When Judges Play God:
Civil Disobedience and the Terri Schiavo Case

End of Life Issues — By on March 18, 2005 at 12:59 am


A hearing is sought
the lawyers are bought
the court won’t let him eat
the papers applaud
when judges play God
this child is getting weak
— ‘



  • Joel Thomas

    My position is that if there is medical concensus that a person is in a persistent vegetative state and they left legal instructions that they wouldn’t want feeding tubes, then I think it is quite moral and ethical to allow such a person to die. That’s what my living will provides and I am quite confident in the correctness and Christianity of my position.
    I note that in a recent poll, 87% of respondents said they would not wish to live if they were in circumstances similar to Terri’s.
    I’m not convinced that most of the support for Terri is based on either compassion or Christian love. Much of it is simply self-righteous grandstanding born of a need to prove oneself more moral than others.

  • http://allthings2all.blogspot.com Catez

    Hi Joe,
    The latest news is that the House is issuing Congressional subpoenas. Not sure if the subpoenas will be complied with.
    To Joel: I think you have missed it – Terri Schiavo is not PVS and has no living will.

  • http://www.scrappleface.com/MT/archives/002119.html Scott Ott

    Questions:
    Who decides?
    Qui bono?
    Who has legal standing to speak for an incapacitated party?
    Should the beneficiary of her death, who is the only witness to a vague verbal contract and who has violated his marriage covenant, be trusted before the court?
    Does anyone believe that the victim’s husband knows her wishes better than the victim’s mother? (If you do, then you have never been married to a woman whose mother is alive.)
    Joel (commenter above), I am the chief among the sinners — not wishing to appear “more moral than others” — but I believe that Michael Schiavo lacks legal standing to choose in this matter.

  • http://ohhowilovejesus.com Jeanette

    I am praying that the Lord will have His will in this situation. I know what my will is, and on Monday when I fasted and prayed for Terri I happened to read an article written by the pastor of Judge Greer. That article made me believe the Lord was showing me it is His will for Terri to live.
    I have referenced this post on my blog and tried to do a trackback, but even though it told me twice it had pinged I don’t see it.
    Thanks for the post. It’s very thought-provoking.
    May God bless Terri, her family and all of you.
    Jeanette

  • http://mossback.org Richard Bennett

    The law is clear that the spouse speaks for the other spouse in a case like this (where the disabled spouse can’t speak for herself.) That’s exactly why the Florida legislature passed a special law for this case, which was quickly struck down in the courts.
    There’s no murky legal issue here: the husband is on the hook for the medical bills, and he’s also responsible for the medical decisions. Husband and wife are one person before the law.
    I personally don’t see that the big deal is about letting this poor woman die – she’s been a vegetable for way too long already, and if she has any consciousness at all, it’s got to be painful.
    The Christian thing to do is to let her go to heaven and be with Jesus and the angels.

  • http://ohhowilovejesus.com Jeanette

    Richard,
    You may very well be right about her going to be with Jesus. That would be the best place for any of us to be, but she is not on a ventilator or any other “life support”. She is being fed through a tube and the judge refuses to allow her to be tested to see if she can swallow soft foods for fear she might choke! At least if she choked she wouldn’t suffer for up to 2 weeks by starving and dehydrating.
    Check my site at http://ohhowilovejesus.com for the link to this story.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    “One death is a tragedy, millions are just statistics” Stalin is said to have said. “Terri” and “Laci” are made into icons (like Madonna and Prince) while 15% of the population has its life cut short but since this is not a Republican party cause another form of slow death takes its course.
    (To Mr. Carter’s credit, he has cited “gluttony” previously as an issue though.)
    In Schiavo’s case, we have an interesting principle which shows the elastic nature of right-to-lifers’ concept of life leading to the devaluation of human life: it is taken as axiomatic that Schiavo, is, in fact concious.
    We do not in fact, know this; it is apparent that many physicians doubt “she” is. (Are you a you when you’re brain dead?)
    I think I’ll say more on my blog about this later, but I have deep concerns either way on this issue; she may, in fact, later be found to be concious. And she may, in fact, be found to be concious, but in such a hall that she, herself indeed would want out. And Pope John Paul II’s display notwithstanding, it is rank arrogance to suggest – either way- that we know what “Terri” really wants.

  • George

    Mr. Thomas:
    No one questions your right to make whatever arrangements you may desire for your disposal should you become social overhead. However, I find your use of poll numbers to advocate your personal philosophy craven in the extreme.
    Mr. Bennett:
    It’s good to know that there are folks around like you who can read minds. It’s especially convenient that you can do so remotely and with people you’ve never met. Are you available for a Halloween booking?
    Rest of the World:
    I haven’t thought deeply about the Schiavo case. I suppose my avoidance is driven by two things. First, I find it repugnant that some people are absolutely bent on murdering this woman apparently, they believe, for her own “good”. Second, I personally find the whole affair of a piece with another unfortunate social trope, eugenics.
    Eugenics used to be vilified when the Nazis proclaimed its glory. These days, a Surgeon General (Joycelyn Elders) can tout a reduction in live births of Down’s Syndrome babies as a benefit of abortion. I read yesterday that an abortion took place in the UK because the baby had a cleft lip and palate.
    I’m not Roman Catholic, but the Pope had it exactly right when he noted that we celebrate a culture of death. Of course, if one believes that we’re no more than shivering masses of organic chemicals lurching about trying to replicate one of our molecules, it may make sense to have a the definition of “personhood” and a right to life winking on and off as convenience and utility dictate in the moment. After all, being forced to buy large jars of mayonnaise at Costco or actually having to abide by a sworn covenant (… in sickness and in health) as opposed to simply enjoying the good sex as long as it’s available is, I can see, too much to ask of those who, in this moment, have “person” status.
    But, whatever side one takes in this debate, I think it’s worth reflecting on Donne’s admonishment: “Ask not for whom the bells toll…”

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I haven’t thought deeply about the Schiavo case. I suppose my avoidance is driven by two things. First, I find it repugnant that some people are absolutely bent on murdering this woman apparently, they believe, for her own “good”. Second, I personally find the whole affair of a piece with another unfortunate social trope, eugenics.

    Eugenics has nothing to do with this. If we remember our history, eugenics was a failed theory that the human race could be improved the way cattle is; through selective breeding of ‘good’ humans and sterilization of ‘bad’ ones. Eugenics failed because many of the qualities of a ‘good’ human are achieved through the environment rather than genes and many other qualities are highly subjective. Eugenics had very limited success in a few cases where some genetic diseases can be eliminated by genetic screening of parents ahead of time.
    As for this case:
    1. Medical intervention is being withheld, hence it is not murder. Even the Catholic Church accepts that a person has a right to refuse medical treatment if they would rather let ‘nature take its course’.
    2. In cases where it is unclear what the person’s desires are then a spouse is the natural spokesperson for them unless there is clear evidence that the spouses motives are suspect. No such evidence has been presented against her husband. There is no basis for claiming the desires he expresses for his wife are based on financial gain or access to ‘easy sex’ (as if he reallly needs his wife to die in order to have sex). The so-called Christians on this list should take note that the prohibition against being a false witness against your neighbor has yet to be repealed.
    3. Joe’s descriptions of starvation are not relevant here. Unlike a Jewish prisoner being purposefully starved in a Nazi camp, this woman apparantly has literally no brain left at all. While starvation is unpleasent to watch it has no effect on her at all anymore than a person would feel pain during an operation despite the fact that their body is cut open.

  • http://wardrobedoor.blogspot.com Aaron

    Richard said:
    “…if she has any consciousness at all, it’s got to be painful.”
    Okay let’s break that statement down. First “if she has any consciousness,” the husband’s contention is that she doesn’t and that is why she should be starved to death. But if she has consciousness then shouldn’t we allow her to live? If she is a living person with consciousness, why would we kill her? If there is the slightest chance that she is a conscious person why not err on the side of caution, the side of life?
    Second “it’s got to be painful.” Really? I am wondering how you know this. All that is done for her medically is a feeding tube because she can’t swallow (nor has she been allowed by her husband to do rehab for swallowing). And if she is in pain now, what in the world do you think she is going to feel when she is being starved to death?!?
    Have you ever heard of Kate Adamson? She was in a “vegetative state” when doctors removed her feeding tube for eight days. Now she is fully recovered and is speaking out against the removal of Terri’s feeding tube.
    She described the slow starvation as “the most painful experiences you can imagine.” She said, “I could hear every word. They were saying

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    As for the ‘culture of death’ meme. I think it is highly out of touch. If anything our culture has made a fetish out of life. The whole reason for the debate about euthansia, ‘mercy killing’ and so on has arisin because our culture values life so much that we have invested billions of dollars in finding out how to stretch life out as long as possible (plus out investments in treating common killers like heart attacks has allowed people to live longer & face debilitating killers like cancer and Alzhaimers).
    In another age life was not viewed as the be all and end all. In fact, death was accepted as a natural end to life and it remains so to this day. From a Christian point of view death was transformed by Christ from a destroyer to a mear passageway to a better existence (death, where is thy sting?). Putting all your energy into living another week or month is in reality silly.

  • George

    mumon:
    I agree completely that no one truly knows what Terri wants or even whether she is in a cognitive state where “wanting” is an appropriate verb. Having said that, I do think more weight is due her parents, who actually know Ms Schiavo and who have spent considerable time with her, than with “some doctors” and particularly the estimable Mr. Bennett (whose powers are, at best, unsubstantiated).
    Under those circumstances, our self-anointed omniscients notwithstanding, it seems to me that one should choose to err on the side of life. After all, should we discover the telepathists among us are right and we have needlessly prolonged an inconvenient and bothersome life, she can easily be killed. At this time, however, reversing the effects of mistakenly killing her is not possible.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I agree completely that no one truly knows what Terri wants or even whether she is in a cognitive state where “wanting” is an appropriate verb. Having said that, I do think more weight is due her parents, who actually know Ms Schiavo and who have spent considerable time with her, than with “some doctors” and particularly the estimable Mr. Bennett (whose powers are, at best, unsubstantiated).
    The law and even the Bible is very clear. A spouse replaces ones parents as the best spokesman for your interests (if you are unable to speak for yourself). Like most other things this presumption can be rebutted if evidence exists that the spouse (or even parents in the case of children) are not acting on the person’s behalf. However there is a proper forum to air such charges and they are in court rooms, not media circuses.

  • Rob Ryan

    Who is playing God: the court which allows nature to take its course or the legislature that mandates force-feeding a vegetable? Terri Shiavo died a long time ago.
    A parent’s love is touching, and the death of a child is sad, but, as a parent, I hope I would have the courage to do the right thing for my daughter in such a case. It’s time to let go.

  • gedi

    Richard wrote, “…if she has any consciousness at all, it’s got to be painful.”
    In the words of a pretty good book, “life is pain, anyone who tells you differently is selling you something”. Seriously, when was a pain free existence ever recognized as a right in this country or granted as a privilege. I need to sign up if it is…
    Boonton wrote, “From a Christian point of view death was transformed by Christ from a destroyer to a mear passageway to a better existence (death, where is thy sting?). Putting all your energy into living another week or month is in reality silly.”
    Your right. You should probably end it now.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actually gedi no one is ending anything. If Terry ‘wakes up’ she will be given food to eat and even her husband cannot stop it.

  • gedi

    I wrote, “Your right. You should probably end it now.”
    Booton wrote, “Actually gedi no one is ending anything. If Terry ‘wakes up’ she will be given food to eat and even her husband cannot stop it.”
    By your post, I assume you haven’t taken your philosophy to the next logical conclusion and killed yourself. That is good. Like is precious, even yours. Since you don’t live your philosophy, you certainly can’t expect anyone else to take your philosophy seriously. As such, we will all just have to do everything we can to support life.
    Don’t co-opt Christian theology and pass it off as your theology of death.

  • http://benedictionblogson.com Bene Diction

    If a person on death row goes on a hunger strike the state force feeds them so they can execute them.
    We don’t know enough about brain damage to know what Terri will feel. If the US courts have decided it’s permissible to starve her to death, why can’t these courts be more humane and kill her like states kill death row inmates in execution chambers? We put pets down the same way, we don’t stop feeding them.

  • http://benedictionblogson.com Bene Diction

    I have a question, are Terri’s parents getting grief counselling and spiritual help? Is her husband?

  • http://johncoleman.typepad.com John

    The Florida case concerns me. I have not writtenn about it because Christians have been so adamant in their defense of the prolongation of this woman’s life–it seemed a poor move to speak from my relatively uninformed position on the subject.
    But I think there has been a little too much Christian protest, in some ways. Again, I am largely ignorant of the subject; but it seems to me that Christians in modern culture have lost some of the ability to deal with death with dignity.
    Maybe I will write more somewhere else, but I have both practical and philosophical objections to some of the arguments for Terri.
    1) Resources are scarce, and every dollar spent on her life prolongation–though admirable–might have a better use. Healthcare is still subject to limited resources. The money spent on Ms. Schiavo could save a lot of lives eslwhere
    2) With increases in technology, what is the appropriate time to “let someone die”. When it becomes possible to freeze someone in a barely living state for centuries, will it be Christian to do so.
    Dropping all the rhetoric of murder, what are the real, reasoned justifications for keeping someone with very little hope of recovery on this kind of life support for so long?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Gedi, I’m sorry if I misread your post but I don’t quite see how your argument (if you have one) follows. You failed to address any of my points in a serious manner, yet I’ll do you a favor and take you seriously…if only for a little while.
    We don’t know enough about brain damage to know what Terri will feel. If the US courts have decided it’s permissible to starve her to death, why can’t these courts be more humane and kill her like states kill death row inmates in execution chambers? We put pets down the same way, we don’t stop feeding them.
    Possibly true, I’m no expert on the brain but I do suspect we know enough to know that Terri probably doesn’t feel anything but if she does then she is probably experiencing a lot of other types of pain that may dwarf starvation. There have been reports that some people suffer a type of ‘awake sleep’ during surgery where they are unable to move or talk yet feel the actual pain of the surgery. Is it possible we have inflicted a lot of suffering unintentionally.
    Yet we have to make decisions to take action (or in this case to not take action by not introducing artificial eating mechanisms) so we are left with little choice but to use the knowledge we currently have.

  • Tim

    This is a really hard issue because it is so intensely personal too!
    And this makes sense, because the issue is personal. But some people are responding to this as a much broader issue involving euthanasia and “right to die” (why is this a ‘right to die’ issue instead of a ‘right to live’ issue?).
    Regarding the broader issue, tubefeeding is not an extraordinary medical treatment and they are not injecting anything so it is not euthanasia specifically.
    As a side issue, I disagree with the definition of euthanasia. Removing extraordinary medical treatment should not fit in that definition. (dictionary.com “The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment”.)
    There are situations in which removing a tubefeeding and allowing a person to die by starvation and dehydration is NOT a cruel and unusual death. An example is a person that suffers from Alzheimers or Parkinsons and are thus declining as a natural progression of the disease. I would argue that placing a tubefeeding on this person is cruel, causes more suffering and is a selfish move by the person making the choice.
    Regardless, Terri does not fit into this situation. She is not chronically declining. In addition, some argue that she does respond to the environment with eye contact (or at least head movement to a stimuli) and laughter.
    Then there is a matter of who do you believe? I realize there is a bit of judment here but I have no trust in Terri’s husband. Somebody that is going to receive a million dollars and appears to not have divorced her for the purpose of the money. Yet, he has had kids from another women now. So when he or his supporters state that he is in a persistent vegetative state, I do not believe them.
    I believe the family although we all have to admit that their response is potentially selfish too. Are they refusing to let go of their daughter and allow her to die naturally because of their own selfish reasons? Again, if she does respond to environmental cues, there should be no question- the feedings should definitely continue.
    The issue of her vegetative state and her potential for recovery is critical to answering the appropriateness of the actions as a Christian.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    But I think there has been a little too much Christian protest, in some ways. Again, I am largely ignorant of the subject; but it seems to me that Christians in modern culture have lost some of the ability to deal with death with dignity.
    I can’t blame them since the ‘Death with Dignity’ crowd has been too quick to rush in with euthansia as a solution. When implemented, euthansia has been used as an ‘easy way out’. In theory what should have been limited to only the most extreme cases ends up being implemented as a first instead of last resort. I suppose it could be reformed to make it more of a last resort but I’m skeptical that it doesn’t preclude research and resources towards avoiding it.
    That doesn’t mean, however, there is no truth in the phrase. Face it, early Christians embraced death, seeing martyerdom as a great gift rather than a horror to be avoided at all costs (including renouncing your faith). I find something unsettling about mindlessly clinging to life for the sake of keeping nothing more than bodily functions going. If human life is sacred (no one seems to argue that bacterial life is sacred) then it must be sacred because of those qualities that make it human. If life becomes more non-human then it logically should become less sacred.
    Many people have a natural disgust with the idea of ‘living like a vegtable’ not because they are being foold by a false ‘theology of death’ but because it is unnatural. A product not of human life but an artifical side effect of our advanced technology. Joe sees no problem with questioning whether new technology like cloning or stem cell research can become an affront to human dignity (even if those performing the research have good intentions to only help people) why is it forbidden to question whether the same bad thing can happen as a side effect of our otherwise good attempts to improve medical care?

