Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's finally over...

The short life of Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo is, mercifully, over. Now that's what left of her body has ceased to function, the autopsy can be done, and the facts from that can be thrown in the face of the New Taliban, that group of crazies who acted as if Michael Schiavo had murdered a fully functioning human being.

Here are the facts, folks. Terri Schiavo had weight problems for most of her life; I can sympathize, as I am not tiny, as those who know me are certainly aware. Sadly, this turned into an eating disorder, which her parents denied. The reason she was in the condition she was in was that she suffered a massive cardiac arrest resulting from her bulimia. The dramatic loss of oxygen to her brain during that arrest created dramatic, and irreversible, brain damage.

Terri Schiavo hasn't been Terri Schiavo since 1990, folks. Yet, for the next 8 years, Michael Schiavo did everything possible to attempt to help his wife recover; however, as CAT scans began to show, that was not possible. At that point, he decided that the feeding ube should be removed.

Point of medicine here, folks: someone in a persistent vegetative state, as she was, does not have the cognition to recognize pain and suffering. Yes, her feeding tube was removed, no, she did NOT suffer as her body shut down. She dehydrated to death, but she felt nothing, as her cerebral cortex had already liquefied.

While I am sorry for all involved, I have less sympathy for her parents than I normally would; they have used the media (while being used by the New Taliban) to the point where they seem to have forgotten that this is about their daughter, and not them. That may seem harsh, but they have KNOWN about what the neurologists have been saying about this case for YEARS,a nd the CAT scans have confirmed the diagnosis.

I suspect that, while they are understandably in despair about the death of their daughter, their anger that Michael Schiavo has found someone else (remember, he has for all intents and purposes been alone since 1990) and had children has also affected their feelings. We are all human beings, and from a public relations standpoint I sure as hell wouldn't have advised it, but I'm not in his shoes.

The fact that the Mainstream Media has, as usual, shown its' right-wing bias by allowing incorrect facts to get out (check out this Media Matters report from Joe Scarborough's MSNBC craptastic show) and attempted to confuse the issue.

The majority of Americans thought that what DeLay and the Brothers Bush did was WRONG. Trust me, they will pay in 2006, if the DCCC and the DSCC show courage enough to throw this in their faces.

Maybe I shouldn't hold my breath.


Anonymous said...

