Lebensunwerten Lebens:
When Is Life Not Worth Living?

End of Life Issues — By on March 21, 2005 at 2:35 am

Over the past few weeks, the events related to Terri Schiavo have generated thousands of posts throughout the blogosphere. Unfortunately, many of the discussions — on both sides of the issue — reveal a complete ignorance about the actual facts in the case. As happens all too often in the blogosphere, people are ready to form an opinion without bothering to understand the essential elements in a story.
But while these ill-informed blogs provide little insight into this particular incident, they have performed the invaluable function of shedding light on the practical ethics of the average blogger. Many bloggers, for instance, appear to believe that human worth is based on functional criteria ‘



  • Joel Thomas

    I only favor removing tubes when the person had a living will to that effect and tests indicate no higher brain function at all such that only brain stem function remains. In that case it is nothing like the Nazis and in fact it would be Nazi-like to keep a “corpse” alive where only brain stem function remains, for then it would be nothing more or less than gross medical experimentation for the entertainment of spectators.
    I do find it strange that conservatives in general who won’t even agree to the morality of paying people a living wage or otherwise show any significant love toward the poor will insist that they have the moral high ground.
    I find increasingly that the religious right is using Gestapo tacticts to try to intimidate anyone that gets in their way.

  • Rob Smith

    Joel–I hate to respond to incredibly off-topic comments, but I hate liberal stupidity even more. The reason many conservatives hate “living wages” is not because we hate poor people (many of us having been poor at some point) but because it tends to price unskilled labor out of the market. What small restaraunt can afford to pay $30k/year (What it would cost to support a family of 4 in my location.) to dishwashers and busboys? Most liberals can’t seem to grasp the concept that the minimum wage is not $5.15/hour (or whatever is it), it is $0.00. When the minimum wage is more than a what a job is worth, that job becomes a candidate for automation, and then those low-skill people lose the opportunity to work at any rate.

  • http://shortattnspan.blogspot.com Kevin

    I sometimes wonder if secularist objections to relevant references to Nazi Germany are based -deliberately or not- on an aversion to reminders of where secularist assumptions have led in the past, and so they want them taken off the table. Sort of like the socialist true believer who keeps insisting that socialism is still viable despite its track record.
    The parallel is legitimate. Human dignity derives either from our Creator, or from human consensus, or from government decree. If one of the latter two, then human dignity can be modified or abandoned as those calling the shots see fit. Nazi atrocities were not unrelated to their social Darwinism; they were the logical outcome. Communist regimes, also secularistic, had similar track records of oppressing and butchering their own people in lesser or greater numbers.
    And Joe raises an excellent question that moral relativists will likely run away from: What is the rational basis for deciding who lives and who dies? Any set of criteria are subjectively arrived at and implemented on a might makes right basis.

  • http://dialogicalcoffeehouse.com brian

    One point about the idea of “starving” her to death. As Dr. Joe Kearns has already pointed out, the desire and/or ability to eat is of the mechanisms our bodies use to signal death. The important question here (though not really the one being discussed at all for obvious reasons) is when should doctors stop? What are extra-ordinary means to prolong life? Few of us have had to stand at the bed side of a loved one who, short of a miracle, will never walk, talk, or feed themselves again. It’s not a question of dignity, it’s a question of how many tubes should stick into someone to keep them alive?

  • Eric & Lisa

    Aren’t all cultures always running down the slippery slope?
    People are flawed, whether they are 21st century Americans or 20th century Germans. We are filled with pride and lust. We seek our own good and the destruction of our enemies.
    Joe, I expect these words from a politician,
    “But this does not mean that I believe that people who support mercy killing are evil.”
    I do not expect them from a Christian.
    We are all of us evil, otherwise, why bother with the Christ?

  • http://hootsbuddy.blogspot.com John Ballard

    1. Any mention of Nazi Germany, no matter how you care to sanitize it, is tacky at this time.
    2. The word “kill” is inflammatory and pours accelerant into an already hot fire. It makes no distinction between taking action and stopping action. By this second use of the word, eash of us kills freezing homeless people when we fail to ameliorate their plight. I’m sure that is not your intention, but the logic is inescapable.
    3. The cognitive distinctions made by those German definitions seek to establish a (public) criterion to become normative for all cases, superceding individual (private) decisions made on a case by case basis.
    4. “Corpses” are normally kept “alive” as long as possible or necessary fo the purpose of organ/tissue transplants. Does organ donation cross the line?

  • Rob Ryan

    “Nazi atrocities were not unrelated to their social Darwinism; they were the logical outcome. Communist regimes, also secularistic, had similar track records of oppressing and butchering their own people in lesser or greater numbers.”
    And the hands of theocracy are clean, no doubt. No crusades, no witch burnings, no pogroms. While the Nazi and Communist regimes may have been secular, they certainly weren’t humanist. You seem to imply that morality without theism is impossible. That is preposterous.

  • http://www.pseudopolymath..com Mark O

    Eric & Lisa,
    Yes we are all sinners, but by holding too much stock in that phrase you draw an equivalence between you, me, and the reasonable bloggers like those Joe mentions above and Pol-Pot, Hitler, Saddam, and other men who perform truely heinous evil acts. That I would think is the analogy Joe is trying not to make, and why he included his disclaimer at the end.

  • http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com Jeff the Baptist

    I’m with John Ballard. “When in doubt, compare your opponents to Hitler” is not a rhetorical construct I will ever put up with. Thanks for Godwinning yourself.

  • http://www.pseudopolymath.com/archives/2005/03/morning_links_3_12.html Pseudo-Polymath

    Morning Links 3/21

    Good morning … to all. David Wayne (aka Jollyblogger) with a good revised essay on marriage. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, my suggestion is to read this too and perhaps get some pre-marital counseling. Some ethical musing over…

  • Terry

    What? We can’t use a nazi analogy when discussing the problem of the political state deciding which citizens are worthy of life? Nonsense.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I sometimes wonder if secularist objections to relevant references to Nazi Germany are based -deliberately or not- on an aversion to reminders of where secularist assumptions have led in the past, and so they want them taken off the table. Sort of like the socialist true believer who keeps insisting that socialism is still viable despite its track record.
    It is important to remember that Nazi Germany was not secularist. Nazi philosophy built a spirtual religion focused around the Aryan Race (the Indiana Jones movies were not quite that far from the mark in that respect). Hitler was noted for his interest in astrology and psyic mediums as well as his fetish for ‘magical artifacts’ such as the ‘Spear of Destiny’ (that was the spear that stabbed Christ on the Cross, said to guarantee victory to whoever has it).
    At its base secularism is a refusal to allow anyone to claim a monopoly on the truth. This is only somewhat at odds with religion because religions must lay claim to some fundamental truth (otherwise they would be a pretty sad-ass religion!) in the short run but in the long run secularism is religions friend. Whether it was the Nazism in the 40′s, communism for about 70 years of the 20th Century, or the old state religions of the Dark & Medieval Ages, or the modern ‘Islamic’ governments today the fact remains that when societies reject secularism they almost always pick the wrong religion to adopt and mandate on their citizens.
    Who is ‘worth’ letting live?
    One powerful debate tactic is to be able to set the terms of the debate for your opponent. Joe would seek to recast this as a debate over whose life is ‘unworthy’ of living. If he does so he can then bring in Nazi history and the eugenics movement in the US.
    Yet no one is saying a bed ridden life requiring nonstop care is ‘unworthy’ of living. The argument is that Terri’s life has effectively ended (the part of her brain that made her Terri being destroyed) and what remains is, in effect, ‘only a heart beat’.
    That being the case the question is whether passive non-intervention (removing the tube and refraining from invasive measures) is moral. The question of euthansia, whether she should be killed through some type of overdose or other means, is another question that I believe many people are leaning away from….especially after the dubious record the Dutch have had.

  • George

    Two off-topic comments:
    Living wage: “Even as it was arguing for the federal minimum of $5.15 and lobbying for sky-high living wages in a number of places across the country, ACORN filed a lawsuit in California in an attempt to exempt itself from paying its own employees the state

  • http://wardrobedoor.blogspot.com Aaron

    Joe,
    I think your point is right on, but I think any reference to Nazis or Hitler has become so radioactive that it is unusable in any discussion.
    The moment you use any comparrison with Nazis, the points are ignored and then comes the “you’re more Nazi than we are” (ex. the first comment).
    As you say though, the ignorance continues. In these comments here, we have people talking about “extraordinary means” to keep “corpses alive.” When in the Shiavo case, all we have is a feeding tube – no other “tubes sticking into someone.” She can eat, she just has to have a feeding tube because she can’t swallow (which her husband has not allowed her to have rehab to help her relearn how to swallow).
    We’re talking about feeding a person. Babies can’t feed themselves. Many elderly people can’t feed themselves. Paralysed people can’t feed themselves. Is that now our measuring stick for being alive?
    None of us here, know what is happening to Terri right now. I don’t think any of us have ever been on a feeding tube, had it removed and was unable to feed ourself. But I know of someone who has – Kate Adamson.

  • http://lespritdescalier.blogspot.com jpe

    There’s all the difference in the world between idiots and people that literally do not have a brain.
    Regrettably, the former must be allowed to live.