  • http://www.slantpoint.com/mt-arx/2005/03/praying_for_sch.php Slant Point

    Praying for Schiavo

    I can’t but help find the “countdown” for killing Terri Schiavo one of the most disgusting things to watch. It reeks of death row capital punishment. It reminds me of Ted Bundy TV. But this lady is so innocent. I feel as if I can…

  • gedi

    Boonton,
    Unlike most people, I don’t care enough about politics and philosophy to respond to your posts on these subjects. You can let those chips fall where they may. You, however, asserted the following statements..
    “From a Christian point of view death was transformed by Christ from a destroyer to a mear passageway to a better existence (death, where is thy sting?). Putting all your energy into living another week or month is in reality silly.”
    “The law and even the Bible is very clear. A spouse replaces ones parents as the best spokesman for your interests (if you are unable to speak for yourself). Like most other things this presumption can be rebutted if evidence exists that the spouse (or even parents in the case of children) are not acting on the person’s behalf. However there is a proper forum to air such charges and they are in court rooms, not media circuses.”
    Firstly, Christianity is not a theology of death, as you assert. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He raises people from the dead, cures them of their ills, and provides life, that it may be lived to the fullest. In fact, to believe that this life we have here is not tied to our future heaven is heretical, gnostic. To state “Putting all your energy into living another week or month is in reality silly.”, as you did, is non-Christian. Followed to its logical conclusion, we should all starve ourselves to death. After all, putting all our energy into living another week or monthy is in reality, silly.
    Secondly, your belief that the husband has the right to kill his wife is *not* Biblical. Run to the Qu’ran with this argument if you like, but not the Bible. Joe has correctly stated the role of government with relation to God’s divine providence. Governement makes the laws, laws which people even in covenantal relationships as husbands and wives must obey. When government steps outside the bounds of God’s law, Christians are morally obligated to resist the government. This is where Christians find themselves in this case. While Joe gives no suggestions for what “actions of civil disobedience” he would like to see Christians do, we are morally obligated to resist the tyranny of a government which “becomes a lawless entity”.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Tim:
    Then there is a matter of who do you believe? I realize there is a bit of judment here but I have no trust in Terri’s husband. Somebody that is going to receive a million dollars and appears to not have divorced her for the purpose of the money. Yet, he has had kids from another women now. So when he or his supporters state that he is in a persistent vegetative state, I do not believe them.
    I believe the family although we all have to admit that their response is potentially selfish too. Are they refusing to let go of their daughter and allow her to die naturally because of their own selfish reasons? Again, if she does respond to environmental cues, there should be no question- the feedings should definitely continue.
    For issues like these the forum to decide the matter is the courts. Do you really know her husband? Is he really motivated solely by money? I won’t speculate about her parents. Perhaps they are just seeing what they want to see rather than looking at the truth. Perhaps they are motivated by money (my understanding of the matter is that Terri is due for a large settlement if the error that caused her situation results in death??? if she is not married then that money would be part of her estate which would pass to her parents).
    I don’t think it is fair to judge these people based on gossip and allagations by ideologically motivated groups. For all its faults a court room permits objective evidence to be examined and there are procedures that let people’s status of guardian be challenged if there is evidence they are not acting on behalf of their charge. In other words, the forum to hear that argument has already been used and has not found sufficient reason to doubt her husband.

  • http://whatintheworldisgoingon.blogspot.com Liz

    The original post was very thought provoking, and it brings to mind a story that I heard one time. There was a church during the time of World War II, located near a railroad. The railroad was commonly used by the Nazis to transport Jews to Dachau. One day the train, carrying boxcars full of people, had to stop because of a problem on the rail. It was a sunday morning, and there was singing going on inside of the church. The people trapped in the boxcars all screamed when the saw the church through the tiny air holes in the boxcar sides, knowing that if the Christians heard them, they would help get them out of the boxcars. The people in the church heard the prisoners screaming for help, but only sang louder to drown them out. The prisoners were taken to Dachau.
    As Christians are we supposed to stand by and allow innocents to be killed for no reason? Should we not go as far as we possibly can to protect the unborn, or the handicapped like Terri Schaivo?? How far do we go? I always have thought that bombing abortion clinics was the wrong way to go about saving babies lives, and I am not suggesting anyone do that. But should we not become more active in protecting those who cannot protect themselves? No matter how darkly the media portrays pro-lifers, we are in truth, trying to prevent murder.
    I do not know how far is “too far” in protecting others, but we should show the same zeal for helping the unborn, handicapped, and elderly, as we would try to stop a murderer from attacking a perfectly healthy adult.

  • http://www.mediaculpa.com/index.php?id=P368 MediaCulpa

    “The True Horizon of Morally Acceptable Responses” to Terri’s Murder (Updated)

    At what point does it become permissible to use force — the force of linking arms or lying down in a doorway, or even active force — to resist the

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Firstly, Christianity is not a theology of death, as you assert. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He raises people from the dead, cures them of their ills, and provides life, that it may be lived to the fullest. In fact, to believe that this life we have here is not tied to our future heaven is heretical, gnostic. To state “Putting all your energy into living another week or month is in reality silly.”, as you did, is non-Christian. Followed to its logical conclusion, we should all starve ourselves to death. After all, putting all our energy into living another week or monthy is in reality, silly.
    Jesus raised one person from the dead and cured a tiny fraction of ills during his lifetime. This was not done to give people more earthly life and find cures for various diseases like cancer. This was to prove his divinity. Nothing I wrote contradicts your assertion that our next life is tied to our earthly life. I simply wrote that death is a passage to that next life that is natural rather than a complete end of existence that many fear.
    As for your second point, it is a purposeful misreading of what I wrote. It is indeed unnatural to cling to life over all other values. The early martyrs demonstrated this when they choose death rather than renounce their faith. If living as many minutes as you could was the entire point of the game then it would be better to renounce your faith in exchange for a ‘normal life’. Likewise there is nothing wrong with a person forgoing treatment whose only purpose is to prolong a painful and deficient life….especially if that treatment is extraordinary technology. It doesn’t follow that we should all therefore ‘give up’.
    Secondly, your belief that the husband has the right to kill his wife is *not* Biblical. Run to the Qu’ran with this argument if you like, but not the Bible.
    I’ll remind you again I’m not aware of anything in the Bible or Christian theology that removes the prohibition against bearing false witness, yet you’ll lie about what I wrote right in front of me!
    George wrote:
    Having said that, I do think more weight is due her parents, who actually know Ms Schiavo and who have spent considerable time with her, …
    I wrote:

    The law and even the Bible is very clear. A spouse replaces ones parents as the best spokesman for your interests (if you are unable to speak for yourself).

    You can very clearly see I was responding to George’s assertion that parents are the best people to speak for a person’s interests when they are unable to speak for themselves. I pointed out that this falls to the spouse both in the law and the Bible (see for example Jesus’s description of human nature as for man to leave his parents and cling to a woman & vice versa). I also pointed out in the very same paragraph:

    Like most other things this presumption can be rebutted if evidence exists that the spouse (or even parents in the case of children) are not acting on the person’s behalf. However there is a proper forum to air such charges and they are in court rooms, not media circuses.

    You’re snide little comment about husbands killing their wives demonstrates that you’re not interested in a honest discussion (so does your false aside that Islam permits husbands to kill their wives, while Islam is quite faulty this is not one of its doctrines). A husband does have a right to speak for his wife’s interests if she is unable to speak for herself (and vice versa).
    This does mean that a husban may end up making decisions that can have the effect of his wife have a shorter lifespan. It is easy to think up of a million possibile cases where such decisions may be totally beyond reproach. For example, a husband may decline an experimental treatment because he feels it is too risky. There’s a risk that he may be wrong and his wife will die sooner than if she had it. He may decline a request by a doctor to do ‘exploratory surgery’. And so on. The law recognizes that sometimes even everyday medical care may be declined. For example, look at Jehovah’s Witnesses who feel blood transfusions are forbidden by God.

  • http://johncoleman.typepad.com John

    Liz, thanks for your comments. I am trying to really debate the subject here, so please, please know that I don’t intend any of the following to be rude.
    It is precisely the tendency of folks on the religious right (of which I am a part) to draw parallels between Schiavo, et al and the holocaust, etc. that is gradually increasing my sympathy for the plight if not the opinions of pro-choice, pro-euthanasia types.
    This is insanity. This woman is, as far as I know, in something like a coma. She has been for a long time. She is alive because modern technology can keep her alive. Her husband is worn down and wants to deal with the fact that she will not recover.
    I think there are arguments to be made for prolonging her life; but instead the “pro-life” side here has resorted to purely “pathetic” (meaning emotional, i.e. “pathos”) arguments and accusations of murder.
    Whatever the Schiavo case is, it is nothing like a clear case of murder. I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable with a position that continues to compare Schiavo to the Jews or even the unborn without dealing with so many of the real, logical questions.
    This is way to complicated for that kind of demonization; and Christians should tread softly. Twenty years from now, what happens when things like refusing organ donation or perpetual life support are considered “murder” and “euthanasia”. Religious autonomy has a dog in this fight too.

  • Tim

    Boontoon,
    Excuse me, but you are the one that is quick to judgement. I did not say that this is the reason that her husband IS doing this and I cited that it may be the parents that are selfish (if anybody is).
    What I did say, is that based on the situation, I don’t believe him, I don’t have trust in what he says. This is different then making the statement that he actually is being a liar and is just after money.
    My decision is based on his choices since Terri’s situation happened, not the fact that he will get money. Why are you so rushed to judgement that my decision is based on other ideological arguments?
    Since I don’t know him or the parents I have made a decision based on what I do know and the arguments presented. If I actually had a role in decision making, then obviously, I would need to set those judgements aside.
    Did I say or make a judgement that anybody that believes him is wrong or murderers? No, I just stated who I had trust in regarding this story.
    Courts are not always objective or else all the decisions will be the same. And some courts have found sufficient reason to doubt her husband.

  • George

    Boonton:
    You say: Eugenics has nothing to do with this.
    I did not say it did. That’s why I called eugenics “…another unfortunate social trope.” I delight in debate, but it’s better if debate is confined to comments actually made.
    And: Medical intervention is being withheld, hence it is not murder. Even the Catholic Church accepts that a person has a right to refuse medical treatment if they would rather let ‘nature take its course’.
    First, if I find you accidentally at the bottom of a hole starving and dying of thirst and simply walk on, I may not be technically guilty of murder in a court of law, but I personally find that a distinction without a difference. To-MAY-toe, to-MAH-toe.
    Second, Ms Schiavo has not refused medical treatment in a living will or otherwise. Whatever the Catholic Church may have said about that circumstance may well be interesting, but utterly irrelevant to this particular discussion.
    And:
    In cases where it is unclear what the person’s desires are then a spouse is the natural spokesperson for them unless there is clear evidence that the spouses motives are suspect. No such evidence has been presented against her husband.
    Incorrect. The parents claim otherwise. Unfortunately, this is one of those “he said – she said” conflicts that one often encounters in legal matters, but to deny that the parent’s claim is “evidence” is absurd. Moreover, the husband has been caught lying, at the very least, about the alleged eating disorder. Why? There are noted forensic experts suggesting that Terri may have been beaten and strangled. No evidence. Hmph.
    And: There is no basis for claiming the desires he expresses for his wife are based on financial gain or access to ‘easy sex’ (as if he reallly needs his wife to die in order to have sex). The so-called Christians on this list should take note that the prohibition against being a false witness against your neighbor has yet to be repealed.
    I made no statements whatsoever about the “desires he expresses”. If you actually read what I wrote, you’ll find my words specifically directed to those who have “person” status. Us. You. Me. I think I made my point clearly. Note that I am not accusing you of bearing false witness, just sloppy thinking.
    And:
    […] this woman apparantly has literally no brain left at all.
    If she “literally” had no brain, she would already be dead. Perhaps she just seems brainless, like many people who do have “person” status.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Tim,
    I acknowledge your right not to trust her husband. That is fine, my point though is that you cannot really say you know him or her parents. That is why that while we may all be entitled to our opinions the only fair forum to challenge his status as her guardian is in a court where he is able to present his side as well as her parents. Not the media circus that has developed.
    I appreciate that we appear to be in something of an agreement on this since you admit if you were called upon to judge the case you would have to set aside your preconceived opinions of the man.
    “Courts are not always objective or else all the decisions will be the same. And some courts have found sufficient reason to doubt her husband.”
    Courts are certainly not perfect although they are probably more objective than the fickle media (both main stream and the smaller Christian/pro-life media which is not too small to have some of the problems that all mass media has). While some courts may have ruled against her husband in some areas they have not ruled him unfit to be her guardian.

  • Rob Smith

    “Face it, early Christians embraced death, seeing martyerdom as a great gift rather than a horror to be avoided at all costs (including renouncing your faith).
    Boonton–I think this a pretty big misreading of early Church history and doctrine. Given a choice between martyrdom and renunciation, for a Christian the choice should be martyrdom, but that does not mean that Christians rushed out and sought death. Early Christians did not volunteer to be lion food.

  • gedi

    Booton wrote, “I’ll remind you again I’m not aware of anything in the Bible or Christian theology that removes the prohibition against bearing false witness, yet you’ll lie about what I wrote right in front of me!”
    Are you saying that her husband has the right to remove her feeding tube, thus ending her life, or not? Are you arguing this on the Biblical grounds of marriage or not?
    If not, sure, I repent on false witness grounds. Otherwise, you are stating that a husband has a right to kill his wife. Perhaps you would like to further clarify this with special “cases”, but this is what you are arguing.
    Now to the crux of the situation..
    “It is indeed unnatural to cling to life over all other values.”
    What values do you believe Christians should place over life?
    “The early martyrs demonstrated this when they choose death rather than renounce their faith.”
    They chose to follow God’s will and die. They did not take the matter into their hands and kill themselves. There is a subtle difference, but it is also the difference between a Christian martyr and an Islamic martyr.. the same difference between a saint and a butcher.
    “Likewise there is nothing wrong with a person forgoing treatment whose only purpose is to prolong a painful and deficient life….especially if that treatment is extraordinary technology.”
    You are jumping outside the Christian theological spectrum again. I am sure others will expose the fallacies inherent in the “quality over quantity” argument. As Christians, we have life, the life God has given us with all the thorns inherent in this life.

  • http://www.hiddennook.blogspot.com Hidden Nook

    If Terri was in a “vegitative” state then Michael would have all “legal” right (under Federal law) to starve his wife to death. But do these video’s look like Terri is in a “veggie” state?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Boonton–I think this a pretty big misreading of early Church history and doctrine. Given a choice between martyrdom and renunciation, for a Christian the choice should be martyrdom, but that does not mean that Christians rushed out and sought death. Early Christians did not volunteer to be lion food.
    Nor do I think they should. I suppose a pagen equilivant of gedi might have suggested that Christians should have walked up to the emperorer and announced themselves as Christians instead of hiding. My point is that extending life is not the highest value and it should not become it.
    You are jumping outside the Christian theological spectrum again. I am sure others will expose the fallacies inherent in the “quality over quantity” argument. As Christians, we have life, the life God has given us with all the thorns inherent in this life.
    God gave us feeding tubes, lung machines, and ‘automatic’ hearts? How is rejecting those things but leaving death in the hands of God (in other words not using poison to hasten it along) any different than leaving death in the hands of the lion (but not actually jumping into his cage)?
    You’ve lost on the ‘false witness’ argument. You distorted what I wrote and failed to address the point I was making. If you want to take another shot at the argument go ahead but otherwise I’m going to drop it.

  • gedi

    “You’ve lost on the ‘false witness’ argument. You distorted what I wrote and failed to address the point I was making. If you want to take another shot at the argument go ahead but otherwise I’m going to drop it.”
    Yes, best to let sleeping dogs lie, and breathing humans live.

  • gedi

    This seems most appropriate…
    It is not for kings to drink wine,
    Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
    Lest they drink and forget the law,
    And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
    Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
    And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
    Let him drink and forget his poverty,
    And remember his misery no more.
    Open your mouth for the speechless,
    In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
    Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

  • http://JackLewis.net/weblog/archives/2005/03/busy_day_for_te.php JackLewis.net

    Busy day for Terri’s supporters

    While the Florida House passed the bill intended to save Terri Schiavo’s life, the Florida Senate, though, unwilling to be…

  • http://hiddennook.blogspot.com/2005/03/in-defense-of-terri.html Hidden Nook

    In Defense Of Terri

    Some interesting views have come about in regards to Terri and the failure of the state (that is if they do not pass this bill).
    Although I extremely sympathize with the Schindler’s in this case, I don’t think resorting to violence is the best nex…

  • Xiaoding

    A side note on eugenics: it was never disproven, nor has it ever failed. Eugneics is rock solid. It works for cats, dogs, flies, and people too. It has never been tried, however, with people. Some will say it has, but they are wrong. It takes many generations to effect the change desired, if one is using natural methods, and all the attempts to apply it tp people have never lasted that long. Of course, all this will change as genetics comes online. But please, people, don’t malign eugenics. Millions, perhaps billions, of lives have been saved by it.
    Xiaoding

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I think Eugneics is better defined as the attempt to create a ‘perfect race’ of humans through selective breeding. It’s a failure in the sense that many of the ‘objective’ criteria for measuring a perfect race were really subjective. Eugneics can, of course, work if you’re attempting to manipulate specific traits such as a genetic disease.

