Monday, March 21, 2005

The Terri Schiavo debate...

How many people have major heart attacks every week?

How many of those people suffer major brain damage as a result of the heart attack?

Of those, how many die without the benefit of TECHNOLOGICAL (OR MEDICAL) intervention?

I submit that Terri Schiavo is not a unique case. I submit that cases such as hers occur on a regular basis right across America.

So, if the life of this one person is so incredibly important that the government of the US interrupts all other business to ensure that she is kept alive...


Ah, there is the difference.



Aleksu said...

Not too long ago my nephew had the guts to decline a procedure that would have kept his mother "alive".

He would not do something as terrible as that to his own mother, so, he refused it and she died peacefully.

I hate to see my taxes wasted on a pissing contest between the parents and the husband of that poor woman, and how selfish people can be to condemn her to the hell she is in just because the ones keeping her alive think that they are doing the right thing.

TAotB said...

A link you might find interesting about this case.

First paragraph:

Virtually every single day across this country decisions are made to discontinue extraordinary medical intervention and people are allowed to proceed with the process of dying. In some cases feeding tubes are removed. More often ventilators are turned off. In one case a person starves to death, in another they are suffocated. It happens every day ... but you don't hear politicians screaming about murder. And why? Because those cases don't generate the media heat that this one has.

Dave Justus said...

The unique thing about this case is not money, the Schiavo's are not rich and neither are her parents.

In most cases the family agrees on whether to continue this sort of treatment or not, so there isn't a court case. In addition, from what I can tell, Terri Schiavo is about as close to the moral line as you can get, she is probably a vegatable, but a fairly reactive one. That makes it tough.

So combine a very tough moral decision with a husband and parents who totally disagree and are willing to litigate it and you have the Schiavo case.

The probligo said...

TAOTB, I dispute not but I do say that in many instances and probably the majority the decision is as much as anything economic. Thanks for the Boortz...

This really is the crux -

"From this day on your right to die, your right to instruct your loved ones to not take extraordinary measures to keep you alive if disaster strikes, is a federal matter, not a state one."

How on earth did the government ever get involved? Because of the conflict between pro-life and pro-abortion lobby groups? Yeah, right!

If this was happening in NZ, I would be mightily upset if the government of the day did anything more than pat the family on the shoulder, express their sympathy and then tell them to go home and sort themselves out.

There has been a parallel debate here - the debate on euthanasia. That was centred on a daughter and the much publicised (the successful prosecution of an attempted manslaughter charge was based entirely on her book) death of her mother. That was another sad case; no question.

It resulted in privately sponsored legislation being introduced to parliament - but the proposed law was general on the matter of euthanasia not specific to the case at hand. THAT, to me is the right way to handle law change. OBTW it failed; it was put through the first stage and then dropped.

Also noted from the Boortz -

"Now, however, you will see more and more newspapers and websites, especially those who are sympathetic with the anti-abortion movement, use the name Terri Schindler Schiavo. She has never been known as Terri Schindler Schiavo .. never. But now that's the name some news outlets are using. Why? To give added legitimacy to her parents in this controversy."

Ahhh the scent of opinion engineering propaganda in the morning...

Mystic Knight said...


Let's get one thing clear. Terri is NOT being kept alive through "extraordinary medical intervention". If she were, I would be in complete agreement with you.

She can swallow food on her own and interact with her parents, but her husband has forbbin anything that could possibly help this woman even though he was awarded a slew of money for her rehabilitation.

There are many handicapped people in a similar condition and their families take care fo them daily. At what level of being handicapped to we start killing people because they are too much work to assist?

Terri's husband does not have her interest at heart, he has his own interests with his new woman, two kids, and all the money from the settlement.

Why has the government got involved? Because this is not a normal case, this case smells of a rutheless husband and a questionable judge.

If this was merely removing life support that's one thing, but in my view this is a conspiracy to commit murder and I don't understand why some people don't see that.

In baseball, a tie goes to the runner. In the case of someones life, shouldn't we be equally as accomodating?

The probligo said...

"She can swallow food on her own..."

To the best of my knowledge - WRONG. What do you think a "feeding tube" might be? It has a funnel at one end, the other is in the stomach. You pour food and water down it.

It was the "feeding tube" that was removed.

If it were any other form of "life support" then she would in all probability be dead a matter of hours if not minutes after "the machines were turned off". That did not happen proving that MOTOR functions at least are still working.

The rest is as far as I am concerned totally speculative.

She squeezed her mother's hand? How do we know what that meant? It could be "help me live". It could be "let me die". WE DO NOT KNOW and that is central to the whole matter.

This, however, is far closer to the truth...

""I hope we’re not turning this human tragedy into a political issue," John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona, said yesterday. Some hope. For conservative Republicans, the case is a perfect opportunity to advance their cause, extending the pro-life argument into new terrain, and placing the Democrats squarely on the back foot.

Indeed, said the Washington Post, Republican strategists have circulated a memo among senators arguing that the Schiavo case offers "a great political issue" that could galvanise Christian conservatives before the 2006 mid-term elections.

The memo explicitly noted that Florida Democrat Bill Nelson, whose seat Republicans have targeted next year, refused to sponsor this weekend’s emergency legislation.

For Democrats, agreeing to a limited bill to save Schiavo gives the party a chance to correct the public impression, that cost it dear in the election, that it is too liberal and out of touch with ordinary America.

Individual ambitions are also at play. The campaign to save Schiavo is being led in the House by Tom DeLay, a Republican embroiled in a fundraising scandal in Texas and alleged lobbying irregularities in Washington. For DeLay this is a precious opportunity to change the subject - and perhaps save his job. And the two Republicans leading the fight in the Senate - Bill Frist and Rick Sanatorium - are mulling presidential runs in 2008. "

THAT is only one of the reasons why the political involvement is WRONG.

As I said to Davejustus -

"The biggest pity, the biggest shame, the biggest concern; that Terri Schiavo has become the subject of public opinion and political "interest".

Neither of these should EVER, in my opinion, weigh on the rights of the individual.


Mystic Knight said...

"To the best of my knowledge - WRONG. What do you think a "feeding tube" might be? It has a funnel at one end, the other is in the stomach. You pour food and water down it."

Your knowledge then is not very deep in this case.

She certainly can swallow on her own, but the staff has been ordered by her husband to not allow anyone to feed her in this manner, so she was being kept alive through the feeding tube.

The feeding tube is maintaining her nutrition at this point (or was I should say), but it was not required. The only thing keeping her on the feeding tube instead of food through her mouth was her loving husband. A real nice guy.

The probligo said...


Seeing you know so much, perhaps you can tell the rest of us -

How many cases have been taken by the Schindlers to "save" their daughter's life?

How many years has the dispute between them and Schiavo been going?

How many times have the Schindlers succeeded in their legal actions?

The probligo said...

Oh, and while you are on the line, MK, who do you think should pay for her maintenance if the Schindlers were to be successful? The husband?

How long should then be allowed for the "miracle" that the Schindlers tell us "will come"?

Come now, you believe you have the moral victory. You tell us how this whole matter should be handled going forward assuming that T Schiavo's life is "preserved". Remind us again of the quality of life that she will have while your God makes up his mind that a miracle is justified. It is very easy to make judgement, finding the equitable solution is the hard part.

Come, tell us all how this whole matter should shape up...