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  • Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)


    As is often the case, "JWB <[email protected]>"
    gets right to the heart of the question in few words. (I hope that
    positive beginning of this article isn't undone by the fact that I
    disagree with him. 8-)

    Here are three separate remarks form him which I believe get to the
    points at issue:
    But in this case, the wishes of the person are not known. In that instance, someone (like parents) have the right to say "hey, she should live"
    [H]ow about your child's spouse making that decision for your child (when you believe, like this girl's parents do, that there *is* some hope)
    Somehow, I doubt you parents would think this if actually faced with some scumbag wanting to pull the plug on *your* child, when you fully believe there is hope.

    I come to this with several points of perspective that may be of
    interest to those reading, one of which is directly on the question of
    families in hospitals with dead relatives.

    My late grandmother was an intensive care nurse at the time when EKG
    machines were becoming widespread. These early machines were a real
    advance, though of course nothing like the equipment available now. As
    I remember her describing it, the screen that showed your heartbeat was
    several inches around, and an actual heartbeat made a spike about 2.5
    inches high. But if you just turned the machine on, and left the
    electrodes laying in an empty bed, it wouldn't give a flat line. There
    would be little ripples and bumps in the display. Maybe it was people
    turning on the power in another part of the building, or walking past
    the flourescent lights in the same room, or some other such thing.
    Whatever the cause, an EKG machine that was hooked up to nothing would
    have little spikes and ripples on it. These artifacts were nothing like
    an actual cardiac rhythm, and the staff got used to seeing them when the
    machines were being cleaned and tested and so on.

    They *also* got used to them when the machine was hooked up to a dead
    person. If you were on the EKG, and you died, the same little wavers
    would show up on the display. And they had a rule, after some
    experience, that if someone died, *before* you let the family members
    into the room, you have to turn off the machines. Otherwise, someone
    would come running out into the hall, crying in desperation for a
    doctor: "The line moved! He's still alive!" It didn't matter if the
    patient hadn't had a pulse for half an hour, had lost a gallon of blood,
    and was in rigor mortis. The nurses would try to explain that those
    little spikes didn't mean anything, to no avail. So the rule: if the
    patient is certified as dead, you turn off the machines.

    When a loved one dies, the family members irrationally cling to any
    possible hint of life. A dead, cold body right in front of them is
    not evidence enough to make them ignore random static on a screen.

    *

    The second is something I mentioned earlier, about Koko the gorilla.
    "Denise noe <[email protected]>" had this in her signature:
    Koko the Signing Gorilla says: "Fine animal gorilla."
    and I replied that I see no reason to believe that Koko says anything.
    Even viewed sympathetically, the supposed "conversations" she has are
    more "seeing what you want to see" than language use:

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/030328.html

    I went to far as to compare it to the disaster over "facilitated
    communication", when a bunch of people ignored all evidence and facts
    and their own training. Instead, they saw what they wanted to see:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...info/1202.html

    The full transcript of the program is here:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...ipts/1202.html

    I'm not a medical expert, and don't pretend to play one here. I did go
    look at some of the movies on the "terrisfight" website. But so far as
    I can tell, people looking at those movies can see what they want. Is
    Mrs Schiavo looking at a shiny balloon proof she's conscious? Or is it
    just an orienting reflex? I don't pretend to know. If she was playing
    chess, or something, that would obviously settle it. But it disturbs me
    a lot that the clips on the website are no *better* than Koko's supposed
    conversations, or the facilitated communication examples. Many people
    taken in by FC were highly-trained experts, many with earned graduate
    degrees in the field, and familiar with principles of double-blind
    studies and scientific method. And still, they saw what they wanted to
    see. No family member, and noone strongly committed to anti-euthanasia,
    can even hope to be more objective than the experts who were so totally
    self-deceived about FC. But do you hear them speaking with the
    awareness that their own rationality may be in question? No: they admit
    no doubt at all.

    *

    For a while, I worked in a hospital, helping run and program positron
    emission tomography machines. (No matter what you saw on Star Trek,
    antimatter isn't that dangerous as long as you only have a tiny little
    bit of it.)

