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53 Votes

So for all their posturing and complaining, the leadership only got 53 of their fellow Democrats to vote for Terry Schiavo's death sentence. The vast majority of the Democrats were smart enough to stay away from this one. 112 Democrats refused to vote at all.

This was brilliant. For 53 votes, they tar their whole party with the stench of trying to kill this poor woman. They define tone-deaf. And Howard Dean calls Republicans "brain dead."

Which Dem is going to take the blame for this bright idea?


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Comments (78)

I really think they thought... (Below threshold)

I really think they thought they were exploiting some political point here... I think they've become too insulated and only listen to DailyKos, MoveOn.Org, etc, etc. Pushing for death when there are so many conflicts of interests clearly doesn't play in Peoria. As I highlighted in a post on my site, Peggy Noonan was wrong when she thought that the GOP only had to face down Michael Schiavo... the Left has now become the Party of Death. There's an entire movement established to make sure that if there are any questions, we should just go ahead and terminate.

BTW, the Left is now calling for a blogswarm to push their POV into the MSM. amazing.

They will figure out a way ... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

They will figure out a way to lay this one on President Bush as well. Just wait and see. They hate him so bad that they will do anything to stop him from doing the right thing. The recriminations will start tomorrow, if they haven’t started already.

112 Democrats refused to... (Below threshold)

112 Democrats refused to vote at all.

Are you combining the House and the Senate? Because the number of non-voting Democrats in the House was 102. I didn't see the results of the Senate vote, except that there were no "no" votes.

But the Dems putting their ... (Below threshold)
ginabina:

But the Dems putting their combined foot in it, so to speak, is only relavent if the masses (and not just the "in crowd" of the blogasphere) get the point.

My dad told me today that my own Grandma (a mostly Republican 81 year old) thinks Michael is right. I'm pretty sure my in-laws (also mostly Repub) agreed with her. One who has become a burden needs to be gone.

These are Midwestern folks who have no clue what a blog is. A blogswarm is, therefore, only going to play in Peoria (about 50 miles from my extended family home) if the the Dems death march becomes news in the MSM and is explained in terms that all will understand.

(ditto the new Social Security plan, btw)

"The care of human life and... (Below threshold)

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."
--Thomas Jefferson


They've done him proud today.

What about the 5 Republican... (Below threshold)
mantis:

What about the 5 Republicans who voted against it and the 71 who refused to vote at all? Who will take the blame for them?

So, which of our resident m... (Below threshold)
Julie:

So, which of our resident moonbats need to go on suicide watch?

Find out if this woman is a... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

Find out if this woman is a vegetable already. That's the crux of the matter. I could care less is she lives or dies IF she IS a vegetable...but not on my tax dollars thanks.

In war, sometimes it's the kindest thing you can do to put someone out of their misery, depending on wounds... you kids don't really understand the issues real well.

But if she's NOT a vegetable, then I'm trusting MY PRESIDENT is doing the best thing possible.

Sorry to be dense....... (Below threshold)
ginabina:

Sorry to be dense....

What happens now? When will the Federal hearing be? Will she be reconected pending the outcome?

I have been looking, but haven't found the answer anywhere. Maybe nobody knows?

The left's biggest problem ... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

The left's biggest problem with Terri is that every time they show that video of a woman who responds to noises and follows objects with her her eyes she looks so much like a large 2 month-old baby. I'd say her responses to stimuli are about the same. She has the the same basic needs, to be fed, bathed, diapers changed, to be cared for completely. She's no vegetable, I've yet to see an ear corn respond to anything. I've seen recent video of her on nearly every news channel on TV and she's far from comatose. Here's the legal definition of PVS:
http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/Persistent_vegetative_state

A persistent vegetative state (or PVS) is a condition of patients with severe brain damage in whom coma has progressed to a state of "wakefulness without awareness". The term was introduced by two doctors in 1972 to describe a syndrome that seemed to have been made possible by medicine's increased capacities to keep patients' bodies alive. A persistent vegetative state is not the same as coma, the major distinction being that coma sufferers cannot breathe on their own.

Patients in a persistent vegetative state are usually considered to be unconscious and unaware, but exhibit sleep-wake cycles and some behaviors that can be construed as arising from partial consciousness, such as grinding their teeth, swallowing, smiling, shedding tears, grunting, moaning, or screaming without any apparent external stimulus. Their heads and eyes can track moving objects or turn towards a sound.

Few people ever recover from PVS, but in occasional cases, family members who visit the patient will detect evidence of awareness when doctors with limited patient contact will deny it. Eye tracking is often the earliest symptom of recovery.

As opposed to brain death, PVS is not recognized as death in any known legal system. This legal grey area has led to several court cases involving people in a PVS state, those who believe that they should be allowed to die, and those who are equally determined that, if recovery is possible, care should continue. Well-known cases include Terri Schiavo, Paul Brophy, and Sunny von Bülow.
------------------------------------------------------------Anyone that thinks she isn't responding to stimulus needs to watch those videos again. it's not coincidence that she turns her head towards sound, that's a response. She tracks objects with her eyes, the defintion says "Eye tracking is often the earliest symptom of recovery." Unlike those on the left that react to the stimulus of a chance to kill an innocent person with apparent glee and attack it with the same amount of zeal that they try to protect a mass murderer on death row, she can't comunicate her feelings to us. It's a shame they can. Just about the time my opinion of the left can't go any lower they prove me wrong.

Bullwinkle,Even yo... (Below threshold)
JYT:

Bullwinkle,

Even your own source states, "their heads and eyes can track moving objects or turn towards a sound." So, can you and I differentiate between reflexive eye tracking and "recovery" eye tracking? Personally, I'm more inclined to listen to Terri's doctors and the independent doctor appointed by the court rather than draw questionable conclusions based on a few minutes of video, but to each his own.

Just for the record, I'm in favor of the death penalty.

To go just a little further... (Below threshold)
JYT:

To go just a little further on the subjecft of the videos (from the transcript of the trial):

"At first blush, the video of Terry Schiavo appearing to smile and look lovingly at her mother seemed to represent cognition. This was also true for how she followed the Mickey Mouse balloon held by her father. The court has carefully viewed the videotapes as requested by counsel and does find that these actions were neither consistent nor reproducible. For instance, Terry Schiavo appeared to have the same look on her face when Dr. Cranford rubbed her neck. Dr. Greer testified she had a smile during his (non-videoed) examination. Also, Mr. Schindler tried several more times to have her eyes follow the Mickey Mouse balloon but without success. Also, she clearly does not consistently respond to her mother. The court finds that based on the credible evidence, cognitive function would manifest itself in a constant response to stimuli."

As for your point that this would be killing an innocent person who can't communicate her feelings to us, the finding of the court was that it was Terri's wish to die if in such as state as she currently finds herself. Whether you like it or don't like it, that's not my opinion, but the finding of the court based on testimony given. The trial was not to determine if Michael could terminate Terri's life, but to determine what her present physical state was (determined to be persistent vegitative state) and what HER wishes were for herself in that state. Why is this so hard for people on this board to understand?

My guess is that the judge ... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

My guess is that the judge never tried to keep the attention of a class of first-graders. Terri has made sounds and even spoken in the past and they claim she mouthed the word "no" when they removed her feeding tube. I highlighted the part "without any apparent external stimulus" thinking that most people with an attention span greater than Terri's could remember the point. We have evidence that some people can still type after entering PVS now. What day are you free next week, JYT? We need to start making arrangements to begin your starvation/dehydration therapy. You clearly have PVS. It'll only take about 14 days and you won't feel a thing.

When Governor George W. Bus... (Below threshold)

When Governor George W. Bush signed a law that allows Texas hospitals to end treatment to terminally ill patients (despite family opposition) after their insurance/medicare/medicaid funds ran out [The Texas Futile Care Law], was he promoting or undermining a culture of life? When President George W. Bush proposes Medicaid budget cuts for funds used to provide care to the severely brain-damaged, is he pro-life or pro-death? When Republicans refused to include exemptions in the recent bankruptcy bill for individuals who had financially exhausted themselves caring for severely ill family members, was he promoting a culture of life, or just helping credit card companies stick it to those who actually engaged in the culture of life?

What are the rationales that support the Republicans' tactics in the Schiavo case but do not condemn their tactics in these other cases?