  • Jim Rockford

    Boonton –
    You place great trust in Judge Greer’s decision but don’t seem to know much about the facts.
    Most egregious is your speculation that the Schindlers might be motivated by the possibility of a future med mal settlement. In fact, perhaps the most compelling evidence that Michael Schiavo should not be believed regarding Terri’s supposed wishes is the fact that, in pursuing his claims against the health care providers for her injuries (which resulted in a very large recovery), he NEVER disclosed her supposed desire to die, because it would have reduced the damages. Instead, he took the position that she was going to live and require care for decades. Somehow, Judge Greer ignored the preclusive effect this should have had (the legal term is estoppel) and found that Schiavo’s testimony met the “clear and convincing standard” imposed by Florida law.
    Moreover, the court relied on the testimony of Dr. Cranford, who spent 45 minutes with her, that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state. This is the same Dr. Cranford who diagnosed a man who could operate an ordinary or electric wheelchair (like Stephen Hawking) as PVS, and the same Dr. Cranford who has supported Michael Schiavo’s refusals to allow the very basic step of taking an MRI.
    Perhaps you should learn more about the facts of a case before you ask others to accept the court’s decision.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com/2005/03/schiavo-case.html Notes in Samsara

    The Schiavo case…..

    The first precept is “Do not kill.” But as to why we do not kill, that is simply because the killing referred to creates additional suffering. When the element of suffering is considered it is clear what to do. Human beings are not vegatables- quiver…

  • Joel Thomas

    Catez,
    I’ve made the distinction between Terri’s case and others in other comments.
    The reason I comment now is because some are using Terri’s case as a precedent that ALL people in persistent vegetative states must be kept alive with feeding tubes.

  • Mr Ed

    Boon:
    It’s not just a matter of medical intervention being withheld; this is a matter of food being withheld. If I withheld food from my child I would be arrested for child endangerment.
    mumon:
    I’m sure you would like the Republican party to focus on obesity so you can tell us to get out of your kitchen as well as your bedroom. But you’re confusing right to life with right to a certain quality of life. The latter not being guaranteed by the Constitution.
    To anyone else who would wish to call out the hypocrisy of the Right-to-Lifers or Republicans or evangelicals, please understand that your point has NOTHING to do with the substance of this case. Pointing out the hypocrisy is all fine and well but it doesn’t address whether or not its right to allow this woman to die. And that is the issue, is it not?

  • Mr Ed

    Everyone, see for yourself:
    http://www.sacramentolifechain.org/schiavo.html
    Hidden Nook’s link didn’t work for me, but you can see videos of Terri here and decide for yourself whether you think she falls under the definition of “persistent Vegatative State” which, by definition, includes “the lack of awareness of self or environment and the inability to interact with others. The lack of sustained, reproducible, purposeful or voluntary behavioral responses to visual auditory, tactile or noxious stimuli, and a lack of evidence of language comprehension or expression.”
    I’d be interested in what you all think.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Jim,
    Your post is an example of why issues like this should not be decided in the public domain. You chide me for placing great faith in a judge’s decision but am I to put my faith in your depiction of the Medical testimony? Are you telling me with the great amount of attention this case has drawn the pro-life side did not hire qualified lawyers and experts to demolish the husband’s case? Especially when you depict the case as such a cut and dried example of greed and medical stupidity?
    Mr Ed.
    It’s not just a matter of medical intervention being withheld; this is a matter of food being withheld. If I withheld food from my child I would be arrested for child endangerment.
    Actually its a feeding tube that is withheld. If Terry woke up she would not be denied food. I noticed you let pass the above comment by Tim when he wrote:

    There are situations in which removing a tubefeeding and allowing a person to die by starvation and dehydration is NOT a cruel and unusual death. An example is a person that suffers from Alzheimers or Parkinsons and are thus declining as a natural progression of the disease. I would argue that placing a tubefeeding on this person is cruel, causes more suffering and is a selfish move by the person making the choice.

    But Parkinsons and Alzheimers does not ‘naturally’ destroy the body’s ability to process food and water! Are you asserting that when a person refuses tube feeding it should always be viewed as a suicide attempt rather than ‘letting nature take its course’?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    Allowing the woman to die.
    Is that not the inevitable course of life?

  • Mr Ed

    Boon:
    Face it, early Christians embraced death, seeing martyerdom as a great gift rather than a horror to be avoided at all costs (including renouncing your faith). I find something unsettling about mindlessly clinging to life for the sake of keeping nothing more than bodily functions going. If human life is sacred (no one seems to argue that bacterial life is sacred) then it must be sacred because of those qualities that make it human.
    1) Renouncing one’s faith may have eternal ramifications. No Christian denies that we will all die. And given the choice between a long temporal life and hell or a short temporal life and heaven then the choice becomes clear.
    2) Human life is sacred because of the qualities that make it human–but those qualities aren’t mere bodily functions. They are being made in the image and likeness of God.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Nonetheless Mr. Ed we have two sides of a spectrum. On the one hand we all agree human beigns like you or I deserve respect. On the other hand we agree that a corpse, while maybe deserving respect, is not a human life.
    The question is if technology is opening up an extended area in between those two extremes. It certainly is and that is not because of a ‘culture of death’ but because the culture of life is pushing the envelope.

  • Mr Ed

    Are you asserting that when a person refuses tube feeding it should always be viewed as a suicide attempt rather than ‘letting nature take its course’?
    If tube feeding is the only method available to the person, yes. You have to define “letting nature take it’s course.” If I eat then letting nature take its course would be that my life will probably go on. If I don’t then starvation will ensue. So I don’t see how “letting nature take its course” is applicable.

  • Mr Ed

    Allowing the woman to die. Is that not the inevitable course of life?
    Allowing the woman to die before she would have if she was fed is.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If tube feeding is the only method available to the person, yes. You have to define “letting nature take it’s course.” If I eat then letting nature take its course would be that my life will probably go on. If I don’t then starvation will ensue. So I don’t see how “letting nature take its course” is applicable.
    If I’m unable to eat then I’ll die. A feeding tube is a technological intervention. Suppose my stomach ceases to work, is there any difference between a feeding tube which functions as an artificial esphogous and an artificial stomach? What logic allows me to refuse the latter but not the former?
    The only difference I see is that feeding tubes are hardly cutting edge medical technology anymore. So what? A time will come when even organ transplants will be as trivial as root canals.

  • Tim

    “There are situations in which removing a tubefeeding and allowing a person to die by starvation and dehydration is NOT a cruel and unusual death. An example is a person that suffers from Alzheimers or Parkinsons and are thus declining as a natural progression of the disease. I would argue that placing a tubefeeding on this person is cruel, causes more suffering and is a selfish move by the person making the choice.”
    “But Parkinsons and Alzheimers does not ‘naturally’ destroy the body’s ability to process food and water! Are you asserting that when a person refuses tube feeding it should always be viewed as a suicide attempt rather than ‘letting nature take its course’?”
    The declining condition of Parkinson’s and Alzheimers leads to the inability to swallow incorrectly and may even lead to other issues like poor motility and thus other problems.
    What my point here was is that the person has already declined to a state in condition that not receiving food and water is different than for a healthy person. The reason is that by giving food and water, you actually cause neuro receptors to have more “solution” (water and electrolytes) thus more pain and discomfort related to lack of mobility, ability to change positions etc. In addition, tubefeedings and the procedure of placing a g-tube causes a lot of stress on the body, often leads to secondary infections, bowel obstructions (again related to a lack of motility), etc.
    In effect, a person can make an argument that the body’s ability to process food is changed for a person with a declining neurological condition.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Tim,
    I agree with your reasoning but aren’t secondary infections a side effect of tube feeding for everyone? ‘Pain’ and ‘Discomfort’, if the patient is able to sense them are quality of life terms. Certainly if your focus was only on extending life then you’d agree that Parkinson’s and Alzheimers patients should be feed with tubes if necesary! Otherwise aren’t you indeed playing God? You’re judging that a week of life starving and dehydrating to death is better than six months of life in pain and discomfort?!

  • bruhaha

    Boonton wrote:
    Jesus raised one person from the dead and cured a tiny fraction of ills during his lifetime. This was not done to give people more earthly life . . . . This was to prove his divinity.
    But why prove his divinity in this way? In fact, Jesus comes declaring “the kingdom of God is at hand”. This declaration is more than just a spoken message. In Jesus’ own words (taken from Isaiah):

    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed”

    Thus we can see that the miracles are part of Jesus’ kingdom declaration. They are “signs of the kingdom”.
    As “signs”, Jesus’ miracles are not arbitrarily chosen demonstrations of power. Rather, these acts show us the very nature of the kingdom. They are themselves acts which “bring” the kingdom” by restoring wholeness and life. They are actual “pieces” of the kingdom breaking in.
    This also explains the cases of healing the demon-possessed. It is not simply a matter of showing that Jesus is more powerful than Satan. Rather, it is part of the victory of the kingdom of God over the rule of Satan. That is, Jesus is freeing people from “the kingdom of darkness” and restoring them to life.
    Granted, This is not the full coming of the kingdom–that is yet to come. But they do show that the kingdom is already “breaking in” and that it is about life, restoring the weak and broken. . . . We are in fact called both to pray “your kingdom come” and actively to “seek first his kingdom”. Acts of healing, making whole, of rescuing and giving life, are part of that.
    So, don’t play the call to be willing even to give up our lives (e.g., martyrdom)as somehow undercutting the call to “seek life”. Because, while it is true that Jesus calls us to join him in “the way of the cross” –willing to sacrifice ourselves, to suffer and die for his sake, and for others, he also shows his work is all about restoring what was broken. And he calls us to that ministry as well.
    Our final hope is in the future resurrection (of the body!) and restoration of all things (so again the physical creation does matter!), Yet while we are here, we are called to actively seek to give life and to restore. It is the basis for the call to build a “culture of life” and to seek to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Yet while we are here, we are called to actively seek to give life and to restore. It is the basis for the call to build a “culture of life” and to seek to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
    Restore life to the extent that we have the ability to do so. No one here has mounted a serious objection to ‘letting nature take its course’ in terms of declining intervention. We are not called to preserve life by artificial means at all costs. I think that doing so ends up reducing human life to nothing more than a heartbeat and possibly a brainwave on a computer.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    Why stop there? Why not keep her mechanically enabled for eternity? Heart and lung machine, the whole shebang?

  • gedi

    Boonton wrote, “We are not called to preserve life by artificial means at all costs. I think that doing so ends up reducing human life to nothing more than a heartbeat and possibly a brainwave on a computer.”
    Feeding someone is not reducing them to a heartbeat. Your refusal to feed the poor woman reminds me of the words of Jesus:
    “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
    “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Again no one is refusing to feed the woman. What we are arguing about is inserting a feeding tube down her throat. Which, while it may seem low-tech, is not quite the same thing as simply feeding someone who can’t eat for themselves.

  • gedi

    Boonton wrote, “Again no one is refusing to feed the woman. What we are arguing about is inserting a feeding tube down her throat. Which, while it may seem low-tech, is not quite the same thing as simply feeding someone who can’t eat for themselves.”
    All done now. If you can’t bother to read up on the case, I shant bother commenting anymore. They have ruled that her parents cannot even feed her soft foods which the doctors feel she might be able to handle, naturally, as you like to put it.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Ok so here’s where we will agree. If it can be established that she can handle soft foods and regular water she should continue to have those.
    Sadly, though, if she cannot you’re stuck in a bind where giving her such things will cause her to chock to death thereby causing her to be killed rather than die ‘naturally’. Ironic but no one ever said the universe was fair.

  • Baboon

    I would like to know who said Terri is a vegtable. I have seen video on the news where she is responsive to her environment. If a person is able to track a balloon as it passes over them are they not cognitive? I think that most of the problem in understanding Terri’s plight rests in the fact that most people have only heard that she is in a persistent vegetative state.
    Perhaps if we are so certain she will feel no pain we should allow her body to be used as a training dummy for attack dogs. That way the dogs could get the taste for human blood and nobody would be “hurt.”

  • http://trejrc0.blogspot.com/2005/03/terris-day.html NIF

    Terri’s Day

    Today’s dose of NIF – daily News, Interesting & Funny … Pray for Terri!

  • shari

    Has anyone found out how this happened to her? It seems that its possible that her husband did it and has refused her therapy because she will eventually be able to point the finger at him. I wonder why when the case is discussed on the news, no one points out that although her husband has recived money for her therapy he has refused her any.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    shari demonstrates nicely why these types of cases should not be decided in the media circus & instead be decided by the legal system.
    I’ve poked around the save Terri web site and I didn’t find any reference to the judge banning ‘soft foods’. It’s a big site, though, and if someone would like to provide a link I’d be happy to look at the documents.
    I did notice, however, a ‘settlement offer’ from her family basically saying that her husband could divorce her but still retain the full financial benefits of her estate even if he remarries. That would partially eliminate the allagation that he just wants to kill her for the money.

  • Mr Ed

    If I’m unable to eat then I’ll die. A feeding tube is a technological intervention. Suppose my stomach ceases to work, is there any difference between a feeding tube which functions as an artificial esphogous and an artificial stomach? What logic allows me to refuse the latter but not the former?
    None. Medical science may develop an artificial stomach that lets people lead otherwise normal lives.
    Besidee, the fact that a feeding tube is a technological intervention has nothing to do with it. Before irrigation systems, which was a technological intervention, whole communites probably starved.

  • Mr Ed

    The question is if technology is opening up an extended area in between those two extremes. It certainly is and that is not because of a ‘culture of death’ but because the culture of life is pushing the envelope.
    I agree. And, for the record, I never used the term ‘culture of death’. Rather, I think we live in a culture of comfort. Taking this case as an example, the parents, arguable from a different culture, are doing everything in their power to keep Terri alive even though it is at a great hardship to them personally. The husband, however, and from our culture, wants to let Terri die because he says that he thinks she is suffering. Well, is suffering a reason to die? People often go to great lengths to extend their lives even in the midst of great suffering. Jews went through great suffering in concentration camps but they continued to want to live.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Mr. Ed,
    You are dodging the point. No one thinks food should be denied to one who can eat naturally, nor air to one who can breath naturally. However what is being asked here is direct intervention to the body. You’re telling me that not only would you say refusing a feeding tube is an attempted suicide but also refusing artificial organs would also be attempted suicide?
    The ‘sacredness of life’ would appear to be little more than a sacredness of metabolic processes

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    And also because he feels she would not want the intervention that is being proposed. It would be one thing if he was proposing active intervention to cause death (even if she left unimpeachable evidence it would be her wish) but that is not what is happening here.

  • LPP

    What is not being reported about this case astounds me:
    1. Michael Schiavo did not decide, on his own, to have the feeding tube removed. It has been his position that it would have been what Terri wanted, and he could have had it removed. However, he requested a court to act as her surrogate and decide if that is indeed what she would have wanted. The court heard testimony on both sides and determined by clear and convincing evidence that she would have wanted the tube removed.

  • Mr Ed

    Why stop there? Why not keep her mechanically enabled for eternity? Heart and lung machine, the whole shebang?
    That’s a bit of a red herring, don’t you think? Her vital organs are working. She is just not capable of feeding herself.

  • LPP

    2. The legal default IS for the person to remain alive and is only overcome by clear and convincing evidence.
    3. The case has been appealed several times and no error has been found in the lower court

  • LPP

    1a. The court’s decision re what Terri would have wanted rested more than solely on Michael’s testimony.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    But as Mr. Ed appears to have agreed, there is no logical difference between your mouth not working (which is as vital an organ as any) and any other organ. Her husband would be a murder in the eyes of his critics even if he said no replacing every single organ of hers with an artificial or transplanted replacement!
    To me this case has the smell of a right wing version of the Mumia case. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Mumia is a guy from Phillie who shot and killed a cop back in the early 70’s. When you first hear about the case it is usually a series of inconsistencies and dubious bits of evidence. It is very easy to be convinced that he was framed either as part of some conspiracy (he was a radical left-wing journalist of a sort) or simply because he was an easy target. Dig a bit deeper, however, and you learn that many of the original charges were addressed several times over yet they are continually recycled by left-wing web sites and organizations who are part of the ‘free mumia’ movement. Here again I see lots of charges (her husband wants the money, he’s the one who did it and now wants to kill her so she won’t wake up and testify against him) that are floated over and over again with very little real evidence.

  • LPP

    So, what is the deal? Why are “conservative” talk show hosts not considering the entire picture? Is this not a state issue? Are these “conservatives” pro-Federalism, pro-state’s rights or not?

  • LPP

    So, this is not about the judge “playing God”, this is about allowing Terri’s wishes to be adhered to. The judiciary has its problems, no doubt, by the Right might want to get all the facts straight before talking about “judicial tyranny” ever time a case comes along they don’t like.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    This hits one some of my ideas, although it isn’t a comprehensive review of the case by any means:
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7231440/

    Ever since the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed a respirator to be removed from Karen Ann Quinlan and the U.S. Supreme Court declared that feeding tubes are medical treatments just like respirators, heart-lung machines, dialysis and antibiotics, it has been crystal clear in U.S. law and medical ethics that those who cannot speak can have their feeding tubes stopped. The authority to make that decision has fallen to those closest to the person who cannot make their own views known. First come husbands or wives, then adult children, then parents and other relatives.

    Basically here is the breakdown:
    1. You have the right to refuse invasive interventions, that includes feeding tubes, and die a ‘natural death’. You do not have a right to have your death accelerated by euthansia, poisen, overdoses etc.
    2. Those who cannot express their desires due to illness or handicap have guardians who have the job of making such decisions for such people. The role of default guardian is well established by law, spouses usually come first.
    3. Legal procedures exist for challenging guardianship if there is evidence that a guardian is acting improperly or is not acting on behalf of his/her ward.
    4. Since 1-3 have been followed this case appears to rest on two possible grounds:
    4-A There is no right for an individual to refuse a feeding tube or similar invervention.
    4-B The court procedures produced a flawed result.
    Most people here are clustering around 4-B, although that doesn’t exclude them from advocating 4-A as well. The problem with 4-B is that since there has been a very vocal and active ‘Save Terri’ movement it is pretty hard to believe there were obvious judicial errors made. Like the ‘Free Mumia’ case, many of the supposed problems disappear once you roll up your sleeves and actually read the long and tedious transcripts. That’s not to say the possibility doesn’t exist, it might. But we should be deeply skeptical of such claims especially when they are surrounded by so many idologues and politicians.