    Modern hospitals go through money like you wouldn't believe, and I do
    not mean that they waste it. Every needle is used once and discarded.
    Same with rubber gloves. Biological waste has to be carefully monitored
    and destroyed. Nuclear waste has to be carefully monitored, tracked,
    stored, and handled. Combination waste (blood from a patient injected
    with a radioisotope) can't be entered into either waste stream; the
    biological material has to be neutralized first. The PET scanner I was
    responsible for used immense amounts of electricity, and required a
    full-time employee (an engineer at a high pay grade) to ensure it was
    adjusted and operating properly.

    The thought that somebody would expend such huge amounts of money on me,
    for over 10 years, when I'm in a persistent vegetative state, makes me
    sick. Spend that money on some kid who doesn't have health insurance,
    someone who is actually alive and aware and functional. Yes, my life
    has value -- but it doesn't have *infinite* value even when I'm healthy
    and aware. It's value against other lives, when there's good reason to
    believe that I'm brain dead, is much much lower.

    *

    And yes, I suspect that if it were my child, I would probably no more
    rational on this point than anyone else. I would be flipping out, no
    question about it.

    Imperfect though they may be, we have courts to decide these things when
    family members can't agree. So far as I know, every court which has
    heard this case has concluded that (a) Terri Schiavo is dead in all but
    body, and (b) the feeding tube should be removed. This was appealed up
    to the Florida Supreme Court, which upheld the original decision. In
    the end, the Florida legislature passed a special law giving the
    governor special powers to override the court's decision.

    Quoting from a court decision I found on the family website:

    From our review of the videotapes of Mrs. Schiavo, despite the
    irrefutable evidence that her cerebral cortex has sustained the
    most severe of irreparable injuries, we understand why a parent
    who had raised and nurtured a child from conception would hold
    out hope that some level of cognitive function remained. If
    Mrs. Schiavo were our own daughter, we could not but hold to
    such a faith.

    [...] It is the trial judge's duty not to make the decision
    that the judge would make for himself or herself or for a loved
    one. Instead, the trial judge must make a decision that the
    clear and convincing evidence shows the ward would have made for
    herself. It is a thankless task, and one to be undertaken with
    care, objectivity, and a cautious legal standard designed to
    promote the value of life.

    whereupon it was ordered that the feeding tube should be removed.


    This is not "He want to turn it off, and we didn't get a say". They
    went to court, they made their case, and they lost. They said "Hey,
    she should live", and the response was "She's already dead."

    They appealed, and they appealed again. So far as I can make out, at
    every point in the progression, the courts came back to the same
    decision: she is already dead, and it serves nothing to keep her body
    alive.

    Yes, it's horrible. It would be great if the court could order someone
    to heal her and make everything good again. But they can't.

    Maybe it's the wrong decision. But the wrong decision gets made all the
    time in courts, and people get the death penalty for crimes they did not
    commit. But we don't have any perfect way to make these decisions, so
    it's not clear what to do instead. Perhaps courts aren't the right way
    to solve these problems, but no sensible alternative has been suggested
    to me.


    Is Terri Schiavo still in there? Or is she long since dead in every
    way that matters?

    I don't know. I don't even know how to find out.

    But I do know that we have to make SOME decision, and we need some
    guidelines for making it. So far as I can tell, those guidelines have
    been followed in this case, and the decision has been to stop the
    feedings. Nobody that I know of has said that this is a good thing.