Where are the lefties that ... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Where are the lefties that oppose the death penalty that cite the extreme outside chance that we may execute an innocent person? Have they been convinced by the shoddy work done by the doctors that there's nothing left of Terri but a shell? Where are the lefties that argue we can keep killers locked up forever and not endanger society? They have to admit if they truly believe Terri is in a PVS it would be impossible for her to harm anyone, ever. Why can't they excuse Terri's condition by claiming she was abused as a child, or grew up in a broken home, or watched too much TV and played violent video games as a teenager and is therefore not responsible for her condition? That would make anyone in their book exempt from paying any kind of penalty. I guess if Terri's childhood home had been painted with lead-based paint or she lived near Three Mile Island while growing up we'd never even have had to ask these question. Can't they find some connection to some evil corporation, maybe she witnessed a Halliburton truck going down the highway or was exposed to second-hand smoke in her youth. They would be searching for ways to keep her alive if she filled the bill of one of their causes, they'd be searching for ways to keep her alive if the republicans weren't acting and they be looking for any excuse they could come up with if she had murdered 20 people. They'd hold a candlelight vigil outside the prison the night before her execution. She doesn't fit in with their agenda so she's worthless to them. The only way they could possibly made to care at this point is if someone was able to step forward with some revelation that she had experienced any of things I mentioned, the democrats are always looking for a poster child.

The game congress paid, tos... (Below threshold)
Jewels:

The game congress paid, tossing back and forth Terri's bill the way they did. That was purely dispicable. I just hope that now that it's signed that something in FL can be done in time to get that feeding tube back in Terri.

Which reminds me- oh brilliant and wonderful Paul, would you happen to have a copy of- or know where we can download a copy of the audio that Drudge had linked to this morning? It's already exceeded it's bandwidth on both sites linked and I can't find it elsewhere. What if I bat my eyelashes like this? ::blinks hard:: Did that work? :oD

::I'm not going to correct ... (Below threshold)
Jewels:

::I'm not going to correct my typos- I'm not going .. to ... correct...

GYaH!

Pudentilla :Obtain... (Below threshold)
Julie:

Pudentilla :

Obtain, *all* the medical records in these other cases you keep referring to. We'll review them by a case by case basis and give you an opinion.
Otherwise, you are just talking out of your ass. Not that it has ever stopped the left before.

"Few people ever recover fr... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Few people ever recover from PVS, but in occasional cases, family members who visit the patient will detect evidence of awareness when doctors with limited patient contact will deny it. Eye tracking is often the earliest symptom of recovery. "

This isn't even true. A study in the UK indicated that almost 50% of diagnosed PVS cases ended up improving. Now you can argue that the PVS was misdiagnosed, but then that begs the question of our tendancy to turn doctors into all knowing gods. If they have gotten it wrong before, is it really a good idea to kill somebody without anything in writing, whose family wants to take care of her, and whose husband stands to receive 700k (and please don't give me the "there is nothing left line" had Michael had his way, when he first wanted her dead, he would have gotten over 700k) and after he has started living with another woman and making babies with her.

Honestly, my issue is that once Michael started living with another woman, he gave up any right to make decisions about Terri's life or death.

And what harm exactly would be done, if Terri's parents take her home to care for her?

In advance, they prepare a ... (Below threshold)
Julie:

In advance, they prepare a court order for the tube to be replaced and find out which judge will be available to sign it. As soon as the bill was signed, it was presented for the judge's signature and taken to the medical facility.

What I'd like to see is a r... (Below threshold)
Tristan:

What I'd like to see is a rational explaination/justification why this is a Federal issue.

Why do we have the entire US (Represented by Congress) interfering in an issue that is, in any respect that I can fathom, for the state of Florida to decide?

Where is the link to the su... (Below threshold)
Palmateer:

Where is the link to the supposed voice of Terri complaining when the tube was removeed?

ginabina: The 11th... (Below threshold)
Julie:

ginabina:

The 11th Circuit USDC Middle District of Fla. (Tampa) will set a trial schedule. It's going to take a while though. If you go to their website, under notable cases they will post the order for her tube to be replaced and eventually a schedule. Link

Where are (often leftist) g... (Below threshold)
Meezer:

Where are (often leftist) groups that protect/are activists for the disabled? Have we heard a peep out of them? As someone who just took a special ed course in an education department, I know that people nearly as disabled as Terri have rights in the schools. We went over several specific cases where school districts had to provide education for people who were very profoundly disabled-and I mean VERY profoundly-I could see no difference in reaction or behavior from the videos shown of Terri.

What I'd like to see is ... (Below threshold)
Julie:

What I'd like to see is a rational explaination/justification why this is a Federal issue.

Under the authority of the US Constitution, Congress exercised its right to pass a law making it a federal issue. That's why. Are you against the US Constitution?? If you don't like it, change it. Otherwise, suck it up.

Why do we have the entir... (Below threshold)
Julie:

Why do we have the entire US (Represented by Congress) interfering in an issue that is, in any respect that I can fathom, for the state of Florida to decide?

Because it takes a vote from the entire congress to pass a law. The constitution gives congress the right to grant federal jurisdiction, which they did. Are you saying congress doesn't have the right to exercise powers granted to it under the US Constitution?

Nowhere in the entire US Constitution does it state that Congress will not exercise any powers granted to it unless tristan can "fathom" it.

"The left's biggest problem... (Below threshold)

"The left's biggest problem with Terri is that every time they show that video of a woman who responds to noises and follows objects with her her eyes she looks so much like a large 2 month-old baby. "

The real problem is the vicious propaganda from the Right, notablt Randall Terry. The clip we have all seen was culled from hours of taping. 5 neurologists could not duplicate the results.

But, this isn't about Terri :

ABC News obtained talking points circulated among Senate Republicans explaining why they should vote to intervene in the Schiavo case. Among them, that it is an important moral issue and the "pro-life base will be excited," and that it is a "great political issue — this is a tough issue for Democrats."
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Schiavo/story?id=595905&page=2

Forget it dude, <a href="ht... (Below threshold)

Forget it dude, found the link to the audio of Terri's reaction to her feeding tube being removed. I haven't listened to it yet- but I believe this is not the "IIIII waaaaaaaa" that Barbara Weller reported Terri saying when she was told about what was about to be done to her. I don't think that was recorded.


"whose family wants to take... (Below threshold)

"whose family wants to take care of her, and whose husband stands to receive 700k"

The malpractice settlement was in 1993. There is less than 50K left.

Steve J.: Everythi... (Below threshold)
Julie:

Steve J.:

Everything you bring up has been debated ad nauseum on this blog alone. Whether you approve or not, the tube is going to be, if not already has been, replaced. There is nothing you can do about it. Go wear black or something if that will make you feel better.

I've restrained from relati... (Below threshold)

I've restrained from relating this story, because I think it will probably be misconstrued by some to indicate that I believe Terri has a significant chance to improve to a much higher degree than I think is likely. Still, the lesson I learned through this experience has a huge bearing upon this case.

Several years ago, while I was in the midst of my clinical time for paramedic school, one of my rotations took me into the cardiac care unit at the University Medical Center. The area to which I was assigned consisted of twelve rooms reserved for only the most critical patients--most were on ventilators (with feeding tubes, btw). One lady, suffered sudden-onset cardiac arrest in a doctor's office waiting room, and had been in the unit a few days before I arrived for the first of my three twelve-hour rotations. She had shown no signs of any mental activity, and her family was advised that she was in her last days. An EEG (something I haven't even heard mentioned in the Schiavo case) showed a very low level of higher brain activity on the day after she was admitted. During my second day, a second EEG was run, and indicated practically no brain activity--not even enough to trigger any attempt at spontaneous respiratory effort. This I learned upon arrival on my third day. I was told that the family had decided to discontinue life support on the next day, after a couple more out-of-town children had arrived. At one time during that day, the nurse and I went into her room to change out an IV bag. After the nurse left, I lingered a bit, just watching the patient, looking over the numerous monitoring and life-sustaining equipment to which she was attached. Then I saw something--a slight movement of her hand. I reached and squeezed her hand--no response. Still, I told the nurse what I had seen. She attributed it to nerve responses through the spinal cord (reflex loop). Through the day, though, I kept an eye on the patient. I started to see a slight change in facial expression from time to time. After many times trying, I got the nurse's attention while the patient was moving her hand slightly. Although she was still convinced this indicated nothing about the patient's mental activity, she did relay the news to the attending physician. The doctor didn't think this was significant, either, but he ordered a third EEG, without informing the family--not wanting to generate any false hope. The EEG was performed, but no results had been reported by the time I left. Upon my arrival the third day, the day scheduled to be the end of life support for the patient, the nurse informed me that the EEG had shown an undeniable increase in brain activity, and that the family had consented to waiting a couple more days, just to see what developed. We observed some movements through that day, but still nothing significant. My days in the unit were then over. About a week and a half later, I delivered a patient to the same floor, and told my partner to wait while I went into the unit to ask about the patient. Although I remain a realist in such situations, my heart dropped a little bit when I saw a different patient in her room. I asked the nurse about the lady, expecting her to tell me when she had died. Instead she told me that she had gone home with an excellent prognosis less than a week after my last day in the unit. Following up on the patient, as she lived within about 20 miles of me, I eventually learned that she lived over three more years without needing any assistance--she had made a full recovery.