well, don't hold your breath! this was no simple 'right to die case'. had terri schiavo left a living will indicating her wishes in a case such as this there would be no issue; she did not. it doesn't take a religious fanatic to be alarmed about a handicapped woman being starved to death under questionable circumstances by a husband with an apparent conflict of interest, and a conveniently changing story.
Had George Bush wanted to starve his handicapped wife to death my guess is that there would have been a lot more outrage and the moral issues here would have been clearer to the morally obtuse.
While suing doctors for malpractice in 1992 Michael Schiavo didn't say anything about Terri Schaivo wanting to be euthanized; instead he sued for $20 million and the opportunity to take care of his wife at home for the rest of his life. Per Michael Schiavo, "I feel wonderful. She's my life and I wouldn't trade her for the world. . .I believe in my wedding vows. ... I believe in the vows I took with my wife, through sickness, in health, for richer or poor. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that." This all changed once the lawsuit money entered into the picture when - seven years after the fact - Michael Schiavo suddenly "remembered" that Terri Schiavo wouldn't want to live in her condition. The only people who remembered her wishes - practically 7 years after the fact, and after winning a lawsuit, and after michael schiavo's involvement with another woman - were michael schiavo, his brother and shiavo's sister in law.
It was stated that, ". .. for the next 8 years, Michael Schiavo did everything possible to attempt to help his wife recover; however, as CAT scans began to show, that was not possible. At that point, he decided that the feeding ube should be removed." well, many doctors are on record stating that to truly make this determination you would need MRI and PET scans, both of which Michael Schiavo refused to permit, just like he would not permit her to receive any physical therapy since the early 1990's.
It was stated: "Yes, her feeding tube was removed, no, she did NOT suffer as her body shut down. She dehydrated to death, but she felt nothing, as her cerebral cortex had already liquefied." We better wait on the autopsy to see whether or not her brain has liquified because, again, this is a matter of contention with some doctors stating that you would need MRI and PET scans to definitively make this determination. As for it being a peaceful death, that's also questionable. As Thomas Sowell has noted, "She is not dying a natural death. She is being killed. . .The nature of death by starvation and dehydration is also being depicted as "gentle" in the words of the New York Times -- the same New York Times which in 2002 reported starving people in India dying "clutching pained stomachs." Also, if she "felt nothing" why were they giving her morphine?
This isn't even a partisan issue in that Democrats like Tom Harkin and Jesse Jackson also found this case alarming. This isn't a "partisan" issue per se in that Judge George Greer is a Republican. Of the three judges on the 11th circuit court of appeals (that ultimately rejected hearing the case) two that refused to see the case were democrat and republican appointees; the one judge who disagreed with them was appointed by President Bill Clinton. . .is he also part of the "Taliban" in America? Is Ralph Nader - who stated that a "profound injustice is being inflicted on Terri Schiavo. . .Terri swallows her own saliva...Spoon-feeding is not medical treatment. This outrageous order proves that the courts are not merely permitting medical treatment to be withheld, it has ordered her to be made dead. . .Benefits of doubts should be given to life, not hastened death. This case is rife with doubt. Justice demands that Terri be permitted to live" - part of the "New Taliban"?
Nader hit the nail on the head when he stated that "this case is rife with doubt".
Rather than siding with the vulnerable and handicapped who can't speak for themselves, many (the most vocal being from the left) have sided with the healthy husband who wants to be free of the burden of his disabled wife. Much of the money Michael Schiavo won in his medical malpratice lawsuit (back when he claimed that he wanted to help Terri Schiavo) has gone to George Felos, his attorney. Wesley Smith, a writer for National Review put it succinctly when he observed, "I find it bitterly ironic that the bulk of the money a medical-malpractice jury awarded to Terri for use in making her better instead went into Mr. Felos's pocket to make her dead."
Where does it end?
Dutch Gov't Considers Euthanasia Questions, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government, the first to legalize euthanasia for some terminally ill people, will tackle an even thornier ethical dilemma: what to do when doctors say it is best to end the lives of infants, the mentally handicapped or the demented. Euthanasia opponents view the idea with horror, but The Royal Dutch Medical Association believes guidelines and a panel of experts should be created to vet such cases.
In October 1939 Adolf Hitler empowered physicians to grant a "mercy death" to "patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment of their state of health." Naturally this resulted in the executions of the mentally ill and the handicapped, which was to pave the way for the "master race." Between January 1940 thru August 1941 over 70,000 people were exterminated at six "euthenasia" centers. It's ironic that leftists who are quick to call the president a "nazi" are totally unable to see that their support for the starvation of terri schiavo is far closer to the practices of the nazi party than anything george bush has done. Now the precedent has been set that the handicapped can be starved to death whether or not they leave any written authorization or clear indication that this was their wish. The courts used to also hold that african americans were 3/5ths human, and that slavery was just fine so it isn't apparent to me that what the courts say is always right. It strikes me as odd that progressives who have claimed that "states rights" were a code word for racism are now all behind "states rights" (just like robert "KKK" byrd, i guess). It's interesting that the left was all for federal intervention in the case of Elian Gonzalez yet not in the case of Terri Schiavo. The notion that the federal government doesn't get involved in "states rights" issues is silly at best; didn't they pass the 14th amendment to protect citizens from unconstitutional treatment by state governments?
does the federal government ever get involved in "states rights" issues? Article XII of the Bill of Rights states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." since commodes aren't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, would this be a state or federal matter? Anyone who has advocated bussing shouldn't use the argument that the federal government shouldn't get involved in a "states rights" issue.
Toilet Tips & Tech"
The toilets, they are a-changing. In 1992, the federal government declared that every residential toilet made or sold in this country had to use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush.
to follow the argument by those "appalled" at the President and Congress getting involved in the Terri Schiavio case the fact is that the federal government gets involved in a lot of state issues. I find it baffling that no one complains when they mandate how much water we can have in our commodes but trying to intervene on behalf of a handicapped woman being starved to death is just too much for some people.
where does it end? With looming Medicare and Social Security solvency problems when does the right to die become the "duty to die"? What if the federal government starts rationing out health care because the sysyem is going broke? Is that when people start deciding who is fit to receive medical treatment and who is not fit to receive it based on the courts definition of the patients 'quality of life'?
It's a shame that the people who tried to simply get the courts to take a closer look at the facts in this disturbing case are considered the "New Taliban" while the people who were for starving a handicapped woman to death on the basis of hearsay from questionable sources somehow feel "morally superior".
Imagine if someone was put on death row with only the only evidence being the testimony of three people and no other physical evidence. I guess many would be up in arms, calling it an injustice.