    Darren Provine ! [email protected] ! http://www.rowan.edu/~kilroy
    "Of all men's miseries the bitterest is this, to know so much and to
    have control over nothing." -- Herodotus

  • #2
    Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)

    "Dr Nancy's Sweetie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    As is often the case, "JWB <[email protected]>" gets right to the heart of the question in few words. (I hope that positive beginning of this article isn't undone by the fact that I disagree with him. 8-)
    heh heh.
    Here are three separate remarks form him which I believe get to the points at issue:
    But in this case, the wishes of the person are not known. In that instance, someone (like parents) have the right to say "hey, she should live" [H]ow about your child's spouse making that decision for your child (when you believe, like this girl's parents do, that there *is* some hope) Somehow, I doubt you parents would think this if actually faced with some scumbag wanting to pull the plug on *your* child, when you fully believe there is hope.
    I come to this with several points of perspective that may be of interest to those reading, one of which is directly on the question of families in hospitals with dead relatives. My late grandmother was an intensive care nurse at the time when EKG machines were becoming widespread. These early machines were a real advance, though of course nothing like the equipment available now. As I remember her describing it, the screen that showed your heartbeat was several inches around, and an actual heartbeat made a spike about 2.5 inches high. But if you just turned the machine on, and left the electrodes laying in an empty bed, it wouldn't give a flat line. There would be little ripples and bumps in the display. Maybe it was people turning on the power in another part of the building, or walking past the flourescent lights in the same room, or some other such thing. Whatever the cause, an EKG machine that was hooked up to nothing would have little spikes and ripples on it. These artifacts were nothing like an actual cardiac rhythm, and the staff got used to seeing them when the machines were being cleaned and tested and so on. They *also* got used to them when the machine was hooked up to a dead person. If you were on the EKG, and you died, the same little wavers would show up on the display. And they had a rule, after some experience, that if someone died, *before* you let the family members into the room, you have to turn off the machines. Otherwise, someone would come running out into the hall, crying in desperation for a doctor: "The line moved! He's still alive!" It didn't matter if the patient hadn't had a pulse for half an hour, had lost a gallon of blood, and was in rigor mortis. The nurses would try to explain that those little spikes didn't mean anything, to no avail. So the rule: if the patient is certified as dead, you turn off the machines. When a loved one dies, the family members irrationally cling to any possible hint of life. A dead, cold body right in front of them is not evidence enough to make them ignore random static on a screen.
    Yea, and the more I think about this, the more I see this as a major factor.
    If I'm anything, I try to be rational.


    Comment


    • #3
      Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)

      "Dr Nancy's Sweetie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
      news:[email protected]
      As is often the case, "JWB <[email protected]>" gets right to the heart of the question in few words. (I hope that positive beginning of this article isn't undone by the fact that I disagree with him. 8-)
      heh heh.
      Here are three separate remarks form him which I believe get to the points at issue:
      But in this case, the wishes of the person are not known. In that instance, someone (like parents) have the right to say "hey, she should live" [H]ow about your child's spouse making that decision for your child (when you believe, like this girl's parents do, that there *is* some hope) Somehow, I doubt you parents would think this if actually faced with some scumbag wanting to pull the plug on *your* child, when you fully believe there is hope.
      I come to this with several points of perspective that may be of interest to those reading, one of which is directly on the question of families in hospitals with dead relatives. My late grandmother was an intensive care nurse at the time when EKG machines were becoming widespread. These early machines were a real advance, though of course nothing like the equipment available now. As I remember her describing it, the screen that showed your heartbeat was several inches around, and an actual heartbeat made a spike about 2.5 inches high. But if you just turned the machine on, and left the electrodes laying in an empty bed, it wouldn't give a flat line. There would be little ripples and bumps in the display. Maybe it was people turning on the power in another part of the building, or walking past the flourescent lights in the same room, or some other such thing. Whatever the cause, an EKG machine that was hooked up to nothing would have little spikes and ripples on it. These artifacts were nothing like an actual cardiac rhythm, and the staff got used to seeing them when the machines were being cleaned and tested and so on. They *also* got used to them when the machine was hooked up to a dead person. If you were on the EKG, and you died, the same little wavers would show up on the display. And they had a rule, after some experience, that if someone died, *before* you let the family members into the room, you have to turn off the machines. Otherwise, someone would come running out into the hall, crying in desperation for a doctor: "The line moved! He's still alive!" It didn't matter if the patient hadn't had a pulse for half an hour, had lost a gallon of blood, and was in rigor mortis. The nurses would try to explain that those little spikes didn't mean anything, to no avail. So the rule: if the patient is certified as dead, you turn off the machines. When a loved one dies, the family members irrationally cling to any possible hint of life. A dead, cold body right in front of them is not evidence enough to make them ignore random static on a screen.
      Yea, and the more I think about this, the more I see this as a major factor.
      If I'm anything, I try to be rational.


