start doing this in high school and continue through college. They then go into professions and continue with volunteer work and volunteer through their churches. Oh, yeah, you guys hate churches. Anyway, sorry, but you're not special.

carthartic feeling to be labeled a commie moonbat helbent on the destruction of democracy who relies on the government to help everyone else because I'm too lazy to myself.

Do you think you are going to save the world through bad poetry?

At least I don't have to be those morons with their glass houses shattering to the ground.

Stucco, not glass. You, otoh, live in your mom's basement.

The fortunate thing about a... (Below threshold)
McCain:

The fortunate thing about anger problems is they can sometimes be cured through therapy. :)

Apart from the Schiavo case, does anyone think that death instructions for PVS conditions, or DNR instructions, are immoral? And have any states banned familes from snuffing out PVS patients when written instructions do not exist?

Julie's posts give ample ev... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Julie's posts give ample evidence that she lacks sufficient maturity to maintain a reasonable discussion. My advice, for what it's worth, is that Ann Coulter is not a role model.

As to Bo's more reasonably framed comments, I'm surprised that you're so quick to judge. Now I could go into a broadbrushed, overlysimplified theory about how over the last 30 years American Christianity has itself become so corrupted by its dogmatic entry into the political arena that its followers now feel no qualms about casting stones at others as if they themselves were without sin.

Instead, let me just say this. Nobody in our two families is leaving anybody alone to fend for themselves. We are all doing all we can for each other during what is a difficult and emotional period. You can never know the complexities of a situation like this until you're in it. My fiance and I have done and are doing more for her mother and grandfather than his own two sons, her brothers, who live only a few hours away. Then again, do you know how hard it is to give that help only to see the person you are trying to assist use it as an excuse to pile even more soul-crushing guilt on herself?
Do you understand the logisitcs involved if my fiance, let alone me, moved back across the country to help? She'd still have to find a job but for how long would she be there? No one knows. It could be years. Bo, were not talking selfishness here. We're talking a basic attempt to weigh the possible and practical against the expected benefit. We could uproot our whole lives only to find we've made things worse both emotionally and financially for everyone.
Do you know how difficult an equation this is when you're talking about your loved ones? We're doing the best we can and yet you give yourself the right to judge us. That's wonderful.

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

RE: McCain's post (March 18, 2005 07:00 PM)
Apart from the Schiavo case, does anyone think that death instructions for PVS conditions, or DNR instructions, are immoral?

In a word? No.

Advanced Directives etc are... (Below threshold)
been there:

Advanced Directives etc are usually trumped by futility of care polocies.

The result your wishes are secondary to the hospital budget.

This sort of thing is happening in many hospitals, nursing homes and private residences across the country every day. Fot what ever reason TS-S has come to the public eye.

My fight to protect a disabled person from abuse and murder cost me a great deal of money and almost cost my wife and I our lives on several occasions. Tha's not drama folks that is real poisonings, sabatoge to vehicles and other mayhem.

The local cops and all other improper authorites stood behind the abusers/killers. Apparently some here would believe that makes what they did "right".

Maybe some of the advocates of killing this woman would care to explain in nice clear terms why the rest of us should view this as protection of human and civil rights rather than abuse of those rights.

Terri's husband says he kno... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Terri's husband says he knows his wife's wishes and he is attempting to carry those wishes out. If Michael Schiavo is telling the truth then it's Terri's civil rights that are being denied by her parents and politicians.


That's the problem with thi... (Below threshold)
McCain:

That's the problem with this case. One cannot know the unknowable, as Rummy would say.

This cut and pasted from th... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

This cut and pasted from the Weekly Standard:

"Once Terri's $750,000 was in the bank, however, Schiavo would not approve a single cent of it to be spent on rehabilitation. Not only that, but once the money was in the bank, Schiavo ordered a "do not resuscitate" order placed on Terri's chart so that if she had a cardiac event, the doctors would not attempt to save her. And within a few months of the money being deposited, Schiavo also refused to permit curative treatments, such as antibiotics for infections. If Terri had died during the early or mid-1990s, as Schiavo's orders were designed, he would have inherited somewhere around $700,000."

It won't change any minds, but thought it deserved consideration.

Just Me said:The ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Just Me said:
The problem with this case is that there is nothing in writing, and the only witness to her supposed desire to die, is the man who will benefit most from her death.

The man is her husband, for crying out loud! Of course he will benefit financially most from her death. Wouldn't your wife benefit the most from your death? It's a consequence of marriage--a consequence that our society supports through laws!--that your spouse is your greatest beneficiary. And it's also a consequence of marriage that your spouse knows your deepest dreams, needs, and fears. You act like he's a distant cousin who covertly took out a life insurance policy on her!

My wife is my largest beneficiary, and she also knows what my opinion is regarding being kept alive artificially. I am delinquent by not writing a living will, but I would hope that society would trust my wife, my partner, my soulmate to represent my interests. I have not discussed the issue with my parents, and would not want them overruling my wife when it came to deciding what is in my best interest.

Not to mention that my wife's best interest is also my best interest. I trust her to look out for us. And if my life is medically over, I would be thrilled to know that she would be taken care of financially afterwards.

As for Michael not taking the money-he couldn't-he has painted himself into the "I am not doing this for money" corner, and to take it now would only prove him to be the scum he actually is. A man who has moved on with his life, with another woman and children, should not be the person making these decision.

First of all, he has been offered $10 million to step away, and he has turned it down. Even a greedy son-of-a-bitch who is trying not to be perceived a "scum" would take that, if his only motivation was money.

Secondly, why are you bashing him for "moving on"? For God's sake, the man is human. He has a life, too. Terri has been vegitative for 15 years! Is he supposed to just sit on his hands and forfeit his own life also? If I were in Terri's position, I would hope that my wife was able to move on, find someone else, and raise the family that we'd always dreamed of. People talk about Michael's new family like it makes him evil. It just makes him human.

Her parents want to take care of her in their home-why not give them their wish-it isn't going to hurt Michael-and it isn't going to hurt Terri.

If Terri does not want to be kept alive, it will hurt her. For all we know, in the deepest isolated corner of her mind, she's screaming "someone please end this hell for me!" Of course, we'll never know, so we have to rely on those who were close to her to represent her wishes. I don't know about your marriage, but the person who is closest to me in the whole world is my wife. Not my parents.

Brian are you aquainted wit... (Below threshold)
been there:

Brian are you aquainted with the term err on the side od caution?

sorry that should have been... (Below threshold)
been there:

sorry that should have been "err on the side of caution".

It has been a long day.

Just Me wrote:Oh ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Just Me wrote:
Oh and I also think that if the decision making spouse has moved on, gotten himself a live in girlfriend and started making babies, that the law should pretty much remove their right to make decisions for the spouse.

I certainly hope no lawmakers have your attitude. If I was in a vegitative state, I wouldn't have much opportunity to meet new people. So the person closest to me in the universe would continue to be my wife. Even if she had moved on and made a new life for herself. (Which I would hope she had!) How little you must value spousal relationships to dismiss the love and trust that two people have just because one is trying to rebuild their life and have a family after such a terrible tragedy.

How cold and heartless humanity would become with a law that says x years after a tragedy, the state assumes the right to make decisions on my behalf, overriding the protests of my closest family.

People are horrified at the... (Below threshold)
-S-:

People are horrified at the idea of hunters being able to shoot cats in Wisconsin (they'll suffer!!!) and yet they think allowing a human being to dehydrate to death is the "humane" way to let Terry Shiavo (and others like her) pass away.