I relate this lengthy story to illustrate that almost all of medical diagnoses and analyses are educated guesses. In no area that I can imagine is this more true than in matters of brain activity and consciousness. There is no excuse for not exhausting every measure available to determine a patient's true condition in this area. I, as a paramedic, act under the advance direction of a physician--"standing orders," if you will. If I enter a scene in which a patient is in cardiac arrest, in the absence of a written, current, and present DNR, I am to err on the side of life. I must temper this decision with common sense--the patient's "down-time" and the wishes of the family enter into the equation to some degree, but when the choice falls exclusively into my lap, I will, ten times out of ten, turn all of my efforts and energies to helping the patient. That, in my opinion, and the opinion of most physicians, is the only ethical thing to do.

Had Terri Schiavo been afforded all available tests to conclude that no brain activity existed other than reflexive neural loops, and had her husband and guardian shown himself to have her best interests at heart, I would feel much differently about this case. In no wise did those gentlemen who penned the law giving exclusive rights in this matter to the patient's spouse intend that this type of decision be made by a spouse who was estranged to this degree from the patient. His "in sickness and in health . . . til death do us part," vow has been thrown into the same incinerator as he now wishes to throw Terri. I know full well the complexity of this issue, but when all the facts are considered, the burden of proof should lie upon those who wish to end Terri's life, not upon those who would keep her alive.

Jeff asked: "Are you combin... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Jeff asked: "Are you combining the House and the Senate?"


Um-- I wasn't... maybe I typoed, it was like 1 in the morning after a 4 hour blogapthon. Maybe my eyes were tired, I'll check.

UPDATE: No I was right, 112

Jewels I have a copy and I'... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Jewels I have a copy and I'm trying to upload it.

P

Hey Rovian conspiracy guy..... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Hey Rovian conspiracy guy.... We don't fuss about blatant link whoring... but don't look too desperate... knowhatImean?

"Where are (often leftist) ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Where are (often leftist) groups that protect/are activists for the disabled? Have we heard a peep out of them?"

I don't about the leftist characterization, but I do know that several groups representing the disabled have filed briefs in support of the Shindlers and Terri's right ot live, although to date none of them have made a difference. But they are there.

RE: Just Me's post (March 2... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Just Me's post (March 21, 2005 07:44 AM)
This isn't even true. A study in the UK indicated that almost 50% of diagnosed PVS cases ended up improving. Now you can argue that the PVS was misdiagnosed, but then that begs the question of our tendancy to turn doctors into all knowing gods...

Just Me,

The reference you are citing (I believe) and circulating elsewhere is Misdiagnosis of the vegetative state: retrospective study in a rehabilitation unit, K. Andrews et al, British Medical Journal, 1996;313:13-16 where 40 patients "with a referral diagnosis of vegetative state" from Royal Hospital for Neurodisability were selected for review. Seventeen (43%) were considered to have been misdiagnosed which is not "almost 50%" even though 43% is an exceedingly high error rate of misdiagnosis.

From what I could tell from this peer reviewed paper was that they did not receive external funding (British government funded the study I assume) and there were no declared conflicts of interest. So, it was a legitimate study despite its somewhat incestuous selection of hospital patients. That's not to say that it was not a practical consideration and entirely valid.

After reading the paper, it does paint an interesting picture of diagnosing PVS. However, there are concerns with the study and you should review them before taking its conclusions as gospel. Unfortunately, I, in my quick scan for confirming/refuting studies, have not found other peer reviewed material where the patient pool was larger and more widely dispersed. Someday, when time permits, I might.

One very interesting number was that of the 17 considered to have been misdiagnosed as vegetative, 10 patients "had been considered to be vegetative for between six and 12 months". This is an inappropriate diagnosis to make since PVS, as I understand it, cannot be determined in such a short span. Those "misdiagnoses" skewed the study to a significant degree and probably should not have been included in the dataset. Maybe that was a function of trying to acquire a statistically significant data pool from which to draw conclusions and some support for that might be appropriate. However, given the conclusions derived from the study, the seemingly large error rate, and the repercussions from such a conclusion, the researchers should have reassessed and used a more definitive, and narrowed, guide to testable subjects.

Also interesting was that none of the patients in the study were diagnosed using any of the following: computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG), or positron emission tomography (PET). This is a huge methodological flaw given that this is the very battery of tools used to detect neuronal/tissue presence and density. That doesn't mean that every test needed to be used but they should have selected at least one and used it as a baseline diagnostic tool. Differing technologies would have clouded the issue had one set of patients received one type of scan and another group a second type, but that still would have been better than none. In view of the difficulty in assessing PVS and the shallow interpretation by behavior alone, this is a fatal flaw in the experiment and discounts it greatly.

You and others should review the follow up discussion by peers before you accept this as a definitive study. There are concerns regarding this study from experts in the field. The Andrews paper is a very nice overview that touches on quite a few concepts. The takeaway point that hit me was that diagnosis takes extensive review for extended time with observations made by various interested, yet unbiased, parties. That to me discounts M. Schiavo, the Shindler family, and any physician making judgement by video sequence, much less an edited one. A doctor making a diagnosis based on such limited data should be sanctioned (actually, were it their patient, they could have their license revoked).

D. T. Wade, Misdiagnosing the persistent vegetative state, BMJ, October 12, 1996; 313(7062): 943c - 944.

R. Cranford, Misdiagnosing the persistent vegetative state
BMJ, July 6, 1996; 313(7048): 5 - 6.

K. Andrews, http://www.postgradmedj.com/cgi/content/full/75/884/321
Postgrad. Med. J., June 1, 1999; 75(884): 321 - 324.


Having said all of the above, the husband should still retain the right to fulfill T. Schiavo's wishes given the legal record that has transpired. Ultimately, I think the Federal courts, and it make take even the Supreme Court to decide, will strike down Schiavo's Law and T. Schiavo will rest in peace.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on the Andrews study and the concerns presented by peers. Also, if you find another similar study re PVS diagnoses, please post it.

Ginabina:I hear th... (Below threshold)
Julie:

Ginabina:

I hear that they are waiting for the federal judge to finish reviewing the case and issue a ruling. That's ridiculous. She's been without water for almost 72 hours now. On capital cases they are awake all night to issues rulings. He has to sign the order because he must hear the case by law. So, I don't know why there should be any delay. Maybe he needs to be deprived of food and water for three days and see how it feels.

Bullwinkle,Yes, Te... (Below threshold)
JYT:

Bullwinkle,

Yes, Terri can moan and scream. Yes, she does this often with no external stimuli. Yes, it's certainly possibly to introduce some external stimuli and then have a moan at the same time. It's even possible to tape this occurrance and then pretend that it's proof of her cognitive function. If I set my computer to beep at random intervals, and then every so often say "Computer: beep" and get one of immediately followed by a beep, it doesn't mean my computer's intelligent and responding to external stimuli. Since you believe this "logic", though, I urge you not to unplug any computers in the future. You might be ending an innocent life by doing so.

I see you posted again on your "innocent life" theory. As I pointed out before, this is simply incorrect:

"As for your point that this would be killing an innocent person who can't communicate her feelings to us, the finding of the court was that it was Terri's wish to die if in such as state as she currently finds herself. Whether you like it or don't like it, that's not my opinion, but the finding of the court based on testimony given." So, let's not revisit that particular straw man, please.

I guess you were too busy insulting my attention span to read it when I posted it the first time. I know I present painful truths that are hard for you to deal with, Bullwinkle, but why don't you give it a try.