      Comment


      • #4
        Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)

        On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 20:54:49 +0000 (UTC), Dr Nancy's Sweetie
        <[email protected]> wrote:

        <Snip>
        This is not "He want to turn it off, and we didn't get a say". They went to court, they made their case, and they lost. They said "Hey, she should live", and the response was "She's already dead." They appealed, and they appealed again. So far as I can make out, at every point in the progression, the courts came back to the same decision: she is already dead, and it serves nothing to keep her body alive. Yes, it's horrible. It would be great if the court could order someone to heal her and make everything good again. But they can't. Maybe it's the wrong decision. But the wrong decision gets made all the time in courts, and people get the death penalty for crimes they did not commit. But we don't have any perfect way to make these decisions, so it's not clear what to do instead. Perhaps courts aren't the right way to solve these problems, but no sensible alternative has been suggested to me.
        Doctors are not God. Judges are not God. And in the case of the Florida
        Legislator and the Governor, a law was passed to keep her alive. It was
        passed in days, and that should count as a miracle in itself.

        The people have spoken. Why are lawsuits still going on?

        I can ask you the same thing. If the people have spoken (and that is how
        we decide laws in this country) why is Terri's "husband" still fighting?

        He should just give it up. The half a mil he spent on lawyers trying to
        execute his wife could have been better spent other ways (like keeping her
        alive and giving her her required therapy).

        -Tony

        --
        "If the grass appears to be greener on the other side of the fence, it's time
        to fertilize your lawn!"
        Want to jump start your marriage? Consider a Marriage Encounter weekend.
        Check out http://www.wwme.org for more information.

        Comment


        • #5
          Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)

          On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 20:54:49 +0000 (UTC), Dr Nancy's Sweetie
          <[email protected]> wrote:

          <Snip>
          This is not "He want to turn it off, and we didn't get a say". They went to court, they made their case, and they lost. They said "Hey, she should live", and the response was "She's already dead." They appealed, and they appealed again. So far as I can make out, at every point in the progression, the courts came back to the same decision: she is already dead, and it serves nothing to keep her body alive. Yes, it's horrible. It would be great if the court could order someone to heal her and make everything good again. But they can't. Maybe it's the wrong decision. But the wrong decision gets made all the time in courts, and people get the death penalty for crimes they did not commit. But we don't have any perfect way to make these decisions, so it's not clear what to do instead. Perhaps courts aren't the right way to solve these problems, but no sensible alternative has been suggested to me.
          Doctors are not God. Judges are not God. And in the case of the Florida
          Legislator and the Governor, a law was passed to keep her alive. It was
          passed in days, and that should count as a miracle in itself.

          The people have spoken. Why are lawsuits still going on?

          I can ask you the same thing. If the people have spoken (and that is how
          we decide laws in this country) why is Terri's "husband" still fighting?

          He should just give it up. The half a mil he spent on lawyers trying to
          execute his wife could have been better spent other ways (like keeping her
          alive and giving her her required therapy).

          -Tony

          --
          "If the grass appears to be greener on the other side of the fence, it's time
          to fertilize your lawn!"
          Want to jump start your marriage? Consider a Marriage Encounter weekend.
          Check out http://www.wwme.org for more information.