(1.) She didn't have a written statement in place to direct how she was to be handled if such a condition ever beset her and because of that, the state has to step in and do what they'd do to preserve, assist and even "allow to die" someone without any directive;

Just because her husband 'says so' does not make it real, actual, even truthful. Whatever was or was not said between the husband and wife will remain a subjective thing...because of that, again, society has to step in and take steps to treat the person HUMANELY;

(2.) Humane treatment is not death by dehydration. Starvation comes later but a person will and does die within three days, usually, without hydration. It's a horrible and excrutiating way to pass away, and society would never even consider such a thing for a dog, cat, turtle, horse, cow, and/or even for a convicted felon on Death Row;

(3.) the husband has obvious and distinct political motivations...enough to call to question nearly everything else he's saying;

(4.) there's evidence, at least suggestion of, previous physical abuse upon Terry S. by the husband, enough to suggest that he's not qualified (competent?) to manage his wife's state nor her future;

(5.) it's a good, even a great, argument for society to work through this issue through to a conclusion...whatever happens to Terry, she's become a necessary case that will aid and assist others in similar situations;

(6.) there's dubious medical evaluative information about the woman's state and that alone calls into question why it's conclusive that she "should die," or "ought to die" as so far, only the husband insists; and,

(7.) again I write, there is obvious evidence displayed by the husband that he has a troubled psychology (not that the situation over all these years might not induce problems, but that the husband has a pre-existing troubled psychology, particularly one that is determined that an induced death for his wife is inevitable, even that his wife lacks personhood), which is evidence enough to, again I write, induce the state to intercede on the behalf of she who is currently incompetent.

The Senate should intervene immediately, by whatever (I don't know what options exist in that regard, however).

been there wrote:... (Below threshold)
Brian:

been there wrote:
Brian are you aquainted with the term err on the side od caution?

That isn't applicable. In the absence of any contrary evidence, I am erring on the side of believing the husband, who would know things about Terri that no one else, even her parents, would know.

Prove to me that he's lying, and I'll say "since we don't know Terri's desires, we should err on the side of caution." But that is not the case here.

Brian you are assuming that... (Below threshold)
been there:

Brian you are assuming that the husband is a good and caring man.

You are assuming that he is giving a clear and accurate account of his wifes wishes.

You are also asuming that burden of proof should fall on those that say MS is not correct in his statements about his wife's wishes.

The court has sided with him based only on hearsay, not evidence. That would not be considered proper if we were talking about the disposal of a few thousand doallars worth of personal goods so why is it acceptable when we are talking about the disposal of her life?

Terri collapsed, for whatev... (Below threshold)

Terri collapsed, for whatever reason, and went to the hospital.
She received some treatment (and responded to it)
Michael went to court suing for malpractice, claiming he needed the money for Terri for her rehabilitative care, promising to care for her for the rest of her life.
Somewhere along the way, he had a girlfriend (not his current common law wife). This will be really important in a moment.

AFTER he won the lawsuit and cut the check, he slapped a DNR order on Terri's charts, moved her to a lesser facility and began trying to kill Terri. For the FIRST time in at least seven years he mentioned that Terri had told him she didn't want to live like this if something ever happened to her. He had never mentioned that conversation before- never.

We also know that the girlfriend I mentioned above and Michael broke up- he stalked her at her work place, and she testified that he had told her that Terri had never said anything to him about her wishes and he didn't know what she would want.

If Terri really had told him she wanted to be killed rather live like she now does, why did it take him so long to mention it? Why does his former girlsfriend swear that he told her he had no idea what Terri would want?

There is ample evidence that he made this up, and that's a good enough reason not to starve the woman to death on his say-so.

I suggest (1.), as to the s... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I suggest (1.), as to the state intervening between a husband (this particular one, Schiavo) and an incapacitated wife (this one, but any others of similar situation) ONLY because the husband's credibility has been called into question on many levels, by many persons, about many aspects to his character.

Even examination of his public statements indicate someone with either confused thinking and/or perhaps even criminal behavior. He reveals himself as someone with a problem personality, certainly.

I am suggesting here that Mr. Schiavo, specifically, has only his statement alone to indicate any "directive" or intention by Terry Schiavo, and that's not adequate given Mr. Schiavo's suspicious pscyhology and certainly his suspicious behavior where Terry is concerned.

There's at least the suggestion there that the guy has a constructed reality to suit certain purposes, not one based in or reality, the truth. Because of that, there's more than enough doubt in his character as displayed and communicated (by word and deed) to suggest a motive that is not beneficial to his wife. I should add, "d'oh" to the end of that last statement.

I believe these aspects to Terry's dilemma is what is driving so many persons instinctually to want to or even attempt to intervene in this situation...there's ample intuitive evidence alone to indicate that this isn't just a case of an incapacitated person desiring death but of a person sent into terrible circumstances by other means. So many people, so many instincts...I doubt so many among our fellows could be quite so off in this regard.

The least that could be offered is humane treatment for Terry Schiavo, qualified and competent evaluations via appropriate technical standards, and then some rudimentary rehabilitation attempts. Failing those, then the issue of putting the woman to death might be considered but reversing those goals is, well, not only cryptic but inhumane. It's inhumane. Inhumane as in deranged.

Congress really does need to intervene here. The players so far involved locally pose questionable credibility, certainly are not presenting themselves as objective professionals without the need to impose individual will on others.

"Wouldn't your wife benefit... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Wouldn't your wife benefit the most from your death?"

Um no, considering I am the wife.

And I don't trust Michael given the timeline, and the fact that he has moved on. I told my own husband that if I am in a similar condition (and for the record I do not want to be starved to death if I was in her shoes), and he wants to pick up with another woman and start making babies with her, that he is to give my sister decision making powers, although I don't particularly see my husband moving on like that, you never know, but I sure enough don't want him making life and death decisions for me, if he has taken up with another woman.

Because others shared perso... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Because others shared personal stories about such situations, or similar, I thought I'd share one about my mother:

She was one of those notoriously determined "new age" persons, someone who believed in reincarnation, among other things, and spoke out throughout most of her adult life (as in, many, many decades, an ongoing theme) about her not "want(ing) to be a burden to anyone" and if ever incapacitated, if ever arriving at some state from whence she could never recover "independence", that she wanted to not be resuscitated. She made a very.big.deal.of.this throughout her life with every person in the family, such that it seemed some sort of crusade...

Not necessarily my plan, but it was what mother wanted and made known to nearly everyone who knew her, even neighbors, friends, social groups...everyone knew this requirement by my mother, anyone/all who knew her, so it wasn't only limited to spouse, children, a friend, but was something known to her entire social group. She did sign an advanced directive to that end and mailed it to each of her children and step-children.

She was a chronic smoker, nearly her entire adult life, also. It was made known outside a few person's awareness after my mothers's death that my mother was aware she had developed some grave problem with/about her cardiovascular system and so had stopped smoking about one year before she died (I didn't know this since I didn't live near her and didn't see her often if rarely).

She developed a bad case of the flu, she said. I called her on a Sunday evening (I always called often) and she sounded terrible. I asked if she'd seen a doctor, she said, 'no,' and I got very adament with her that she should see a doctor first thing Monday morning/the next morning, and even started in with my forceful tone on the phone, "promise me, PROMISE me you will go to a doctor tomorrow morning, first thing, PROMISE ME" and she said that she did and would.

I got a call Tuesday morning that my mother was in a hospital on life support. That she hadn't called or visited a doctor Monday, at all, but that her husband (my stepfather) had driven her to a local emergency room by Tuesday morning because she was "having problems breathing."

So, she visited an emergency room with a bona fide emergency and because she went to an emergency room instead of a private physician's, the hospital was (legally) obligated to put her on life support (emergency medicine requires all attempts to resuscitate and so they did attempt what was possible and that was life support because her heart had failed -- cause of her being unable to breathe, by the way, was her failing heart)...