I'm still waiting for your explanation on how eye tracking can be the earliert symptom of recovery and also be consistent with being in a permanent vegitative state. Also, I'd like to hear why you believe the video evidence that was presented in trial did not convince the independent physician or the judge that Terri was not in a PVS. Since your setting yourself up as the expert on Terri's condition (based on what -- 5 minutes of video footage), I'd also like to hear about your medical credentials and your opinion of Terri's medical records. Finally, which video shows her speaking? What's your basis for that claim?

What a dork! Schiavo filed... (Below threshold)
Julie:

What a dork! Schiavo filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the husband, Greer and the hospice withholding food and hydration. The judge set it for hearing at 3 p.m. est.

Since Bush is in his final ... (Below threshold)
JYT:

Since Bush is in his final term, I believe past
political precedence means that it is "pay back" time
to all his big money supporters. Crazy shit like
liberal corporate tax breaks/bankruptcy laws
(basically pandering way too much to big business),
legal reform to a much more conservative approach in
all branches of government
(executive/judicial/legislative), and in this era
advocating extreme conservative/religious ideology
both here and abroad, I think now, becomes the norm
for a conservative Republican administration; all
because they have no future presidential election to
worry about, and because they control all branches of
the Federal government.

I think the only hope we have is, this Iraq war sinks
the administration and the Republican Party, before
the next presidential election. They always say
"absolute power" corrupts, and since the Republicans
effectively control all three branches of the federal
government, this also in a way, no doubt explains why
all this crazy shit is happening in our country today.

This conservative pro-active/incessant need by the
Federal government to get involved in all aspects of
American life down to the state and local level, even
though they have no business doing so, shows in my
opinion, that the tentacles of absolute power tend to
bear down on every American by taking away personal
freedoms at what is now, an alarming rate. No doubt
also by doing this, they are trying to expand their
power base by catering to their ultra-conservative
"red state" constituency to get additional votes/seats
in the next election (in this case, the upcoming
mid-term one).

We have gone way too far in overlegislating,
and become a nation of way too many laws that benefit
a select few financially (basically corporate America),
and hurt many many more everyday people.

It is almost like the Republican Party is some kind of
nasty old grade school teacher/diciplinarian, who
purports to know everything that is right for us
citizens, and we are supposed to blindly listen and do
what we are told - no questions asked.

Why we can't just let states take care of their own business?
I believe the US Constitution clearly states in so many words (to
roughly paraphrase), "all powers NOT expressly
assigned/given to the federal government are hereby
given to the states". With absolute power (as the
Republicans have now), no doubt the Schiavo case
clearly illustrates to me that the Republican Party
feels that they can overtly -*BYPASS*- the US
Constitution, and flaunt it even.

Effectively, they seized an emotionally charged topic
to captivate their constituency, and basically ended
up distracting the the citizens of our country from
even noticing the fact that they had bypassed the US
Constitution on numerous recent occasions. Bush's
justification for the Iraq war had no logic whatsoever
(the "he was a bad guy anyway, so the war was
justified" logic, even without WMDs or good
intelligence, and bypassing U.N. due process), and I
guess now, we have another issue at hand here where
the US Constitution, due process, and logic/reason,
are just thrown out the window, so to speak, because
absolute power has the power to do this.

The Schiavo case has had its day in court (its due
process, if you will), many times, and with feeding
tube removals going on all day, everyday, all around
this country, I think most sane people realize it is
time to let this girl die.

Hell if I was a veg for more than a week, I would want
my plug/tube pulled; no and's, if's, but's, or maybe's
about it.

JYT, that's so completely d... (Below threshold)

JYT, that's so completely disingenuous. First of all, nobody knows whether Terri is vegetative or not. It's not something we can know. All we can do is observe her and make guesses, and different people have made different guesses.

Secondly, you don't have the foggiest idea whether you'd want your "tube pulled" or not until you've been there. It's so easy to say it now, but it really doesn't mean anything unless you know what you're talking about … or unless you're leaving instructions for your doctors, which is something Terri never did.

Finally, even if you did want to die, I find it impossible to believe that you would WANT to die by dehydration, slowly and painfully, over a period of days or possibly even weeks. If we're going to kill Terri, shouldn't we at least do it with the same degree of humanity we use when killing an animal? I mean, if you starved your dog to death, you'd be arrested.

Anonymous I disagree with y... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Anonymous I disagree with you on whether or not the husband should be making these decisions.

Also, I agree with the original guardian ad litem-the information provided wasn't clear and convincing evidence that she wanted to die.

As for the studies, I think the fact that there is misdiagnosis, is enough to be concerned (your last link didn't work). Also, I strongly dislike this belief that doctors and the medical proffession are all knowing gods. They certainly know a lot, but a neuroligist can't tell me why my son has autism, a neurologist can't tell me what it is about his brain that makes it work differently, and there is much more about the brain we just don't know.

I think some of the assumptions are screwy-I don't know how many times I have see "she feels no pain" um, and how exactly do we know this? She can't communicate effectively, if at all, doctors just "think" a person in PVS or with this severe of brain damage doesn't feel pain, but there isn't any objective evidence to know it.

I am also sick of the vegitable comments, I see exactly where this debate is going, it is heading the way of defining who is a person, and whose disabilities provide them any right to live. Today, we are going to kill Terri, because her husband wants her dead, and because we have deemed her life worthless, who are we going to declare worthless tomorrow? Quality of life should not be the measure by which we actively kill people, and Terri is not terminally ill, to remove her feeding tube is actively killing her, whether you want to believe that or not.

RE: Jeff Harrell's post (Ma... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Jeff Harrell's post (March 21, 2005 10:42 AM)
...I find it impossible to believe that you would WANT to die by dehydration, slowly and painfully, over a period of days or possibly even weeks. If we're going to kill Terri, shouldn't we at least do it with the same degree of humanity we use when killing an animal?...

Good point. Let's move the venue for a moment to expound on this. If this case were in Oregon(?) (or a more liberal state that permitted doctor-assisted suicide) where alternatives to starvation to end life were available, would that make this saga more palatable to you? Is it the method of death and its possibly painful protraction that bothers you most? Also, what would your different positions be knowing that a) you had a written advance directive or b) you had an oral advance directive and that with either position, you could choose your mode of death?

By definition, suicide is t... (Below threshold)

By definition, suicide is the act of killing oneself. Nobody else can "suicide" you. Terri can't kill herself, nor can she ask for help in killing herself.

Also, an advance directive would have no bearing on this case at all. A directive asking doctors to withhold food would never be honored. You can ask doctors not to give you heroic life-saving measures — like the use of drugs or devices to sustain your life after the point where your body has become incapable of sustaining itself — but you can't ask doctors to starve you to death. That's not what DNRs are for.

So many people seem to be coming at this as if Terri Schiavo were a terminally ill patient who's being kept alive by doctors. She's not. She's a healthy woman of middle age who just happens to have severe brain damage. There's no mercy involved in killing her. Just killing.

Sticking to Florida for a m... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Sticking to Florida for a moment. I think absent a written directive, and combined with a dispute as to wishes among family members, that the government should damn well er on the side of life.

If there is a possibility that Terri didn't want this, then the government is helping a man accomplish a murder. If we are ever going to give the right to die folks what they want (which is active euthenasia) then they would actually do better to argue for Terri in this case rather than against her, because Terri has nothing in writing, the standard of evidence is too flimsly to convict somebody in court, much less be used as evidence to starve somebody to death. Then there is some dispute among the doctors about her PVS (and rightly or wrongly, she did have two doctors say she wasn't in PVS-so you can't say there is unanimous agreement on her condition either).

Now on to this:

"Let's move the venue for a moment to expound on this. If this case were in Oregon(?) (or a more liberal state that permitted doctor-assisted suicide) where alternatives to starvation to end life were available, would that make this saga more palatable to you?"

Only if she had her wishes in writing. If the circumstances of the case are still the same, it is only in a state that permits active Euthenasia, then I would still feel the same.

"Is it the method of death and its possibly painful protraction that bothers you most? "

I can't say this is what bothers me the most, although it bothers me a lot. What bothers me the most is that Michael is still the one given the right to make these decisions, when at the time he ordered the tube removed he had already been living with his current girlfriend. Sorry, but once you move in with another woman, you have given up any right to make decisions for your spouse. If there is anything I wish the legislature would fix, it would be this aspect. I think Michael has a huge conflict of interest here, and in combination with the money he would have received, I don't think the judge should have allowed the guardianship to remain with him. I think this is the heart of the problem in this case.