          Comment


          • #6
            Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)


            "Tony Miller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
            news:[email protected]
            On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 20:54:49 +0000 (UTC), Dr Nancy's Sweetie <[email protected]> wrote: <Snip>
            This is not "He want to turn it off, and we didn't get a say". They went to court, they made their case, and they lost. They said "Hey, she should live", and the response was "She's already dead." They appealed, and they appealed again. So far as I can make out, at every point in the progression, the courts came back to the same decision: she is already dead, and it serves nothing to keep her body alive. Yes, it's horrible. It would be great if the court could order someone to heal her and make everything good again. But they can't. Maybe it's the wrong decision. But the wrong decision gets made all the time in courts, and people get the death penalty for crimes they did not commit. But we don't have any perfect way to make these decisions, so it's not clear what to do instead. Perhaps courts aren't the right way to solve these problems, but no sensible alternative has been suggested to me.
            Doctors are not God. Judges are not God. And in the case of the Florida Legislator and the Governor, a law was passed to keep her alive. It was passed in days, and that should count as a miracle in itself. The people have spoken. Why are lawsuits still going on? I can ask you the same thing. If the people have spoken (and that is how we decide laws in this country) why is Terri's "husband" still fighting? He should just give it up. The half a mil he spent on lawyers trying to execute his wife could have been better spent other ways (like keeping her alive and giving her her required therapy). -Tony

            I thought this was an interesting site,
            http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html
            full of info I didn't know (apparently the husband really worked hard to
            take care of her, and was noted by medical staff and others for the
            excellent care that he gave Terri, and he very aggressively sought out all
            kinds of treatment - it took him years to accept that she would not improve,
            he even took her for very experimental brain implants to try to get
            improvement). It also has links to a lot of the court documents. Page 16
            of this one was interesting:
            http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/WolfsonReport.pdf
            in which it said that the Schindler family testified that they wanted to
            keep her alive at all costs - if she contracted diabetes and lost limbs to
            gangrene, they would amputate them one at a time to keep her alive. If she
            develops heart disease, they want her to have open heart surgery. They also
            said that "even if Theresa had told them of her intention to have artificial
            nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it".


            Comment


            • #7
              Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)


              "Tony Miller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
              news:[email protected]
              On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 20:54:49 +0000 (UTC), Dr Nancy's Sweetie <[email protected]> wrote: <Snip>
              This is not "He want to turn it off, and we didn't get a say". They went to court, they made their case, and they lost. They said "Hey, she should live", and the response was "She's already dead." They appealed, and they appealed again. So far as I can make out, at every point in the progression, the courts came back to the same decision: she is already dead, and it serves nothing to keep her body alive. Yes, it's horrible. It would be great if the court could order someone to heal her and make everything good again. But they can't. Maybe it's the wrong decision. But the wrong decision gets made all the time in courts, and people get the death penalty for crimes they did not commit. But we don't have any perfect way to make these decisions, so it's not clear what to do instead. Perhaps courts aren't the right way to solve these problems, but no sensible alternative has been suggested to me.
              Doctors are not God. Judges are not God. And in the case of the Florida Legislator and the Governor, a law was passed to keep her alive. It was passed in days, and that should count as a miracle in itself. The people have spoken. Why are lawsuits still going on? I can ask you the same thing. If the people have spoken (and that is how we decide laws in this country) why is Terri's "husband" still fighting? He should just give it up. The half a mil he spent on lawyers trying to execute his wife could have been better spent other ways (like keeping her alive and giving her her required therapy). -Tony

              I thought this was an interesting site,
              http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html
              full of info I didn't know (apparently the husband really worked hard to
              take care of her, and was noted by medical staff and others for the
              excellent care that he gave Terri, and he very aggressively sought out all
              kinds of treatment - it took him years to accept that she would not improve,
              he even took her for very experimental brain implants to try to get
              improvement). It also has links to a lot of the court documents. Page 16
              of this one was interesting:
              http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/WolfsonReport.pdf
              in which it said that the Schindler family testified that they wanted to
              keep her alive at all costs - if she contracted diabetes and lost limbs to
              gangrene, they would amputate them one at a time to keep her alive. If she
              develops heart disease, they want her to have open heart surgery. They also
              said that "even if Theresa had told them of her intention to have artificial
              nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it".