  • Xiaoding

    “Morality without theism: No, it’s not impossible. It’s just that there is no possible basis for establishing a moral principle beyond personal preference. Then the decision about whether a particular moral principle will be socialized is purely a matter of political power (as we have seen in all tyrannies, whether they are left or right, secular or theistic).”
    I’m unclear as to what you mean by “socialized”. Perhaps you hold to the Marxist belief that people are blank slates, ready to be programmed?
    As to morality as personal preference, as opposed to a theistic belief, I would observe that a persons theistic beliefs are also a matter of choice and preference, therefore your argument fails. :)

  • http://shortattnspan.blogspot.com Kevin

    “It is important to remember that Nazi Germany was not secularist. Nazi philosophy built a spirtual religion focused around the Aryan Race (the Indiana Jones movies were not quite that far from the mark in that respect). Hitler was noted for his interest in astrology and psyic mediums as well as his fetish for ‘magical artifacts’ such as the ‘Spear of Destiny’ (that was the spear that stabbed Christ on the Cross, said to guarantee victory to whoever has it).”
    I have to disagree. It was secularist in that there was neither a state religion nor even the toleration of religion that the state disagreed with. (Does that sound like Canada? I digress…) Yes, some Nazis went in for the occult, but it certainly wasn’t a unified movemement or religion. Hitler was a de facto deity, but the higher-ups, needing something higher than themselves, turned to superstition.
    At its base secularism is a refusal to allow anyone to claim a monopoly on the truth.
    Ah, but that is the great contradiction of PC “tolerance”. A denial of absolute truth claims is itself an absolute truth claim.
    I would suggest that a pluralistic society can be the friend of religion, but in a secularist society the government is seen as the ultimate authority and so becomes a de facto god, like Hitler did.
    And I hope you are right about people turning against euthanasia. But if we get to make up our own morality as we go along, it’s a crap shoot.

  • http://www.worldwiderant.com andy

    I’d respond, but your slippery-slopism is a fallacy hardly worth of answering.
    Hey, here’s an idea: If, as her parents indicate, Terri is aware and responding and laughing, let’s just ask her what she wants. One blink “yes,” two blinks “no,” kind of thing.

  • http://shortattnspan.blogspot.com Kevin

    Xiaoding,
    As to morality as personal preference, as opposed to a theistic belief, I would observe that a persons theistic beliefs are also a matter of choice and preference, therefore your argument fails.
    One’s theistic beliefs are often chosen, yes, but that is a different matter than the objective truth or falsity of specific theistic claims. That is, contrary to the view of postmodern relativism, objective truth exists independent of our perception of it. If mathematics became infected with relativism the way morality is, we could have people saying that 2+2 equals all sorts of different things. But whether they like it or not, 2+2 only equals one thing.
    But then relativism seems to be a game that people play only when the stakes are perceived to be low. For example, science and technology aren’t relativistic. :)

  • http://www.pajamahadin.com/index.php/2005/03/21/lebensunwerten_lebens_euthanasia Pajama Hadin

    Lebensunwerten Lebens: Euthanasia

    When is Life Not Worth Living?
    Joe Carter has an insightful post at Evangelical Outpost with that contains the following quote:
    The enormous difficulty of trying to address these problems legislatively will continue for a long time. Likewise, t…

  • George

    Brian sez: Few of us have had to stand at the bed side of a loved one who, short of a miracle, will never walk, talk, or feed themselves again. It’s not a question of dignity, it’s a question of how many tubes should stick into someone to keep them alive?
    Brian, my sister and brother-in-law (and I, on occasion) have been standing by the bed of my nephew Allen for more-or-less 30 years. He has severe cerebral palsy. He has never walked, talked, or fed himself. Ever. And never will, short of a miracle. For the last 20 years or so, he has been fed by a stomach tube.
    Doctors told my sister to have an abortion. After Allen was born, there were veiled suggestions that they allow Allen to die. But they did not. They have taken Allen to horse shows (their hobby), and even hand-built a saddle for him to use so he can ride. His delight is obvious to his friends and loved ones. Allen has many friends in his small WV community (utilitarianism has not yet taken root there). He parties down at the Community Center when the bluegrass bands come around. He goes coon hunting and to demolition derbies in his wheelchair. He has a western pleasure horse and a fantastic English coonhound.
    If you’ve never met Allen, his responses seem like nothing more than random spasticity. But those who love him and socialize with him have learned to detect the signal in the random noise of spasticity. He tells them when he is hungry/thirsty, hot/cold, angry/happy, etc. He has had a full and rich life, so far, given his physical limitations.
    If a judge ever decides to kill him, I’ll be on the front porch with his parents to stop it, as will the majority – if not all – the residents of his community.
    How many tubes? Hey, that’s easy! As many as it takes!

  • Terry

    Boonton wrote:
    “It is important to remember that Nazi Germany was not secularist.”
    Nazi Germany was a fascist state. In a fascist state all institutions have validity only as long as they serve the state. Hitler tried to create a religion that suited state interests better than Christianity. The nazi’s belief in the thousand year reich was no less secular than the Soviet communist’s belief in their “radiant future”.
    “At its base secularism is a refusal to allow anyone to claim a monopoly on the truth.”
    Really? Try denying a job or housing to someone based on your judgment of his racial type & you’ll find out quickly that our secular state believes it has a monopoly on the “truth” of racist assumptions.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Kevin:
    “Dignity” is defined as, in the sense I think you mean it, as:

    1. The quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect.
    2. Inherent nobility and worth…


    Your menu is limited on this point: (“derives either from our Creator, or from human consensus, or from government decree.”)
    My own experience leads me to view humans as having inherent dignity; that’s not on your menu.
    Others might derive dignity from other ways, I suppose.
    Let us not forget that both the Nazis and the Communists were not above using religion (and I’d rather not spell out specifically which one) when it suited them.

  • George

    Xiaoding:
    By “socialized” I meant “introduced broadly into society”. Not only do I disagree with socialist theory, I think the whole tabula rasa notion is, well, silly.
    And you say: I would observe that a persons theistic beliefs are also a matter of choice and preference. That’s a perfectly reasonable observation from a person who has never had a life-changing religious experience. In fact, it’s the view I held for many years. If you ever have an experience like that, then you’ll know what I mean when I say that I didn’t really make the choice, unless you also think, for example, that acknowledging the existence of gravity is a choice.

  • http://shortattnspan.blogspot.com Kevin

    “My own experience leads me to view humans as having inherent dignity; that’s not on your menu.”
    So we have dignity because you say we do. But someone else says we don’t. What then? We’re back to consensus or government fiat.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Having said that, I intellectually understand the view that it’s no great loss, and probably a net positive utility, if we starve Schiavo if one approaches the problem from the perspective that we are merely motile bags of organic chemicals, lurching about trying to replicate one of our molecules and temporarily defying the second law of thermodynamics. But in that case, why not euthanize the homeless?
    Oddly if one really had that view then one might as well let Terri’s parents have guardianship and do what they want. After all, if Terri is really gone in every normal sense of the word then this is like fighting over whether to have a coffin with semi-gloss or full gloss. Ironically someone only focused on ‘net positive utility’ would probably find for the parents. After all, if keeping a ‘merely motile bags of organic chemics’ around a bit longer means that much to them why not let them do so. In fact, some commentators have so much as said as much.
    Suppose Terri’s husband honestly feels that Terri would not want intervention. Suppose he is correct in that belief. Furthermore, suppose there still is a part of Terri inside and she still feels that way after all these years. The fact is no matter what decision gets made there will be a risk that we will get it wrong and do something that is actually against her true wishes (assuming she still has true wishes in any meaningful sense). We are left with making a guess and a reasonable system is in place to make an educated guess. The husband is her guardian but provisions exist in the law for that guardianship to be challenged. Several attempts were made and they failed.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I have to disagree. It was secularist in that there was neither a state religion nor even the toleration of religion that the state disagreed with. (Does that sound like Canada? I digress…) Yes, some Nazis went in for the occult, but it certainly wasn’t a unified movemement or religion. Hitler was a de facto deity, but the higher-ups, needing something higher than themselves, turned to superstition.
    Like many occult religions, the Nazis never developed a consistent theology that you need for a state religion. Religion was tolerated as long as it did not directly challenge either Nazi ideology or practices. Nazi ideology did indeed require a supernatural belief in the power of the Aryan race, which functioned sort of like a ‘savior’ for the world (except instead of a compassionate savior it would be save the world by putting all the ‘lower races’ in their place as beasts of burden).
    It’s true on paper you could be a Christian and be a citizen in Nazi Germany. This was a political necessity considering that much of Germany was either Catholic or Prostetent. That doesn’t make the Nazi’s secular, though. I wonder what you really mean by secular? The absense of a state religion and toleration of religions that the state disagrees with? If that’s what you mean by secularism then do you really think its a bad thing?
    Ah, but that is the great contradiction of PC “tolerance”. A denial of absolute truth claims is itself an absolute truth claim.
    I noticed you dodged what I really wrote. I didn’t say secularism requires a denial of absolute truth, it denies a monopoly on the truth by any one person or group. Hence the general support for freedom of expression since even a totally wacked out group might end up being right about something important one of these days.
    But then relativism seems to be a game that people play only when the stakes are perceived to be low. For example, science and technology aren’t relativistic. :)
    Indeed, but then science and technology are also highly secular so there!
    Really? Try denying a job or housing to someone based on your judgment of his racial type & you’ll find out quickly that our secular state believes it has a monopoly on the “truth” of racist assumptions.
    Actually that would be the state has a monopoly on making laws. However it acknowledges even then that it has no monopoly on making infallible laws. If it did then there would be no need for provisions to change or repeal them!
    Since no one has a monopoly on truth, yet at some point certain decisions have to be made, the logical thing to do is to create a system that lets everyone have their say yet also be strong enough to come to a decision. There is no guarantee that the right decision will end up being made but there is good reason to believe the risk of making horribly wrong decisions is minimized (relative to other systems like theocracies, dictatorships etc.).

  • Nick

    Similar sentiments are echoed by Michelle Catalano, Randy Balko, Sissy Willis, and Mike Ditto. Andy and Ditto even complain that religious people are standing in the way of allowing this

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    One more aside, I believe if Germany had won the Second World War they would have eventually created a state religion. It would have probably been a coopted form of Christianity advocating Christian principles for members of the ‘higher races’ and mixing in psuedo-pagen elements cribbed from a manufactured German mythology.
    This is highly speculative (but why should that stop us from having fun!) but if Germany had won they would have had to start coming up with long term ideas (beyond the slogan of a thousand year Reich). One major one would have been how to select a leader after Hitler. I don’t think Germany would have developed as the USSR did, selecting a leader from arcane political manuvers by the beaucratic party. I think they would have completed their fetishization of the ‘glorious leader’ idea and make it completely into a religion with supernatural claims.