"Also, what would your different positions be knowing that a) you had a written advance directive or b) you had an oral advance directive and that with either position, you could choose your mode of death?"

I think if a person has something in writing, then we should strive to abide by that document.

When it comes to oral directives, I think if the family members agree that that was the wishes, then you can probably trust that it was. But if famly members are in dispute over that fact, I think it is imperative that the government er on the side of caution and life.

I also think in the future that in any case where a person without a written directive is looking at death by any means, they should be appointed a permanent guardian ad litem to represent specifically their interests in the case.


Anyone track the fact that ... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Anyone track the fact that the husband here never once mentioned her supposed "living will" for seven years UNTIL he met another woman and fathered two children by her?

No one to mention that he has refused to answer the question as to whether he has a life insurance policy on his wife?

No one to discuss the conflict of interest apparent here?

No mention of the judge who found the husband's establishment of a living will to be sound? Wasn't the other case he was famous for was determining a woman had no cause to fear her husband and refused a restraining order--she was stabbed to death shortly thereafter by her husband...suppose his view is that when a wife gets to be troublesome we should just off them...

This isn't like pulling the plug on a respirator and death coming quickly...this is purposely starving someone to death. If we proposed doing this as a form of execution on inmates you can be sure as shit there would be an outcry of cruel and inhuman torture. Hell, if she were a dog she would have more legal rights than she has... Maybe her parents should file suit with the SPCA...

Oops, reversed the link cod... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Oops, reversed the link code.
K. Andrews, The vegetative state - clinical diagnosis Postgrad. Med. J., June 1, 1999; 75(884): 321 - 324.

I hope you'll try again.

Also, I strongly dislike this belief that doctors and the medical proffession are all knowing gods. They certainly know a lot, but a neuroligist can't tell me why my son has autism, a neurologist can't tell me what it is about his brain that makes it work differently, and there is much more about the brain we just don't know.

True, and a good doctor will acknowledge ignorance. I've seen good and bad in clinical and research. However, some thing we do know. As always medicine is a practice and good science is perpetually under review.


I am also sick of the vegitable comments, I see exactly where this debate is going...

You have inferred too much and I have no intention of diverting this to a quality of life issue with you. I am merely referencing the very study so many proclaim (and you yourself refer) as definitive evidence of errors in diagnosing PVS. I'm sorry if you find offense in the terminology, but that is the nomenclature of the industry. There is a link to a paper that discusses this very issue of semantics and the "whys" the terminology still permeates typical banter as well as professional venues. Nevertheless, this is a research paper where emotion is minimized - loaded words are not the focus of the study. Supposedly, its main point is a methodology paper and associated pitfalls of drawing conclusions re PVS. That it is not comprehensive and incorporate every nuance of debate is not its purpose.

I just found this interesti... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I just found this interesting piece at the Corner on NRO, that explains the real story behind that law that keeps being trotted out by Clive et al.

http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_03_20_corner-archive.asp#058783

"But according to a source familiar with what went down in Texas, the then-governor signed into law the best bill he could get at the time, improving an already bad situation. Here’s some background explained:
In August 1996 the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article describing procedures then in effect in Houston hospitals. Under these procedures, if a doctor wished to deny a patient lifesaving medical treatment and the patient or the patient's surrogate instead steadfastly expressed a desire for life, the doctor would submit the case to the hospital ethics committee. The patient or surrogate would be given 72 hours notice of the committee meeting would be allowed to plead for the patient's life at it. During that short 72 hour period, the patient or surrogate, while preparing to argue for life, could also try to find another health care provider willing to give the lifesaving treatment, food or fluids.

If the ethics committee decided for death, under these procedures there was no appeal. There was no provision that the food, fluids, or lifesaving treatment be provided after the decision while the patient or family tried to find another hospital willing to keep the patient alive.

So under these procedures, the hospitals in Houston were denying life-saving treatment, food and fluids against the wishes of patients and their families, when the hospital ethics committees said their quality of life was too poor. Patients and families were being given only 72 hours after being notified of the proposed denial to find another health care provider.

In 1997 there was an advance directives bill going through the Texas legislature that would have given specific legal sanction to such involuntary denial of life-saving treatment. An effort in the Texas legislature to amend the bill to require treatment pending transfer to a health care provider willing to provide the life-saving treatment had been defeated. When that bill reached Governor George Bush’s desk, he vetoed it, and said he was vetoing it precisely because it authorized hospitals to deny lifesaving medical treatment, food, and fluids against the will of the patients.

But even without that bill, these procedures were still going on. So there was an effort in the next sitting of the legislature, in 1999, to pass protective legislation. Unfortunately, the votes just weren’t there to require lifesaving treatment, food, or fluids be provided by unwilling hospitals. So there were negotiations that resulted in a bill that gave partial protection. That 1999 bill:

first, formalized more protections for in-hospital review
second, gave patients 10 days of treatment while seeking transfer, and
third, authorized court proceedings to extend the 10 days for reasonable additional periods to accomplish transfer.

Now this was not what patient advocates wanted and it wasn’t what Governor Bush wanted. However, it was an important advance over the existing situation of no legal requirement of treatment pending transfer, for any period of time. The votes were not there in the Texas legislature to accomplish a more protective bill. So Governor Bush signed it because it was an improvement over the existing law. "

Bush was looking for better, but signed the best he could get.

First, please note that I'm... (Below threshold)
jYt:

First, please note that I'm a different JYT than the previous poster (different email -- I'm [email protected], the previous poster with the anti-Bush, Iraq war rant was [email protected]). However, I'll still answer Jeff's post.

1) We can't know whether Terri is vegitative: It's true that we're not omniscient. However, the best medical evidence is that she is. All evidence to the contrary is anecdotal and not based on her medical records. Such was the finding of the court which found "beyond all reasonable doubt that Theresa Marie Schiavo is in a persistent vegitative state". Now, if you don't agree that matters in dispute should be settled by the courts or that courts can only make decisions when there is absolutely no doubt, I'd like to hear your plan for making that come about.

Secondly, on the subject of starvation as a means to end Terri's life, I have two points. First, I would be all for (as I'm certain Michael and other would be) for Terri to be given a lethal injection. If she could legally be given one, we wouldn't be having this discussion and she would have been dead the first time the court ruled that her feeding tube would be pulled. Second, it was the finding of the court, based on expert testimony, that this would not be a slow and painful death, but a very humane one, since it was also their finding that she could not experience the pain that would normally be associated with such a death.

But I'm curious, Jeff. Is your position that it SHOULD be legal to administer the lethal injection to Terri, as mine is? If not, let's please not have any more crocodile tears over how cruel the law you're supporting is causing her death to be.

Florida Statute § 765.101(1... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Florida Statute § 765.101(12):


“Persistent vegetative state” means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:

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

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

------------------------------------------------------------
I posted this for the brain dead ghouls of the left. That's Flroida's legal definition. Unless several of the doctors that have seen Terri are conspiring to keep her alive and there's a lot of altered video out there that proves to me that Terri isn't nearly as far gone as many of you are.

Re: Jeff Harrell post (Marc... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Re: Jeff Harrell post (March 21, 2005 11:04 AM)

Jeff, with due respect, you've dodged my question.

Forget the Schiavo case and all of its baggage for a moment. Here's the nub and we'll dispense with the advance directives:

Is it the method of death and its possibly painful protraction that bothers you most?

From what I have gleaned so far, your concern about the mode of death is a smokescreen and wholly irrelevant to your position. It serves as a nice debating addendum but somewhat conceals what you really believe. That's fine and I respect that; it's just that I'd like it spelled out so that I don't misinterpret your position. Since the mode of death wouldn't impact your ultimate position, why use it as a pier of your foundation to throw back at someone else?

JYT #2, the best medical ev... (Below threshold)

JYT #2, the best medical evidence is also anecdotal. The diagnosis of PVS is fuzzy at best. It can't be confirmed by any kind of test. It's purely based on the judgment of the people standing in the room. And different people have reached different conclusions.

I think that the question of whether Terri Schiavo is conscious, in the way that most of us understand the term, is one that we simply can't answer. Treating it like a dispute over facts is a mistake.