Anonymous said...

the "media matters" link takes us to a blog with the headline - "Neurologist Cranford confronted Scarborough, MSNBC daytime anchor: "[Y]ou're asking me if a CAT scan was done? How could you possibly be so stupid?"

what was left out of this "media matters" article is the fact that dr. cranford has endorsed euthenasia for Alzheimers patients.

you'd think that readers would need that salient bit of information in order to weigh what he says against a possible agenda that was glossed over by "media matters" in the article linked to this blog.

per the pro-euthenasia doctor, who also spoke at a meeting of the pro-euthenasia hemlock society, "The United States has thousands or tens of thousands of patients in vegetative states; nobody knows for sure exactly how many. . .But before long, this country will have several million patients with Alzheimer's dementia. The challenges and costs of maintaining vegetative state patients will pale in comparison to the problems presented by Alzheimer's disease."

with upcoming solvency problems in both medicade and social security, one has to wonder where this will lead.

per the medical expert michael schiavo brought in to evaluate his wife, "It's hard to understand why. If we want our loved ones to live and die in dignity, we ought to think twice before suspending them in the last stage of irreversible dementia. At it is, it seems that we're not thinking at all."

when does the health care rationing begin? this man wants to put people suffering from alzheimers to death. this would have been an important point to note but "media matters" apparently didn't think this was pertinent information for their readers to know.

now, in all fairness, terri schiavo couldn't get an mri due to metal objects in her head that would have screwed with the magnet itself so a CAT scan may be all that could have been performed.

nevertheless, a potentially handicapped woman was starved to death based on the recollections of 3 people with a possible conflict of interest who hired 'experts" with a pro-death agenda.

for all the complaints about the presidnt being "like hitler" it turns out that the only people truly embracing actual, literal nazi ideals are those in the pro-euthenasia movement and that's sad in that it muddies the waters.

had terri schiavo left a living will, this would not have been a controversy. she didn't and she was starved to death in a barabaric example of "compassion".

that's not to say that there can't be people of good conscious on both sides of this issue. across america people are released from pain everyday under heartbreaking circumstances. this is not a new issue. usually there isn't a lot of contentious argument among the family members though.

a good case could be made for stating that the congress and the president - in passing legislation to try and get the courts to slow down and take a fresh look at this case - passed law that affected a lot of people other than terri schiavo.

as nader said "This case is rife with doubt." until we get the autopsy results, we won't really know the full story.

Richmond said...

Is Terry Schiavo's case, as the Federal "law" passed on behalf of her parents stipulated, to be viewed individually and without the force of establishing a precedent? Or rather, as seems the case for those who have posted thus far, does this case become a metaphor and inevitably, a fund-rasing tool for the most crass elements of our political and religious institutions? If the new law's sole intent was to give the Schindlers access to the Federal Courts, then it can't logically be used as a vehicle for other instances as, for example, Tom Delay's father some years ago when the "God has given us Terry Schiavo" Congressman decided aagaint artificially prolonging his life? Can't have it both ways folks--

LeftWingCracker said...