So, by Tuesday afternoon/evening, my mother was cognizant, fully and completely intelligently alive and aware but on life support, unable to speak but able to communicate by writing and expressions through her eyes. The cardiologist treating her spoke with all her children and with her spouse and everyone was impressing upon him all that history by my mother as to her not wanting to be resuscitated if she was ever in that situation.

Meaning, there we all were, remembering all those years, her entire adult life crusade, as to her not wanting to be on life support, not ever wanting to be resuscitated, all that, and there was mother on life support...

The cardiologist asked mother if she wanted him to remove all the equipment, given that the family was trying to honor her adament requests over the years. Mother's eyes would dart and cry out and she'd shake her head, 'no, no, noooo' but then would write on a note pad the words, "living will..."

So, what to do. Mother, once in that situation, didn't want to die. She was, in fact, still alive and still fully able to reason, think, realize her situation, but then there was this directive, her legacy of requirements...we all, including the cardiologist treating her, just had a quandray, much less did my mother.

The cardiologist told me that he concluded that once mother was IN the situation, she was able to see that her life mattered and that she didn't want to die. He explained to her, and everyone else, that there was no possibility of her ever surviving if life support was removed. Mother asked that it not be.

We left the situation as is for several days, mother on life support in intensive care, aware of where she was, what her future would be...and it was when the doctor said that she had to be moved to a long-term-care facility if she remained on life support that my step father asked for the efforts to stop, and that mother pass away without the helps, which she did.

She passed away fully cognizant, fully aware, not suffering due to the medications they gave her, but she had no heart to sustain her life and that was that. She died a short few moments after they removed life support.

I don't know about everyone else, but it's one thing to write a document about an idea of death, but it's another thing to face death itself. Most of us want to live.

-S-: Thanks for the fine po... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

-S-: Thanks for the fine posts above. Even when I'm not angry about something (like this issue), I can't write that well. Please don't let the trolls wear you down.

been there wrote:... (Below threshold)
Brian:

been there wrote:
You are assuming that he is giving a clear and accurate account of his wifes wishes.

Yes, of course I am. Unlike the myriad judges who have consistently sided with Michael, I have insufficient knowledge to arrogantly declare otherwise. Contrast with many members of Congress, whose sum total knowledge of this case is probably a few sentences submitted to them by a staffer.

You are also asuming that burden of proof should fall on those that say MS is not correct in his statements about his wife's wishes.

As it obviously should. The man is expressing his wife's wishes. If you are going to call him a liar and ostensibly bar him from acting as his wife requested, you'd better have the evidence.

We have a system in place. The system requires Michael to make his case to judges. The judges rely on doctors. And the system allows Terri's parents to state their views also. The system sided with Michael. Get over it, and let the system work.

The court has sided with him based only on hearsay, not evidence.

Are you a lawyer? Obviously the courts disagree with you (ignoring the fact that hearsay is acceptable evidence in many circumstances).

I defer to the knowledge and wisdom of a slew of state, circuit, federal, and Supreme Court judges to make that assessment. I am not so arrogant to think that I know the rules of evidence and the rules of law better than they.

Just Me wrote:"Wo... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Just Me wrote:
"Wouldn't your wife benefit the most from your death?"

Um no, considering I am the wife.

My apologies. I don't frequent this blog enough to have become familiar with the demographics of the regulars.

And I don't trust Michael given the timeline, and the fact that he has moved on.

I say again... what is the man supposed to do? Sit by his wife's bedside for 15 years? Tragic as the situation is, he is entitled to a life and a family.

I told my own husband that if I am in a similar condition (and for the record I do not want to be starved to death if I was in her shoes), and he wants to pick up with another woman and start making babies with her, that he is to give my sister decision making powers

I'm sorry you see it as "picking up with another woman and making babies". I can almost see you sneer as you wrote that. You frame it as betrayal and abandonment. I would frame it as "meeting someone new, getting on with life, and being happy again." Do you not want your husband to be happy in his life when yours is (for all practical purposes) over?

I sure enough don't want him making life and death decisions for me, if he has taken up with another woman.

I suppose that explains your position. As for me, there is no one in the world I love more than my wife, nor is there anyone who loves me as much as she does. Were I in Terri's position, there is no one I would trust to act on my behalf more than my wife, whether it's 1, 5, or 20 years later. And if she had another family and would gain $1 million by achieving closure, I would have absolutely no doubts that her love for me would come before the money. How sad that there is so much mistrust in relationships these days that people are becoming so bitter.

Well I watched about the sa... (Below threshold)
been there:

Well I watched about the same situation play out in my own life. I watched to abuser/killer get what she wanted and the people sworn to protect the victim help her all the way.

The court ignored the laws regarding guardianship. The court administrators office ignored that.

Adult Protective services lied about speaking to parties who wished to express concerns of abuse and neglect. The attorney Genneral and two governers refused to act on this.

The local police sided with the abuser. Perhaps in large part because she helped to add over $100K to their coffers every year and the chiefs wife worked with one of the other abusers.

The States Attorney refused to investigate this and put the Chief of police in charge of the investigation of the death ignoring no less than three reports of our problems with the department including failure to investigate an apparent assault on the victim and a threat on my life.

There is more, much more but you get the flavor. I have seen first hand that the system does not always work to protect the vulnerable.

We are not talking unresolved grief here. We are not talking family disagreements. We are not talking "there are two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle lies the truth. We are talking very serious crimes.

Doing a search on your email address Brian I found a question on a Church of Later Day Saints where you identified yourself as a Christian and asked about something your Pastor had told you. Perhaps you should speak to your Pastor on this matter as well and get his view.

I have a great many friends that identify themselves as Christians. About 70% live up to the creed they profess. While I may not believe exactly as they do I have to admire that 70% for being able to walk the walk they talk. It is a very rare thing these days.

Terri had a gaurdian ad ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Terri had a gaurdian ad litum appointed for her by the court. That guardian, after looking into things and visiting Terri, said that Terri would not want to be put to death and was responsive. Judge Greer dismissed that guardian and never appointed another.

This is highly inaccurate as far as I can find. First of all Jeb Bush (not the court) called for a "fresh, clean-hands start" and appointed Jay Wolfson as guardian ad litem, under "Terri's law" in 2003. The report that Wolfson submitted to Gov. Bush does not come to a conclusion about what should be done, but does say that swallowing tests are possible, and therapy exists, though whether it would work on Terri he doesn't say. What he does not say is that she "would not want to be put to death and was responsive." Plus it had nothing to do with Judge Greer. This was while Gov. Bush was tangling with Judge Baird, but it doesn't have to do with him either. You can see the Wolfson report here

Some relevant parts (sorry for the length):

Terri is a living, breathing human being. When awake, she sometimes groans, makes noises that emulate laughter or crying, and may appear to track movement. But the scientific medical literature and the reports this GAL obtained from highly respected neuro-science researchers indicate that these activities are common and characteristic of persons in a persistent vegetative state.

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. The initial oxygen deprivation caused damage that could not be repaired, and the brain tissue in that area continued to devolve.

In recent months, individuals have come forward indicating that there are therapies and treatments and interventions that can literally re-grow Theresa’s functional, cerebral cortex brain tissue, restoring part or all of her functions. There is no scientifically valid, medically recognized evidence that this has been done or is possible, even in rats, according to the president of the American Society for Neuro-Transplantation. It is imaginable that some day such things may be possible; but holding out such promises to families of severely brain injured persons today may be a profound disservice.

In the observed circumstances, the behavior that Theresa manifests is attributable to brain stem and forebrain functions that are reflexive, rather than cognitive. And the substantive difference according to neurologists and neurosurgeons is that reflexive activities of this nature are neither conscious nor aware activities. And without cognition, there is no awareness. (Descartes addressed this in his proposition that it is our awareness, our consciousness that defines our being: “Cogito, ergo sum”. This logic would imply that unless we are aware and conscious, we cease to be.)