  • Mr Ed

    No one thinks food should be denied to one who can eat naturally, nor air to one who can breath naturally. However what is being asked here is direct intervention to the body. You’re telling me that not only would you say refusing a feeding tube is an attempted suicide but also refusing artificial organs would also be attempted suicide?
    One of the points here is that what we think of as “naturally” is changing rapidly. If I were to live completely naturally I would probably die of a heart attack in less than ten years. But I have such ‘medical interventions’ as beta blockers and ACE inhibitors that will likely prolong my life. Is that living naturally? Pacemakers assist the heart to function “normally” but is it natural?
    I don’t think this is dodging the question; I think its very relevant. In fact, where do we draw the line in assisted living between what is ‘natural’ and what is ‘grotesque’?

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    Actually, 5 expert witnesses testified in a court, 2 of them appointed by the Schindlers, one appointed by the court, and the court concluded that in effect that the “woman” (?) had no cerbral cortext.
    See links on my blog for more information.

  • Mr Ed

    Boon:
    You have the right to refuse invasive interventions, that includes feeding tubes, and die a ‘natural death’. You do not have a right to have your death accelerated by euthansia, poisen, overdoses etc.
    As imperfect as it is, I think this is a good middle ground for the law. But I don’t see how this whole line of reasoning is applicable to the Schiavo case.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Boonton:
    Re: 4b: the links on my blog point to blogs, one of which is by a physician, that indicated what’s involved.
    I find it very difficult to believe at this point the anti-human lifers on this point (it is not what I would call human life they advocate).

  • Mr Ed

    Actually, 5 expert witnesses testified in a court, 2 of them appointed by the Schindlers, one appointed by the court, and the court concluded that in effect that the “woman” (?) had no cerbral cortext.
    That may be what the court found, but what did the witnesses say?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Another example, here’s an interesting section on the possibility of ‘spontaneous recovery’
    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/11166055.htm
    **************
    Two doctors testified that therapy might benefit Schiavo. But the judge who heard their testimony, along with testimony from other physicians, concluded there was a ”total absence of supporting case studies or medical literature” to suggest the therapies might be useful.
    There have been isolated cases of patients making partial spontaneous recoveries years after brain injury, but experts said these cases differ significantly from Schiavo’s.
    One important difference is the initial cause of injury.
    Schiavo’s injury was caused by lack of oxygen to the brain; other recently publicized cases — including Sarah Scantlin, a Kansas woman who in January spoke for the first time after 20 years, and Terry Wallis, an Arkansas man who in 2003 spoke for the first time in 19 years — involved patients involved in car accidents, one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury.
    ”The prospects for recovery after lack of oxygen are much, much worse than the prospects after traumatic brain injury,” Katz said.
    When oxygen is cut off, massive numbers of brain cells die and are never replaced. In traumatic injury, some brain cells may die, but much of the damage comes from destruction of networks that connect brain cells to each other, Katz said. In some patients, these networks can regrow over time.
    Also, experts say neither Scantlin nor Wallis was in a vegetative state — the state the courts have concluded Schiavo is in.
    Scantlin was ”absolutely, definitely not in a vegetative state,” said Dr. John Kessler, chairman of neurology at Northwestern University.
    Kessler said his conclusion was based on a conversation he had with someone who had observed Scantlin. Media reports said Scantlin could blink her eyes in code to mean ”yes” or ”no” before her recent breakthrough — an indication that she was aware of her surroundings.
    Dr. Joseph Giacino, a neuropsychologist who examined Wallis after his recovery, concluded that Wallis had attempted to communicate before his recovery and had therefore not been in a vegetative state.
    All of this means the prognosis for Terri Schiavo is very grim, experts said.
    ”After 15 years, if neurological recovery has not occurred, it is not going to occur,” said Dr. Michael A. Williams, a Johns Hopkins neurologist. “If she hasn’t recovered by now she’s not going to recover.”
    ********************
    Note that the ‘save Terry’ side will just tell you about the cases where some people did recover spontaneously but dig deeper and you see why those cases differ from Terry’s.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    One of the points here is that what we think of as “naturally” is changing rapidly. If I were to live completely naturally I would probably die of a heart attack in less than ten years. But I have such ‘medical interventions’ as beta blockers and ACE inhibitors that will likely prolong my life. Is that living naturally? Pacemakers assist the heart to function “normally” but is it natural?…In fact, where do we draw the line in assisted living between what is ‘natural’ and what is ‘grotesque’?
    Are you living naturally? No you are not. Do you have a right to do that? Of course. The more relevant question is do you have a right to classify someone who chooses not to take advantage of those inventions an ‘attempted suicide’ and force him to use them? If an ‘artificial stomach’ was invented tomorrow it would be a great thing which I’m sure would help many people. That doesn’t alter its nature as a massive intervention which individuals have the right to forgoe, especially if they are in extremly poor condition.
    As imperfect as it is, I think this is a good middle ground for the law. But I don’t see how this whole line of reasoning is applicable to the Schiavo case.
    because you stopped reading after point 1 instead of at least getting to #2 or #3.
    That may be what the court found, but what did the witnesses say?
    Roll up your sleeves and find out where the transcripts are.

  • Mr Ed

    Note that the ‘save Terry’ side will just tell you about the cases where some people did recover spontaneously but dig deeper and you see why those cases differ from Terry’s.
    But what’s the definition of “recover”? She clearly has some cognition. She clearly won’t ‘recover’ her old level of activity but neither will a paraplegic. So, what level of brain activity is required to continue to live?

  • Mr Ed

    The more relevant question is do you have a right to classify someone who chooses not to take advantage of those inventions an ‘attempted suicide’ and force him to use them?
    But you’re adding something to your original question. Although I see it as a form of passive suicide, I didn’t say it should be illegal to refuse such measures.
    because you stopped reading after point 1 instead of at least getting to #2 or #3.
    Should have been more clear. I was referring to the whole thread which seemed to have gotten off the Schiavo case and onto a tangent about people with normal adult mental capacity.

  • Forrest

    Let’s take Boonton’s analogy a step further. When the surgeon has a patient on the operating table, and the ventilator stops working, according to Boonton there is no moral compulsion to replace the ventilator with one that is working. After all, the patient cannot breath for himself, and if it were his heart that had just given out we would not be compelled to give him a new heart.
    Or, if a parent decides not to feed an infant, and the child dies of starvation, we should not see this as morally repugnant, because after all, going to the effort to actually feed the infant would be akin to providing organ transplants.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The case presented to us was a woman whose feeding tube was removed, ‘woke up’ and is not an active campaigner in the save Terry movement. It is important to look objectively at that success story and see why it may or may not apply in this case rather than just toute it over and over again on various blogs as a possibility the court ignored.
    There is no clear evidence that she has cognition (I can’t download the video clips at work but I doubt I’m qualified to properly qualified to interprete them and I doubt the experts employed by the court were so incompentant as to misread them). And again the issue being decided is whether the medical intervention of the tube is something she would have wanted or not. Since her husband is her legal guardian he does have the right to speak on her behalf unless his status is successfully disputed.
    Even cognative people have the right to refuse a feeding tube!

  • George

    Xiaoding,
    Of course eugenics “works”. Whether or not it’s evil is a different question altogether.

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    Boonton wrote:
    If Terry woke up she would not be denied food.

    I noticed you wrote this after two links to videos of Terri were posted. Here is another. It’s obvious that you did not even bother to look at the videos. They clearly show that she is awake!

    Boonton wrote:
    If it can be established that she can handle soft foods and regular water she should continue to have those.

    Judge Greer has ruled that Terri must not be fed, tested for the ability to swallow, or given any kind of therapy which would allow her to eat normally. You can find the denials here and here.
    You are willfully avoiding the evidence. Why should I accept any conclusion you draw which is based on such blatant willful ignorance?
    This blind rush to irreversibly destroy the life of an innocent person distresses me to no end! (I love how writing allows me to understate the pure rage I feel at how so many people in the country appear to be actually in a hurry to kill Terri.)

    My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say,

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Let’s take Boonton’s analogy a step further. When the surgeon has a patient on the operating table, and the ventilator stops working, according to Boonton there is no moral compulsion to replace the ventilator with one that is working. After all, the patient cannot breath for himself, and if it were his heart that had just given out we would not be compelled to give him a new heart.
    1. I did not use an analogy so I’m not sure what you are trying to take a step further.
    2. Presumably the patient consented to the operation hence consented to continued life support as necessary during that operation. I suppose your example might apply if the patient somehow woke up just after the failure and told his doctor ‘no thanks, I’ll just try to breath on my own for now on’.

  • Jim Rockford

    Boonton –
    You took the position that the trial court was right even though you know next to nothing about the most basic evidence in the case. When you are confronted on this point, you make no attempt to address the very real problems with the court’s decision and retreat to “Well, I’m sure there was other evidence that you’re not telling me about, so I’m just going to believe that the court must be right.”
    Unless you are able to defend the merits of the trial court’s decision, your argument that “this has been decided by the court, which is the best place for these things to be decided” is at most a statement that you like the result, which proves nothing.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    No, it’s not clear she has “cognition.” Again, read the links on my blog.
    They BTW also, I believe, link to the actual court material or at least the decisions, which, being a matter of public record, allow you, Mr. Ed, to find out what those physicians actually did say and report back to us.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Ed;
    Judge Greer has ruled that Terri must not be fed, tested for the ability to swallow, or given any kind of therapy which would allow her to eat normally. You can find the denials here and here.
    You are willfully avoiding the evidence. Why should I accept any conclusion you draw which is based on such blatant willful ignorance?
    I’m not sure how you can accuse me of willfully avoiding the evidence when I requested that someone cite what you just did! You’ll forgive me, I hope, if time permits me only to examine the first order.
    Page 3:

    …Most of the doctor affidavits submitted are based on their understanding of Terri’s condition from news reports or video clips they have seen. Many are obviously not aware of the medical exams undertaken for the 2002 trial since they suggest that the very tests that were given at that time or appear to be unaware that batteries of tests have been given at all…

    Pg5

    In regard to swallowing tests, she has previously undergone them. The issue of swallowing saliva has also been previusly heard by the Court. The respondents….have recommended the swallowing thereapy called VitalStim, but notably there has been no allegation that VitalStim can be performed on patients who are in PVS

    Forgive me for typos but there appears to be no way to easily copy and paste text from the rulings so I’ve had to retype the above excerpts by hand.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    I don’t know why the Left keeps saying she is in PVS. She is not, she’s cognitively disabled. Apparently she has not even been given an MRI or appropriate treatment because her husband apparently just wants her dead. For her own good, of course, he talks like a Leftist about “personal views” being “imposed” and so on, so morally degenerate claims are not surprising.
    She has already been mistreated.
    Boontown, see:
    (Culture of Death: The Assault on
    Medical Ethics in America
    By Wesley J. Smith)
    It’s a book dedicated to Ralph Nader. No one is just making it up. That is the sort of culture that some have always cultivated.
    Some of the medical details of what may happen to her, life unworthy of life.
    cf. same book.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    She is not the first to be starved to death by proto-Nazis in America.
    It’s odd how the majority of the Left always finds ways to support this sort of thing, pretty much no matter what.

  • Mr Ed

    Roll up your sleeves and find out where the transcripts are.
    Good idea.
    Here is a transcript of the report filed by William Hammesfahr, M.D., after his examination:

    Alertness: The patient was alert throughout essentially the entire exam. Responsiveness: The patient would immediately respond to sound, tone of voice and to touch and pain. With respect to responding to those around her, she had limited responsiveness to me personally until approximately 45 minutes into the exam. She started to look at me, against her traditional right gaze preference, about the same time that we started getting significant relaxation in her contracted left arm (the arm that had been contracted for several years.) She appeared to identify the sound of my voice, with the relaxation of the arm. From that point, she would generally look toward the sound of my voice when heard, attempt to find me visually, then track the sound of my voice in its movements, or track me if I was within approximately one foot of her eyes. Prior to that time, she did not track me, or try to locate me visually. When playing music, she had a clear preference to the specific sound track played, and would listen to piano music, but change levels of listening depending on the track played. Her attention to the music would not wander during the track she preferred. She would pick out her mother’s voice or her father’s voice separate from the music or other voices or sounds in the room, and re-fix her gaze to those people. She would tend not to blink when watching those people. She ignored her husband’s loud foot-tapping that went on for approximately five minutes at one point. She also ignored his voice and did not try to seek him out visually when he would at times nterject comments during the exam or immediately afterwards.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You took the position that the trial court was right even though you know next to nothing about the most basic evidence in the case. When you are confronted on this point, you make no attempt to address the very real problems with the court’s decision and retreat to “Well, I’m sure there was other evidence that you’re not telling me about, so I’m just going to believe that the court must be right.”
    Jim, as you can see I’ve started to explore some of the criticisms of the court decisions but you have a valid point. Like the Mumia case, only a handful of us will have the time and devotion to examine the case from the nuts and bolts. This means to make decisions we generally employ some short cuts.
    1. We have a generally good court system that hears cases and makes findings of fact when necessary.
    2. Especially in cases where both sides are well represented, the chance that the court will make any egregious errors that will not be caught on appeal are slim.
    Obviously since this case has become a cause celebratie for the pro-life movement I assume many people have donated a lot of resources to provide Terri’s parents with the best possible legal representation. So I feel I’m perfectly justified in leaning towards accepting the courts findings unless you present compelling reasons to doubt it.
    the Mumia case on the left has illustrated that there are good reasons to be suspecious when a notable cause revolves around griping that the system has made horrendous errors. Often tidbits of information are presented without context or in a misleading manner. I poked around a few but I will confess I have not and cannot read all the transcripts. Before you jump on your bandwagon, however, how many people here who are itching to post attempted murder theories or gross judicial error allegations have readl all the transcripts? How many are just repeating a handful of factoids they got from biased and ideological sources?

  • Mr Ed

    mumon:
    No, it’s not clear she has “cognition.” Again, read the links on my blog.
    Or, you can read the report from Dr. Hammesfahr above.

  • Mr Ed

    Here is a link to the whole transcript:
    http://www.terrisfight.org/documents/Hammesfahrexam.htm

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I don’t know why the Left keeps saying she is in PVS. She is not, she’s cognitively disabled. Apparently she has not even been given an MRI or appropriate treatment because her husband apparently just wants her dead. For her own good, of course, he talks like a Leftist about “personal views” being “imposed” and so on, so morally degenerate claims are not surprising.
    From around page 4-5:

    …fMRI testing should be conducted in an academic setting with ongoing research protocols investigating coma/VS/MCS. Petitioner contends that no MRI can be conducted on Terri Schiavo without brain surgery to remove a device that was previously inserted in her brain and that such an invasive procedure has not been previous favored.

  • Mr Ed

    Another interesting portion of the transcript:

    During various portions of the exam, she would be moved or have her position readjusted. She continued to handle her saliva during this time, never being observed to choke on her saliva. Following Commands: At various times during the exam, I asked her to close her eyes, or open her eyes widely, look towards her mother, or look towards me. At times, she appeared to properly follow these commands. 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. During different portions of the exam, I would ask her to squeeze my hand on command, or, in the lower extremities, to pick up her right lower leg to command. The upper extremities are contracted and weak. She appeared to squeeze my hand, and then relax her grip, in the upper right extremity, possibly in the upper left extremity. I am unsure if she was doing it to verbal command, or in response to body language; however, it was voluntary activity and not reflex.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Before you jump on your bandwagon….
    Why didn’t they give her an MRI, Boontown? Why won’t they? All the cost of these legal proceedings to have her killed, to get famous for a new Leftist “cause” of death with dignity or what have you, is the cost of an MRI prohibitive? The question of PVS is not unanswerable, yet some seem not to want an answer in favor of life.
    Not that there’s a culture of death or anything. I mean, that’s just a meme that came out of the clear blue sky one day. It was probably the vast right wing conspiracy again.

  • RA

    I am astounded at the “Christian” and “Biblical” disinformation in many of these comments. Suicside is not an option for Christians. If you are being kept alive by artificial means (ventilator, etc) I can see how you could have it unpluged and let nature take its course. But food and water is something we all need and enjoy. These are the basics of life.
    You don’t starve someone with the intention of “letting them go back to Jesus”!? That is murder and very unbiblical and unchristian. As a Christian you play the hand your delt and let Jesus decide when it is time to go home. It is a wonderful thing that the house has supeoned Terri. Finally someone standing up to the culture of death.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The Order from the 2002 trial reflects the Court’s Order that Terri Schiavo remained in a permanent or persistent vegetative state and that no treatment existed that would significantly improve the quality of her life so that she would reverse the prior decision to withdraw life-prolonging procedures. This Order was affirmed by the Second District Court of Appeal after they closely examined all the evidence in the record and concluded that if they were called upon to review the decision de novo, they would still affirm it…

    I assume that Dr’s exame was part of that record. I also note that the evidence he presents has a high risk of observer bias (if you want to see cognition you’ll notice the blinks after a question or ‘discover’ other stimuli that might have caused blinks or head movement…the same thing that causes us to see patterns in the stars even though their are truely random). I won’t foreclose on the possibility that I could be wrong but the odds are leaning heavily against it.
    BTW, while I’m thankful for Ed “What the ” Heckman’s link it doesn’t support his depiction of the ruling:
    Judge Greer has ruled that Terri must not be fed, tested for the ability to swallow, or given any kind of therapy which would allow her to eat normally. You can find the denials here and here.
    It is only 6 pages long so please feel free to review it more closely if you wish.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If people really think I should respond to mynum or RA I will however I do no think it is worth it. Their inability to even respond to what I’ve posted so far leads me to suspect they are probably trolls trying to make the evangelicals on this list look like fools. I won’t help them unless it is absolutely necessary!