First, Michael Schiavo allowed CAT scans to be done, which are far better for diagnosis and determining extent of damage than MRI or PET scans.

By any chance are you with NOT DEAD YET? That might explain some of your arguments, which are not based in fact.

if you want to get worked up, ask the Prez about Sun Hudson, whose life support was not cut off by the family, but by THE HOSPITAL because the family had run out of insurance money.

They could do that in Texas because of a bill that W signed while governor.

Terri Schiavo has been brain-dead since 1990. Face it, let it go and move on with your life.

Anonymous said...

you guys are so silly. we really won't know her condition until the autopsy; i hope you're right so that her starvation wasn't a horrendous ordeal.

the bottom line here is that a brain damaged, handicapped woman who was not terminally ill and who was not in a coma, and whose parents wanted to take care of her was starved to death by a husband who became involved with another woman shortly after he had won a lawsuit for a lot of money which he claimed he was going to use to take care of his wife, terri schiavo. He sued, stating that he needed to money to take care of his wife for the rest of her life; it wasn't until after he won the lawsuit that he, his brother and sister-in-law remembered that she wouldn't want to live in her condition. While these claims may be legitimate, please put your thinking caps on and imagine your reaction had george w. bush done the same thing.

to top it off, michael schiavo hired an expert witness who has essentially advocated euthanizing alzheimers patients when he stated, ""The United States has thousands or tens of thousands of patients in vegetative states; nobody knows for sure exactly how many. . .But before long, this country will have several million patients with Alzheimer's dementia. The challenges and costs of maintaining vegetative state patients will pale in comparison to the problems presented by Alzheimer's disease." and "It's hard to understand why. If we want our loved ones to live and die in dignity, we ought to think twice before suspending them in the last stage of irreversible dementia. At it is, it seems that we're not thinking at all." For a medical expert to testify on his wifes condition, mr. schiavo hired a pro-euthanazia man who has spoken to the hemlock society and who has a pro-death agenda.

In a case where there are unusual circumstances and someones life hangs in the balance, it would be nice if the courts were to err on the side of life while reviewing the particulars. most people on both sides of this issue probably have the best of intentions. As noted in a recent zogby poll "One side "believes Terri's life has worth and purpose, and the side who saw Michael Schiavo's actions as merciful, and appropriate". It's interesting how someone who doesn't consider michael schaivo's actions somewhat questionable sees this event as a "fund raising tool" for crass political elements in a case of selective suspicion.

as for tom delay, wasn't charles delay in a coma, and also on a respirator? that's a big difference when terri schaivo's 'life support' consisted of food and water. turn off a respirator and nature takes its course; withhold food and water from any human and they will die; she didn't starve to death, she was starved to death. the same holds true for the sad case of sun hudson who would always be on a repirator. . .for life.

as for the desire for this to backfire on whoever was in favor of erring on the side of life -

Zogby Poll: Americans Not in Favor of Starving Terri Schiavo
Polls leading up to the death of Terri Schiavo made it appear Americans had formed a consensus in favor of ending her life. However, a new Zogby poll with fairer questions shows the nation clearly supporting Terri and her parents and wanting to protect the lives of other disabled patients. . ."If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water," the poll asked. A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.

people both liberal and conservative had concerns over this case; it should not have been a partisan issue. anway, thank you for your observations!

Anonymous said...

Terri Schiavo's remains cremated

"The Schindlers had sought to have independent medical experts observe their daughter’s autopsy Friday at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s office, but the agency refused their request. . ."

given the controversial nature of this case an indepedently observed autopsy would have gone a long way to put this whole matter to rest. . .but that was apparently not to be.

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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

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