And no, my position is definitely not that Terri should be given, to use your phrase, "a lethal injection." The question of whether doctors should be allowed to end the suffering of terminally ill patients is a whole 'nother subject, one I won't get into here. Because, you see, Terri Schiavo is not terminally ill. She's not even sick. She's disabled. And saying that it's okay to kill disabled people … well, I don't want to go all Godwin here, but we saw that policy enacted in Europe in the 1930s, and we consider it to have been among history's greatest atrocities.

Forget the Schiavo case ... (Below threshold)

Forget the Schiavo case and all of its baggage for a moment.

All due respect: No. I'm not interested in spinning off into some wild, totally abstract discussion that has no connection to reality. I'll leave that stuff to the philosophers.

Is it the method of death and its possibly painful protraction that bothers you most?

No. It's the fact that we're talking about killing a woman who is not even sick that bothers me most. It's obviously more serious than but essentially equivalent to putting your dog down because you're tired of paying for dog food.

However, the fact that that's what bothers me most does not mean that it's the only thing that bothers me.

From what I have gleaned so far, your concern about the mode of death is a smokescreen and wholly irrelevant to your position.

This may shock and surprise you, but I have many opinions about this case, some of which are even contradictory.

RE: Just Me post (March 21,... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Just Me post (March 21, 2005 11:12 AM)

OK. Fair points, all. We disagree on quite a few but I understand your position.

I think if a person has something in writing, then we should strive to abide by that document.

When it comes to oral directives, I think if the family members agree that that was the wishes, then you can probably trust that it was. But if famly members are in dispute over that fact, I think it is imperative that the government er on the side of caution and life.

I also think in the future that in any case where a person without a written directive is looking at death by any means, they should be appointed a permanent guardian ad litem to represent specifically their interests in the case.

I think much of this is reasonable though I dislike the way Congress has intervened.

At the federal Congressional level, we have an ends justifying means mentality in this case but there is a Constitutional framework handling this process despite unprecedented tactics. It would appear that the Constitution is being upheld so far and, in time, this will be resolved.

Thanks for the reply.

Godwin.... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Godwin.

If I had been able to vote,... (Below threshold)

If I had been able to vote, I would have voted with the 53 Democrats, and I am the webmaster of http://bushsupporter.org and http://donsingleton.blogspot.com/. I do not think the Congress should have gotten involved to overturn a decision that had been fully litigated in state court.

If you want to see an example of where they should have gotten involved, see http://donsingleton.blogspot.com/2005/03/unhooked-from-life-support.html

Pudentilla,When... (Below threshold)
mcg:

Pudentilla,

When Governor George W. Bush signed a law that allows Texas hospitals to end treatment to terminally ill patients (despite family opposition) after their insurance/medicare/medicaid funds ran out [The Texas Futile Care Law], was he promoting or undermining a culture of life?

In fact, he was promoting it. Existing medical practice in Texas was actually far more severe. Governor Bush wanted to restrict such plug-pulling practices further but that was the best bill he could get through. But again, had the bill not been signed, doctors would have been denying futile treatment far more frequently, not less. In fact, it's quite telling that the recent case from Houston was the first real test of the law.

I'll ignore your typical "culture of life" equals "spending government money and sticking it to corporations" arguments. Instead I will simply say that nobody who supports the Democratic party and therefore its pro-abortion position has no right whatsoever to lecture me or any other Republican on what constitutes advancing the culture of life. The phrase "pot calling the kettle black" doesn't even begin to cover it. More like "the fetid pile of steaming horse shit calling a sweaty guy stinky".

Instead I will simply sa... (Below threshold)

Instead I will simply say that nobody who supports the Democratic party and therefore its pro-abortion position has no right whatsoever to lecture me or any other Republican on what constitutes advancing the culture of life.

Woah, woah, woah. First of all, there's no law that says that everybody who supports the Democratic Party has to be in favor of abortion. Just as there are lots of pro-choice Republicans, I'm sure there are lots of pro-life Democrats.

But more than that, I'm sick and tired of this "You have an opinion on this, therefore you can't have an opinion on that" bullshit. People are hypocrites! Deal with it. We hold conflicting opinions. We contradict ourselves. We say this today and that tomorrow. This is universally true of everybody, and is not limited to one political group or another. It's life. Pointing it out and saying "You are no longer entitled to speak on this subject" is a load of horse manure.

I'm so sick of people looking for excuses not to listen to each other.

Jeff I think you make some ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Jeff I think you make some very good points, this is really not about a terminally ill woman, who is in the dying proccess, it is about killing somebody who is disabled to a point that we deem them no longer a person who deserves to live or has any right to life. Today it is the PVS patients, but the doctor who Greer most relied on in his decision thinks we should be starving altheimers patients and those who suffer from dementia. Are you guys ready for that slippery slope, or are you gonna deny that it is there, and only admit it once the cart is already headed down the hill.

Anonymous-sorry I wasn't exactly directing my "vegitable" comment towards you, but others who seem to think that because she is severely brain damaged (and even PVS is just that brain damage, not brain dead) she has no personhood and no right to live. Although this may also be your position, then in that case you have been more tactful.

"And what harm exactly w... (Below threshold)

"And what harm exactly would be done, if Terri's parents take her home to care for her?"

That is the crux of it all, really. Who does it hurt? Terri? We don't know that. This is about her, isn't it? If my information is correct then Terri has been denied chances, by her husband, to receive any "rehabilitative" care. That she may have responded to such care is forever lost if she is "allowed" to die.

The other point is what everyone keeps saying "we don't know what her wishes are/were". What is this stuff that it was the finding of the court that wer wish was to die? Based on what evidence?

Okay, I am not prone to quo... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Okay, I am not prone to quoting Rush Limbaugh, but I thought he made an excellent point.

This case really isn't about Terri's right to die. It is about Michael Schiavo's right to kill her.

Terri is not terminally ill. She was not about to pass away, before the tube was removed. She is a severely brain damaged woman, whose parents want to take care of her. Her death isn't allowing some natural proccess to take place, it is removing her food and water until she dies.

FloridaOyster,I po... (Below threshold)
jYt:

FloridaOyster,

I posted this already in another thread. Here's your summary of findings from court records:

"Michael Schiavo testified as to a few discussions he had with his wife concerning life support. The Guardian Ad Litem felt that this testimony standing alone would not rise to clear and convincing evidence...The court reviewed the testimony of Scott Schiavo (brother) and Joan Schiavo (sister-in-law) and finds nothing therein to be unreliable. The court notes that neither of these witnesses appeared to have shaded his or her testimony or even attempt to exclude unfavorable comments or points regarding these discussions. They were not impeached on cross-examination." -- so lets hear no more about how this is all based on the word of her husband. There are 3 (count them, three) witnesses to Terri's wishes.

As long as we're on the subject of what's in the testimony, the whole next section is dedicated to how the court finds "beyond all reasonable doubt that Theresa Marie Schiavo is in a persistent vegitative state...with the exception of one witness whom the court finds to be so biased as to lack credibility, her movements are occasional and totally consistent with the testimony of the expert medical witnesses...the unrebutted evidence remains that Terri Schiavo remains in a persistent vegitative state."

As I've said before, like it or don't like it, but those are the court's findings -- Terri's in a PVS; Terri's wish would be to die in such a state. Don't argue with me, argue with the American legal system.

"Don't argue with me, argue... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Don't argue with me, argue with the American legal system."

I would say instead "argue with the Florida legal system"

Which brings up the interesting point for this case, that Terri was never adequately represented in any of these hearings. Her only representation was the guardian ad litem who recomended against removal of the tube, because he didn't feel the information provided on her wishes reached a clear and convincing standard.

I find it pretty scary that this woman is essentially sentenced to die, and has never had continuous representation, and what represenation she had recomended in favor of keeping her alive, and she doesn't have any right to appeal (or have her gal appeal) in her behalf.

Criminals have more rights than she does. Every convicted criminal has a right to federal judicial review of their state court conviction. Terri has no such right.

Terri is being deprived of her life, but has never had due proccess.

Now that is a weakness in the courts themselves, but I find it appalling all the same.

Just Me,Point take... (Below threshold)
jYt:

Just Me,

Point taken about the Florida legal system, though this was appealed at the federal level and the courts saw no reason to intervene, so I think a case can be made either way. Still, it's not me, however you slice it.

Your other assumption is where I think we differ. You view this decision as a death sentence. I view it as an affirmation of her right to determine her own fate. So far, all the courts agree with me. You claim she had no representation but, even from your point of view, I would think that her parents attempting to keep her alive would consist of that representation. Of course, from my point of view, it was her husband that was fighting for her rights.