Not everyone has a livin... (Below threshold)

Not everyone has a living will Jinx. If they don't, you're saying, the next of kin should have no say? I suppose you should write your congressman about changing the law then.

Thankfully, my state has sensible laws regarding the absence of living wills:

145B.12 What if there is no living will or proxy?

Subdivision 1. No presumption created. If an individual has not executed or has revoked a living will under this chapter, a presumption is not created with respect to:

(1) the individual's intentions concerning the provision of health care; or

(2) the appropriate health care to be provided.

Subd. 2. Nutrition or hydration. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize or justify the withholding or withdrawal of artificially administered nutrition or hydration from any person who has not issued a living will or designated a proxy under this chapter.

Brian: there's evidence th... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Brian: there's evidence that Terry Schiavo suffered physical abuse by her husband. There's proof (it's establised) that Terry Schiavo was bulemic (and her lapse in consciousness that brought about the beginning of her current state was induced by an act of bulemia by potassium imbalance, it's established)...such that, what we have here, among other questionable happenings and proven behaviors, are two people who lack credbility, at least reliability, that either/both of them were competent (or are) to carry forward with the level of decisions and obstructions that have taken place.

Terry Schiavo may have moaned out "I don't want to live like that" at some point, but we'll never really know that unless she becomes capable to communicate such a past history with any clarity, certainty. Her husband's assumptions and opinions are just that: assumptions and opinions; however, to many others, her husband's behavior has been questionable enough to suggest that the guy is not of good character, may not be lucid, honest or even well balanced.

All in all, the situation indicates or at least suggests such unreliability as it requires, to my view, the intervention of society on behalf of Terry's life itself -- the stakes are those, her life or her death. Despite whatever the husband can and has said, I don't find him reliable and many others don't, either.

I don't get from most who comment about this situation that people are suggesting that ALL cases of spouses suffer intervention in potential cases of similar circumstances (life or death for an incapacitated spouse), just that in THIS SPECIFIC CASE, where these two individuals are concerned (Mr. and Mrs. Schiavo), there is indication that (1.) Terry Schiavo may not have been competent to represent herself prior to the experience of incapacitation, certainly not afterward and that (2.) husband Schiavo may not have the ability, character or motivation to represent what is best for his wife as another human being in her current situation (and his history of behavior indicates that he has worked to bring about her death, to not maintain nor protect her health/wellbeing, and life itself).

The guy's behavior alone makes me think that whatever he's said and done up to now has not been reliable. That alone to my view means that the woman (Terry) is in grave danger of impending death at the hands of someone who has made his preference for ending her life well known and displayed many actions throughout the years to bring that about -- anyone can say they are acting on instruction but the husband has no proof/evidence of that, while there IS evidence (other testimony, other individuals) that indicates that Terry never said to the husband what he maintains she did -- yet more reason to suggest the husband has character problems.

We convict people for murder in the First Degree based upon less evidence than this...and, what we do as a society on behalf of Terry Schiavo, we do for all. It is not only her life but the principles involved here.


Old Coot: thank you, kindly.

From the report's conclusio... (Below threshold)
mantis:

From the report's conclusion:

The GAL concludes from the medical records and consultations with medical experts that the scope and weight of the medical information within the file concerning Theresa Schiavo consists of competent, well documented information that she is in a persistent vegetative state with no likelihood of improvement, and that the neurological and speech pathology evidence in the file support the contention that she cannot take oral nutrition or hydration and cannot consciously interact with her environment.1

With a footnote:

But that is not enough. This evidence is compromised by the circumstances and the enmity between the parties. Until recently, while both Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers agreed that Theresa was in a persistent vegetative state, they could not agree as to the matter of discontinuation of life support. Recently, the Shindlers have adopted what appears to be a position that Theresa is not in a persistent vegetative state, and/or that they do not support the fact that such a medical state exists at all. Yet throughout the nearly ten years of litigation, it is the issue of her ability to swallow, ingest food and hydration, and the findings regarding any residual cognitive ability that have marked the medical substance of this dispute.
Of the Schindlers, there has evolved the unfortunate and inaccurate perception that they will “keep Theresa alive at any and all costs” even if that were to result in her limbs being amputated and additional, complex surgical and medical interventions being performed, and even if Theresa had expressly indicated her intention not to be so maintained. During the course of the GAL’s investigation, the Schindlers allow that this is not accurate, and that they never intended to imply a gruesome maintenance of Theresa at all costs.
Of Michael Schiavo, there is the incorrect perception that he has refused to relinquish his guardianship because of financial interests, and more recently, because of allegations that he actually abused Theresa and seeks to hide this. There is no evidence in the record to substantiate any of these perceptions or allegations.
Until and unless there is objective, fresh, mutually agreed upon closure regarding measurable and well accepted scientific bases for deducing Theresa’s clinical state, Theresa will not be done justice. There must be at least a degree of trust with respect to a process that the factions competing for Theresa’s best interest can agree. To benefit Theresa, and in the overall interests of justice, good science, and public policy, there needs to be a fresh, clean-hands start.
The Schindlers and the Schiavos are normal, decent people who have found themselves within the construct of an exceptional circumstance which none of them, indeed, few reasonable and normal people could have imagined. As a consequence of this circumstance, extensive urban mythology has created toxic clouds, causing the parties and others to behave in ways that may not, in the order of things, serve the best interests of the ward.

The toxic clouds are pretty thick in here and on other blogs.

(Sorry, the "fresh, clean-hands start" was Wolfson, not Bush.)

Oh, and as far Schiavo neve... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Oh, and as far Schiavo never approving the proper scans to diagnose PVS, here's a bit from the FL 2nd District court decision from 2003 (Judge Altenbernd, not Greer):

Through the assistance of Mrs. Schiavo's treating physician, Dr. Victor Gambone, the physicians obtained current medical information about Theresa Schiavo including high-quality brain scans. Each physician reviewed her medical records and personally conducted a neurological examination of Mrs. Schiavo. Lengthy videotapes of some of the medical examinations were created and introduced into evidence. Thus, the quality of the evidence presented to the guardianship court was very high, and each side had ample opportunity to present detailed medical evidence, all of which was subjected to thorough cross-examination. It is likely that no guardianship court has ever received as much high-quality medical evidence in such a proceeding.

RE: Just Me's post (March 1... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Just Me's post (March 18, 2005 10:01 PM)
...I told my own husband that if I am in a similar condition (and for the record I do not want to be starved to death if I was in her shoes), and he wants to pick up with another woman and start making babies with her, that he is to give my sister decision making powers, although I don't particularly see my husband moving on like that, you never know, but I sure enough don't want him making life and death decisions for me, if he has taken up with another woman.

Just Me,

I hope you will consider this a sincere suggestion and take it in the spirit in which it is intended and not as some personal affront. Based on what you have described and with the Schiavo case in mind to provide extra context, might it be wise to create a written version of the conditions that you just described and give that version to your sister? Alternately and for the sake of marital harmony, you may provide one version to your husband and another version to your sister (which he won't know about) with the understanding that any version your sister has is the most current version. Doing this will cover your preferences and the documentation date will determine priority.

Just a thought.

And from the <a href="http:... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And from the 2nd District court's first Schiavo decision, in 2001 (also Altenbernd, not Greer):

Theresa has been blessed with loving parents and a loving husband. Many patients in this condition would have been abandoned by friends and family within the first year. Michael has continued to care for her and to visit her all these years. He has never divorced her. He has become a professional respiratory therapist and works in a nearby hospital. As a guardian, he has always attempted to provide optimum treatment for his wife. He has been a diligent watch guard of Theresa's care, never hesitating to annoy the nursing staff in order to assure that she receives the proper treatment.