  • http://www.salsjourney.com/archives/2005/03/evangelical_out.htm Stand Up and Walk

    Evangelical Outpost on Terri Schaivo

    Joe Carter has an interesting comparison to Nazi Germany on the Schaivo situation. The Nazis, beside the atrocities performed on the Jewish Race, also sought to define a what level a life was considered valuable. In their reign they exterminated…

  • http://www.salsjourney.com/archives/2005/03/evangelical_out.htm Stand Up and Walk

    Evangelical Outpost on Terri Schaivo

    Joe Carter has an interesting comparison to Nazi Germany on the Schaivo situation. The Nazis, beside the atrocities performed on the Jewish Race, also sought to define a what level a life was considered valuable. In their reign they exterminated…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If this case encourages more people to make living wills, then those campaigning to preserve life at all costs may win a pyrrhic victory. Heck, by focusing on discovering the desires of the patient, in the long run the case might even strengthen the voluntary euthanasia movement.
    Which wouldn’t be the best solution to this mess. A better solution would be for money to be moved towards finding ways to be able to communicate with ‘locked in’ patients so we do not have to rely on guardians or living wills (which can only capture a person’s intent as it was in the past, not the present). It would also be wise to examine whether we are putting too much into simply extending life rather than enhancing its quality.

  • Mr Ed

    Or… one might note that a reference to Nazism in debate yanks the whole topic so far off base that nobody remembers what it is anyway. So, before I get on topic, let me join in the frivolity for a moment:
    I think they would have completed their fetishization of the ‘glorious leader’ idea and make it completely into a religion with supernatural claims.
    No doubt with Hitler as the Dragon, Himmler as the Beast and the Reich as the False Prophet. Himmler would pass the torch to the next pope, or sorts, and Goebbels would have spread the word.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    Since Shiavo has never had an MRI or PET scan
    Joe
    Someone else may have already pointed this out, but Schiavo has had a CAT scan. It’s available here: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2005/03/terri_schiavo.html. The CAT scan shows that large portions of Ms. Schiavo’s brain are absent. Although I agree that PET and MRI scans would be useful as well, it’s wrong to imply (as you do) that the statement

  • http://www.imago-dei.net/imago_dei/2005/03/lebensunwertes_.html Imago Dei

    Lebensunwertes Leben (Life Unworthy of Life)

    I brought the latest issue of Ethics and Medicine to work today to quote from an excellent artcle by J. Daryl Charles entitled

  • Mr Ed

    I find increasingly that the religious right is using Gestapo tacticts to try to intimidate anyone that gets in their way.
    And I think that people have a tendency to throw about comparisons to the Gestapo and, especially, Fascism without actually knowing the definition of the terms. Most people I’ve debated the subject with have no idea what Facsism is or what it was born of. That’s the really scary thing.

  • Mr Ed

    The CAT scan shows that large portions of Ms. Schiavo’s brain are absent.
    And you’re qualified to read CT images how? It has also been pointed out several times that CT scans, while helpful in detemining tissue damage, are not so helpful in determining the extent of nerve and neurological damage.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Kevin:
    To we have dignity because you say we do. But someone else says we don’t. What then? We’re back to consensus or government fiat.
    We’re in exactly the same position, except for the fact that we don’t need a “creator” to center things; although I personally don’t know anyone who appeals to government fiat for these kinds of things, except for some people whose religious faith is weak.
    Not everyone will accept your creator; how are we to proceed?

  • Joel Thomas

    I studied German history in college. I know what German propaganda is about.
    Joe, despite his denial, is the one who compared dissenters to Nazis.
    Three of the five neurologists appointed by the court did find that Terri had no higher brain function. They did use CAT scans. Two neurologists dissented.
    I tend to believe that the court should have erred on the side of caution since there was no living will. However, I’m not convinced Terri has higher brain function.

  • Rob Ryan

    “”At its base secularism is a refusal to allow anyone to claim a monopoly on the truth.”
    Ah, but that is the great contradiction of PC “tolerance”. A denial of absolute truth claims is itself an absolute truth claim.”
    Wrong! The state’s refusal to endorse any absolute claim is not in itself a claim.
    “Morality without theism: No, it’s not impossible. It’s just that there is no possible basis for establishing a moral principle beyond personal preference.”
    And that is what mankind has done all along. Your personal preference may be to see the Bible as the word of God. Mine is not.
    “That is, contrary to the view of postmodern relativism, objective truth exists independent of our perception of it.”
    That which is objective may be proven by objective means. This works for math, but I’d like to see you apply it to morality.

  • http://lespritdescalier.blogspot.com jpe

    It has also been pointed out several times that CT scans…are not so helpful in determining the extent of nerve and neurological damage.
    There are no in which to test damage. From someone who is qualified to talk about this stuff:
    CAT scans tell you if tissue is present and structured normally, but not if it’s working; however, if tissue is absent, you’d think its lack of functionality could be assumed. And yes, if Terri had the same fMRI results as a healthy person, that would bode well for rehabilitation – but as we sometimes say here at Respectful of Otters, it’s equally true that if my aunt had testicles, she’d be my uncle. Terri Schiavo doesn’t have a cerebral cortex. She’s not going to have a normal fMRI pattern. She simply couldn’t. So it’s pointless to speculate about what it would mean if she did.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    JPE,
    From someone who is qualified to talk about this stuff:
    The link is to a psychologist who has never seen the CT scan. That is hardly enough to make him “qualified” to give an informed opinion.

  • http://lespritdescalier.blogspot.com jpe

    Disclosure time. Here’s why I thought RoO was qualified:
    I have a doctorate in clinical psychology. I have completed a year-long practicum in clinical neuropsychology. I’m not qualified to evaluate Terri Schiavo myself – that would take a board-certified neurologist or neuropsychologist – but I am certainly qualified to evaluate the adequacy or inadequacy of someone else’s evaluation.
    I’m not up on the different certifications and to what they apply; I leave it to others to determine what the bolded “qualified” means (is it being used colloquially here, or in some technical sense? Beats me.)

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Otter’s ‘expert’ take is quite worth reading:

    None of the 17 affidavits are by providers who examined Schiavo. Only one of the 17 providers claims to have reviewed her medical records. The remaining 16 providers apparently based their statements primarily on six snippets of videotape, totalling 4 minutes and 20 seconds, which have been posted on Schiavo’s parents’ website and broadcast repeatedly on the news. Several of them explicitly say that they viewed these clips on the net, and the others all refer to the same short samples of behavior (e.g., Schiavo’s eyes tracking a balloon). Many of them say they read news stories about Schiavo. One admits to only seeing news stories and photographs. They all reference their experience with “similar patients,” but without qualifying what they mean by “similar.” For example, one doctor draws comparisons to catatonic patients – but catatonia simply refers to an absence of voluntary motion or interaction, and can be caused by any number of things. Another references stroke patients, and two more talk about patients with Alzheimer’s. As Ampersand points out, not one of them mentions the specific degree and type of brain damage that Schiavo has, as documented by her CAT scans:

    What about the “new treatments” which might help Schiavo? Many of the providers assert that she could be trained to swallow, and they’re probably correct. Swallowing is a brainstem reflex, and Schiavo still has her brainstem. The muscles of her throat could be stimulated – Mr. Lakas suggests using electric shock – to produce an automatic swallowing response to liquid nutrition. It’s hard to see how that would amount to an increase in quality of life, however, given the mechanical nature of the reflex and the likely increased risk of choking or aspiration pneumonia. What else? One of the doctors (Ankerman, again) recommends the off-label use of an Alzheimer’s drug, based on unpublished anecdotal evidence that it helps catatonic patients (not patients in a persistent vegetative state). Another recommends hyperbaric therapy, about which the trial court judge had previously pointed out, “It is interesting to note the absence of any [published] case studies since this therapy is not new and this condition has long been in the medical arena.”

    The 17 affidavits all put considerable weight on the fact that, in the video snippets on Schiavo’s parents’ website, she appears to be responding to stimulation. Her eyes track a balloon. She smiles in response to her mother’s voice. The affidavits therefore conclude that Schiavo is appropriately responsive to external stimuli, and that she is at least minimally conscious – not in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) at all. Yet none of the exhibited behaviors are, in themselves, unusual for patients with PVS. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:

    I’ve been struck by the number of people telling saying something like “How can you say she is in PVS when we can see her eyes open and her body moving around!”. Yet that is part of the very definition of PVS and one of the reasons it is different from a coma or catonic state.
    Even more potent:
    So the presence of smiles, grimaces, vocalizations, and eye movements alone is not relevant to the question of whether Schiavo has retained any degree of consciousness or may benefit from therapy. They may be in part reflexive – as when she “smiles” when her cheek is stroked – and they may be completely random. The key to the 4 minutes and 20 seconds of video is that Schiavo seems to be responding in a meaningful way to specific stimuli. All 17 experts who reference the videos take for granted that they demonstrate meaningful emotional or communicative responses. Could they really all be wrong?…Oh, yes. All you need to know to illuminate the question is that the six snippets of video were selected from 4 1/2 hours of tape. As do most people with PVS, Schiavo emits random behaviors and noises. If a person gives enough commands or makes enough interaction attempts over the course of several hours, by sheer coincidence some of Schiavo’s random behaviors will appear to coincide with their commands. Both the trial court and the appeals court viewed the entire 4 1/2 hour tape, and both concluded that her responses were indeed random.
    The famous Hammesfahr’s report is also dubious:

    Interestingly, some of the commands, such as close your eyes, open your eyes, etc. she tended to do several minutes after I gave her the command to do so. She had a delay in her processing of the action. However, when praised for the action, she would then continue to do the action repetitively for up to approximately 5 minutes. As we had moved on to other areas of the exam, at times she was continuing to do the previous command, then at inappropriate times since the focus of the exam had changed.