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Did you notice that something does not make sense in their argument? They don’t want an operation on someone who is supposedly PVS anyway. Why, will it hurt her? Will it “hurt” more than starving her to death will? What is the reason? Will she die from the operation, but wait…wasn’t the other part of the argument that she’s pretty much already dead or somethin’?
    Come now…if you go to such people for sound argument or sound science it will contain such contradictions or junk data. They have something they want to accomplish, and that seems to be pretty much it for them.
    “I have spent the past ten days recruiting and interviewing neurologists who are willing to come forward and offer affidavits or declarations concerning new testing and examinations for Terri. In addition to the 15 neurologists

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    “Their inability to even respond….”
    I just muttered this, “I can’t believe he’s even debating this.
    By all means, continue Boontown, how is it that I have not been able to respond to you?
    Demonstrate it. Where is this supposed incapacity demonstrated?

  • Mr Ed

    I also note that the evidence he presents has a high risk of observer bias…
    Though observer bias can occur, one would think that a physician trained in this type of examination would lessen that chance. Having said that, I am surprised at the apparent differences in findings among medical professionals after reading some of the materials. I’m not a judge but it would seem to me that if there was even a minimal amount of professional dissent regarding her being in PVS they would want to err on the side of keeping her alive.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Why are you demanding an MRI? To save her life? No to try to prove your point and prolong a heartbeat. Say we know beyond question she cannot feel pain, should we chop open her head and remove a device just to do an MRI to make a point for you?
    There was a summary of the ‘experts opinions’ that I excerpted briefly from the ruling. It would appear many experts were basing their opinions on newsreports & tapes and they were also recomendding tests that had already been performed. In other words they were not based on really looking at the case.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Though observer bias can occur, one would think that a physician trained in this type of examination would lessen that chance. Having said that, I am surprised at the apparent differences in findings among medical professionals after reading some of the materials. I’m not a judge but it would seem to me that if there was even a minimal amount of professional dissent regarding her being in PVS they would want to err on the side of keeping her alive.
    Or you’re seeing that dissent can be created if big money and politics are involved. mymns demand that her brain be opened so we can do an MRI illustrates the difference between active and passive acts. No doubt if she died during such a procedure he would depict is as a ‘natural’ death during a course of lifesaving effort when it really would have been a cause of death. Removing the tube, though, does not cause death in itself since she will not be denied food outside of the tube.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    More to the point, cognition is not really the issue here Mr Ed unless we can show that she is cognitive enough to actually communicate with us…in which case her husband would not longer serve as her guardian.
    Points 1-4 remain.

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    Boonton,
    You’ve retyped the judges conclusions, not the underlying evidence. The argument is that the judge’s conclusions are wrong. It is illegitimate to support a conclusion by citing the conclusion.
    It doesn’t take an expert to read the definition of PVS — specifically “A persistent vegetative state, which sometimes follows a coma, refers to a condition in which individuals have lost cognitive neurological function and awareness of the environment but retain noncognitive function and a perserved sleep-wake cycle” — look at the video and see that she obviously does not fit the definition.
    A little personal experience might be helpful. My wife is an LPN. For many years, she was one of the primary nurses for a patient who had suffered brain damage in an accident. She would routinely come home and tell me of her interactions with him, his moods, his preferences, and so forth. When I met him, I found that he was far less responsive than Terri is in the videos. If my wife’s patient was not in persistent vegetative state, then Terri is clearly not either.
    When the judge directly denies what is obvious, is it any wonder that his judgement is suspect?
    Terri Schiavo, Judge George Greer, and The Persistent Vegetative State: What Judge Greer Doesn’t Want You To Know

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’ll let you retype the underlying evidence. Many of the items you post on your blog have been cited (such as the fact that PVS is misdiagnosed). I grant you that I’ve looked at summaries of the evidence rather than the evidence itself but if the summary was a gross distortion you’d think the Appelate court would have easily caught it considering the amount of attention this case has.
    It’s become clear on this list that many on the ‘pro-Terry’ side have not done any type of indepth look at the evidence either. The “why hasn’t she had an MRI” meme ignored the blatently obvious explanation that was cited by the person screaming about it!
    I do not accept the charge that I have to read every page of testimony, evidence and hearing before I can criticize the characters on this list BUT anyone who wants to take up the ‘pro-life’ side need only past some talking points he found on a partisan site.

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    Boonton wrote:
    BTW, while I’m thankful for Ed “What the ” Heckman’s link it doesn’t support his depiction of the ruling:
    Judge Greer has ruled that Terri must not be fed, tested for the ability to swallow, or given any kind of therapy which would allow her to eat normally. You can find the denials here and here.
    It is only 6 pages long so please feel free to review it more closely if you wish.

    Buzz. Wrong again.
    The ruling against allowing her to be fed at all is the other link. It’s only two pages long: Greer Denies food and water by mouth

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Why are you demanding an MRI?
    Because that is the way to make sure you are not advocating starving to death someone who is cognitively disabled. Are you not concerned with the fact that you may be advocating starving a person to death?
    To save her life? No to try to prove your point and prolong a heartbeat.
    It is simply to verify and be sure of the claims of some moral degenerates.
    Say we know beyond question she cannot feel pain, should we chop open her head and remove a device just to do an MRI to make a point for you?
    I know you tend to the Left, yet I did not expect you to write some victimization script about how I am a Big Meanie on this one. Yes, it’s all me. It’s all because I want to chop open people’s heads and things. Fun, fun!
    Look, as far as I can tell you do not have a point here. You cannot make a point without tripping over the opinions of moral degenerates. If you were honestly concerned about her welfare then you would have argued to stop wasting money on the legal and just do the medical tests, science and observation, you know. If she’s really in “PVS” then maybe you can starve her to death, the way the Left seems to want to, to make your point about death with dignity and once again demonstrate how compassionate you are by killing people and so on.
    It would appear many experts were basing their opinions on newsreports & tapes and they were also recomendding tests that had already been performed. In other words they were not based on really looking at the case.
    Look at “the case,” not at her….because it seems like she’s moving around or somethin’, and with PVS, no less! Huh, people in PVS seem a little lively these days.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Having also reviewed….The same declarations are being used for both motions and the motion appears to be an alternate pleading to the 1.540(b)(5) motion…

    This one is only two pages, easier to type but it appears to be saying that this motion is just a duplicate of another one hence it is denied.
    Sadly it would appear the guts of the reasoning & arguments would be in the other motion not cited.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Really mynym? People with PVS never move? Kind of amazing such an easily demonstrated proof that she doesn’t have PVS could have eludied not only the judge and higher courts but also the well paid experts and lawyers who argued on the parents side!

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’m really curious if anyone caught my comparison with the Mumia case, which is a cause celebritie for the left. Is anyone familar with the case at all? Its arguments that Mumia is innocent and the counter-arguments that look at the transcripts in detail? Anyone notice any patterns that appear to repeat themselves in this case?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Back to MRI’s

    As a result of this opinion, a new evidentary hearing…was conducted in October 2002 and current diagnostic testing procedures and high quality brain scans were undertaken, the results of which were presented to this court along with evidence of any new medical procedures…

    I know I’m citing a conclusion but what’s the problem here? Are you telling me that brain scans and diagnostic tests were not conducted in 2002 and the judge just made this up? Are you telling me that the MRI tells us something the other types of scans don’t and the judge just ignored this?

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    Boonton wrote:
    I’ll let you retype the underlying evidence.

    I can’t retype a video. You still haven’t bothered to look at them, have you?
    I don’t need to retype the evidence. It’s all available on BlogsForTerri and TerrisFight.
    Here are a few more links:
    Words Terri Has Spoken – PVS patients cannot speak
    The text of a sworn affidavit by one of Terri’s nurses

  • Mr Ed

    Or you’re seeing that dissent can be created if big money and politics are involved.
    That can, and does, work both ways.
    Removing the tube, though, does not cause death in itself since she will not be denied food outside of the tube.
    Thats just semantics. If she can’t eat enough to sustain herself without the tube then it is, for all intents and purposes, killing her.

  • Mr Ed

    More to the point, cognition is not really the issue here Mr Ed unless we can show that she is cognitive enough to actually communicate with us…in which case her husband would not longer serve as her guardian.
    Unfortunately, as I read the law currently, you’re correct.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Or you’re seeing that dissent can be created if big money and politics are involved.
    I told you it was the vast right wing conspiracy! They created the culture of death, or somethin’.
    …mymns demand that her brain be opened so we can do an MRI illustrates the difference between active and passive acts.
    I am so demanding, you know. I am probably imposing too, quite a dangery dangerous and assertive fellow am I! But Boontown, he is passive. He’s probably not really saying much of anything here.
    All I’m saying is that if you’re so sure she is in PVS, sure enough to starve her to death, then why not test?! These passive agressives of the Left, my how they are so passive though.
    No doubt if she died during such a procedure he would depict is as a ‘natural’ death during a course of lifesaving effort when it really would have been a cause of death.
    I know, starving her to death whether you really know for sure whether she is in PVS is so much better. At least, it fits the passive lack of judgment and moral degeneracy typical to the Left. I mean, only the vast right wing conspiracy would want a test to know for sure before starving someone to death.
    Removing the tube, though, does not cause death in itself since she will not be denied food outside of the tube.
    Yeah, just like putting a plastic bag over your head does not cause death in itself, since you will not be denied air outside of the bag. The bag, it’s quite passive!
    You know that some nurses and the like actually have to follow your advocacy of death and starve her to death. In the past they have tried to sneak in food and the like. It’s not true that they are supposedly allowed to. The proto-Nazis in the American judiciary don’t like that sort of thing, you know…and effeminates would probably say it is not passive enough for them.

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    Boonton wrote:
    This one is only two pages, easier to type but it appears to be saying that this motion is just a duplicate of another one hence it is denied.

    Coward! All you had to type was one sentence. Here it is:

    ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Respondents’ Emergency Expedited Motion for Permission to Provide Theresa Schiavo with Food and Water by Natural Means is DENIED.

    The judge is not permitting her to be fed even without a tube. Period.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon
  • http://mossback.org Richard Bennett

    Who needs a brain when you’ve got blind faith and intelligent design?

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Mumon, don’t believe everything you see on there. Sheesh.
    Give the source and citation and I’ll verify it. If not, I write it off as the Democratic Underground, socialists that actually like to talk about others as “turnips” or what have you. One might wonder why they do if it is all really just matter in motion as Naturalists believe.
    An interesting study of the concepts involved here concludes,
    “Although the concept of “BD” is considered by some to be socially beneficial, we think that at the moment we are not justified in drawing a line between life and death using the above mentioned concept, according to the criteria in use. Future developments on the possible inspection of the content of consciousness (for instance, deep brain stimulation in conjunction with the positron emission tomography capabilities) may throw more light on this complicated subject.”
    (Issues in Law & Medicine
    Fall, 2002
    18 Issues L. & Med. 127
    A Critique on the Concept of “Brain Death”
    By K. G. Karakatsanis, M.D.
    & J. N. Tsanakas, M.D., M.R.C.P.C.H.)
    It is interesting. Again, shouldn’t all available tests be run first, before the advocates of starvation and death like Mumon and Boontown are listened to? It doesn’t seem like they know what they’re talking about for the most part anyway. They seem to be just hopping on the anti-Republican bandwagon on this one, even if it does involve starving a cognitively disabled person to death.
    (It seems that one has to draw some lil’ fellows out of their supposed “passivity” into their advocacy! Do they not know that they are alive, active and making judgments? Judgement? Gasp! Quick, we need a brain scan!)

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    “Who needs a brain when you’ve got blind faith and intelligent design?”
    Those who lack the capacity to think through their brain seem to lack intelligence, while trying to adhere to a faith of the faithless.
    But thank you for sharing an artifact of the biochemical state of your brain in that moment of matter in motion, on March 18, 2005 at approximately 5:45pm.
    Perhaps next time you should try to think through your brain so that your text is an artifact of intelligent design instead of mental retardation, eh?
    Well, try to think about it. It may be difficult.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Oops.
    That study was about Brain Death, (BD), and the emphasis was mine.

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    Even if that brain scan truly is Terri’s (and given DU(h)’s echo chamber nature, I tend to doubt it), that doesn’t prove anything.
    Many years ago I saw a show on one of the science channels (most likely the Discovery Channel) where they were discussing the brain’s capabilities. The most amazing story was of a child who was born with only about 10% of his brain. The scan showed the brain stem and a smear of material just above it. Yet they also showed the child himself sitting up and playing with toys. (I think he was 4 or 5 at the time.) He was obviously developmentally disabled, but I was amazed that he could function at all.
    The brain is an absolutely amazing organ. It has the ability to shift functions which were handled by a damaged portion of the brain to other undamaged portions. Given that FACT, even if the scan shown is Terri’s brain, there is no reason she cannot relearn lost capabilities.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    mynym:
    That study was about Brain Death, (BD)…
    I thought you were referring to a character in “Doonesbury.”
    You can always ask where they got the brain scans from, but I suspect it’s the real deal.

  • Mr Ed

    More to the point, cognition is not really the issue here Mr Ed unless we can show that she is cognitive enough to actually communicate with us…in which case her husband would not longer serve as her guardian.
    I would add, though, that even with the laws written as such, this case is still setting a huge precedent. Thus, I believe it is very appropriate that we seek out every angle of this case to be very sure we’re doing the right thing.
    For some of the reasons I mentioned, I don’t think we are.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    The most amazing story was of a child who was born with only about 10% of his brain.
    Yes, but was his life socially beneficial?
    I figured I would ask a questionable question for the Left, since it seems to have left. Things seem to get difficult for a Leftist when they cannot rely on censorship.
    I thought you were referring to a character in “Doonesbury.”
    Well, at least someone tried to lighten the mood, yet this one really is an issue of Life and Death.
    It seems to me that the main problem on the Left is that they do not “really” believe in Life in the first place. All is matter in motion, so they are the first to try to treat persons as inanimate objects while treating inanimate objects as if they are responsible (guns, condoms, etc.).
    Same thing with animals, if Shiavo was a kitten then her value as a being would clearly go up on the Left.
    The author of,
    (Culture of Death: The Assault on
    Medical Ethics in America
    By Wesley J. Smith)
    Makes that point in spades….it also seems an ancient sort of pattern.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    As it turns out, that brain scan really is Schiavo’s brain. It comes from the Univeristy of Miami.
    Here is the link from its original source
    I know, who wants to know about “ethics” anyway?

  • Rob Ryan

    “As a Christian you play the hand your delt and let Jesus decide when it is time to go home. It is a wonderful thing that the house has supeoned Terri. Finally someone standing up to the culture of death.”
    Maybe Jesus HAS decided, but pandering politicians and over-zealous doctors are thwarting his will.
    I see many hypocrites here who would prefer death to this poor woman’s condition, but they’re happy to use her as a political pawn.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Interesting, how everything hinges on these words: “…persistent vegetative state…”
    Your life could also come to be balanced on mere words. Yet people have so little respect for their words and often break their word. There is an interesting way that people begin to use words with respect to “ethics” too. They begin to refer to “bioethics” or perhaps “biological thinking.” This inversion always seems to lead to the same thing.
    At any rate, the position I take is pretty simple, before you starve someone to death you should run cutting edge tests. These are cutting edge issues and the Left walks a fine line even if its facts are straight, after all.
    Also, it is telling how fast the Left jumps on the Judicial bandwagon on this. It’s as if they learn nil from elections. SSM and starving cognitively disabled persons to death against the representative and with the Judiciary again, that’s another winner!
    Well…I guess that’s an absence of intelligent design for you.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    I see many hypocrites here who would prefer death to this poor woman’s condition….
    I might prefer death. But then again, I would not want to be starved to death by some Leftist passive agressives either. Those involved on one side seem to be Leftists, as their psychology seems to be quite a match!
    You have to either write the sort of thing you want done down, or expect people to err on the side of Life. Because that is what people ought to do.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    mynym:
    It’s as if they learn nil from elections.
    You might want to check the latest post on my blog- it turns out that people overwhelmingly side against the Schindlers on this.
    This actually looks like a winning issue for moderates and progressives.

  • Mr Ed

    You might want to check the latest post on my blog- it turns out that people overwhelmingly side against the Schindlers on this.
    At least among those who visited ABCNews and WashingtonPost.com and who also chose to vote. But this is hardly a scientific poll.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Because that is what people ought to do.”
    World according to mynym again. It’s always “The Left” this and “The Left” that with you, isn’t it? You’re quite the miniature Ann Coulter. No wonder you spend so much time talking to yourself at your little blog.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    No, that wasn’t an internet poll.
    Denial ain’t a river in Egypt.

  • Mr Ed

    Ah, yes. I looked at the originating site and you are correct. A simple correction would have been more appreciated though.

  • http://www.anotherthink.com/contents/postmodern_culture/20050318_terri_schiavos_deadline.html AnotherThink

    Terri Schiavo’s Deadline

    Terri Schiavo update from Get Religion.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    Understood, but it points to a larger issue: the discounting of information from “nonfriendly” sources.
    Someone on my blog posted a National Review article.
    I read it, in its entirety.
    I then went to see what other sources said, wherein I happened upon the DU link that was linked from the U. Miami Ethics center.
    There is a tremendous amount of cognitive dissonance- on both sides of the metaphorical aisle- that goes on.
    There is much propaganda that is ferreted back and forth, and hopefully, rather than a visceral, reflexive, “I don’t trust that source because it’s from the enemy,” there might, just might be a bit more open-mindedness. Everywhere.