...

Since the resolution of the malpractice lawsuit, both Michael and the Schindlers have become suspicious that the other party is assessing Theresa's wishes based upon their own monetary self-interest. The trial court discounted this concern, and we see no evidence in this record that either Michael or the Schindlers seek monetary gain from their actions. Michael and the Schindlers simply cannot agree on what decision Theresa would make today if she were able to assess her own condition and make her own decision.

Just Me,I probably... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Just Me,

I probably did you a disservice. Please check out Power of Attorney & Healthcare Directives for a nice roundup of guides.

mantis: a lot of us have a... (Below threshold)
-S-:

mantis: a lot of us have already read some if not all of that content that you've copied'n'pasted. It paints a picture, doesn't it? It'd be worthwhile, however, to consider information that reported the truth.

Particularly as to the hogwash about "loving husband" Schiavo "attempt(ing) to provide optimum treatment for his wife..."

Which is disproven on repeated levels, time and again. From that content, you could deduce the whoever wrote it has some grave problems with reality. Just maybe.

Interesting that none of that information makes an effort to discuss or even refer to the worth of Terry Schiavo as a living person, and focuses instead on defending husband's insistence that her life be put to an end.

been there,I'm sor... (Below threshold)
Brian:

been there,

I'm sorry that you went through a difficult time. But let me show you how an outside observer views your situation. You attribute your unfavorable experience to the combined malfeasance, corruption, or incompetence of judges, court administrators, APS, a police chief, state attorneys, an attorney general, and multiple state governors, all of whom consistently decided against what you believed to be the correct outcome.

As someone with no personal knowledge of your situation, I find it difficult to believe that the vast array of public officials that you cite collectively have it wrong. Either you are too emotionally close to the situation and are ignoring law and reason to achieve your personal goals, or you need to start circulating about ten recall petitions in your municipality.

That's not to say that your emotions aren't real and valid. But it also shows that you probably don't want unqualified outsiders like me sticking their noses into something that for you is very personal. Kinda like how Michael Schiavo probably feels.

And no, that was not me that you found in your search of previous posts.

-S-You make many w... (Below threshold)
Brian:

-S-

You make many wholly unsubstantiated statements, which you probably picked up from others' blog comments. You need to start checking your sources before you believe what you read.

there's evidence that Terry Schiavo suffered physical abuse by her husband

No, there is not. Terri's parents started making allegations of this after Michael tried to have the feeding tube removed. It has been investigated over and over, including at the insistance of Jeb Bush. No investigation has ever found any evidence of credibility to this lie. Even Bush's own appointee, Wolfson, says Michael was not abusive.

Her husband's assumptions and opinions are just that: assumptions and opinions

To what "assumptions and opinions" do you refer? If you are trying to refer to his expression of Terri's wishes, he represents them as neither assumption nor opinion, but as fact. You may not believe him, but that's a paranoia of a different color.

Despite whatever the husband can and has said, I don't find him reliable and many others don't, either.

Thankfully, this country is not ruled by the opinion of "many others". It is ruled by law. And the law has looked extraordinarily intently at this case, much more so than you and "many others" have. The law, up to and including the Supreme Court, sides with Michael.

anyone can say they are acting on instruction but the husband has no proof/evidence of that

The law does not say that he needs proof. He is her husband, and our society grants spouses rights and privileges above those granted to others. When you are unconscious and need surgery, it's your spouse who must give consent. The hospital does not ask the opinion of the surrounding population, or of Congress.

while there IS evidence (other testimony, other individuals) that indicates that Terry never said to the husband what he maintains she did

That's a ludicrous statement. There is no possible evidence that can prove that one person did not ever say something to another person.

It'd be worthwhile, however, to consider information that reported the truth.

And what evidence do you have for intimating that Wolfson's report is not the truth? After all, his investigation was requested by J. Bush himself.

Particularly as to the hogwash about "loving husband" Schiavo "attempt(ing) to provide optimum treatment for his wife..." Which is disproven on repeated levels, time and again.

Cite your evidence that this is "hogwash" or has been "disproven". Again, it was investigated thoroughly, and fully substantiated.

From that content, you could deduce the whoever wrote it has some grave problems with reality. Just maybe.

So what's your position? That if the report favors your beliefs then it's true, but if it goes against your beliefs then it's false? Have you considered that perhaps you are just plain wrong? Just maybe.

Interesting that none of that information makes an effort to discuss or even refer to the worth of Terry Schiavo as a living person, and focuses instead on defending husband's insistence that her life be put to an end.

You are missing the entire cosmic point here. Wanting a dignified death values the worth of a living person. Keeping them hooked up to machines, especially against their wishes, is the act that equates human life with nothing more than the flash and the beep of a monitor.

Brian if my husband wants t... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Brian if my husband wants to move on with his life, and find somebody new to start making babies with, that is solely his perogative and I wouldn't deny him that, what I don't want him doing is making decision about my care, especially the life and death ones once he has moved on.

As for the loving husband bit, I just don't see adultery as showing all that much love.

Brian I thought I already m... (Below threshold)
been there:

Brian I thought I already made it clear that this was not about emotions.

Very often in the course of this little horror show people have attempted to brush off reporting of facts as adjustment disorders, unresolved grief etc.

Tell me Brian how do my emotions explain failure of the guardian to provide basic medical care including dealing with broken teeth and yearly pelvic exams? The Doctor and Dentist saw this as a problem too. Do you view this as an emotional problem on their part? How about the failure of APS to respond to their expressed concerns? How about the false claims of APS that they had spoken with these men, emotions again?

Let's move on to when we finally put enough pressure on the office of the governer, Dr. Howard Dean, to get an "independant review" done. The head of the agency for which one of the perps works had the former supervisor of the perp do this investigation. Oh by the way, the issue at hand was this fine gentleman, identified to APS as an abuser being at the house for the home visit portion of the so called investigation. It might sound like emotion to you but a person who was a bit more awakes reaction was "DAMN! If I were her I would not have said one word unless I knew I was leaving with somebody safe".

How do my emotions account for the autopsy, preformed by a sister agency to APS and the above perps employer missing some of the most basic facts about the victim including a prolapsed uteris and an artificial hip? Come on Brian this is SOP, failure to put that in is as bad as failing to put in gender. Kind of makes me doubt their finding that her dehidration was caused by a stroke. Am I just being emotional?

There is corruption, there is stupidity, there is apathy and there covering ones own tail feathers. There is a little bit of each all through this.

Unfortunately there are many useful idiots out there that are more than willing to make excusses for their actions and lack of actions.

Emotions were not loosening the lug nuts on my car a few years back. I put a stop to it. Not by going to a grief support group but by letting to police chief know that the next time his little chums did anything to my property EVERYTHING involving them would go into the paper even if I had to pay display rates.

I do not appreciate you trying to lump me in with Michael Schiavo in order to defend his actions. To me that puts you in the same group as the German school children who happly chanted "we know where your're going" to disabled persons being trucked off to the T-4 killing facilities.

If you are still determined to write anything off to emotion I would urge you to take a long hard look at your own inability to deal with the most basic and clear failures of Michael Schiavo to follow through on his own words when obtaining money for his wifes care and his and the courts failure to deal with even the paperwork requirements of his role as guardian.

Perhaps we could even find you a support group.

Just Me wrote:As ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Just Me wrote:
As for the loving husband bit, I just don't see adultery as showing all that much love.

I suppose you would rather he take the Newt Gingrich approach, eh? Find out his wife is sick, and then promptly dump her. Oh, I'm sure you would be calling him an honorable man then. Not.

Imagine that, Lefties are s... (Below threshold)

Imagine that, Lefties are supporting the husband over the wife, I thought feminazis thought men were all evil?