    He commanded her to emit some of her known behaviors, such as closing or opening her eyes. If she did, that was a “hit” – a sign that she had obeyed the command. If she did so several minutes later, that was still a “hit,” apparently no matter what else he’d asked her to do in the interim. If she continued , long after he’d moved on, that was not a sign that she was unresponsive to his subsequent commands but, instead, a sign that she was responsive to praise. Almost any response, correct or incorrect, could apparently be interpreted to signal consciousness. Hammesfahr, like Schiavo’s parents, wanted to be convinced.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    Mr. Ed –
    I’m not sure where you got that I contend to be qualified to report on CT images. So we’re clear, however: I am reporting on what the images show, as reported by trained professionals. So far as I know, every medical doctor who has examined* Ms. Schiavo has concluded that she is missing large portions of her brain. The only debate regards whether what remains is capable of performing some (or no) higher cognitive function.
    My point in citing and linking to the CT scan was to show that Mr. Carter’s statement that no “PET or MRI” had been done on Mrs. Schiavo contains a misleading omission. (Not an intentionally misleading omissions, I am sure, but a misleading omission nonetheless.)
    Joe –
    I’m not relying on Respectful of Otter’s opinions regarding the CT scan. I’m relying on the opinions of the physicians who actually examined Mrs. Schiavo.
    von
    *I am using “exmined” as a term of art to indicate that a medical examination has taken place. For the record, merely reviewing a videotape does not constitute a medical examination.

  • HumbleBumble

    Mumon wrote:
    “We’re in exactly the same position, except for the fact that we don’t need a “creator” to center things”
    Oh really??? What brilliant arguement can you come up with, using logic from a non-theistic worldview, that another person could respond with an equally brilliant arguement for the exact opposite outcome and be just as correct as you? You try to appeal to some ‘objective’ truth that you assume others will recognize (or why would you bother to argue your point?) when there is none if there is no God. You can make a case to kill Terry S. or keep feeding her if there is no ultimate standard men should strive for…. and both would be equally valid! Don’t pretend that you can come up with a moral code that will have any effect on anyone but yourself if there is no God. Your hatred for anything theistic seeps into all of your posts.
    As to your second point, “so where do we go from here?”, that is a good question. Theists and atheists and everyone else must make there case in the public square of ideas and then our representative government must make a decision. I think as people examine atheistic (utilitarian) arguements vs. theistic arguements about life, common sense will prevail that men are more valuable than their contribution to society or their subjective value to another person.
    Just curious, if two atheists disagree on whether to kill or preserve the life of a person like Terry S. and both arguements are logically sound, on what basis do they decide which is right?? Are both opposite conclusions equally correct?
    At least in a theistic worldview, men are arguing from the basis of objective truth which is not dependant on what anyone ‘believes’. From an atheistic worldview, every viewpoint or belief is equally valid if men can just make them up. That doesn’t correspond to reality in most people’s minds.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    At least in a theistic worldview, men are arguing from the basis of objective truth which is not dependant on what anyone ‘believes’. From an atheistic worldview, every viewpoint or belief is equally valid if men can just make them up. That doesn’t correspond to reality in most people’s minds.
    Yea, ok when two men with a ‘theistic worldview’ talk about something they always agree ’cause their only dealing with ‘objective truth’.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    As to your second point, “so where do we go from here?”, that is a good question. Theists and atheists and everyone else must make there case in the public square of ideas and then our representative government must make a decision. I think as people examine atheistic (utilitarian) arguements vs. theistic arguements about life, common sense will prevail that men are more valuable than their contribution to society or their subjective value to another person.
    Interestingly this is a faith of sorts in secularism. Decisions are made in a representative fashion with no preconceived assumption that some group (such as a Body of Clerics as exists in Iran) holds a monopoly on truth.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    HumbleBumble:
    Oh really??? What brilliant arguement can you come up with, using logic from a non-theistic worldview, that another person could respond with an equally brilliant arguement for the exact opposite outcome and be just as correct as you?
    What Boonton said.
    I don’t have to argue.
    You can make a case to kill Terry S. or keep feeding her if there is no ultimate standard men should strive for…. and both would be equally valid! Don’t pretend that you can come up with a moral code that will have any effect on anyone but yourself if there is no God. Your hatred for anything theistic seeps into all of your posts.
    You’re assuming there’s a “Terri” there. I think you’re also assuming that you, “HumbleBumble,” are yourself in possession of this moral code that has an effect on everyone.
    This is not about hate, at least not on my part.
    It’s merely a statement of the way things are.

  • http://jakesavage.typepad.com/jake_savage/2005/03/schiavo.html Jake Savage

    Schiavo

    I will confess that I don’t know enough about the Terri Schiavo situation to form a solid position. If you’re following the story, take a look at the Evangelical Outpost for a good collection of information and opinions.

  • http://bluegoldfish.blogs.com/surface G. van den Bosch

    Eric & Lisa,
    We are all sinners but we we are not all evil. There are moral distinctions. Hitler and Stalin and Charles Manson, King Herod the Great and Pol Pot, we would argue, were evil. A child is, I would argue, not. A sinner, yes. Evil, no. There are – even for us Calvinistic Christians – moral distinctions and degrees. Otherwise, why not lock us all up in prison right now – or, better yet, let’s all line up before the firing squads right next to the man who just kidnapped, raped and murdered a little 9 year old girl. There is sin and there is evil. There are moral distinctions and degrees. And, this is solidly scriptural. We are broken, but we live in a world with special and common grace. Evil exists, yes, but – thank God – it is not – as is the contamination of sin – all pervasive. For God so loved the world … Christ came to redeem the world and His grace is present throughout the world. Sinners may be saved by grace and we ARE then to be a salt unto the world. As those shining His light, we are not evil. To call us such is to insult the grace and work of God. Most of us are not evil. Thank God.
    Finally, history tells us (Netherlands in the 1930s) that to use the anology of Hitler and the Nazis in this case is – indeed – appropriate. Euthenasia – even with out starving someone to death – was the precurser and – yes – the slippery slope (they do exist) to the slaughter of millions.
    Our elite culture is becoming so perverse that even the word “evil” has become a tool of double speak. Those who fight evil are evil. Those who use the word evil are evil. And so on.
    What is the moral distinction between a Nazi doctor euthenizing a traumatically brain-injured child in the Netherlands during the 1930s and the American doctor pulling the feeding tubes from this woman in Florida? What?
    Starving a woman to death – different from avoiding extraordinary life-support techniques – is … an evil act.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Starving a woman to death – different from avoiding extraordinary life-support techniques – is … an evil act.
    What are ‘extraordinary life-support techniques’? Life at its most basic level is rather simple. Breathing, eating and defecating. I suppose respirators and heart machines are still new enough to appear extraordinary but feeding tubes are now ordinary enough to come off the list? Would they have been extraordinary in 1925? How about the ‘swallowing rehabilitation’ that appears to involve putting food in her mouth and using electrical shocks to force her to swallow?
    The problem with the Nazi comparisons is that it tries to capture some superficial similarities while ignoring fundamental differences in service of changing the subject. The Nazi’s may have justified some of their euthansia on the grounds of ‘mercy’ but their real agenda was to devote resources to their ideology of racial purification.
    Here the agenda really is a debate about what is good for the patient. Even more so in this case since money is in one way off the table since resources are available to continue Terri’s care AND pay off her husband if that was the prime concern.

  • Kevin W

    Interesting how many people on this thread are viewing this as a “mercy killing”, when she is being allowed to starve to death. If you’re going to kill her and feign that it is merciful to do so, isn’t it more merciful to suffocate her with a pillow? Or to do it with cyanide?
    Funny, too, where are there feminists? Are they now saying that, in the absence of a living will, it is OK for a husband to allow his wife to starve to death so he can be with another woman? Guess that what happens when you so firmly embrace abortion on demand–everything else gets sort of fuzzy. You’ve come a long way, baby.

  • Mr Ed

    I’m not sure where you got that I contend to be qualified to report on CT images. So we’re clear, however: I am reporting on what the images show, as reported by trained professionals. So far as I know, every medical doctor who has examined* Ms. Schiavo has concluded that she is missing large portions of her brain. The only debate regards whether what remains is capable of performing some (or no) higher cognitive function.
    Fair enough. I just wanted to point out that those CT scans that everybody’s touting as somne sort of proof doesn’t prove anything. First, as I noted, most people aren’t trained to know what they’re seeing. Second, as you point out, they don’t speak to the amount of cognitive function she has.
    My point in citing and linking to the CT scan was to show that Mr. Carter’s statement that no “PET or MRI” had been done on Mrs. Schiavo contains a misleading omission. (Not an intentionally misleading omissions, I am sure, but a misleading omission nonetheless.)
    I don’t see it as misleading. An MRI would almost certainly be required in any other case where it could be performed.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Interesting how many people on this thread are viewing this as a “mercy killing”, when she is being allowed to starve to death. If you’re going to kill her and feign that it is merciful to do so, isn’t it more merciful to suffocate her with a pillow? Or to do it with cyanide?
    Really? Who are these many people on this thread who are viewing this as a ‘mercy killing’? I went thru this thread just now and here are a list of people who might be characterized as leaning towards removing the tubes (I’m excluding myself for reasons you’ll soon see):
    mumom
    jpe
    Joel Thomas
    Nick
    Xiaoding
    Rob Ryan
    John Ballard
    I’ve tried to be very generous so some of these people had posts that can only be read as supporting removing the tubes if you stretch their words greatly.
    Now taking this list and my own posts, show me ‘all the people’ on this thread who are arguing for removing the tubes on the grounds that it would be a ‘mercy killing’?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Mr Ed.
    Fair enough. I just wanted to point out that those CT scans that everybody’s touting as somne sort of proof doesn’t prove anything. First, as I noted, most people aren’t trained to know what they’re seeing. Second, as you point out, they don’t speak to the amount of cognitive function she has.
    Fair enough on your first point but what about your second? Would an MRI prove or disprove ‘cognitive function’? Is there any reasonable basis to state that an MRI would tell us something about her ‘cognitive function’ that the CAT scan cannot?
    For those screaming ‘no MRI!’, would their opinions be changed depending upon the results of an MRI? If not then what purpose would an MRI have at this point other than as a delaying tactic?