  • http://www.june24.net/ar/wp/posts/2005/03/18/shiavo/ Antioch Road

    Schiave Feeding Tube Removed

    The barbaric killing of Terri Schiavo has begun:It is unclear how much time the family will have. The effects of such feeding tubes being removed can be seen by the third or fourth day, when the patient’s mouth begins to look dry and the eyes appear su…

  • Mr Ed

    There is much propaganda that is ferreted back and forth, and hopefully, rather than a visceral, reflexive, “I don’t trust that source because it’s from the enemy,” there might, just might be a bit more open-mindedness. Everywhere.
    Yes, I would agree. I posted large segments of the report from one of the doctors that examined Terri that I though was very enlightening. Seems everybody just skipped right over it and continued with the script.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    This isn’t a left/right issue, it’s a moron/non-moron issue. I voted for Bush twice and I want the woman to go home to Jesus, and right now.
    There is nothing to be gained by making a fetish of of a vegetable.

  • Mr Ed

    I voted for Bush twice and I want the woman to go home to Jesus, and right now.
    Unfortunately she won’t. She has to starve to death first.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    I didn’t mention it because it supported the notion that the “person” lacked a cerebrum.

  • Mr Ed

    I didn’t mention it because it supported the notion that the “person” lacked a cerebrum.
    It didn’t address that specifically and I don’t think such a thing could be inferred from the report. In fact, I think that specific report supported the notion that she did have motor skills (being able to swallow her saliva) which is a function of the frontal lobe and visial and auditory recognition which are both impossible without a functioning cerebrum.

  • Mr Ed

    Oops. I meant visual.

  • D.C.Chang

    Even Christian doctors are divided on the issue of withholding hydration and nutrition. Here is the link to the Christian Medical and Dental Association ethical statement on this issue.
    http://www.cmdahome.org/index.cgi?BISKIT=2309191261&CONTEXT=art&art=367
    The CMDA is one of the largest association of evangelical Christian physicians. In the statement, the cite studies that support the notion that death from dehydration is not uncomfortable as long as the mouth is kept moist.

  • http://gracenotes4teens.blogspot.com/2005/03/easter-ponderings.html Grace Notes 4 Teens

    Easter ponderings

    How can anyone keep her parents from intervening? Seems they’d have to be locked away to allow her adulterous husband to go ahead. And I have to wonder where the media’s outrage has gone. The 60 Minutes II types, who railed against scaring terrorist …

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    Motor skills are part of the functions of the cerebellum, not the cerebrum.
    I’d have thought that if you had pointed to definitive testimony on conscious awareness, you’d have done so.

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    I took a look at the web site which supplied the scan. Here’s the description of the image:

    CT scan of Ms. Schiavo’s brain, showing extensive cortical regions filled with spinal fluid.

    You can find the page here.
    It seems that a CT scan is worthless in these situations due to its relatively low resolution compared to a PET or MRI scan:

    Terri

  • Mr Ed

    mumon:
    Motor skills are part of the functions of the cerebellum, not the cerebrum.
    Voluntary movements are a function of the pre-motor and motor areas which are in the posterior frontal lobe. The cerebellum coordinates movement but does not contain the nerve cells that cause movement.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    Go re-read what you posted here carefully; there’s no slam-dunk evidence I saw of volition, but I did see the possibility of people seeing what they wanted to see.

  • Mr Ed

    It seems that a CT scan is worthless in these situations due to its relatively low resolution compared to a PET or MRI scan…
    That’s true for the most part, Ed. Fluid, nerves, organ tissue, even tumors in some cases, are sometimes hard to distinguish with CT scans. A physician would be hard-pressed to diagnose most neurological problems with only a CT.

  • Mr Ed

    mumon:

    During different portions of the exam, I would ask her to squeeze my hand on command, or, in the lower extremities, to pick up her right lower leg to command. The upper extremities are contracted and weak. She appeared to squeeze my hand, and then relax her grip, in the upper right extremity, possibly in the upper left extremity. I am unsure if she was doing it to verbal command, or in response to body language; however, it was voluntary activity and not reflex.

    Emphasis mine.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Ed “What the” Heckman:
    Dude- the dark stuff is fluid. The picture may not be the same as a 7 megapixel from a Nikon, but it’s obvious: Large portions of what used to be Terri Schiavo’s cerebrum are gone, passed on, her cerebrum’s metabolic processes are now history; they’re off the twig! Her cerebrum’s kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-CEREBRUM!
    (Apologies to Monty Python. And don’t show me a video claiming she’s pining for the fjords…)

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed:
    Notice the lack of verbiage denoting consistency in this behavior, nor was there any note of how th e test was done (I can get you to squeeze my hand with yours without even asking.)

  • Mr Ed

    More here:

    Responsiveness: The patient would immediately respond to sound, tone of voice and to touch and pain. With respect to responding to those around her, she had limited responsiveness to me personally until approximately 45 minutes into the exam. She started to look at me, against her traditional right gaze preference, about the same time that we started getting significant relaxation in her contracted left arm (the arm that had been contracted for several years.) She appeared to identify the sound of my voice, with the relaxation of the arm. From that point, she would generally look toward the sound of my voice when heard, attempt to find me visually, then track the sound of my voice in its movements, or track me if I was within approximately one foot of her eyes.

  • Mr Ed

    Notice the lack of verbiage denoting consistency in this behavior, nor was there any note of how th e test was done (I can get you to squeeze my hand with yours without even asking.)
    The doctor was very clear in his observation about when he was unsure of a direct correlation between his commands and Terri’s movements. So, when he says she was “alert” and “responsive” I tend to believe him.

  • Mr Ed

    Dude- the dark stuff is fluid.
    Fluid and tissue aren’t easily distinguished with CT images. Computed tomography analyzes variations in density. If the variations aren’t that great then the differences on the image won’t be either. So, for example, blood and the liver both appear similar in a CT image. What you’re seeing on Terri’s image could be tissue, fluid, or a combination of both.

  • http://www.stonescryout.org/archives/2005/03/congressional_r.html Stones Cry Out

    Congressional Republican Leadership Fights On

    The House Committee that issued the subpoenas earlier today filed a motion with the Supreme Court to intervene and reinsert Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. If the Court issues the order, it would allow the lower courts time to hear the…

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    mumon wrote:
    Dude- the dark stuff is fluid. The picture may not be the same as a 7 megapixel from a Nikon, but it’s obvious: Large portions of what used to be Terri Schiavo’s cerebrum are gone, passed on, her cerebrum’s metabolic processes are now history; they’re off the twig! Her cerebrum’s kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-CEREBRUM!

    Please post a copy of your board certification in neurology. You don’t have one? Then why the heck should anyone accept your opinion over almost 50 board certified neurologists? There’s this little thing called credibility. Ever heard of it? You don’t have any!
    Everyone here who thinks mumon knows more about the value of CT scans vs. MRI or PET scans than a board certified neurologist, please raise your hand now. Anyone? Anyone at all? (sounds of crickets chirping)
    Oh, wait! There is one neurologist who agrees with mumon — the “loving” husband’s star witness: Dr. Ronald Cranford. But there’s a few things you should know about Dr. Cranford. First, he’s on the board of “Choice in Dying”, a pro-death group pushing to overturn laws against “mercy killing.” (Look at his bio. It’s the last item on his list of “Other Professional Activities.” That hardly makes him an unbiased witness. I’ll let the article I previously referred to take it from here:

    Dr. Ronald Cranford is one of the most outspoken advocates of the

  • Mr Ed

    Good stuff, Ed.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    World according to mynym again.
    You have a problem with expecting that people err on the side of Life? I think that’s the world according to Scripture, Americanism, etc.
    It’s always “The Left” this and “The Left” that with you, isn’t it?
    If someone begins talking about “personal views” being “imposed” and making little victimization scripts for themselves, etc., then they are defining themselves to the social Left.
    …they’re happy to use her as a political pawn.
    Uh huh…
    You’d have to be plain ignorant on this issue not to see both issues of precedent and politics.
    Let’s see, people with a Leftist tilt try to go to the Judiciary for SSM, starving the cognitively disabled, ridding the public of the Ten Commandments, attacking the Boy Scouts, etc.
    Then they come to an election and think, “Gee, how could we have lost with the war not going well?”
    Duh, dopey dopes, I wonder? Again on this, you seem intent on doing the same thing. Trying to avoid definition isn’t going to change that.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Good stuff, Ed.
    Yeah, I honestly did not expect that the Left would debate this. But they have.

  • http://www.tbirdofparadise.blogspot.com Bird of Paradise

    Wow! What a great dialogue on a difficult subject. I, for one, am biased in support of Terri’s right for a more comprehensive diagnostic examination. By all accounts she has been denied even the most basic neurological tests. Even the judge, who is also her legal custodian (a legal impropriety, by the way), has never net or visited Terri and has denied requests for her to be present in the courtroom where her life is being debated (this would appear to be prejudicial against the judge who has clearly predetermined that she is in a pvs).
    In any case, Hugh Hewitt has a great link to a great article that explains some of the medical neglect that Terri has been subjected to. From what I can gather from your posts, many of you are clearly not aware of this information. Please read the article here http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/johansen200503160848.asp and also consider reading some of the background material posted on Terri’s own website maintained by her family at http://www.terrisfight.org

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us/gp/weblog/comments/the_rush_to_spill_innocent_blood/ The Greatest Pursuits

    The Rush to Spill Innocent Blood

    Well, it’s started. The legal system has begun the muder of Terri Marie Shiavo by order of Judge Greer. Early this afternoon the parents of Terri Shiavo were ordered out of her room so her starvation could begin. If you are unaware of the fact…

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

    Everything happens for a purpose. This state murder will finally bring abortion and the right to life front and center. I think everyone is Right to Life under the right circumstances—-My post reveals this in a humorous vein that probably is not appropriate here.

  • http://www.benedictionblogson.com/archives/001317.php Bene Diction Blogs On

    Terri Schiavo

    The Evangelical Outpost has a good summary of the most recent events with a case in Florida involving a protracted legal battle over the life of Terry Schiavo. Her feeding tube was removed yesterday and if doctor’s predictions are correct Terri will di…

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Ed “What the” Heckman :
    Please post a copy of your board certification in neurology. You don’t have one? Then why the heck should anyone accept your opinion over almost 50 board certified neurologists?
    You’re believing somone actually spoke to those 50-odd “neurologists.” I’m not so sure, or I’m not sure if the case was adequately presented to them.
    Look at that brain; look at a normal brain. You tell me there’s a more than slim chance there’s a “Terri” there.
    Go consult a neurologist yourself.
    Tell me what they say.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com mumon

    Mr Ed :
    Sorry, I’m not cnvinced. And neither, apparently, was the court.

  • john mark

    One of the arguments used so successfully by the God haters to justify abortion was that the baby/fetus doesn’t really know anything or feel any pain. Now the same argument is being used by those who want to starve Terri. In the early days after 1973, people like C. Everett Koop and others said that eventually infanticide, then euthanasia would be accepted. It seems, frightenly, that they were right. This is not about politics, except for the fact that the left has made this kind of thing a political issue, as they have encultureated all things political. Taking a womans life, based on hearsay evidence from an adulterous husband is something that anyone should be troubled by. The fact that some people see this as right and compassionate is even more troubling.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Thats just semantics. If she can’t eat enough to sustain herself without the tube then it is, for all intents and purposes, killing her.
    No her condition is killing her just as if my heart cannot pump blood that will kill me. If I refuse a heart transplant I am not killing myself but rather choosing to live with my condition (which will most likely kill me). We are back to the original argument, does an individual have a right to refuse intervention? Yes they do (in this case that right is being expressed by her guardian since she cannot express it herself). When you refuse intervention it is not the refusal that kills you it is the underlying condition. What is killing Terri is her condition that makes her unable to eat. If that condition were cured she would live. If she was this ill in a time before feeding tubes were invented (if that was possible since they’ve been around a long time) she would die.
    I noticed Mr. Ed that you dropped Tim’s analysis on denying feeding tubs/water to late stage Parkisans/Alzeihimers patients. You’ve been all over the map on this. On one hand you have written that refusing a tube is equilivant to a suicide attempt on the other hand you’ve written that the right to refuse intervention is a fine ‘middle ground’ for the law.
    Ed, the disgraceful scumbag who I have caught several times in deception on this list scribbles:
    Coward! All you had to type was one sentence. Here it is:
    Again he ignores what I wrote. The decision he cited was two pages that basically said ‘this motion is just a duplicate of another motion hence it is denied’. I’ll be happy to look at the arguments raised in the original motion but don’t waste my time.
    Interesting, how everything hinges on these words: “…persistent vegetative state…”
    Actually very little hinges on those words. Her husband is her legal guardian and the one who speaks for what her desires would have been if she could speak for herself. Those words are only important inasmuch as they answer the question of whether or not there is any practical hope of getting Terri to a point where she could communicate with us to express her own desires.
    Back to Ed, not the intelligent Mr. Ed bt the bad one:
    So the supposed “reason” the MRI hasn’t been done is because of implants which were already supposed to have been removed. My favorite definition of an excuse is “a thin shell of truth stuffed with a lie.” That definition appears to fit here!
    Ohhh so there was a reason for not doing an MRI after all! The court finding was that surgery to remove the implants was ‘not recommended’. Now all in the sudden it turns out that not only is surgery to remove them OK its even something that *should* have been done? Amazing how such a horrible misreading of the expert testimony could have happened in the presence of so many well paid lawyers advocating the pro-life cause. Amazing how the Court of Appeals could have missed such a huge blunder and the only people to catch it are various partisan web sites.
    One of the arguments used so successfully by the God haters to justify abortion was that the baby/fetus doesn’t really know anything or feel any pain. Now the same argument is being used by those who want to starve Terri.
    Actually that is not her husband’s argument. His argument is that she would not want this and would not want the intervention of the feeding tube. If he is correct then her being able to feel anything would make the matter worse since she would be aware that her wishes were being ignored and she would have no way to express her disagreement. To the degree that ‘she’ no longer exists in her damaged brain then going against her wishes would actually be a lesser crime.

  • tsotsi

    Is there any wonder as to why this is happening in Florida? Afterall what is Florida? A hole above the water filled with trailer trash, NY jewish trash and the left over by products of slavery. Put this altogether and expect anything other than what we have is about as reasonable as as putting Michael Jackson in charge of a daycare or Big Brothers and expecting peace of mind. It is a state full of morons who elect liberal morons to run the government.
    The list of fiascos directly resulting from the state government’s actions in just the past decade make most turd world governments look brilliant and virtuous.
    Terri’s fate is in the hands of incompentant morons who are being manipulated by EVIL leftwing liberal scum. What it is going to take for the so called “right” people to finally stand up and recognise the reality of just how dangerous the enemy that lives within the borders of this country is? I go from blog to blog reading, switch from radio station to radio station and TV channel to TV channel and it’s all the same thing. All the so called do gooders throwing their hands in the air stating what a crying shame it all is and not one willing to a damn thing about it. I am reminded of the German Jews reaction to the news Polish Jews were being rounded up. “Oh! That is terrible, but what can we do?” Then when the German Jews got rounded up the ones in Switzerland were saing, “Oh! That is terrible,but what can we do?” etc…….
    The biggest epidemic facing this nation today is the fact that it has been emasculated to the point that 90% of the men are scared of their own shadow and can’t even imagine what it is to stand up for what is right. In fact it has now reached the point that if someone was to for example take it upon himeself to defend this woman’s life, using what ever means necessary, the very same people who claim to care about her well being would be screaming and joining in to support the government to kill him because he is a wacko. Think about that for a moment. Someone who is willing to defend an innocent life with violence if necessary is treated by those who claim care like he is their enemy. Yet the true enemy is treated like it is the common cold instead of ebola (which they are)
    There isn’t a single thing of any consequence that has been achieved in ths country or by this country in the rest of the world that didn’t involve physically eliminating that which stood in the way of progress. Left wing scum are the only thing that stands between this country moving into the future on a positive track or moving into moral vaccum.
    It was once said that all that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.
    I guess we will just have to sit back and see how badly the “right” people really want what they claim they want.

  • http://lashawnbarber.com/archives/2005/03/18/congress/ La Shawn Barber’s Corner

    Congress Tries to Protect Terri Schiavo

    Update III (3/19): Commenting is closed on this post. For more discussion, visit Evangelical Outpost.
    Update II (9:35 p.m.): Don’t forget to check Blogs for Terri and Terri’s Fight for the latest information.
    Update (3:33 p.m.): FOX News is rep…

  • Magoogirl

    If our prison system allowed starvation and dehydration as a method of carrying out the death penalty, it would be deemed cruel and inhuman punishment.
    To my knowledge, there were no living-will instructions or verifiable sources to confirm Terry’s wishes. There’s a vast difference between turning off life support and having a loved one pass away in a matter of moments and removing all nutrition and hydration from a loved one and having them tortuously suffer for several weeks before passing on.
    We seek to relieve the suffering of those starving around the world. Yet, in this case judicial consensus says that the constitution won’t allow the government to meddle in people’s private matters. The government meddles in private matters on a regular basis – we do have this little agency called the IRS, for heaven’s sake.
    This is not a simple or easy matter. Most would not want to languish on life support in a verifiable, vegetative state. It’s the manner of death, in this case, that seems far too intolerable to me.
    Magoogirl

  • Renee

    Big news conference on now from Congressman. Check it out.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    To my knowledge, there were no living-will instructions or verifiable sources to confirm Terry’s wishes. There’s a vast difference between turning off life support and having a loved one pass away in a matter of moments and removing all nutrition and hydration from a loved one and having them tortuously suffer for several weeks before passing on.
    This is just romantic nonsense. What type of death do you think happens when you turn off life support and a loved on passes away in ‘moments’? Did you get your medical degree by watching soap operas. Try holding your breath for 45 seconds and tell me if being unable to breath is a peaceful and pleasent way to die. Death is usually disturbing, uncomfortable and unpleasent. Only rarely is it a quiet passage into peace ala Socrates.