Brian, what pray tell does ... (Below threshold)
been there:

Brian, what pray tell does Gingrich have to do with the situation at hand?

Distarction is a useful tactic but it does not fly that well in a forum such as this. Stay on topic please.

You seem to have your head fairly well wedged in to a tiny little box of your own design and, like many such afflicted you seem to think that the rest of the world should follow suit.

Look out the window in wonder Bri, there are about five billion people out there not enlightened enough to see your point of view as the one and only truth.

Call me a nutbar if you like but I was raised to believe that human and civil rights do not just apply to those with money, power and connections.

As for the treatment of ones spouse: When my wife and I got together I knew she had multiple disabilities. That is the deal I signed on for with my eyes wide open. I did not dump her because of her homcidal siblings and I sure as Hell am not going to dump her if/when her disabilities progress.

She is quite a sharp woman though and asked me to pass on word that you appear to have the maturity level of a 12 year old in her estimation (educated opinion). On my own dime I would advise that if you are not below the age of 14 you might consider getting a bit of professional help to get beyond this level.

Imagine that, Lefties ar... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Imagine that, Lefties are supporting the husband over the wife, I thought feminazis thought men were all evil?

Turn off the Rush Limbaugh, Henry, and repeat after me:

"I can think for myself"
"I can think for myself"

Henry, Been there, and othe... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Henry, Been there, and others: Please don't feed the trolls; they will simplyl linger here and bloviate instead of returning to KOS or DU. It's kinda like wrestling with pigs, you get tired and muddy and the pig has fun. Regards.

Point taken, I defer to the... (Below threshold)
been there:

Point taken, I defer to the wisdom of an older and wiser coot.

Perhaps a lu'au before we give up though?

Wiser? My wife would not a... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Wiser? My wife would not agree. Baiting trolls can be fun, but I'm not in the mood to do that on a thread about the court-sanctioned murder of an innocent young woman. My wife (who is MUCH wiser than I) has a feeling that this sad story will have a happy twist; with Terri getting the therapy she deserves and arriving at a point where she can tell us what happened to her. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Brian it is as simple as-if... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Brian it is as simple as-if my husband wants to move on and take up with another woman and make babies, that is his choice, but I do not want him making any choices for me any longer in that situation.

That said Brian, I really do not see my husband doing this. For one thing we are both sickened by what is happening with Terri Schiavo. We are very like minded. But if for some reason he does, then I would just rather he break the tie completely and let somebody I know loves me and still has my best interest at heart make the decisions.

I hope your wife is right C... (Below threshold)
been there:

I hope your wife is right Coot, Given what we have seen the last few years it seems though the killing machine is fairly well dug in. A very frightening prospect as we age.

One of my customers is diagnosed as having a developmental disability. Funny thing is though that she has a much better grasp on the problem than most so called normal people about.

been there wrote:... (Below threshold)
Brian:

been there wrote:
Brian, what pray tell does Gingrich have to do with the situation at hand? Distarction is a useful tactic but it does not fly that well in a forum such as this. Stay on topic please.

Try reading more carefully. I was entirely on topic, asking if the "find out she's sick, dump her" approach was more acceptable. This was a tactic embraced by Gingrich, and so I invoked him as an example.

You seem to have your head fairly well wedged in to a tiny little box of your own design and, like many such afflicted you seem to think that the rest of the world should follow suit. Look out the window in wonder Bri, there are about five billion people out there not enlightened enough to see your point of view as the one and only truth.

Lofty words coming from someone whose point of view was repeatedly invalidated by multiple state, circuit, federal, and Supreme Court judges. Oh, but are these activist judges?

Seems like you're the one whose head is wedged in a tiny little box and wants the rest of the world to join you. Of those five billion people you mentioned, the vast majority agree with me, and believe that a vegetative person should be allowed to die with dignity rather than have the government keep them on machines. I don't need the rest of the world to follow suit. They're already there.

Call me a nutbar if you like but I was raised to believe that human and civil rights do not just apply to those with money, power and connections.

And you accuse me of lobbing distractions? What the hell does this case have to do with money, power, or connections? The only people with money, power, or connections in this case are the ones who want her kept alive. And they are the ones who are continuously shot down.

I'm sorry your wife feels I have the maturity of a 12 year old simply because I challenge your posts with facts, opinion, and a different way of looking at the world. Though I assume that you wouldn't appreciate me insulting your wife in response, so I am bewildered as to why you would invoke her as a means to insult me. So I shall take the higher road here.

I suppose you would be more comfortable if I just called you names, instead. That is, perhaps, the maturity level that you appear to be used to. So feel free to follow the advice of Old Coot, who doesn't even know the proper usage of the word "troll". That does seem to be the standard tactic here. We don't have to agree with each other, but it did, at least, appear to be a civil debate. I guess that is too much for people like Old Coot to endure. He'd rather polite dissenting opinion be insulted and ignored, rather than openly discussed. So please, by all means, follow his advice. After all, we'll become a much more efficient country once we get rid of intelligent debate.

"Lofty words coming from so... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Lofty words coming from someone whose point of view was repeatedly invalidated by multiple state, circuit, federal, and Supreme Court judges. Oh, but are these activist judges?"

I don't know that you could go so far as to say that the federal courts invalidated the point of view, the federal courts never really heard the merits of the case, they generally said they didn't have jurisdiction and sent it back, saying that this was a matter for the state courts.

Also, just because a law is on the books, and a judge makes a decision that does not make the law of the decision a moral one. This action is immoral.

New national poll by Fox Ne... (Below threshold)
Brian:

New national poll by Fox News.

45% of people think spouses should decide the fate of a person in a persistent vegetative state.

38% think parents should.

2% think the government should.

Still think that I'm the one in a "tiny little box"? If so, then I'm in here with 98% of the country.

He who joyfully marches in ... (Below threshold)
been there:

He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.
-Albert Einstein

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
-Albert Einstein

Political correctness is just tyranny with manners, I wish for you
the courage to be unpopular. Popularity is history's pocket change.
Courage is history's true currency.
-Charlton Heston

You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.
-James Thurber

THE COWBOY CODE
The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man or
take unfair advantage.
He must never go back on his word or a trust confided to him.
He must always tell the truth.
He must be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously
intolerant ideas.
He must help people in distress.
He must be a good worker.
He must keep himself clean in thought, speach, action and
personal habits.
He must respect women, parents and the nations's laws.
The Cowboy is a patriot.
-Gene Autry, 1939

Whenever, therefore, people are deceived...
it is clear that the error has slid into their minds
through the medium of certain resemblances to that truth.
-Socrates

Find out just what any people will quietly submit
to and you have the exact measure of the injustice
and wrong which will be imposed on them.
-Frederick Douglass

A great many people think they are thinking when
they are really rearranging their prejudices.
-Edward R. Murrow

missed this one:Ho... (Below threshold)
been there:

missed this one:

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young,
compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and
tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life
you will have been all of these.
- George Washington Carver

Appellate courts rarely add... (Below threshold)
Julie:

Appellate courts rarely address the merits of the issues on appeal. They mostly address legal procedures, i.e., if the correct laws were applied correctly.

45% of people think spou... (Below threshold)
Julie:

45% of people think spouses should decide the fate of a person in a persistent vegetative state.

Would that 45% want their ex-spouse to decide?
For all intent and purposes, it is no longer a marriage.

If they were healthy and their spouse left them, established a household with another person and had several children, even if not divorced, would they believe it prudent to give that person the power of life and death over them?