  • Terry

    Boonton wrote:
    Actually that would be the state has a monopoly on making laws. However it acknowledges even then that it has no monopoly on making infallible laws. If it did then there would be no need for provisions to change or repeal them!
    By this definition Iran is secular society. It has a legislative assembly, judges, and a constitution.
    But back to your statement At its base secularism is a refusal to allow anyone to claim a monopoly on the truth. This still seems like nonsense to me. Usually the “secularist” just has different ideas about what constitutes a universal truth. A look at the curricula of almost any American secular college will show you how open the higher education system is to varying ideas of the truth of economic, sex and race relations among human beings. Using your definition would a Marxist be a considered a secularist?

  • Mr Ed

    The famous Hammesfahr’s report is also dubious:
    You took one very small portion out of a large report, Boon.

  • Chris Lutz

    Boonton:
    Here the agenda really is a debate about what is good for the patient. Even more so in this case since money is in one way off the table since resources are available to continue Terri’s care AND pay off her husband if that was the prime concern.
    I agree, so why is the husband so adamant about this? From what I understand, he never brought up the supposed conversation where she said she didn’t want to live like that until after he had won the lawsuit. He can easily walk away and be done with the whole matter and leaver her in the care of her parents. People may think he’s a leche to some extent, but it will quickly be forgotten.
    The Nazi’s may have justified some of their euthansia on the grounds of ‘mercy’ but their real agenda was to devote resources to their ideology of racial purification.
    And I see some people in the movement to provide “mercy” killings motivated by utilitarian arguments. Not all are that way, but a portion are. So, there is some correlation.
    If Terri had had an advance directive, this wouldn’t even be a debate. I believe that most people (while possibly disagreeing over what is moral) are willing to allow people to choose their medical treatment options. Since we don’t have that directive, it’s left up to relatives and since someone is willing to take care of her, why is there a problem?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Funny, too, where are there feminists? Are they now saying that, in the absence of a living will, it is OK for a husband to allow his wife to starve to death so he can be with another woman? Guess that what happens when you so firmly embrace abortion on demand–everything else gets sort of fuzzy. You’ve come a long way, baby.
    Except he doesn’t have to kill his wife to be with another woman. For one thing he’s been with another woman for quite some time. Another thing is that her parents basically asked him to ‘get on with his life’ back when this thing apparantly started (which was when he made it clear he wasn’t going to split the settlement money BTW). Even today he has been offerred $1M to divorce his wife (and if he is telling the truth another person offered him $10M).
    Are you asking where are the feminists where a husband is given the role of guardian of his wife? Well considering that we all agree his wife needs a guardian as she is unable to speak for herself who should that guardian normally be? A feminist might note that she at least choose her husband while no woman (or man) gets to choose their parents.

  • Mr Ed

    Fair enough on your first point but what about your second? Would an MRI prove or disprove ‘cognitive function’? Is there any reasonable basis to state that an MRI would tell us something about her ‘cognitive function’ that the CAT scan cannot?
    I could tell the doctors which areas could improve with therapy and which areas wouldn’t. This is because the MRI shows the brain anatomy in much more detail. Additionally, and perhaps just as importantly, an MRI would show vascular function. Fifteen years in, it would be very easy to distinguish functioning versus non-functioning blood vessels. This would also help determine which areas of the her brain were completely debilitated due to lack of blood flow.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    And I see some people in the movement to provide “mercy” killings motivated by utilitarian arguments. Not all are that way, but a portion are. So, there is some correlation.
    1. What are the utilitarian arguments being presented here? Money is not a concern since it would seem charity and her malpractice settlement will pay for any decision that is made. As has been pointed out many times her husband is free to ‘cash in’ whenever he wants.
    2. The Nazi’s were not utilitarians. In fact, their ideology of racial purity probably contributed greatly to them losing the war. Their programs of euthansia against ‘undesirables’ were not motivated by an attempt to save money or resources but by their ideology. In other words, even if they had infinite riches they would still have wanted to kill undesirables.
    If Terri had had an advance directive, this wouldn’t even be a debate. I believe that most people (while possibly disagreeing over what is moral) are willing to allow people to choose their medical treatment options. Since we don’t have that directive, it’s left up to relatives and since someone is willing to take care of her, why is there a problem?
    Do you find it ironic that you are mounting a utilitarian argument here? Basically your saying “she probably can’t feel anything so why not just let her parents have their way even if it would have been against her wishes”.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I could tell the doctors which areas could improve with therapy and which areas wouldn’t. This is because the MRI shows the brain anatomy in much more detail. Additionally, and perhaps just as importantly, an MRI would show vascular function. Fifteen years in, it would be very easy to distinguish functioning versus non-functioning blood vessels. This would also help determine which areas of the her brain were completely debilitated due to lack of blood flow.
    But would it change any minds? IS there any possible MRI result that would cause even a few of those advocating keeping to the tubes in to say ‘Ok, there’s no ‘Terri’ there after all’? Not whether she might be taught to swallow after a few years of electric shock therapy.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I believe I might have posted this excerpt from Respectful of Otters on the other thread:

    I suppose that these statements are technically true. Speechlessness is not always due to destruction of brain structure, but if massive destruction of brain structure is present, that’s certainly the way to bet. CAT scans tell you if tissue is present and structured normally, but not if it’s working; however, if tissue is absent, you’d think its lack of functionality could be assumed. And yes, if Terri had the same fMRI results as a healthy person, that would bode well for rehabilitation – but as we sometimes say here at Respectful of Otters, it’s equally true that if my aunt had testicles, she’d be my uncle. Terri Schiavo doesn’t have a cerebral cortex. She’s not going to have a normal fMRI pattern. She simply couldn’t. So it’s pointless to speculate about what it would mean if she did.

    Basically an MRI would provide, at best, marginally more information and would require surgery to remove implants from Terri’s head.

  • Chris Lutz

    What are the utilitarian arguments being presented here?
    You’re missing my point that some in the “mercy” killing realm of things actually support utilitarian arguments. Hence there is some similarity to the Nazi “mercy” killings for racial reasons. They are similar because the underlying motives are not mercy but something else.
    Do you find it ironic that you are mounting a utilitarian argument here? Basically your saying “she probably can’t feel anything so why not just let her parents have their way even if it would have been against her wishes”.
    Boon, you’re missing all the points today. I didn’t say that at all. We have no idea of what her wishes were except for some supposed comment made after a TV show. I don’t know about you, but I say a lot of things off-hand that I wouldn’t want held to later. So, we basically have the husband and the parents vying for guardianship. Plus we have a lot of disagreements over her true condition. I choose to err on the side of having a person live and seeing if there is something medically that can be done. Of course, we know that doctors are never wrong in their diagnosis. ;-)
    Anyways, if I wanted to make a utilitarian argument, I would say “Shoot her up with drugs and put an end to this.” Even though someone can afford the care, it doesn’t mean resources should be wasted on the care of an invalid. You could say its closer to a pragmatic argument.
    Plus, if she’s in pain now, starving her will be painful also (as is the removal of the feeding tube). So, you would advocate a swifter form of death, right?

  • walmsley.kevin.d@principal.com

    “”Really? Who are these many people on this thread who are viewing this as a ‘mercy killing’? I went thru this thread just now and here are a list of people who might be characterized as leaning towards removing the tubes (I’m excluding myself for reasons you’ll soon see):
    mumom
    jpe
    Joel Thomas
    Nick
    Xiaoding
    Rob Ryan
    John Ballard”"
    Oh, I see. So these folks would NOT say it’s more merciful for her to die, just more utilitarian.
    Fair enough. That does help me, actually.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You’re missing my point that some in the “mercy” killing realm of things actually support utilitarian arguments. Hence there is some similarity to the Nazi “mercy” killings for racial reasons. They are similar because the underlying motives are not mercy but something else.
    Who are these some? I don’t like arguments that basically rewriting other people’s arguments. No one on this thread nor the other one has mounted an argument that this is ‘mercy’. Rather the argument has revolved around:
    1. The right to refuse intervention.
    2. Who the proper guardian should be to exercise that right on behalf of someone who cannot exercise it themselves.
    Boon, you’re missing all the points today. I didn’t say that at all. We have no idea of what her wishes were except for some supposed comment made after a TV show. I don’t know about you, but I say a lot of things off-hand that I wouldn’t want held to later. So, we basically have the husband and the parents vying for guardianship. Plus we have a lot of disagreements over her true condition. I choose to err on the side of having a person live and seeing if there is something medically that can be done. Of course, we know that doctors are never wrong in their diagnosis. ;-)
    Not really, it would seem like we have a manufactured disagreement over her condition. The facts seem to indicate either all or nearly all of her cerebal cortex has literally liquified. As for ‘vying for guardianship’, the accepted legal order of guardianship falls first to the spouse and then to the parents. A procedure exists to challenge guardianship and those advocating that failed to make their case in court. I see no reason why justice is more likely to be done in a media circus atmosphere.
    Anyways, if I wanted to make a utilitarian argument, I would say “Shoot her up with drugs and put an end to this.” Even though someone can afford the care, it doesn’t mean resources should be wasted on the care of an invalid. You could say its closer to a pragmatic argument.
    I think we have a serious problem here agreeing on a valid definition of utilitarian. People’s ‘utility’ is subjective, hence if people A get their pleasure paying to keep Terri alive that choice is no less valid than them choosing to use their funds for some other purpose. A strict utilitarian might say, assuming they are willing to bet there is no ‘Terri’ left inside her brain, that you might as well let the parents have some measure of comfort.
    Plus, if she’s in pain now, starving her will be painful also (as is the removal of the feeding tube). So, you would advocate a swifter form of death, right?
    Which is a ‘mercy killing’ type of argument. From what I’ve read, while her nerves are able to send ‘pain signals’ there is no brain left to comprehend them. That would mean she would feel neither pain now from her condition or the tube nor will she feel pain from starvation. The ‘mercy killing’ argument here is actually extremly weak.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Oh, I see. So these folks would NOT say it’s more merciful for her to die, just more utilitarian.
    Fair enough. That does help me, actually.