So, from my perspective, she's not being denied her rights at the moment, as hard as the federal government is working to take them away. Her rights will once again be denied if the tube is re-inserted.

If the courts had not decided that this was her wish, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. Whatever you and Rush have agreed upon, if you read the case and the arguments, this is clearly a right to die case. You can disagree with the decision, but those are the merits of the case.

Oh one more for Jeff:... (Below threshold)
jYt:

Oh one more for Jeff:

Jeff wrote:
Also, an advance directive would have no bearing on this case at all. A directive asking doctors to withhold food would never be honored. You can ask doctors not to give you heroic life-saving measures — like the use of drugs or devices to sustain your life after the point where your body has become incapable of sustaining itself — but you can't ask doctors to starve you to death. That's not what DNRs are for.

This is exactly wrong. Here's the text of the Florida statute in question:


The Legislature recognizes that for some the administration of life-prolonging medical procedures may result in only a precarious and burdensome existence. In order to ensure that the rights and intentions of a person may be respected even after he or she is no longer able to participate actively in decisions concerning himself or herself, and to encourage communication among such patient, his or her family, and his or her physician, the Legislature declares that the laws of this state recognize the right of a competent adult to make an advance directive instructing his or her physician to provide, withhold, or withdraw life-prolonging procedures, or to designate another to make the treatment decision for him or her in the event that such person should become incapacitated and unable to personally direct his or her medical care.


"Life-prolonging procedure" means any medical procedure, treatment, or intervention, including artificially provided sustenance and hydration, which sustains, restores, or supplants a spontaneous vital function. The term does not include the administration of medication or performance of medical procedure, when such medication or procedure is deemed necessary to provide comfort care or to alleviate pain.

"You claim she had no repre... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"You claim she had no representation but, even from your point of view, I would think that her parents attempting to keep her alive would consist of that representation. Of course, from my point of view, it was her husband that was fighting for her rights."

Except this would actually be wrong. Her parents POV hasn't had much legal standing, and they are not directly representing her interests. If you read the report from her guardian ad litem he mentions the issue of money clouds the objectiveness of both Michael and the Schindlers.

And I think it pertinent that the only person representing even remotely the rights of Terri Schiavo through this, was that guardian ad litem who recomended against the removal of the feeding tube.

I think it is absolutely appalling that a man who is already living with another woman, and then at that point decides to pull the feeding tube is given the right to make those decisions. Once he developed a relationship with another woman, at that point he gave up his right to make any decisions for her. Also, frankly when it comes to the money, Michael even then had more to gain, given that he wanted her dead and would have collected all of the money, if her parents were after the money, they still would have been paying some for her care-because they wanted her alive.

There were conflicts all over this case, and frankly, with this many conflicts, I think the government in its capacity should always er on the side of life.

I already asked this once, but who exactly is harmed, if Terri goes home with her parents, for them to care for her?

Just Me,I guess yo... (Below threshold)
jYt:

Just Me,

I guess you didn't take my suggestion and read the court documents. You argue again that Michael made this decision, he shouldn't be able to make this decision, etc. However, that is just not true. The COURT made this decision on behalf of Terri, based on the testimony, including that of her guardian.

You suggest having someone representing Terri's rights. Unfortunately, at the present, she's unable to present a preference of what she wants. It would be hard for this person to champion her rights unless they knew what she would have wanted. I believe that she would have wanted one thing; you believe another thing. One of the whole points of the court case was to determine what her wishes were, if she were to find herself in her current state. The case was tried, the determination was made, appealed, and reviewed several times, and that's where we currently stand. I'm not sure why you don't view the judge as being an effective arbiter of her rights, except for the fact that you didn't like his opinion. The guardian that was appointed got to present his findings, but his determination was only based on his experience (i.e. he didn't get to hear all the testimony before rendering his opinion of what was in her best interest).

Please answer the following question to let me know if you understand the legalities behind this case:

If Michael decided right now that HE wanted the tube re-inserted, could he make this happen?

To answer your question, the people who are hurt by this are as follows:

1) Terri -- Her right of self-determination as found by the court would have been denied. You believe in erring on the side of "life"; I believe on erring on the side of personal freedom.

2) The people who champion these rights, myself included. I do have a living will and crazy parents who undoubtedly would argue strenously that I wasn't in a PVC, even if all my cerebral cortex was spinal fluid. Believe me, I wouldn't want your idea of an "advocate" for me at my determination hearing.


So, who, to turn it around, who's hurt by letting her die?

Just Me wrote:I t... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Just Me wrote:
I think it is absolutely appalling that a man who is already living with another woman, and then at that point decides to pull the feeding tube is given the right to make those decisions. Once he developed a relationship with another woman, at that point he gave up his right to make any decisions for her.

How exactly would you write that law? I'm too lazy to look up the wording of laws that explicitly give spouses certain rights, but would you add "unless he is living with another woman and making babies with her" to such a law? Is there a time limit?

Also, frankly when it comes to the money, Michael even then had more to gain, given that he wanted her dead and would have collected all of the money

He waited six years after receiving the money before seeking to have her tube removed, during which time the money was being depleted for her care. If he was interested in only the money, wouldn't he have sought removal of the tube sooner?

"If Michael decided right n... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"If Michael decided right now that HE wanted the tube re-inserted, could he make this happen? "

At this point the answer is no, since the judge ordered the tube removed on Friday.

I still think the judge is wacked, and I still think that Michael Schiavo is an ass, and wanted his wife dead. I think his motives all through this are in question.

"1) Terri -- Her right of self-determination as found by the court would have been denied. You believe in erring on the side of "life"; I believe on erring on the side of personal freedom."

I actually disagree that the evidence was convincing that this is what she wanted. It is a disagreement on fact, but then this happens all the time. Just look at all the people who want the cop killer released, because they think that court was wrong. It isn't any different, except that the burden of proof for the death sentence isn't as strong as it would be in criminal court.

btw to be clear, if she had her wishes in writing, I wouldn't feel strongly about this, where wishes are made in writing, I think the doctors should strive to follow the wishes in the written directive as closely as possible. There was no written directive, and there is disagreement over what terri wanted, the judge decided that terri wanted to die, I disagree, but once he decided that fact it was no longer reviewable (the appeals courts did not hear anything on that fact, most of them actually didn't hear anything at all, since the opted to not take the case).

I have said in other places that the weakness here is in the law, and I think it is a huge hole. You right to die people want to kill a disabled woman, and that is scary, where do you draw the line at who gets to live and who doesn't?

"2) The people who champion these rights, myself included. I do have a living will and crazy parents who undoubtedly would argue strenously that I wasn't in a PVC, even if all my cerebral cortex was spinal fluid. Believe me, I wouldn't want your idea of an "advocate" for me at my determination hearing."

Since you have it in writing, you wouldn't need a court hearing. Also, I am pretty certain I stated that you need the advocate only where there is a dispute between family members as to the wishes of the incapacitated person. If all the family agrees that they want something pulled there isn't much reason to go to court.

Although I have huge issues with defining who is a person and worthy to live and who isn't. I see a lot of that in these discussions and it scares me, because while today we are talking about somebody who is severely brain damaged, tomorrow we could be talking about somebody not quite so bad off, but who is an inconvienience, or whatever. This type of stuff is the begining of eugenics, and if you say it isn't, it is already starting in Europe, it is only a matter of time.

"I'm too lazy to look up the wording of laws that explicitly give spouses certain rights, but would you add "unless he is living with another woman and making babies with her" to such a law? Is there a time limit?"

I am not a legislator, but I figure if they can manage to write tax law, they can figure out how to define a person who is living in what is essentially a common law relationship.


"He waited six years after receiving the money before seeking to have her tube removed, during which time the money was being depleted for her care. If he was interested in only the money, wouldn't he have sought removal of the tube sooner?"

If you read the court documents you will notice that there was still over 700K in the bank, when he wanted to pull the tube. He hadn't spent any of that money in the four years on therapy, that was part of the dispute he was having with the Schindlers. They wanted to know why Terri wasn't getting any therapy, since the settlement was made.

Brian asked, "How exactly w... (Below threshold)
Newman:

Brian asked, "How exactly would you write that law?" (Regarding living with another woman and thus forfeiting control of the destiny of his wife.)

He should no longer have that control if he is living with (and in this case having children with) another woman. I'm not a lawyer, but there seems to be no problem with the courts determining when a common law marriage has been established. I think it actually does have to do with a time limit. So the law shouldn't be too difficult to write since there is already a clear definition of common law marriage.