« Amber Dolle: Terri Schiav... (Below threshold)

« Amber Dolle: Terri Schiavo sentenced to slow, painful death | Main | Michael Schiavo and his attorney on offensive »

March 18, 2005
Medical Facts About Terri Schiavo
Many people have referred to the "medical evidence" that Terri has little to no brain matter remaining.
FACT: The only way to determine such a thing accurately is with an MRI or PET scan. Neither have been done, and they have been disallowed in her case per Michael Schiavo's instructions.
From Blogs for Terri. Some of you should read it.

See also this Guardian article

A little known but interesting facet of this case is that Wolfson is not the first guardian ad litem appointed to represent Terri's interests. When Schiavo first petitioned the court for permission to dehydrate his wife in 1998, he properly admitted that he had two significant conflicts of interest: He was likely to want to remarry and if Terri died, he would inherit the more than $700,000 then on deposit in her trust account. (For those who have not followed this case,
Terri received the money in a medical malpractice lawsuit.)

Because of these conflicts of interest, the Probate Court appointed Richard L. Pearse Jr. of Clearwater, Florida, as Terri's guardian ad litem and instructed him to investigate the matter and report back with a recommendation. Pearse filed his report with the court on December 28, 1998 urging that the court deny the petition to remove Terri's food and water.
Pearse unambiguously accepted the diagnosis that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) based on the opinions of two doctors, one who treated her and one who consulted on the case. This diagnoses was--and remains-- disputed by Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Indeed, subsequent to Pearse's report, the Schindlers energetically attempted to garner evidence that she is conscious. To some degree, they have succeeded: Four board certified neurologists, two board certified internists, one neuro-psychologist, and two speech pathologists have testified in person or by affidavit that Terri is not PVS. These opinions were reinforced by the affidavits of three nurses who cared for Terri in the mid-1990s and who claim to have observed her being interactive. Moreover, millions have viewed videos of Terri and been shocked by the extent to which she appears to aware and awake.

Pearse claimed that Terri has muscle contractures despite receiving "regular physical therapy." He may have assumed that she received such care--it is routine for bedridden patients, after all. Yet, according to Patricia Anderson, the Schindler's attorney, there are no entries indicating that PT was ever performed in Terri's chart after 1992. Indeed, in 1998, when a new doctor urged Schiavo to approve an evaluation of Terri so that a plan of physical therapy could be developed, he refused to permit it.
*Pearse confirmed the charge by the Schindlers that once the medical malpractice money was in the bank, Schiavo began to refuse medical treatment for Terri, writing:


After February 1993, Mr. Schiavo's attitude concerning treatment for the ward apparently changed. Early in 1994, for example, he refused to consent to treat an infection from which the ward was then suffering and ordered that she not be resuscitated in the event of cardiac arrest. The nursing home where she resided at that time sought to intervene, which ultimately led the ward's husband to reverse his decision and authorize antibiotic treatment.
Perhaps because of the intervention by the home, Schiavo soon moved Terri to a different nursing facility.

*Schiavo admitted to the guardian ad litem that he had at least "two romantic involvements" after Terri's collapse. "It is apparent to me," Pearse wrote the court, "that he has reached a point that he has no hope of the ward's recovery and wants to get on with his own life." (To say the least. At the time
of Pearse's investigation, Schiavo was already living with the woman who would become the mother of his children.)

...As of April 4, 1998, Terri's trust fund held $713,828.85. "Thus," wrote Pearse, "Mr. Schiavo will realize a substantial and fairly immediate financial gain if his application for withdrawal of life support [tube-supplied food and water] is granted." (Schiavo now claims that there is only $50,000 left in the account, the bulk of the money having gone to pay his attorneys.)

*At the time of the report, only Schiavo claimed that Terri would not wish to be kept alive if severely incapacitated. "However," Pearse opined, "his credibility is necessarily adversely affected by the obvious financial benefit to him of being the ward's sole heir at law in the event of her death while still married to him. Her death also permits him to get on with his own life." (Subsequent to the filing of the report, and perhaps in response to it, Schiavo's brother and sister-in-law came forward to claim Terri made similar statements in their presence. In this regard it is worth noting that no member of Terri's family, or any of her friends, recall her ever making any such statements to them.)

*Pearse concluded, "Given the inherent problems already mentioned, together with the fact that the ward has been maintained the life support measures sought to be withdrawn for the past 8 years, it is the recommendation of the guardian ad litem that the petition for removal be denied."


UNFORTUNATELY, Pearse's opinion held scant sway with the court. After filing his report, he requested further court instructions to authorize him to continue to represent Terri as guardian ad litem. Schiavo's attorney, George Felos objected, and attempted to have Pearse removed for bias. This attempt failed but after his report was received, Pearse was discharged from participating any further in the case. And despite Schiavo's continuing conflicts of interest--which only deepened on the personal level as he sired children--no other guardian ad litem was ever appointed to represent Terri during the years of litigation, proceedings that culminated in an October 15, 2003 court order requiring Terri Schiavo to be deprived of all water and food toward the end that she dehydrate to death.

March 18, 2005... (Below threshold)


March 18, 2005
Medical Facts About Terri Schiavo
Many people have referred to the "medical evidence" that Terri has little to no brain matter remaining.
FACT: The only way to determine such a thing accurately is with an MRI or PET scan. Neither have been done, and they have been disallowed in her case per Michael Schiavo's instructions.
From Blogs for Terri. Some of you should read it.

See also this Guardian article

A little known but interesting facet of this case is that Wolfson is not the first guardian ad litem appointed to represent Terri's interests. When Schiavo first petitioned the court for permission to dehydrate his wife in 1998, he properly admitted that he had two significant conflicts of interest: He was likely to want to remarry and if Terri died, he would inherit the more than $700,000 then on deposit in her trust account. (For those who have not followed this case,
Terri received the money in a medical malpractice lawsuit.)

Because of these conflicts of interest, the Probate Court appointed Richard L. Pearse Jr. of Clearwater, Florida, as Terri's guardian ad litem and instructed him to investigate the matter and report back with a recommendation. Pearse filed his report with the court on December 28, 1998 urging that the court deny the petition to remove Terri's food and water.
Pearse unambiguously accepted the diagnosis that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) based on the opinions of two doctors, one who treated her and one who consulted on the case. This diagnoses was--and remains-- disputed by Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Indeed, subsequent to Pearse's report, the Schindlers energetically attempted to garner evidence that she is conscious. To some degree, they have succeeded: Four board certified neurologists, two board certified internists, one neuro-psychologist, and two speech pathologists have testified in person or by affidavit that Terri is not PVS. These opinions were reinforced by the affidavits of three nurses who cared for Terri in the mid-1990s and who claim to have observed her being interactive. Moreover, millions have viewed videos of Terri and been shocked by the extent to which she appears to aware and awake.

Pearse claimed that Terri has muscle contractures despite receiving "regular physical therapy." He may have assumed that she received such care--it is routine for bedridden patients, after all. Yet, according to Patricia Anderson, the Schindler's attorney, there are no entries indicating that PT was ever performed in Terri's chart after 1992. Indeed, in 1998, when a new doctor urged Schiavo to approve an evaluation of Terri so that a plan of physical therapy could be developed, he refused to permit it.
*Pearse confirmed the charge by the Schindlers that once the medical malpractice money was in the bank, Schiavo began to refuse medical treatment for Terri, writing:


After February 1993, Mr. Schiavo's attitude concerning treatment for the ward apparently changed. Early in 1994, for example, he refused to consent to treat an infection from which the ward was then suffering and ordered that she not be resuscitated in the event of cardiac arrest. The nursing home where she resided at that time sought to intervene, which ultimately led the ward's husband to reverse his decision and authorize antibiotic treatment.
Perhaps because of the intervention by the home, Schiavo soon moved Terri to a different nursing facility.