              Comment


              • #8
                Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)


                "Joy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
                news:[email protected]
                <Snip>
                I thought this was an interesting site, http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html full of info I didn't know (apparently the husband really worked hard to take care of her, and was noted by medical staff and others for the excellent care that he gave Terri, and he very aggressively sought out all kinds of treatment - it took him years to accept that she would not improve, he even took her for very experimental brain implants to try to get improvement). It also has links to a lot of the court documents. Page 16 of this one was interesting: http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/WolfsonReport.pdf in which it said that the Schindler family testified that they wanted to keep her alive at all costs - if she contracted diabetes and lost limbs to gangrene, they would amputate them one at a time to keep her alive. If she develops heart disease, they want her to have open heart surgery. They also said that "even if Theresa had told them of her intention to have artificial nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it".
                Joy,

                Thanks for posting the links. It really allows one to get an unbiased
                review of the facts.

                BTW, the small script at the end of this document discounts her parents view
                of "keep her alive at all costs". They now claim that was not their true
                intent. The court records would probably state different though.

                A Man


                Comment


                • #9
                  Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)


                  "Joy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
                  news:[email protected]
                  <Snip>
                  I thought this was an interesting site, http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html full of info I didn't know (apparently the husband really worked hard to take care of her, and was noted by medical staff and others for the excellent care that he gave Terri, and he very aggressively sought out all kinds of treatment - it took him years to accept that she would not improve, he even took her for very experimental brain implants to try to get improvement). It also has links to a lot of the court documents. Page 16 of this one was interesting: http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/WolfsonReport.pdf in which it said that the Schindler family testified that they wanted to keep her alive at all costs - if she contracted diabetes and lost limbs to gangrene, they would amputate them one at a time to keep her alive. If she develops heart disease, they want her to have open heart surgery. They also said that "even if Theresa had told them of her intention to have artificial nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it".
                  Joy,

                  Thanks for posting the links. It really allows one to get an unbiased
                  review of the facts.

                  BTW, the small script at the end of this document discounts her parents view
                  of "keep her alive at all costs". They now claim that was not their true
                  intent. The court records would probably state different though.

                  A Man


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)


                    In an earlier article, I wrote that, in cases such as that of Terri
                    Schiavo, we have courts in place to examine the available evidence and
                    make decisions about what to do.

                    "Tony Miller <[email protected]m>" replied:
                    Doctors are not God. Judges are not God. And in the case of the Florida Legislator and the Governor, a law was passed to keep her alive. It was passed in days, and that should count as a miracle in itself.
                    The Florida legislature and governor are not God, either. One reason
                    the courts are kept separate from the political process (at least in
                    intelligent jurisdictions) is precisely because what's right is not
                    always what's immediately popular.

                    The people have spoken. Why are lawsuits still going on?
                    Who says the people get a say? Why should a few random strangers, just
                    because they hold elective office, have any standing in this at all?

                    This is about two facts:
                    1) how much of her brain is still functioning?
                    and
                    2) what would she want done if most of her brain was dead?

                    The medical testimony in court is that most of her brain is gone, and
                    that there's no way for it to come back. There's some disagreement
                    about how much is left. Her husband and several of her friends said she
                    would want the feeding stopped.

                    Should elected strangers who never met her once have the right to
                    dispute this claim? Did Jeb Bush know the woman personally? Did anyone
                    in the Florida Legislature? Have they medical knowledge and training
                    sufficient to override the findings of fact as decided by the court?

                    With no reason to believe that either the governor or the legislators
                    are competent medical practitioners, and no reason to believe that
                    either knew the woman well enough to override her husband's statement
                    about what she would want, I have no reason whatever to care at all
                    what they said.

                    This is about two facts, both of which were aired at length in court,
                    and neither of which has been rationally disputed in any way that I see.

                    If the people have spoken (and that is how we decide laws in this country) why is Terri's "husband" still fighting?
                    Perhaps he believes, with St Augustine, that an unjust law is no law at
                    all.

                    He got her therapy for years. He didn't ask a court to decide about the
                    feeding tube until eight years after her cardiac arrest. That's
                    important, so it bears fleshing out: HE did not decide to remove the
                    feeding tube. He asked a court to examine the evidence and make the
                    decision.