  • http://view.web-nuts.com/index.php?p=1352 My View of the World

    Terri’s Latest News Roundup

    Here is a roundup of information on the attempted murder of Terri Schiavo.
    UPDATE: Senate to Convene at 5pm Saturday
    Just heard about this on the Northern Alliance Radio Show!
    BlogsforTerri
    Senate to Convene at 5pm Saturday
    The US Senate …

  • http://www.worldwiderant.com andy

    Wow, tsotsi, that was certainly an intelligent contribution to the discussion. Did you actually write that or just poop it onto your keyboard?

  • Matt

    The husband has clear financial and personal reasons for wanting his wife dead (including the fact the he is ENGAGED to another woman right now–only Terri stands in the way of that marriage). He should not be allowed to be her guardian. He has also refused to allow her to undergo MRI and PET scan test. These are basic diagnostic tools that are required in most states for a diagnosis of PVS.

  • Matt

    “Death is usually disturbing, uncomfortable and unpleasent”
    Having been present in a room when such a death occured, I can tell you that you are wrong. Patients on life support are brain dead without the ability to feel pain and without any type of consciousness. They don’t feel a thing when life support is turned off.
    Unlike Terri who still has central nervous system function and will feel pain and discomfort. Even her hospice medical plan in 2002 talked about pain medication to ease the discomfort of starvation.

  • http://ryanscott.tripod.com/posts/2005/03/save-terri-schiavo.html A Bellandean! God, Country, Heritage

    Save Terri Schiavo

    Yesterday we all had a bit of hope that after the Senate subpoenaed Terri Schiavo that her feeding tube would not be removed. Circuit Judge George Greer (Florida) said “I have had no cogent reason why the (congressional) committee should intervene,” …

  • http://reformedpolitics.com/archives/2005/03/19/religion-and-euthanasia/ Reformed Politics

    Religion and Euthanasia

    I have two articles from Greg Koukl, here and here, that touch on the subject of Terri without specifally addressing this case. I believe it gives a better overall view since it’s not bogged down by the specifics. It is how we should view ALL euthanas…

  • marcus

    One of the most pervasive comments I hear from the “right to die” camp is: “Would you want to trade places with Terri?”
    No, I would not. Who would? But that doesn’t mean her life is meaningless. I wouldn’t want to trade places with an 85 year-old bedridden invalid in a nursing home. Does that mean we should prowl the halls of care facilities with syringes of potassium chloride and put people out of their misery?
    No one truly knows what is going on in Terri’s mind other than Terri and God. In such a case, I would err on the side of caution; I would “err” on the side of life.

  • marcus

    BTW, I agree with Matt: Michael has committed adultery, and that has nullified the marriage according to scripture. He has no right to make any decision concerning her.

  • http://www.worldwiderant.com andy

    Marcus –
    I’ve never heard anyone ask if someone would trade places with Terri. For me, it all hinges on the state of her brain, her ability to have an internal life. Right now, some of that sounds a bit iffy depending on with whom you talk.
    Also, our laws are not based on scripture, so the Bible’s view of what his rights are really don’t come into play (although I realize many on the right would like to have it otherwise).

  • marcus

    Andy,
    “I’ve never heard anyone ask if someone would trade places with Terri”.
    I’ve heard it plenty of times.
    “For me, it all hinges on the state of her brain, her ability to have an internal life. Right now, some of that sounds a bit iffy depending on with whom you talk.”
    You ignored my points. I said that it’s better to “err on the side of caution” precisely because nobody is for sure what her mental state is.
    “Also, our laws are not based on scripture”
    Oh, really? What are they based on, the Bhagavad Gita? The Qu’uran? Tatian’s Diatesseron? The Noble Eightfold Path?
    What I said is this: “Michael has committed adultery, and that has nullified the marriage according to scripture”. It has nullified his marriage according to 98% of divorced people who are the victims of adultery, as well. Don’t believe me? Ask ‘em.
    If the marriage is nullified, then any control that belonged to the husband should be transferred to the parents.

  • http://www.blindmindseye.com/archives/2005/03/broken_windows.php Blind Mind’s Eye

    Broken windows in the legal system itself

    Weller essentially told Terri Schiavo, “You had better say you want to live or they will kill you. Just say you want to live.” Schiavo responded with a drawn out, “IIIIII,” then screamed out “waaaaaaaa” so loudly that a…

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com DeputyHeadmistress

    Joel, not wanting to live like Terri does not equate to wishing to be dehydrated to death. I have blogged about this repeatedly- nobody *chooses* to live like Terri, but just because *you* or anybody else wouldn’t want to live like her doesn’t mean she should be killed. our daughter is profoundly retarded. I’ll bet most people wouldn’t want to live like her, either, but she’s a happy child and we love her and are privileged to be her parents.
    Richard: “There’s no murky legal issue here: the husband is on the hook for the medical bills, and he’s also responsible for the medical decisions.”
    He is not on the hook for her medical bills. Although he sued for money for her care (and won that money for her rehabilitative care), as soon as he cut that check, he placed her in hospice and put her on medicaid, using the money for lawyers to try to kill her instead. Both of these actions were in flagrant disregard of Fl state law, but both were approved by the judge.
    Have those of you who insist she is brain dead and unaware of anything watched the video tapes of her responding to her parents? Are you aware that she has never had an MRI? That you can’t accurately diagnosis PVS without one?
    Are you aware that Michael’s previous girlfriend has testified that he told her Terri had never told him anything about her wishes in an event like this, and he didn’t know if she would want to live or die?
    She’s being fed via tube. Food and water are not medical interventions. The judge in this case has *refused* to permit a swallow test and has a court order against anybody trying to feed her. People have been hauled off by the police for trying to give her food. He won’t even let her receive communion- so we won’t know if she can eat by mouth, will we?
    Incidentally, she swallows her own saliva, even though the judge says she can’t swallow.
    There is so much about this case those of you in favor of starving her to death clearly do not know. Before you opine on a matter of life and death, shouldn’t you find out a little more about it?

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com deputyheadmistress

    Boonton, immediately upon saying you won’t speculate about her parents, you do so:
    : I won’t speculate about her parents. Perhaps they are just seeing what they want to see rather than looking at the truth. Perhaps they are motivated by money (my understanding of the matter is that Terri is due for a large settlement if the error that caused her situation results in death??? if she is not married then that money would be part of her estate which would pass to her parents).::
    Michael stands to inherit 1.6 million dollars upon Terri’s death. Her parents don’t. They have offered to sign an agreement waiving any funds going to them, giving it all to Michael if only he will let them take Terri home and care for her. He refuses. He is living with another woman and has children with her. They have been together so long she is his common law wife, although he calls her his ‘fiance.’ This is at least his second affair since Terri got sick.
    His previous girlfriend testified that he was abusive, stalked her at work, and that he admitted to her that Terri had never told him she would rather die than live like this.

  • http://reformedpolitics.com/archives/2005/03/20/bush-returning-to-washington-over-schiavo/ Reformed Politics

    Bush Returning to Washington Over Schiavo

    President Bush is changing his schedule to return to the White House on Sunday to be in place to sign emergency legislation that would shift the case of a brain-damaged Florida woman to federal courts, the White House said Saturday.

  • Joel Thomas

    I support changing laws to require living wills or other written evidence when families disagree about feeding tubes.
    I am only talking of removing feeding tubes when there is no higher brain function. I’m not necessarily speaking to Terri’s case per se, because there seems to be disagreement.
    What I most object to is reductionist vitalist philosophy that equates life entirely with a beating heart when there is no longer any higher cognitive function. I am not in any way referring to cases where there is reduced cognitive function as with the retarded, dementia victims, alzheimer’s victims, stroke victims, the mentally ill or whatever. I am speaking only of those cases in which neurologists agree that only brain stem function remains.

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com kangamaroo@yahoo.com

    Appellate courts examine the process the original judge took. They do not re-examine the evidence presented or not presented- so the fact that appeals courts have allowed Judge Greer’s rulings to stand doesn’t really prove anything about the evidence.
    -0———————————-
    “Doctors testifying on behalf of Michael Schiavo say that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS), with no hope of recovery. A patient in a PVS is unaware of himself or his environment and does not respond to the world around him. He continues breathing on his own, maintains a stable heart rate, and may even have eye movements that mimic normal sleep. However, he has, for all intents and purposes, no higher brain functions that we would associate with

  • tsotsi

    “We can be taught right from wrong. We can train ourselves to be ready for a crisis. We can learn, through practice, discipline and example, to respond bravely to challenge and to act with courage in the face of evil. When we are well trained and armed with a moral compass, we carry the confidence to overcome fear and act decisively when there is simply no other alternative.”

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com deputyheadmistress

    Suppose I went to a dr who told me that I needed abdominal surgery for a benign tumor- but who did not do the tests usually done for diagnosis- no x-ray, no ultra sound, no CAT scan.
    Suppose a third party spoke to another dr and told him the situation, and that dr said, “That’s criminal. He can’t be sure she has a benign tumor and needs an operation without those tests.”
    Who is going to argue, seriously, that the dr. has to see *me* to know that?
    Here’s what one neurologist had to say when he learned that Michael had never permitted an MRI or a PET to be performed on Terri:

  • Mr Ed

    Boon:
    No her condition is killing her just as if my heart cannot pump blood that will kill me.
    That’s actually a different situation. She has been observed to be able to process semi-solid foods with assistance. That’s quite different than an irreversible congenital heart defect that is causing a slow death. Her case is not much different, in this one respect, than that of a qudraplegic.
    What is killing Terri is her condition that makes her unable to eat. If that condition were cured she would live. If she was this ill in a time before feeding tubes were invented (if that was possible since they’ve been around a long time) she would die.
    But now there is the option. So is it right to refuse treatment on her behalf if her condition hasn’t been deemed irreversible? In this respect, she is not much different than a child born with mental retardation such that they cannot eat unassisted. But its not legal for the parent of that child to refuse feeding.
    I think this is a good time to refer back to the Quinlan case to which you referred above. In her case, the court held the following:

    We glean from the record here that physicians distinguish between curing the ill and comforting and easing the dying; that they refuse to treat the curable as if they were dying or ought to die, and that they have sometimes refused to treat the hopeless and dying as if they were curable. In this sense, as we were reminded by the testimony of Drs. Korein and Diamond, many of them have refused to inflict an undesired prolongation of the process of dying on a patient in irreversible condition when it is clear that such “therapy” offers neither human nor humane benefit.

    Upon the concurrence of the guardian and family of Karen, should the responsible attending physicians conclude that there is no reasonable possibility of Karen’s ever emerging from her present comatose condition to a cognitive, sapient state and that the life-support apparatus now being administered to Karen should be discontinued, they shall consult with the hospital “Ehics Committee” or like body of the institution in which Karen is then hospitalized. If that consultative body agrees that there is no reasonable possibility of Karen’s ever emerging from her present comatose condition to a cognitive, sapient state, the present life-support system may be withdrawn and said action shall be without any civil or criminal liability therefor on the part of any participant, whether guardian, physician, hospital or others.

    http://www.csulb.edu/~jvancamp/452_r6.html
    Now, Terri’s case differs in two respects: first, as I read some of the exam reports, there is no firm consensus that Terri will not recover to some degree of cognitive capacity with professional rehabilitation (which, by the way her husband has denied her)–nor even that she is completely without cognitive capacity at this point in time. Second, she does not qualify as terminally ill under the Uniform Rights of the Terminally Ill Act because a) her condition hasn’t been deemed “incurable and irreversible” and b) she isn’t “dying”.
    You’ve been all over the map on this. On one hand you have written that refusing a tube is equilivant to a suicide attempt on the other hand you’ve written that the right to refuse intervention is a fine ‘middle ground’ for the law.
    Well, Boon, I can’t apologize for the fact that my views don’t fit into a nice little partisan package. I’m sure there are many here that will be more than happy to argue the party line. But I am trying to express my view that this is a difficult situation that, as medicine progresses, only stands to become more difficult. Yes, I believe human life is sacred. But I also believe that, at some point, we will be able to sustain what is essentially, as you put it, only the human “metabolic process”. And I don’t believe people should be forced to take the most extreme and grotesque measures possible. Some people will undoubtedly choose to have their decapitated heads cryopreserved to await a cure. But most people will decide on levels much less extreme.
    So, let me explain the apparent contradictions: yes, refusing invasive medical treatment is a form of suicide. I’m not the only one who came up with this. Some people call is suicide by a negative action and others call it passive suicide. That doesn’t mean that we should deny this as an option. I think the law has already recognized that not all suicides are to be deemed illegal activities. My point stems only from the idea that I argued earlier which is that science will, at some point, be able to sustain life far beyond what is reasonable and desirable for most people. That’s why I also believe that the law that allows people to deny treatment is, while imperfect, the most reasonable.
    I feel as though I’m beginning to ramble so I’m going to stop now and get some rest. But I hope this clears up my position a bit.

  • Mr Ed

    Boon:
    No her condition is killing her just as if my heart cannot pump blood that will kill me.
    That’s actually a different situation. She has been observed to be able to process semi-solid foods with assistance. That’s quite different than an irreversible congenital heart defect that is causing a slow death. Her case is not much different, in this one respect, than that of a qudraplegic.
    What is killing Terri is her condition that makes her unable to eat. If that condition were cured she would live. If she was this ill in a time before feeding tubes were invented (if that was possible since they’ve been around a long time) she would die.
    But now there is the option. So is it right to refuse treatment on her behalf if her condition hasn’t been deemed irreversible? In this respect, she is not much different than a child born with mental retardation such that they cannot eat unassisted. But its not legal for the parent of that child to refuse feeding.
    I think this is a good time to refer back to the Quinlan case to which you referred above. In her case, the court held the following:

    We glean from the record here that physicians distinguish between curing the ill and comforting and easing the dying; that they refuse to treat the curable as if they were dying or ought to die, and that they have sometimes refused to treat the hopeless and dying as if they were curable. In this sense, as we were reminded by the testimony of Drs. Korein and Diamond, many of them have refused to inflict an undesired prolongation of the process of dying on a patient in irreversible condition when it is clear that such “therapy” offers neither human nor humane benefit.

    Upon the concurrence of the guardian and family of Karen, should the responsible attending physicians conclude that there is no reasonable possibility of Karen’s ever emerging from her present comatose condition to a cognitive, sapient state and that the life-support apparatus now being administered to Karen should be discontinued, they shall consult with the hospital “Ehics Committee” or like body of the institution in which Karen is then hospitalized. If that consultative body agrees that there is no reasonable possibility of Karen’s ever emerging from her present comatose condition to a cognitive, sapient state, the present life-support system may be withdrawn and said action shall be without any civil or criminal liability therefor on the part of any participant, whether guardian, physician, hospital or others.

    http://www.csulb.edu/~jvancamp/452_r6.html
    Now, Terri’s case differs in two respects: first, as I read some of the exam reports, there is no firm consensus that Terri will not recover to some degree of cognitive capacity with professional rehabilitation (which, by the way her husband has denied her)–nor even that she is completely without cognitive capacity at this point in time. Second, she does not qualify as terminally ill under the Uniform Rights of the Terminally Ill Act because a) her condition hasn’t been deemed “incurable and irreversible” and b) she isn’t “dying”.
    You’ve been all over the map on this. On one hand you have written that refusing a tube is equilivant to a suicide attempt on the other hand you’ve written that the right to refuse intervention is a fine ‘middle ground’ for the law.
    Well, Boon, I can’t apologize for the fact that my views don’t fit into a nice little partisan package. I’m sure there are many here that will be more than happy to argue the party line. But I am trying to express my view that this is a difficult situation that, as medicine progresses, only stands to become more difficult. Yes, I believe human life is sacred. But I also believe that, at some point, we will be able to sustain what is essentially, as you put it, only the human “metabolic process”. And I don’t believe people should be forced to take the most extreme and grotesque measures possible. Some people will undoubtedly choose to have their decapitated heads cryopreserved to await a cure. But most people will decide on levels much less extreme.
    So, let me explain the apparent contradictions: yes, refusing invasive medical treatment is a form of suicide. I’m not the only one who came up with this. Some people call is suicide by a negative action and others call it passive suicide. That doesn’t mean that we should deny this as an option. I think the law has already recognized that not all suicides are to be deemed illegal activities. My point stems only from the idea that I argued earlier which is that science will, at some point, be able to sustain life far beyond what is reasonable and desirable for most people. That’s why I also believe that the law that allows people to deny treatment is, while imperfect, the most reasonable.
    I feel as though I’m beginning to ramble so I’m going to stop now and get some rest. But I hope this clears up my position a bit.

  • Mr Ed

    Don’t know why that posted twice.
    But I wanted to add another point I thought about today. Is there a case to be made that Michael Schiavo has abdicated his role as guardian a) by refusing rehabilitation that is guaranteed to Terri under Florida Statutes and b) by having a common-law wife?

