Monday, March 21, 2005
My take on Schiavo
- Michael Schiavo, although under law Terri's next-of-kin, and therefore responsible for medical decisions, has gone on with his life to the extent of moving in with another woman and having children by that woman. In my estimation, this tarnishes his status as her husband to the degree that he should have no say whatsoever in her fate.
- Terri Schiavo, although drastically incapacitated, seems to respond to some stimuli. Barring extensive and current tests, nobody can determine beyond a reasonable doubt whether she is having any true cognitive function, or whether her responses are simply reflex-loop based. Those tests have been blocked by her husband.
- All rehabilitative efforts, even the brushing of Terri's teeth, were blocked by Michael after the court awarded the Schiavos a large sum of money to cover the costs associated with rehabilitation.
- To date, there has not been even one explanation why Michael won't simply divorce Terri, go on with his own life, and allow Terri's parents and siblings to assume the role of primary caregiver. Many folks on many blogs have been viciously attacked for suggesting that Michael's motives involve money, but I haven't seen even one alternate motive. One could possibly make the argument that since the couple is Catholic, the Church wouldn't recognize his divorce, and therefore he couldn't move on his intentions to marry his fiance until Terri was dead anyway--but I'm sure the Church's position on adultery wouldn't be a whole lot more lenient.
- I have profound doubts that anyone in the world, no matter how much they wouldn't want to live in Terri's condition, would want an estranged spouse to hold such power over their personal affairs. Consider a couple who has been separated for years, but not divorced, and the outrage at the spouse's insistance that he or she retains such rights.
- There is a distinct difference in "allowing a person to die" who is on life support, and withholding nutrition and hydration from a living being whose only dependence upon any machinery is for that nutrition and hydration.
- Judge Greer seems to have a clear bias towards protecting Michael's "rights" over Terri's. He has exhibited this not only in his rulings directly involving withdrawing Terri's feeding tube, but also in a ruling that allowed Michael to use the medical trust fund originally earmarked for Terri's rehabilitation to cover his own legal fees and expenses. To date, Michael's primary attorney alone has received more than $400,000 of that money.
There is absolutely no way that I would condone someone being kept on life support against their own or against their family's wishes. That decision, made daily by families all over the nation, is difficult at best, gut-wrenching at worst, especially when there is significant disagreement upon the best action. What I see in the Schiavo case, however, is not an emotional, illogical hope by Terri's family, but rather a desire to see whether anything can be done to help their daughter and sister. I have a huge problem with any postion that contends that her husband is her "family," because of his actions in abandoning Terri. Until there are more tests, we simply cannot know what level of functionality, if any, Terri can attain. Until there is more time to study her body and brain, we cannot know what state she is truly in. I think the designation of "permanent (or persistent--I've heard both) vegetative state" is an attempt to make more people eligible for euthanasia. I also have very deep personal convictions that insist that to cause death, whether by comissive or omissive action, is morally wrong, outside the realm of capital punishment (that's another debate entirely).
Please, search your heart. Look closely at the unbiased, established facts (not hearsay). Go through the events of Terri's illness, from the mysterious collapse at her home through all the legal wrangling, to today. Ask yourself whether Michael is truly acting in Terri's best interests. Perhaps most importantly, ask yourself not whether you would wish to live in Terri's condition, but whether you would consent to an estranged spouse making the decision of life or death on your behalf.
I agree with you 100%about Terri's so called HUSBAND!I also think he has a motive for wanting her dead.Has anyone checked out his backgound for abuse prior to this?
Of course this is all a moot point--he's found a way to "off" her legally. I did find it an interesting development from a legal perspective when Greer refused to review the case, even with testimony that Terri tried to speak when her tube was removed. An eyewitness to a crime that disputed a guilty verdict surfacing, even years later, would be cause for a court review of a criminal case. Also notable over the weekend is the fact that she is now being given morphine. If she is so horribly brain damaged to not feel anything, why the pain-management therapy?
Truly one of the saddest cases of judicial incompetence I've ever seen.