I'm sure living with a woman for years and having two children by her would legally be considered a common law marriage. It would certainly be grounds for divorce under normal circumstances. For the purposes of a case like this it could be easily shown that he had left his first wife and obtained another.

You're still not allowed to have two wives in most Western societies. Why should Schiavo be allowed to have another family and, in effect, another wife, and still decide whether his first wife lives or dies?

Just Me wrote:I a... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Just Me wrote:
I actually disagree that the evidence was convincing that this is what she wanted. It is a disagreement on fact, but then this happens all the time.

Exactly. And how does one resolve a disagreement on fact? Isn't that what judges and the appeals process are for? If you don't respect the judiciary, what system would you propose in its place?

>>"If Michael decided right... (Below threshold)
jYt:

>>"If Michael decided right now that HE wanted the tube re-inserted, could he make this happen? "

>At this point the answer is no, since the judge ordered the tube removed on Friday.

Great and correct answer. A follow-up based on the answer you gave: When was the last date that he could have decided that he didn't want the tube taken out and had that desire mean anything from a legal perspective?


>I still think the judge is wacked, and I still think that Michael Schiavo is an ass, and wanted his wife dead. I think his motives all through this are in question.

I realize that is your opinion, based on your belief system. Our opinions differ, and that's probably as close as we're going to get on that particular subject.

>>"1) Terri -- Her right of self-determination as found by the court would have been denied. You believe in erring on the side of "life"; I believe on erring on the side of personal freedom."

>I actually disagree that the evidence was convincing that this is what she wanted. It is a disagreement on fact, but then this happens all the time. Just look at all the people who want the cop killer released, because they think that court was wrong. It isn't any different, except that the burden of proof for the death sentence isn't as strong as it would be in criminal court.

OK, the system we have is what we have. Perhaps there's a better one out there, but I don't know what it is. My point is that we're both uninformed on this matter relative to the judge. Personally, I think that what Congress did is an unconstitutional abuse of power, but if it's upheld, I'll accept it, because I don't know as much about constitutional law as the judge deciding that case.


>There was no written directive, and there is disagreement over what terri wanted, the judge decided that terri wanted to die, I disagree, but once he decided that fact it was no longer reviewable (the appeals courts did not hear anything on that fact, most of them actually didn't hear anything at all, since they opted to not take the case).

In all cases of appeal, the arguments are made by the appellant's attorneys and then those are evaluated based on their merits. If the appellants didn't appeal and contest this finding of fact, that's their choice. The judge in the case can't decide what's open by a higher court to review and what's not. However, I'll grant you that once findings of fact are determined in a case, it is rare that they are overturned by a higher court.


>I have said in other places that the weakness here is in the law, and I think it is a huge hole. You right to die people want to kill a disabled woman, and that is scary, where do you draw the line at who gets to live and who doesn't?

I draw the line at the same place that the court does. It found that she expressed a wish to die, if she was in such a state. I have no reason to believe otherwise. I didn't hear the testimony and review all the evidence. If you had done that, I might have a little more respect for your opinion on this. As it is, you're no better off than me


>>"2) The people who champion these rights, myself included. I do have a living will and crazy parents who undoubtedly would argue strenuously that I wasn't in a PVC, even if all my cerebral cortex was spinal fluid. Believe me, I wouldn't want your idea of an "advocate" for me at my determination hearing."

>Since you have it in writing, you wouldn't need a court hearing.
You're right I wouldn't need it or want it, but I might get it anyway. Living wills can be contested just like any other wills and often are. "Besides the problem of language ambiguity, living wills are also quite frequently contested by family members due to a reluctance in letting a family member die not of natural causes, but by the termination of treatment."

http://otpt.ups.edu/Gerontological_Resources/Gerontology_Manual/LivingWills_Mitalas.html


>Also, I am pretty certain I stated that you need the advocate only where there is a dispute between family members as to the wishes of the incapacitated person. If all the family agrees that they want something pulled there isn't much reason to go to court.

I know for a fact that my family would uniformly DISagree with my express wishes and fight tooth and nail to keep me alive at all costs, no matter my condition. So, I'd need an advocate to stand up for my right to die, and he'd better be pretty good, because he'd be in for a heck of a struggle. That's why case law that makes it easier to prolong my life is definitely against my best interests.


>Although I have huge issues with defining who is a person and worthy to live and who isn't. I see a lot of that in these discussions and it scares me, because while today we are talking about somebody who is severely brain damaged, tomorrow we could be talking about somebody not quite so bad off, but who is an inconvienience, or whatever. This type of stuff is the begining of eugenics, and if you say it isn't, it is already starting in Europe, it is only a matter of time.

The case law change that is happening for me is pretty clear. This woman has been kept alive by challenges from her parents, long after the court decided that she wanted to die. All of these means could be used against me, in the same condition, even though I'm much better prepared. On the other hand, you're relying on the extreme slippery slope argument, even though no case law here has made it any easier for a person to be killed against their wishes. Whatever is happening in Europe is not related to this particular case or Florida/American law. Eugenics? Thanks, Godwin.

Hi name is Sun Hudson. The... (Below threshold)

Hi name is Sun Hudson. The Texas hospital removed his breathing tube last week over his guardian's objections after the medicaid ran out. He was going to die anyway from a rare genetic disorder. His guardian just prefered that it not be on the hospital's time scedule. His guardian's wishes were utterly unavailing. His guardian was his mother. The Houston Chronicle has the story.

What's the difference between Hudson and Schiavo? He's an African-American infant whose single mom is very poor. All the "culture of white life" types were too busy last week to bother with his case - no special acts of Congress for kids like him. He was in Texas and subject to the Futile Care law signed by George W. Bush.

You're welcome to your opinions, Julia and mcg, but you're not entitle to make shit up and call it facts. Bush doesn't give the ass of one rat about Schiavo or Hudson. And he despises the fools who believes he does. He'll take their votes, but he holds them in utter contempt. And now, to get their votes for the 2006 elections, in flagrant contempt for core conservative political and legal beliefs, he has expanded the power of the federal judiciary and undermined principles of separation of powers and comity between state and federal government that have been central to Constitutional interpretation since 1796. Moreover, if we are to take Bush at his latest word, he has just created the political basis for the Democrats to insist upon medicare and medicaid end of life spending that will make the current budget deficit look like the product of sound financial planning.

And you parrot that "party of death" shit they feed you at NRO, incapable of independent thought, much less irony.

You asked "What's the diffe... (Below threshold)

You asked "What's the difference between Hudson and Schiavo?" and then you got the answer wrong.

The difference between Sun Hudson and Terri Schiavo, as you yourself explained, is that Sun couldn't breathe on his own, and that he was being kept alive with a ventilator. Terri Schiavo is in perfect health, apart from her disability, and isn't going to die of anything any time soon. Unless we let her starve to death, I mean.

You blew that one. Try again.

If we have anything to fear... (Below threshold)
Brian:

If we have anything to fear about the "slippery slope" argument, it's from people like Jeff who consider Terri nothing more than "disabled". Perhaps, then, we should issue Terri a handicapped parking permit for the hospital?

So now if Terri now dies be... (Below threshold)
LHM:

So now if Terri now dies because the feeding tube was removed.

What will the doctor write on the death certificate as the cause of death?

Think!

Terri is alive.

Terri has comitted no crime.

Terri is unable to speak for herself

Terri has been sentenced to death by starvation.

and.

Terri has had no legal representation.

An American Expat in Southeast Asia

I don't understand, Brian. ... (Below threshold)

I don't understand, Brian. What do you want to call her? She's not dead, she's not even sick. She suffered brain damage which left her permanently — wait for it — disabled. What would you rather call her instead? What dehumanizing euphemism would you like to apply to her, so you can feel better about advocating treating her in a way that, if she were a dog, would get you arrested for cruelty?

Two points, I'd like to mak... (Below threshold)
Clive Tolson:

Two points, I'd like to make.

First, it's great to see commenters like Just Once, jyt and Pundentilla here, providing some truth and challenging the blatant lies that fill these threads.

Second, I feel Kos deserves the flack over the Bush Nazi-like pic he posted, which was arrogant, petty and reckless on his part.

However Paul, you do not have a f**king right to criticize him, having called Democrats 'killers' for doing what most Americans agree is proper in the Schiavo case.




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