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« An intolerable dilemma | Main | Real men sleep with kittens »

March 21, 2005

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That's exactly it! Now you're starting to see what this is really about. Why won't Michael Schiavo give up custody to the parents who love her and want to take care of her? Why won't he take their offer of a divorce (see documents on Terri's Fight webpage), all the money in her estate, everything, just so they can care for their daughter? He's moved on to another woman (his "fiance") and had two children with her, but he refuses to divorce Terri.

Why does he insist that she must die? There's no solid evidence that Terri expressed a wish to be starved to death should she ever need a feeding tube; it's just hearsay from him, years after the supposed fact.

The doctor who declared Terri was PVS was handpicked by Michael's attorney, and he (doctor) is openly pro-euthanasia, as is the attorney. As someone else mentioned above, the medically necessary tests for a diagnosis of PVS were NEVER DONE!

Why has Michael refused ALL medical treatment and therapy for her? Why would he refuse to let a Catholic priest come to give her Holy Communion (until just last Friday)?

For that matter, why is she even on a feeding tube? She apparently can swallow, as she doesn't need suctioning, which means she can swallow saliva (and that's a significant amount of swallowing every day). Some nurses signed an affidavit that they fed her jello and juice. But Michael won't allow swallow testing or therapy.

Why?

My father died of a disease that slowly killed off his nervous system. At the end, he could not move, talk, eat or do anything at all but lay there. But his mind was still alive and functioning, bound in the prison of his physical body that had completely failed him. In the end, he had other medical conditions that eventually led to organ failure, and he died. It was, in fact, heartbreaking and yet simultaneously relieving, for we know he was ready to go. What a horrible place to be.

And so is this situation with Terry S. I don't claim any moral high-ground of right or wrong. I don't support abortion but do believe in the death penalty. I think life is a precious gift to be cherished, but recognize there are extremely rare circumstances where it no longer is a gift, but a curse.

Without knowing Terry's own thoughts, I could not be comfortable pulling her tube and watching her die from malnutrituion and thirst. If she could say she would rather be dead, then out of mercy I could pull the plugs. But without explicitly knowing, what if we did and we were wrong? She has no other medical conditions that would kill her otherwise, so can we morally-without knowledge of her desires- initiate the active pursuit of her demise? I could not.

My God guide all of those in this situation who have the responsibility to decide, and may He shut the mouths of those who would use it for their own petty politcal postures and gains.

The whole case surrounding Terri is very strange indeed. That's why it's a near impossibility to figure out the right way to handle it from this vantage point.

I will point out though - that even if you have a living will - it does NOT mean that your wishes will be followed. There are many many turns and twists in the world of medicine. Nothing is ever easy and straight forward. There are always extenuating circumstances - not to mention dealing with the family that are able to voice opinions and concerns - and even give or withhold permission for care.

When have you done enough? When have you done too much? If you stop treatment at a certain point... will family come back to at you with a law suit saying you didn't try hard enough? Where is the line - the definitive demarcation - that says "stop treatment here"? If you begin to think about these questions even for a few minutes - the answers become less and less clear.

People are looking for black and white in a case that is completely gray.

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