    I think you should address what people really say, not make up an argument they did not make so you can deploy your pre-set counter-replies. I don’t know what those people would say about mercy, perhaps they would view it as more merciful or not. I myself seem to think if ‘Terri’ ceased to exist when her cerebal cortex disappeared there is no one there to experience pain hence neither decision can be ranked in terms of mercy. To the degree that she would not have wanted this then the decision would basically be more about respect of her wishes (to the best degree that we can ever estimate them).
    For the record, like mercy killing no one has made a utilitarian argument for removing the tube. I have heard no one say ‘save the money’ or anything like that. As I pointed out a utilitarian argument would probably say something like “Keeping her on the tube will make her two parents plus family happy while ending it will satisfy the husband, therefore keep her on the tube and you’ve generated the most amount of happiness you can from this bad situation”. Again this is an example of an argument the pro-parent side is just spinning out of air in order to avoid the actual arguments being presented against them.

  • http://asmallvictory.net/archives/008477.html A Small Victory

    more on the Schiavo story – linking back

    I’m trying to read around the blogs in regards to Terri Schiavo, but the sheer number of posts on this story is overwhelming. I do want to point interested readers to some of the posts I have read today, including…

  • http://www.anothermansmeat.blogspot.com Phil Dillon

    One of the things that bothers me after having read some the commentary is the cold, clinical approach some are taking to this woman’s life.
    She’s not interesting grist for the mill, she is still a person. I honestly don;t believe some of you believe that.
    But then I guess one shouldn’t think with their heart in these types of circumstances. Cold hard logic and “intelligence” will win the day.

  • Joel Thomas

    My argument for allowing someone with no higher brain function to die (I and I have specifically reserved my judgment on the Schiavo case because of a lack of clear instructions, medical dissent, etc.) isn’t a utilitarian argument. I will admit, however, that for myself, if I have no higher brain function I would gladly, enthusiastically prefer that medical dollars go to children, pre-mature babies, etc. rather than trying to artificially keep my corpse alive.
    If brain stem function is basically what I have left, I have a moral right to plan in advance that I surrender what is left of my “life” to God.
    No amount of “Hitler” language is going to disuade me from a consider a Christian ideal that a person’s soul doesn’t reside in their brain stem.

  • http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/ von

    Fair enough, Mr. Ed.
    Were it me in that (near or absolute) vegetative state, I would prefer to be allowed to die of my own accord rather than be prolonged via feed tube and twenty-four hour care. But it’s not me, and I do have some concerns that the trial court may not have correctly assessed what Ms. Schiavo’s preferences would be. Are those concerns worth the extraordinary actions being taken here by Congress? The second guessing of the trial and appellate courts — courts in which we are perfectly willing to put our faith when society does in fact kill someone (via lethal injection, electrocution, etc.)?* Can I support the relentless grandstanding on this issue by some who have perceived a political football to advance (tho’, tis true, others act upon nobler instincts)?
    Well, no. This whole case sickens me. Let no one prosper — politically or otherwise — by this sad state of affairs.
    von
    *I’m pro-death penalty, but I do find it telling that no one in Congress ever wants to intervene when we’re talking about affirmatively killing someone — even though there’s been robust evidence that the system gets it wrong with some frequency. (E.g., something like 13 of 25 death penalty convicts were shown by DNA evidence to be innocent in Illinois before the moratorium.)

  • Mr Ed

    But would it change any minds?
    That, I couldn’t tell you. Although its my opinion that most people, the medical community included, have already made up their mind one way or the other. In fact, I believe many of them made up their mind before they even saw the case. That’s the problem when one seeks an activist’s opinion.
    IS there any possible MRI result that would cause even a few of those advocating keeping to the tubes in to say ‘Ok, there’s no ‘Terri’ there after all’?
    Or the other side to say “Okay there is a Terri there after all”?
    Not whether she might be taught to swallow after a few years of electric shock therapy.
    Now there’s a loaded question. Its not necessarily just a question of her being able to swallow at some point (which, by the way, she can already do). I don’t think we really know to what extent she can be rehabilitated.

  • Mr Ed

    Well, no. This whole case sickens me. Let no one prosper — politically or otherwise — by this sad state of affairs.
    Save Terri, her family, and anyone else who might end up in Terri’s horrible position and might benefit from the extra effort affored by another level of oversight, I agree. Political motivations aside, I really don’t see the problem with sending this case to the Fed. It is an important case with possible long term ramifications for others in the same position. I think its wise to make sure we’re setting the proper precedent.

  • AndyS

    The way I understand this is:
    1. Terri expressed to family and friends on numerous occassions (particularly at family funerals) that she did not want any artificial support if she was in something like a persistent vegetative state.
    2. When the parents objected, the courts determined that this was her true wish.
    So I don’t understand the remarks above about mercy killing. This is about following through on the expressed wishes of an individual about what sort of medical care and interventions she wanted (and did not want) if she were ever so unfortunate to end up in these extreme circumstantces.
    Meanwhile I’m sure you have heard about the law in Texas, passed under Gov Bush, that let’s the doctor’s unplug you if you can not pay for long-term care. The DeLay/Bush/Republican hypocripcy kowns no bounds.

  • Mr Ed

    Terri expressed to family and friends on numerous occassions (particularly at family funerals) that she did not want any artificial support if she was in something like a persistent vegetative state.
    If she had truly expressed this “on numerous occations” I doubt we would be here discussing it right now.
    Meanwhile I’m sure you have heard about the law in Texas, passed under Gov Bush, that let’s the doctor’s unplug you if you can not pay for long-term care. The DeLay/Bush/Republican hypocripcy kowns no bounds.
    I haven’t read up on that yet but I suspect you’re leaving out a few crucial details. Anyway, if we want to talk about hypocrisy I could mention the fact that so many of these people on the Left who love the SCOTUS for making such sweeping decision as Roe v Wade now find themselves in the odd position of defending states rights. But, as I know that pointing out hypocrisy adds not a single iota to the case at hand, I prefer to leave that to the hacks.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    ….killing those members of society who are

  • Joel Thomas

    I believe that more people in conditions similar to Terri Schiavo’s will actually have feeding tubes removed and die in the next few years simply because publicity and Congressional intervention (disapproved of by 70% of Americans) make it more likely that people will have living wills. If Terri, had had a living will, this case wouldn’t have gotten this far. However, Schiavo’s supporters aren’t upset because of a lack of living will; some are upset because there isn’t medical concensus and/or family agreement and some are upset because they don’t want feeding tubes removed regardless of a person’s wishes or their medical condition.
    So, certain conservative evangelicals may win a “moral” victory but their crusade may actually result in more deaths under conditions they disagree with.

  • http://www.mikeditto.com Michael Ditto

    Political motivations aside, I really don’t see the problem with sending this case to the Fed. It is an important case with possible long term ramifications for others in the same position. I think its wise to make sure we’re setting the proper precedent.

    The precedent that has been set is that if 3% (yes, three percent) of the Senate and 47% of the house disagree with a judicial decision, then Congress can vote to throw out the decision whenever it suits them. Is that the proper precedent?

  • Mr Ed

    The precedent that has been set is that if 3% (yes, three percent) of the Senate and 47% of the house disagree with a judicial decision, then Congress can vote to throw out the decision whenever it suits them. Is that the proper precedent?
    It’s not the first time. And its a better precedent than sitting around waiting for enough Senators to show up to vote.

  • Tim

    A personal Recommendation:
    Bioethics
    A Primer for Christians
    By Gilbert Meilaender
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0802829090/?tag=evangeoutpos-20

  • http://johncoleman.typepad.com John

    If you really hope for Ms. Schiavo’s life, remember to pray. There is Someone who can overall the judge or the culture any day of the week–maybe, expecially, Easter week.

  • Larry Lord

    The collective level of delusion on display by folks like Mr. Ed and his ilk is positively breathtaking.
    We just killed 100,000 innocent Iraqis to “bring them” democracy and a legal system modeled after our own — remember the rule of law?
    Now we have an instance where a case has traveled all the way up to a state’s Supreme Court and back down. The facts have been heard by more judges than any of us ever want to appear before. And those judges have made their decisions: Terry Schiavo expressed her verbal wishes that she didn’t want to die a vegetable with a feeding tube. Michael Schiavo was found to be a credible witness. Terry’s parents were not. Expert testimony was heard: this woman is a vegetable and she isn’t going to recover.
    According to Florida law, Terry Schiavo has adequately expressed her wish do die, her husband is her legal guardian, everyone else’s opinion is irrelevant.
    But here comes the evangelical preachers who see a golden opportunity to get some headlines and recite from their pleasing “culture of life” script. And Terry Schiavo, who asked to die rather than be a vegetable with feeding tubes stuck in her because she thought that living that way was beneath her view of what human dignity means, instead is a poster child for how wonderful it is to be a living vegetable.
    Yes, it makes me sick. It would make anyone sick who doesn’t see an opportunity to achieve political gains at the expense of Terry Schiavo’s misfortunes.
    You people enjoy yourselves.