                    Many marriages don't last eight years. He spent all that time providing
                    for her care, and hoping for her recovery, even though she was able to
                    give nothing in return. Not a word, not a smile, not a nod of her head.
                    He stuck by her for eight years, in a relationship in which he got
                    *nothing at all* from her. And even then, he didn't make the decision
                    to shut off the machines -- he asked a third party to do it, not knowing
                    in advance what the third party was going to decide.

                    You have called him names, you've used profanity, you've made assertions
                    of fact without so much as pretending to actually have looked at any
                    evidence, and in general done all those things that make people want to
                    avoid you.

                    Have you actually read over a detailed timeline? Have you actually read
                    the transcripts from the case? Do you actually know anything about
                    neurology? Does not having facts even slow you down for one second when
                    you've decided to rant and rave and condemn somebody else? Or are you
                    just so happy to go around condemning people that you don't bother with
                    facts?

                    I wasn't kidding before when I said that many people who avoid church do
                    so because they're afraid they'll run into someone like you. I wonder
                    how you'll explain that, when the time comes?


                    Darren Provine ! [email protected] ! http://www.rowan.edu/~kilroy
                    "If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who
                    believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were
                    fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the
                    sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for
                    stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling
                    block comes!" -- Jesus (Matthew 18:6-7)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)


                      In an earlier article, I wrote that, in cases such as that of Terri
                      Schiavo, we have courts in place to examine the available evidence and
                      make decisions about what to do.

                      "Tony Miller <[email protected]>" replied:
                      Doctors are not God. Judges are not God. And in the case of the Florida Legislator and the Governor, a law was passed to keep her alive. It was passed in days, and that should count as a miracle in itself.
                      The Florida legislature and governor are not God, either. One reason
                      the courts are kept separate from the political process (at least in
                      intelligent jurisdictions) is precisely because what's right is not
                      always what's immediately popular.

                      The people have spoken. Why are lawsuits still going on?
                      Who says the people get a say? Why should a few random strangers, just
                      because they hold elective office, have any standing in this at all?

                      This is about two facts:
                      1) how much of her brain is still functioning?
                      and
                      2) what would she want done if most of her brain was dead?

                      The medical testimony in court is that most of her brain is gone, and
                      that there's no way for it to come back. There's some disagreement
                      about how much is left. Her husband and several of her friends said she
                      would want the feeding stopped.

                      Should elected strangers who never met her once have the right to
                      dispute this claim? Did Jeb Bush know the woman personally? Did anyone
                      in the Florida Legislature? Have they medical knowledge and training
                      sufficient to override the findings of fact as decided by the court?

                      With no reason to believe that either the governor or the legislators
                      are competent medical practitioners, and no reason to believe that
                      either knew the woman well enough to override her husband's statement
                      about what she would want, I have no reason whatever to care at all
                      what they said.

                      This is about two facts, both of which were aired at length in court,
                      and neither of which has been rationally disputed in any way that I see.

                      If the people have spoken (and that is how we decide laws in this country) why is Terri's "husband" still fighting?
                      Perhaps he believes, with St Augustine, that an unjust law is no law at
                      all.

                      He got her therapy for years. He didn't ask a court to decide about the
                      feeding tube until eight years after her cardiac arrest. That's
                      important, so it bears fleshing out: HE did not decide to remove the
                      feeding tube. He asked a court to examine the evidence and make the
                      decision.

                      Many marriages don't last eight years. He spent all that time providing
                      for her care, and hoping for her recovery, even though she was able to
                      give nothing in return. Not a word, not a smile, not a nod of her head.
                      He stuck by her for eight years, in a relationship in which he got
                      *nothing at all* from her. And even then, he didn't make the decision
                      to shut off the machines -- he asked a third party to do it, not knowing
                      in advance what the third party was going to decide.

                      You have called him names, you've used profanity, you've made assertions
                      of fact without so much as pretending to actually have looked at any
                      evidence, and in general done all those things that make people want to
                      avoid you.

