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« A Miss Moppet moment | Main | "Half of us will swoop" »

March 21, 2005

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Your essay ignores the only relevant issue in the Terri Schiavo case and that is her Constitutional right to reject life prolonging medical treatment. The Florida State Courts have adjudicated this specific legal issue weighing evidence submitted by both sides and concluding that Terri would have wanted feeding tubes removed. I am shocked by the hypocracy exhibited by the "Right" in this case. Reason and logic have been abandoned. Rationalization and emotion reign. The latter are usually the script of the "Left".

Good job of presenting both sides (and as soon as you pick one, half of us will swoop...).

I wonder if we could get 99% of your readers to agree that this case does illustrate the truism that bad cases make bad law? Even the NY Times has admitted that this is hardly the ideal case for "right to die" advocates to rally around.

Excellent posting, thanks very much. I am always amazed at the ghoulishness of those who want to kill Ms. Schiavo at their earliest convenience.

Dick Pankopf: The question I have concerning Mrs. Schiavo's right to reject treatment is twofold. First, how strong is her husband's/guardian's case that she would indeed reject treatment? I've heard that it's his uncorroborated hearsay and not all that compelling, which is not surprising considering her youth - I know I wasn't thinking about my right to reject treatment in my middle twenties. Further, he has some pretty strong motivations for producing the hearsay, which it seems to me could affect the strength of the case. And second, for right or wrong, she's been allowed to continue in this state through many medical advances that change the picture of whether "medical treatment" (i.e. the feeding tube that was originally intended to keep her from choking on food and drink: I understand some therapists say that advances in therapy have made it possible for at least some people who could not swallow to do so in the past decade) is even necessary for her continued life; given that, is it right to evaluate her quality of life based on decade-old standards?

If Michael Schiavo contends that Terri's parents simply haven't been able to "let go" of her after this long, he's failing miserably to give them any reason to do so. By denying them any ability to have her evaluated by docs of their choice rather than his, he only fuels their suspicions that he doesn't have her best interests, but rather his own, at heart. By requesting and being granted the right to have her cremated after her death, over her family's specific request that she not be cremated or interred until her body has been examined, again he fuels suspicions about his motives. He could be pure as the driven snow and entirely concerned only with Terri's dignity, but his behavior exposes him to utterly predictable and understandable criticism: where does he get off being surprised by it?

In short, if he's confident in the PVS diagnosis, he has nothing to lose by allowing Terri's parents to have her examined and tested. If he's wrong, her family has already practically begged to take over her guardianship - and if she's NOT in a PVS, he has no reasonable basis for wanting her feeding tube removed, so it seems to me he'd be wise to consider their request.

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