  • Larry Lord

    Andy S gets it right:
    “So I don’t understand the remarks above about mercy killing. This is about following through on the expressed wishes of an individual about what sort of medical care and interventions she wanted (and did not want) if she were ever so unfortunate to end up in these extreme circumstantces.”
    And this brings us back to the question that Mr. Ed ran away from from a few threads back: why wasn’t Bush asked to sign a bill requesting that the baby in Texas — whose legal guardian (the only person whose opinion mattered because the baby’s wishes were unknown — for obvious reasons) wanted the baby to be kept on life support — be helicoptered to an institution where appropriate facilities were available???
    What happened there Mr. Ed? Can you explain to me one difference — I think there’s an obvious one — which explain why Congress sat on its hands and let that baby die but jumped to attention for Terry Schiavo?
    Please include a reference to your pleasing talking point that human life has “immeasureable” intrinsic value in your explanation.
    Thanks. Thanks a lot.
    Oh, and just fyi: you evangelicals just wasted a lot of political captital and made yourselves look like jackasses with this issue. That Judge is going to slap this case down faster than you can say: Terry Schiavo said she wanted to die if she was a vegetable.

  • Larry Lord

    Here’s a great new bumpersticker I thought of:
    Keep Christian Out of my Stomach!!

  • http://johncoleman.typepad.com John

    You know, Larry, I think for a lot of folks this is about more than political capital. I didn’t understand it at first either–and I still wish people would spend more time praying for Terri (they are) and less time beating up on Michael Schiavo and others–but there is something very sincere with most of these people.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Larry said:
    “Here’s a great new bumpersticker I thought of:
    Keep Christian Out of my Stomach!!”
    I saw one I liked on the ride home tonight.
    “Born OK the first time!”
    _________________________
    You know, if I could get married, I’d much rather have my husband making the difficult decision on whether or not to pull the plug than the likes of Trent Lott. Good thing he and Bush are defenders of the “Sanctity of Marriage” eh?

  • http://oraculations.blogspot.com Howard Veit

    Below is my humorous post on the conflict and below that is the best email I received on the topic.
    HOW RIGHT TO LIFE ARE YOU? ANSWER QUESTIONS BELOW
    1. I

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com DeputyHeadmistress

    Andy, numerous people did not hear Terri express a wish to die. Her husband claimed that she said that after watching a movie – but he did not bother to mention that until *after* he cut the check from the big court settlement he won- that court case where he claimed he needed teh money for Terri’s longterm care and therapy.
    Instead, he spent more than half of it on lawyers to pursue removing Terri from life support. AFter it was pointed out that he had NEVER mentioned this before (and Terri had been in the hospital for at least three years already) and that nobody else had heard such a think, his sibling and the sibling’s spouse came forward and said that yeah, they heard it too.
    However, one of the women he’d been seeing at that time also came forward and said that he’d admitted to her that Terri adn he had NEVER discussed it, he had no idea what she would want.
    Furthermore, in court when asked why he would not give her parents’ guardianship, he said the reason should be obvious, they’d made his life miserable and he wasn’t going to do it because he just did not want to. AFTER a quick lawyer/client talking to, he said, basically, “Oh yea, and they wouldn’t respect her wishes.”
    Those who think her medical testing has been anything like comprehensive need to read Here:
    http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?Id=20400
    and here:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/johansen200503160848.asp
    If I went to a doctor who told me I had a malignant tumor and needed a breast removed- but that doctor had not done a biopsy, any other doctor could tell me that we didn’t have enough information for an accurate diagnosis, without actually examining me at all.
    So we have “Almost 50 neurologists all say the same thing: Terri should be reevaluated, Terri should be reexamined, and there are grave doubts as to the accuracy of Terri’s diagnosis of PVS. All of these neurologists are board-certified; a number of them are fellows of the prestigious American Academy of Neurology; several are professors of neurology at major medical schools. Terri’s diagnosis was arrived at without the benefit of testing that most neurologists would consider standard for diagnosing PVS. One such test is MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). MRI is widely used today, even for ailments as simple as knee injuries — but Terri has never had one. Michael has repeatedly refused to consent to one. The neurologists I have spoken to have reacted with shock upon learning this fact. One such neurologist is Dr. Peter Morin. He is a researcher specializing in degenerative brain diseases, and has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University.
    In the course of my conversation with Dr. Morin, he made reference to the standard use of MRI and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to diagnose the extent of brain injuries. He seemed to assume that these had been done for Terri. I stopped him and told him that these tests have never been done for her; that Michael had refused them.
    There was a moment of dead silence.
    “That’s criminal,” he said, and then asked, in a tone of utter incredulity: “How can he continue as guardian? People are deliberating over this woman’s life and death and there’s been no MRI or PET?” He drew a reasonable conclusion: “These people [Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer] don’t want the information.”
    The doctor who has diagnosed Terri has being unfit to feed and hydrate has a history of similar diagnoses:
    In cases where other doctors don’t see it, Dr. Cranford seems to have a knack for finding PVS. Cranford also diagnosed Robert Wendland as PVS. He did so in spite of the fact that Wendland could pick up specifically colored pegs or blocks and hand them to a therapy assistant on request. He did so in spite of the fact that Wendland could operate and maneuver an ordinary wheelchair with his left hand and foot, and an electric wheelchair with a joystick, of the kind that many disabled persons (most famously Dr. Stephen Hawking) use. Dr. Cranford dismissed these abilities as meaningless. Fortunately for Wendland, the California supreme court was not persuaded by Cranford’s assessment”
    Go read the rest of the article and see what other patients Dr. Cranford has testified are braindead and should be killed.

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot DeputyHeadmistress

    A doctor looks at Terri’s scans:
    http://codeblueblog.blogs.com/codeblueblog/2005/03/csi_medblogs_co.html
    “…Terri’s cerebral cortex has not been replaced by fluid. That is inaccurate. The cortex is thinned and the sulci are enlarged. There is a difference.”
    “… most importantly, given the amount of atrophy on this image I disagree with the court’s inadequately considered conclusion.”
    “…First of all, the University of Miami’s appellation for this scan is inaccurate. “Cortical regions” are not and can not be filled with spinal fluid. The sulci (spaces between cortical ribbons) are enlarged secondary to cortical atrophy and these sulci are filled with cerbrospinal fluid.
    The most alarming thing about this image, however, is that there certainly is cortex left. Granted, it is severely thinned, especially for Terri’s age, but I would be nonplussed if you told me that this was a 75 year old female who was somewhat senile but fully functional, and I defy a radiologist anywhere to contest that.
    I HAVE SEEN MANY WALKING, TALKING, FAIRLY COHERENT PEOPLE WITH WORSE CEREBRAL/CORTICAL ATROPHY. THEREFORE, THIS IS IN NO WAY PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT TERRI SCHIAVO’S MENTAL ABILITIES OR/OR CAPABILITIES ARE COMPLETELY ERADICATED. I CANNOT BELIEVE SUCH TESTIMONY HAS BEEN GIVEN ON THE BASIS OF THIS SCAN.”
    “…Based on this evidence Terri Schiavo should have a CT scan repeated. She should also have an MRI and a PET scan to gage the severity of her brain dysfunction.”
    Be sure to check out the comments as well.

  • jon

    “We often forget that Nazism didn

  • http://reformedpolitics.com/archives/2005/03/22/schiavo-case-matters-in-symbol-and-substance/ Reformed Politics

    Schiavo case matters in symbol and substance

    She matters, not only because she has an endowed, inalienable right to life, but also because she is a symbol – like Rosa Parks was a symbol when she refused to sit in the back of that Montgomery, Ala., …

  • http://rfburnhertz.net/rf_blog Keith

    All this talk about a right to die, all this talk about if she had made her wishes known or not has become foolish and taken our eyes off of the big picture.
    None of us have a “right to die”, though we may make the choice to die by ending our own life or having another assist us in the taking of our own life.
    But we haven’t the right.
    Our attempting to create a supposed right to die is nothing more than trying our attempting to take from God some of His power and make it our own.

  • http://jenspeaks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/schiavo_legally_sanctioned_murder/ Lintefiniel Musing

    Schiavo - Legally Sanctioned Murder

    I'm deeply grieved at the progression of the Schiavo case. We're talking about legally sanctioned murder here and I'm sick about the misinformation that the media is putting forth about Terri. At this point, with the new ruling from t…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The ‘Right to Die’ really would only apply to euthansia, where some active measure is taken to end life. There is, however, a right to refuse intervention. That does not take anything away from God since we have not reached the point where intervention can guarantee someone won’t die nor does non-intervention prevent God from letting a person live.
    In the famouse Quinlin case, the girl was removed from the respirator yet she lived for several more years breathing on her own. There indeed was a right to refuse the respirator but no right to be killed when her body was able to breath on its own.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Slate.com has an alternate view of those tapes:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2115123/
    ******************
    But the questions about Michael are just the beginning. If you’re going to scrutinize the fitness of family members to make medical decisions, you have to look at everyone. Take Schiavo’s mom, who calls her daughter “my life.” Schiavo’s parents have circulated video clips purporting to show that their daughter responds to stimuli. Skeptics point out that the clips omit hours of unresponsiveness