                      Have you actually read over a detailed timeline? Have you actually read
                      the transcripts from the case? Do you actually know anything about
                      neurology? Does not having facts even slow you down for one second when
                      you've decided to rant and rave and condemn somebody else? Or are you
                      just so happy to go around condemning people that you don't bother with
                      facts?

                      I wasn't kidding before when I said that many people who avoid church do
                      so because they're afraid they'll run into someone like you. I wonder
                      how you'll explain that, when the time comes?


                      Darren Provine ! [email protected] ! http://www.rowan.edu/~kilroy
                      "If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who
                      believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were
                      fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the
                      sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for
                      stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling
                      block comes!" -- Jesus (Matthew 18:6-7)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)

                        Tony Miller <[email protected]> writes:

                        (snip)
                        But this doesn't alter my opinion on feeding tubes for unconcious people.
                        What about feeding tubes for the brain dead?
                        ## Pope's Pronouncement on Feeding Tubes Stuns Catholic Hospitals Statement from Barbara Coombs Lee, President of Compassion in Dying Federation: On March 16 the Vatican released an opinion that feeding tubes are not medical therapy and cannot be withheld from a permanently unconscious person.
                        Quite apart from the value of the pope's medical opinions, what is the
                        difference between being "permanently unconscious" and being a
                        "vegetable" in common parlance?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)

                          Tony Miller <[email protected]> writes:

                          (snip)
                          But this doesn't alter my opinion on feeding tubes for unconcious people.
                          What about feeding tubes for the brain dead?
                          ## Pope's Pronouncement on Feeding Tubes Stuns Catholic Hospitals Statement from Barbara Coombs Lee, President of Compassion in Dying Federation: On March 16 the Vatican released an opinion that feeding tubes are not medical therapy and cannot be withheld from a permanently unconscious person.
                          Quite apart from the value of the pope's medical opinions, what is the
                          difference between being "permanently unconscious" and being a
                          "vegetable" in common parlance?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)

                            Doug Anderson wrote:
                            Tony Miller writes:
                            But this doesn't alter my opinion on feeding tubes for unconcious people.
                            What about feeding tubes for the brain dead?
                            Y'know, it's interesting. The feeding tube
                            seems to go directly through the abdominal
                            wall to the stomach; I suspect that she no
                            longer can swallow and so they have to be
                            very careful. Certainly no use of an NG tube
                            there...

                            I was surprised to learn (when I was admitted
                            to a stroke unit due to a TIA) that a fair
                            number of stroke victims lose the swallowing
                            reflex so there's an effort to check that all
                            that is working w/ a new patient as part of
                            the admission procedure... so they know how
                            to deal with it.

                            --
                            Jack C Lipton | cupasoup at pele dot cx | http://www.asstr.org/~CupaSoup/
                            Leadership is about maximizing gains, Management about minimizing losses.
                            This explains why managers like to hire accountants and keep them busy. -me
                            "There _is_ a reason ideology rhymes with idiocy, you know." - me

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Right To Live / Die (Terri Schiavo)

                              Doug Anderson wrote:
                              Tony Miller writes:
                              But this doesn't alter my opinion on feeding tubes for unconcious people.
                              What about feeding tubes for the brain dead?
                              Y'know, it's interesting. The feeding tube
                              seems to go directly through the abdominal
                              wall to the stomach; I suspect that she no
                              longer can swallow and so they have to be
                              very careful. Certainly no use of an NG tube
                              there...

                              I was surprised to learn (when I was admitted
                              to a stroke unit due to a TIA) that a fair
                              number of stroke victims lose the swallowing
                              reflex so there's an effort to check that all
                              that is working w/ a new patient as part of
                              the admission procedure... so they know how
                              to deal with it.

                              --
                              Jack C Lipton | cupasoup at pele dot cx | http://www.asstr.org/~CupaSoup/
                              Leadership is about maximizing gains, Management about minimizing losses.
                              This explains why managers like to hire accountants and keep them busy. -me
                              "There _is_ a reason ideology rhymes with idiocy, you know." - me

                              Comment

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