*Schiavo admitted to the guardian ad litem that he had at least "two romantic involvements" after Terri's collapse. "It is apparent to me," Pearse wrote the court, "that he has reached a point that he has no hope of the ward's recovery and wants to get on with his own life." (To say the least. At the time
of Pearse's investigation, Schiavo was already living with the woman who would become the mother of his children.)

...As of April 4, 1998, Terri's trust fund held $713,828.85. "Thus," wrote Pearse, "Mr. Schiavo will realize a substantial and fairly immediate financial gain if his application for withdrawal of life support [tube-supplied food and water] is granted." (Schiavo now claims that there is only $50,000 left in the account, the bulk of the money having gone to pay his attorneys.)

*At the time of the report, only Schiavo claimed that Terri would not wish to be kept alive if severely incapacitated. "However," Pearse opined, "his credibility is necessarily adversely affected by the obvious financial benefit to him of being the ward's sole heir at law in the event of her death while still married to him. Her death also permits him to get on with his own life." (Subsequent to the filing of the report, and perhaps in response to it, Schiavo's brother and sister-in-law came forward to claim Terri made similar statements in their presence. In this regard it is worth noting that no member of Terri's family, or any of her friends, recall her ever making any such statements to them.)

*Pearse concluded, "Given the inherent problems already mentioned, together with the fact that the ward has been maintained the life support measures sought to be withdrawn for the past 8 years, it is the recommendation of the guardian ad litem that the petition for removal be denied."


UNFORTUNATELY, Pearse's opinion held scant sway with the court. After filing his report, he requested further court instructions to authorize him to continue to represent Terri as guardian ad litem. Schiavo's attorney, George Felos objected, and attempted to have Pearse removed for bias. This attempt failed but after his report was received, Pearse was discharged from participating any further in the case. And despite Schiavo's continuing conflicts of interest--which only deepened on the personal level as he sired children--no other guardian ad litem was ever appointed to represent Terri during the years of litigation, proceedings that culminated in an October 15, 2003 court order requiring Terri Schiavo to be deprived of all water and food toward the end that she dehydrate to death.

Judge Greer's eyesight is s... (Below threshold)

Judge Greer's eyesight is so poor he does not drive a car. Yet when confronted with the video taped evidence that Terri is not vegetative, but is responsive, he took off his glasses adn wouldn't look at it.

"Many have seen the now-famous videotape that the Schindlers distributed to the press in their effort to show the world that Terri is not a vegetable. In this video, Terri gives every appearance of looking directly at those speaking to her, reacting to her mother’s embrace, and following (with her eyes) a balloon around the room. While many who saw the video found it compelling evidence that Terri is in fact conscious, Judge Greer did not.

Although he had to be asked twice to look at his monitor and to put his glasses back on so he could see it clearly, he did not find the video evidence sufficiently “consistent and reproducible.” He opined that “cognitive function would manifest itself in a constant response to stimuli.” Pat Anderson, the Schindlers’ attorney, explained in a World Net Daily article that Judge Greer, in evaluating the video, used a “scorecard” approach that “stacked the deck no matter how Terri responded. If she always responded—it was just primitive brain-stem activity. If she randomly responded—it was not repetitive enough.” Interestingly, Judge Greer and Felos have sought to suppress the video, and Judge Greer ordered the Schindlers not to photograph or videotape Terri in the future, under threat of legal sanction."


Instead of the neutral evidence of a videotaped session with Terri, he prefers to rely on these witnesses:

"...Judge Greer accepted the medical testimony presented by Michael Schiavo that Terri is in a PVS and will not recover. That conclusion becomes even more dubious when you examine Felos’s well-known ties to the euthanasia movement and the background and testimony of Michael Schiavo’s principal medical witness, Dr. Ronald Cranford.

Felos has been a member of the infamous Hemlock Society. Amazon.com, on the Web page for Felos’s book Litigation as Spiritual Practice, describes him as “spearheading a social revolution to enable death with dignity in the state of Florida.” He certainly spearheaded the effort to bring about Estelle Browning’s death, spurred on by his belief that he can spiritually commune with those in a PVS. Although she couldn’t speak, he claimed that he detected her soul crying out to his soul, asking, “Why am I still here?”

In light of Felos’s association with the euthanasia movement, it’s hard to imagine that his choice of Cranford is coincidental, as Cranford is perhaps the leading medical exponent of the pro-death movement.

Cranford jokingly refers to himself as “Dr. Death” and, for a fee, will come to a trial and testify that the person whose life the plaintiff wants to end is in a PVS. He was the leading medical voice calling for the deaths of Paul Brophy, Nancy Jobes, Nancy Cruzan, and Christine Busalucci, all of whom were brain-damaged but not dying. Nonetheless, he advocated death for all by dehydration/starvation, just as he has for Terri.

Nancy Cruzan—one of his “patients”—required no skilled nursing, no care but food and fluids, hygiene, and turning to prevent bedsores. She didn’t even need tube feeding, but Cranford testified that he would even consider spoon-feeding “medical treatment.” Cranford wrote in the summer 1998 issue of Concern for Dying that he foresees “that there may be extreme situations, and in the future increasingly common situations, where physician-assisted suicide may not only be permissible, but encouraged.” In a 1997 op-ed for the Minneapolis–St. Paul Star Tribune, Cranford advocated the starvation of Alzheimer’s patients.

In contrast to the twelve hours Hammesfahr spent examining Terri, Cranford spent approximately 45 minutes. Rus Cooper-Dowda, who has endured neurologic exams himself, upon seeing the videotape of Cranford’s exam described it as “physically brutal.” He said that Cranford “clumsily poked, prodded, thumped, shoved, and pinched her.” Although Cranford admitted that Terri pulled away from him when he approached her, he did not deem that a voluntary response. When Terri moaned after he “thunked her hard between the eyebrows,” Cranford told the court that it wasn’t a response to pain.

Cranford prides himself on the fact that he was very influential in the development of the criteria used in diagnosing PVS. But in 1996, Dr. Keith Andrews, the medical director of the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London, along with several other staff members, published an article titled “Misdiagnosis of the Vegetative State” in the British Medical Journal. In that article, they revealed that 43 percent of patients sent to that hospital with the diagnosis of PVS—some of whom had been presumed to be in a PVS for more than a year—were not in a vegetative state at all. They found that the misdiagnosed patients had severe communication problems as a result of their disabilities, but with the proper clinical measures, “nearly all were able to communicate...some to a high level.” They concluded that:

The vegetative state needs considerable skill to diagnose, requiring assessment over a period of time; diagnosis cannot be made, even by the most experienced clinician, from a bedside assessment [emphasis mine].... Recognition of awareness is essential...to avoid inappropriate approaches to the courts for a declaration for withdrawal of tube feeding.

The growing awareness of the difficulty in diagnosing PVS, and the widespread errors in making the diagnosis, have led many leading hospitals, such as the Northwestern University Rehabilitation Institute, to routinely reassess patients referred to them as PVS.

Cranford has testified that patients in a PVS have “no hope of recovery,” but this is simply untrue. A number of people found to be “unrecoverable” have, in fact, recovered. Cranford himself diagnosed Sergeant Richard Mack, a police officer shot in the line of duty, as “definitely...in a persistent vegetative state...never to regain cognitive, sapient functioning.” Almost two years later, Mack “woke up.” He eventually regained almost all his mental abilities.

Kate Adamson, who appeared on Fox News’s O’Reilly Factor on November 6, recounted her own chilling story. She had also been diagnosed as in a PVS, and doctors removed her feeding tube.

I could see and hear everything going on around me, and I had no way...of communicating with anyone…. I was completely paralyzed…. When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I was—thought I was—going insane. I was screaming out [in her mind], “Don’t you know I need to eat?” ...Michael [Schiavo] on national TV had mentioned last week that it’s a pretty painless thing to have the feeding tube removed. It is the exact opposite. It was sheer torture..."


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