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com Deputyheadmistress

    Not worthwhile at all, IMO. I saw a lot of grasping for conclusions not warrented by the facts, and I saw some opinions by people who had clearly already made up their minds.
    Of course hours of unresponsiveness are omitted- she doesn’t have to be responsive all the time to prove she’s not a vegetable. One response would be enough. There have been more.
    My own retarded daughter isn’t responsive all the time, and not consistantly, either. She’s still a human being, and starving her to death is not an option, and feeding her is not an ‘intervention.’
    Terri’s muscles have been allowed, indeed encouraged, to atrophy by Michael, so lack of physical movement doesn’t prove anything about what’s going on in her head. Even the most braindamaged and incapacitated of patients should be given some basic physical therapy to prevent atrophy of themusciles and muscle contractions. Michale denied Terri even so much as a washcloth under her hand to help alleviate the contractions.
    Have you seen her charts at Code Blue blogs? Even Michael was reporting to the doctor that she was speaking- up until he won his lawsuit.
    You are so uninformed, and it is pretty clear that this is by choice.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Of course hours of unresponsiveness are omitted- she doesn’t have to be responsive all the time to prove she’s not a vegetable. One response would be enough. There have been more.
    So you’ve basically assumed your conclusion. If her actions are random only then if you wait around long enough you will see a ‘reaction’ that might appear as if it is a response to something you asked. In reality it isn’t. Assuming the description above is accurate (and I notice you don’t dispute his description of the 4 hour tape) the ‘response’ would appear to be nothing more than understandably biased people seeing what they desperately want to see.
    Have you seen her charts at Code Blue blogs? Even Michael was reporting to the doctor that she was speaking- up until he won his lawsuit.
    I read the CodeBlue blog. Basically all he is saying is that her brain hasn’t turned entirely to liquid…only that her tissue has become amazingly thin. So instead of a water balloon her front brain is a bit more like a toilet bowel filled with tissue. I do not buy his assertion that her CAT scan is equilivant to a 75 year old woman who is otherwise functional but maybe a little senile. This blogger has also alleged that Yushchenko was not poisened with dioxin but by drinking too much (see http://codeblueblog.blogs.com/codeblueblog/2004/11/index.html)
    So assuming he is really an expert (unlike an actual court trial where expert witnesses have to defend their credentials to both sides there is no way to tell a blogger really is what he says he is) he would appear to fall outside commonly accepted medical opinion. His assertions that ‘this may not really be Terri’s brain’ lead me to suspect he is more of a crank.
    You are so uninformed, and it is pretty clear that this is by choice.
    Really? I’ve read the original documents and requested additional ones. I’ve been willing to correct my mistakes and ask questions. The CodeBlueBlog item (http://codeblueblog.blogs.com/codeblueblog/2005/03/csi_medblogs_co.html) was just posted on Monday and believe it or not is not a major blog at all. How uninformed am I really compared to some of the people on this list who would presume to tell you all about Terri’s feelings, about her husband really wanting her ‘out of the way’ and so on?

  • http://www.nmnh.si.edu/paleo/shale/panomal.htm Anomalocaris
  • Larry Lord

    Deputyheadmistress is a script-reciting rube of the first degree.
    Deputyheadmistress takes a giant stinky dump on this country’s legal system (a system which we believe is so great that it justified the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis over the course of the last few years).
    But you can rest assured that Deputyheadmistress will happily run to court when he/she stands to gain some money by doing so. Therein lies the sickness.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Mr Ed & others
    The famous Hammesfahr’s report is also dubious:

    You took one very small portion out of a large report, Boon.

    It would appear that Hammesfahr is not quite as respectable as he initially appeared. The http://www.dailyhowler.com/ has more including his grandstanding self promotion as a ‘Nobel Nominee’:
    **************
    Judge Greer counted.
    “By the court’s count, (Hammesfahr) gave 105 commands to Terri Schiavo and, at his direction, Mrs. Schindler gave an additional six commands,” Greer wrote. “He asked her 61 questions and Mrs. Schindler asked her an additional 11 questions. The court saw few actions that could be considered responsive to either those commands or those questions.”
    ***************
    The judge noted that Hammesfahr testified that he had treated patients worse off than Mrs. Schiavo yet “offered no names, no case studies, no videos and no test results to support his claim.”

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    We are seeing a consistent pattern in this case, it is one of ignorance and deception coming from the pro-parents side. This is not unlike the Mumia case where the reverse is true, the left-wing continually puts forth the same old canards that have been shot down over and over again. Yet someone new to the Mumia case may get a hold of a ‘summary’ or two and quickly become convinced that a horrible travisty of justice is afoot.

  • Mr Ed

    Deputyheadmistress is a script-reciting rube of the first degree.
    Funny that you would knock her for that considering you’ve used the samae label for just about every conservative on the board.

  • Mr Ed

    And this brings us back to the question that Mr. Ed ran away from from a few threads back: why wasn’t Bush asked to sign a bill requesting that the baby in Texas — whose legal guardian (the only person whose opinion mattered because the baby’s wishes were unknown — for obvious reasons) wanted the baby to be kept on life support — be helicoptered to an institution where appropriate facilities were available???
    If you want to go back and thrash through all of the past posts, like I have before, you’ll find out that I never evaded a question. And, for that matter, we can go back through all of the messages and find that you never in fact asked this question. It appears, as time progresses, so does the question. Yet you claim I am evading it.
    Sorry, that tactic doesn’t work Lar.
    So, what question is it that you really want answered?

  • http://rfburnhertz.net/rf_blog Keith

    Okay Boonton I understand your point but believe you are playing word games as you knew what I meant.
    To make it more clear, we haven’t a right to die and we haven’t a right to murder.
    Terri is in the process of being murdered.

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  • http://ryanscott.tripod.com/posts/2005/03/what-is-persistent-vegetative-state.html A Bellandean! God, Country, Heritage

    What Is the Persistent Vegetative State and Is Ter

    Through all the debate about whether or not Terri Schiavo is in a Permanent Vegetative State I am wondering, what is a Permanent Vegetative State? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has the answer. And according to them, peop…

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com DeputyHeadmistress

    http://patterico.com/2005/03/22/2784/the-mistake-that-may-cost-a-life/
    About Judge Greer ruling that Diane Meyer’s testimony was uncredible because she was wrong about when Karen Ann Quinlan died, Patterio quotes the judge and then points out:
    “In other words, although this witness originally seemed credible, the judge decided that she was not credible largely because he believed that Karen Ann Quinlan had already died in 1982

  • Larry Lord

    Me:
    “Deputyheadmistress is a script-reciting rube of the first degree.”
    Ed writes
    “Funny that you would knock her for that considering you’ve used the same label for just about every conservative on the board.”
    Wrong! I do not recall saying that any other conservative was a script-reciting rube of the first degree.

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot deputyheadmistress

    “…you can rest assured that Deputyheadmistress will happily run to court when he/she stands to gain some money by doing so.”
    Actually, you can’t. I have, in fact, never gone to court for any reason and have specifically refused to go to court on three occasions when I stood to gain money and something rather more precious.
    1. a close relative died of an internal bleed caused by gall bladder surgery and never caught, although we told the hospital repeatedly that something else was wrong.
    2. We were in the process of adopting when the birth mother canceled the adoption. Our case worker advised us to pursue that case in court and seek to have the birth-mother’s rights terminated. We refused.
    3. roofers stripped our roof and left it uncovered shortly before a rainstorm. We now have serious water damage in the ceilings of both floors of our small two story house, stains, cracked ceilings, peeling paint, and mold seeping into the walls. We fired the roofers and called the police to prohibit them from removing the roofing shingles we had paid for from our property- but we did not go to court, even though we would certainly have won.
    It’s not your business, but your assumptions are more than usually stupid and in complete opposition of reality. They are also more than a little irrelevant to the points at hand. The minor point is that Boonton accepted Judge Greer’s egregious dismissal of claims by Terri’s friends that she voice opinions contrary to those Michael has placed in her mouth based on a wrong date given for the death of Karen Ann Quinlan. But Judge Greer was in error and the witnesses he dismissed were correct.
    The major point is that, regardless of what sort of person I or anybody else is,
    Judge Greer has been wrong about almost everything about the Schiavo case, and we have police in this country prohibiting people from giving an innocent woman a drink of water by court order.
    What is wrong with giving a woman a drink of water? If she can’t drink it and she dies from it, it would be quicker than what she’s enduring now- but what is so wrong with trying? How can anybody at all defend a court order against giving somebody a sip of water?

  • river

    What is really bizarre about these hundreds of “Save Terri” posts on the blogs is that all of you think you know better than a randomly selected state court judge who has held full trials on all of the issues you are re-hashing, and who has had every one of his decisions in the Schiavo case upheld on numerous appeals. The whole hue and cry appears to be an entirely uninformed and irrational emotional reaction to a few minutes of video of Terri Schiavo. What you don’t realize is that those clips were non-randomly selected from 4.5 hours of video. The judge viewed the whole thing and determined, along with many experts, that Schiavo’s reactions were random events, not even “reactions”. You can read all of the decisions, pleadings, etc., as well as some admirably thorough and even-handed analysis, here:
    THE TERRI SCHIAVO INFORMATION PAGE
    http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html
    deputyheadmistress writes,
    “What is wrong with giving a woman a drink of water? If she can’t drink it and she dies from it, it would be quicker than what she’s enduring now- but what is so wrong with trying? How can anybody at all defend a court order against giving somebody a sip of water?”
    My God. Terri is brain dead. She is long gone. The only relevant question is whether or not, when alive, Terri Schiavo wanted her corpse to be maintained indefinitely in this degrading state, or not. The evidence on this is clear and convincing, according to the judge, after an extensive trial and deliberation, that Terri did not want to be maintained.
    Following Terri’s wishes is not being a Nazi, and following the orders of a judge, who is just following the clear directives of Florida law, is also not being a Nazi. It’s you folks who are advocating arbitrarily changing the law to override the courts, as a sop to right-wing demagoguery.
    Let Terri go. Like some kind of sick marionette, you are propping up Terri’s corpse as a zombie soldier in the culture war. The insult to her desires and her dignity is being magnified a thousandfold by the very Christian conservatives that claim to have her interests at heart.
    Let her go.