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    From the Washington Post

    In a memo distributed only to Republican senators, the Schiavo case was characterized as “a great political issue” that could pay dividends with Christian conservatives, whose support is essential in midterm elections such as those coming up in 2006.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49701-2005Mar19.html

  • http://www.narnia3.com Dennis Swanson

    Here are my thoughts on the case at my blog.
    http://www.narnia3.com/index.html

  • http://www.jeffblogworthy.com/index.php?/archives/1116-Dont-be-so-biologically-tenacious.html Jeff Blogworthy.com

    Don’t be so ‘biologically tenacious’

    Don’t be so biologically tenacious!
    This is the message which many have for those who are not dying quickly enough. The definition of death is being dumbed-down to “persistent vegetative state” (PVS) – a murky term for which there is no clear definitio

  • http://alangrey.blogspot.com Alan Grey

    Hi Joe,
    The Judge has ignored the congressional subpeona and ordered the tube removed
    http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/mar/05031804.html
    Ironically,civil disobedience….

  • http://reformedpolitics.com/archives/2005/03/20/terri-schiavo/ Reformed Politics

    Terri Schiavo

    Ok, I’ve tried to stay above the fray but I can’t help myself anymore. I must speak out on this outrage. I have tried to keep my articles and thoughts centered on the worldview that leads to the decision you make in this case. But after a while, I just…

  • http://whatintheworldisgoingon.blogspot.com Liz

    John:
    I just now saw your post. I think you are ill informed when it comes to the Schaivo case. She is not in a coma, not on a ventilator, not on any machines. She is hooked up to a feeding tube. That is all she is on. She can live without the aid of machines–she just needs help eating. This is not a “right to die” case because she is not someone being kept on life support or anything like it. She is just brain damaged. That it is all.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com boonton

    The husband has clear financial and personal reasons for wanting his wife dead (including the fact the he is ENGAGED to another woman right now–only Terri stands in the way of that marriage). He should not be allowed to be her guardian. He has also refused to allow her to undergo MRI and PET scan test. These are basic diagnostic tools that are required in most states for a diagnosis of PVS.

    1. Nothing is standing in the way of remarriage. He can divorce his first wife if he wishes.
    2. There is no financial incentive here since the parents have offered to let him give up guardianship but still retain all the financial benefits (plus I believe they also offered him a flat $1M to do so as well).
    3. Numerous diagnostic tests have been done. The MRI issue has been addressed already.

    No one truly knows what is going on in Terri’s mind other than Terri and God. In such a case, I would err on the side of caution; I would “err” on the side of life.

    Suppose Terri had writen ten years ago “If I were in a PVS I would want all the life support possible”? Could we be sure she would still feel that way after ten years if there was some way to revive her and ask her (assuming she still exists)? All we can really do is guess and the best guess we can make is an educated one. First defer to written instructions by individuals themselves and then defer to their guardians if no such instructions exist.

    BTW, I agree with Matt: Michael has committed adultery, and that has nullified the marriage according to scripture. He has no right to make any decision concerning her.

    This is certainly a novel reading of scripture. While one may commit adultery I never heard that such a sin magically dissolves a marriage automatically. In fact, some Christians feel Marriage cannot be dissolved even in the fact of a great amount of adultery & a mutual desire for dissolution by both sides.
    Boonton, immediately upon saying you won’t speculate about her parents, you do so:
    Fair point, I was trying to illustrate how it is unfair of us to judge her husbands true intentions based on snippets of gossip (such as starting a new relationship and having kids). I can just as easy make negative judgements about her parents (such as their opinions of her recognition are biased). I think we should give both sides the benefit of the doubt. I believe her husband honestly feels this is what she would have wanted if she could have been asked and her parents honestly feel there is a Terri still there.

    Michael stands to inherit 1.6 million dollars upon Terri’s death. Her parents don’t. They have offered to sign an agreement waiving any funds going to them, giving it all to Michael if only he will let them take Terri home and care for her. He refuses. He is living with another woman and has children with her. They have been together so long she is his common law wife, although he calls her his ‘fiance.’ This is at least his second affair since Terri got sick.
    His previous girlfriend testified that he was abusive, stalked her at work, and that he admitted to her that Terri had never told him she would rather die than live like this.

    1. The ‘husband just wants money’ theory is defeated in the above paragraph. Clearly the husband has the option to just take the money if that is all he really wants.
    2. Legal procedures exist to challenge a guardian. Considering how high profile this case is, how important it is to the pro-life lobby and how many appeals it has gone through it seems rather difficult to doubt the findings of fact based on just one snippet of ‘evidence’. If the ex-girlfriend testified to the above then her testimony was considered. What more is necessary?
    Finally, Mr. Ed. an excellent post but I’ll need more time to go through it. I’ll just catch this last point:
    But I wanted to add another point I thought about today. Is there a case to be made that Michael Schiavo has abdicated his role as guardian a) by refusing rehabilitation that is guaranteed to Terri under Florida Statutes and b) by having a common-law wife?
    I cannot read all the trial transcripts, however I think it is fair to assume the pro-life movement has donated lawyers of at least slightly above average skill to the parent’s cause. If such an easy loophole was then it would be pretty stunning if the lawyers didn’t pick up on it by now!

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com DeputyHeadmistress

    …Michael was interviewed by Larry King on October 27, 2003. A caller asked him why not give up guardianship?
    CALLER: Yes. My question is, why not divorce your wife, or turn her care over to her parents, or a third party allowing yourself to get on with your life?
    KING: That’s what we asked a few times. You’re saying it’s purely based on that promise?
    SCHIAVO: Purely based on her wishes.
    Yet, in a September 27, 1999 Deposition, Michael Schiavo said his reason for keeping guardianship of Terri was essentially to get back at her parents.
    Q. Have you considered turning the guardianship over to Mr. and Mrs. Schindler?
    SCHIAVO: No, I have not.
    Q. And why?
    SCHIAVO: I think that’s pretty self explanatory.
    Q. I’d like to hear your answer.
    SCHIAVO: Basically I don’t want to do it.
    Q. And why don’t you want to do it?
    SCHIAVO: Because they put me through pretty much h*** the last few years.
    Q. And can you describe what you mean by h***?
    SCHIAVO: The litigations they put me through.
    Q. Any other specifics besides the litigation?
    SCHIAVO: Just their attitude towards me because of the litigations. There is no other reason. I’m Terri’s husband and I will remain guardian.
    After his attorney “talked” with him, Michael added, “Yeah. Another reason would be that her parents wouldn’t carry out her wishes.”
    Others (namely her parents and brother) have contradicted Michael

  • http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com/ DeputyHeadmistress

    Nat Hentoff writes: “The reporting on the fierce battle for the life of 39-year-old Terri Schiavo has been the worst case of this kind of journalistic malpractice I’ve seen

  • http://nmnhwww.si.edu/paleo/shale/panomal.htm Anomalocaris
  • Eric & Lisa

    I think they should learn to be respectful of humans as well as animals over at Respectful of Otters.
    For example, the author assumes that the reader is an idiot. The author asserts that Terry is missing a large portion of her brain because a 1996 CAT scan proves it, and yet, is that what is really proved by the CAT scan?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The judge (at this point, it was not Judge Greer) denied the Schindlers

  • Mr Ed

    Wait, his sister-in-law? Wouldn’t that be Terri’s sister? Am I missing something here?
    You’re are joking, aren’t you?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    No, the article (which suported her parents POV) said the husband’s sister-in-law collaborated her statement on ‘not wanting to live like that’. It’s a serious question, the husband’s sister-in-law would be his wife’s sister. Is there a faction of Terri’s family that is siding with her husband in this case?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/trialctorder02-00.pdf
    Money

    On February 14, 1993, this amicable relationship between the parties was severed. While the testimony differs on what may or may not have been promised to whom and by whom, it is clear to this court the such severance was predicated upon money and the fact that Mr. Schiavo was unwilling to equally divide his loss of consortium award with Mr. and Mrs. Schindler. The parties have literally not spoken since that date. Regrettably, money overshadows this entire case and creates potential of conflict of interest for both sides. pg 2

    It goes on to note that Terri’s parents would become her sole heirs if her husband divorced him. Not surprisingly they have encouraged him to ‘get on with his life’…

    Therefore, neither side is exempt from finger pointing as to possible conflicts

    Fit Guardian?
    Here’s what the one of the articles qouted had to say:
    The judge then appointed a guardian ad litem, Richard Pearse, to investigate Michael

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Sister-in-Law
    OK before you bash me over the head the sister-in-law is almost certainly the wife of Michael’s brother. That possibility didn’t occur to me when I first read it.

  • LC

    About two years into my marriage, I voiced my feelings on this subject to my husband. I would NOT want to be kept alive this way! It is not in writing nor did I speak with other family members about it. It came up at a time when a similar case was in the news. I would hope he would fight the Republicans “No Spousal Rights” bill and see to MY wishes. How dare Tom Delay say “I don’t care what the husband says!” I thought Republicans preach the sanctity of marriage? I guess only if they agree with your decisions, otherwise they’ll take away your rights as a spouse.
    God would have taken this woman years ago. Science has kept her alive thru invasive feedings. If you people REALLY believe in God, you believe your spirit moves on after death, so let Schaivo go where God would have had her go years ago.

  • http://www.davidopderbeck.com/throughaglass.html dopderbeck

    “If the executive branch takes forceful measures to implement the order to starve Schiavo, then other responses may become necessary.”
    I have to say, I think this statement is just irresponsible. You have significant influence with a wide audience. To even suggest the possibility of violent opposition is simply wrong. Whatever we think about the merits of the Schiavo case, we should consistently and loudly disavow any suggestion of violence. In addition, one of your premises is incorrect: the judiciary certainly does have power to compel adherence to its orders, through the sanction of contempt. I have more thoughts on my blog here: http://www.davidopderbeck.com/throughaglass.html

  • Eric & Lisa

    LC,
    We evil Republicans do not consider the “sanctity” of marriage when the supposed husband is having sexual relations and children with another woman.
    We pretty much think that such a man is as evil as we are and his word on what his wife supposedly said is not worth a nickel.
    Also, you are a fool if you are worried about what some evil Republicans might do to you and you still don’t write down your wishes. Don’t expect us to believe your husbands words when he finds another girl to sleep with while you are lying incapacitated in a hospital bed.

  • http:heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com DeputyHeadmistress

    Boonton:
    Pg 5 notes that Terri’s mother claimed Terri made her statements about Karen Ann Quinlin “they should leave her alone…” when she was between 17-20. In reality the case was in the papers when she was between 11 and 12. Furthermore, the court found one of the witnesses to this conversation highly uncredible (you can read the reasons on pg 5, first paragraph).
    ———————-
    Did you check the dates yourself? I just read elsewhere that the judge was wrong about this, mistaking the time the plug was pulled for when Quinlan actually died. The two events were separated by many years. The case was in the papers when the parents were seeking to have her removed from the ventilator (which Terri is not and has not been on), and then in the papers again when Karen Ann finally died, years later. This does not seem to be a judge who admits it when he’s wrong, though, unfortunately for Terri. When confronted with the videotaped evidence that Terri was not comatose, he took off his glasses and wouldn’t look at the monitor (he is so vision impaired he doesn’t drive). Then he ruled that Terri’s parents could not take any more pictures and if they violated that ruling the pictures of their daughter all belonged to Michael Schiavo.
    Why do you suppose the simple possibility that the in-law was Michael’s relative and not Terri’s sister didn’t occur to you? It’s pretty obvious to anybody who isn’t predisposed to one point of view.
    And you are aware, are you not, that for years Michael refused to permit Terri’s relatives to visit her? He has full control over who gets to see her.
    “So are we saying here that despite ample legal ammunition on both sides Terri’s parents have been increadibly unfortunate enough to get a crappy judge every time they went to court? ”
    Most appellate cases do not review the facts.
    They have a crappy judge right now- he’s not made a decision but he’s saying unprofessional things like,
    “I think you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that you have a substantial likelihood of the parents’ lawsuit succeeding.”
    Sounds fairminded, doesn’t it?
    Incidentally, I don’t particularly blame him for moving on- but this is his third girlfriend at least *by his own testimony since Terri’s hospitalization, and one of the girlsfriends has testified that he told her that he and Terri never discussed her wishes in such an event, that he was only 25 at the time, so why would they, and he had no idea what she would have wanted.
    And he did nt mention her so called wish to die until after the lawsuit. That alone should cause thoughtful people to doubt his credibility.
    Terri swallows her own saliva all day, every day. Tell me why she can’t be fed by mouth? The judge has ruled that nobody can attempt to give her anything by mouth, and Michael has long forbidden it.
    Try reading this;
    http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?Id=20400
    When I first read about this case (years ago), I thought it was just a family dispute over a very braindead woman. But before I made up my mind, I did a lot more reading on the topic.

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    Boonton wrote:
    Ohhh so there was a reason for not doing an MRI after all! The court finding was that surgery to remove the implants was ‘not recommended’. Now all in the sudden it turns out that not only is surgery to remove them OK its even something that *should* have been done?

    That quote came from the article. I did some searches and could not find anything on the implants other than in that article. Do you have some source that indicates what the “expert testimony” was?
    Simple question: If Terri is going to die anyway, what harm is there in removing the implants and running the MRI to be sure of her status? If the MRI proves that she actually is brain dead (and I sincerely doubt that will happen) then you find most of us fighting to keep Terri alive will back off. But if Terri does still have brain function (and the videos clearly show that she does) then would you still be okay with killing her?
    I think the “harm” is that you really don’t want to know the results.

  • http://www.davidopderbeck.com/throughaglass.html dopderbeck

    Joe — based on the comment you left on my site, it seems that your statement that “other responses may become necessary” wasn’t intended to suggest any kind of violent or forceful resistance. If I’ve misread you, I apologize. The context of the quote, though, did seem to suggest something other than ordinary protest — can you clarify what you meant?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Did you check the dates yourself? I just read elsewhere that the judge was wrong about this, mistaking the time the plug was pulled for when Quinlan actually died.
    Did you read the ruling I cited? Terri supposedly said “How do they know what she (Quinlan) wants? They should just leave her alone”. That doesn’t fit very well if she was reacting to a news story that Quinlin had just died.
    This does not seem to be a judge who admits it when he’s wrong, though, unfortunately for Terri. When confronted with the videotaped evidence that Terri was not comatose, he took off his glasses and wouldn’t look at the monitor (he is so vision impaired he doesn’t drive).
    No one has ever argued that Terri was comatose. Interesting how you seem to be unable to even read this thread all that carefully, let alone primary documents.
    Why do you suppose the simple possibility that the in-law was Michael’s relative and not Terri’s sister didn’t occur to you? It’s pretty obvious to anybody who isn’t predisposed to one point of view.
    Actually it is pretty obvious even to people predisposed to one point of view. It just didn’t strike me until I made myself look silly. Feel free to harp on it if it makes you feel better.
    Ed “What the” Heckman
    That quote came from the article. I did some searches and could not find anything on the implants other than in that article. Do you have some source that indicates what the “expert testimony” was?
    I referenced the judicial decision that summarized the issue regarding the MRI. I would imagine if you could get a hold of the brief filed by the husband’s lawyers they would be more specific about the nature of these implants and why it wasn’t recommended that they be removed.
    Simple question: If Terri is going to die anyway, what harm is there in removing the implants and running the MRI to be sure of her status? If the MRI proves that she actually is brain dead (and I sincerely doubt that will happen) then you find most of us fighting to keep Terri alive will back off. But if Terri does still have brain function (and the videos clearly show that she does) then would you still be okay with killing her?
    1. The issue is not whether she is brain dead or not. No one has asserted that she is. The only issue is whether there is any realistic possibility of recovery, at least to the point where she could express informed decisions about her care. There is no evidence that an MRI could give us any hope in that department.
    2. I would not be ok with killing her even if she was brain dead. I feel less hesitation about ceasing intervention which, as low tech as it may sound, includes feeding tubes.

  • http://www.greatestpursuits.us Ed “What the” Heckman

    Boonton wrote:
    The issue is not whether she is brain dead or not. No one has asserted that she is.

    That’s a bunch of bull ca ca and you know it. The ruling that she is in a PVS is the entire justification for removing the feeding tube. For legal purposes, PVS = Brain Dead with only the brain stem still functioning.

    I feel less hesitation about ceasing intervention which, as low tech as it may sound, includes feeding tubes.

    In Terri’s case, there is a fair amount of evidence that she doesn’t even need that! Refusing to allow food and water, even by natural means is killing someone. You’ve seen what happens when someone other than a judge tries to get away with it by starving an elderly person or a child to death: they wind up behind bars.

  • http://mynym.blogspot.com mynym

    Refusing to allow food and water, even by natural means is killing someone.
    There is something odd about Boontown’s mind. Apparently he cannot see that starving someone to death is killing them. It is “ceasing intervention” or “passive.” Everyone in nursing homes and the like who relies on someone else to give them food can have “intervention” stopped.
    And someone might say,
    “I feeeeeel less hesitation about ceasing intervention which includes feeding.”
    All they are seem to be doing is stating their own little feelings about things and how passive they are.
    In their passivity, they tend to bow down before the Courts or the “experts.” Then, no doubt, they will pretend that their moral degeneracy is some sort of humility based on their supposed willingness to go along with the “experts.”
    In actuality, that is not the case. If the Courts were not matching the Leftist type of psychology as if matching a checklist, then there is little doubt that they would not be so venerated by the Left.

  • Brooke

    There are so many people in nursing homes right now that have suffered from a stroke in the same condition as this woman. Should we just go around and unhook their feeding tubes also and let them die? It is murder to cut off a persons food and water purposly.