Free Terri Schiavo

Terry Schiavo's brain no longer has a cerebral cortex. She will never again talk, experience a thought, or feel an emotion. The best her parents can hope for is that she will occasionally mimic lifelike responses because of involuntary brainstem activity.

No act of Congress will change this. All the Republicans and the religious right are accomplishing with this barbaric grandstanding is to prolong her family's suffering.

Michael Schiavo fought for years to find a cure for his wife, and he even went back to college to become a nurse so that he could better care for her. He wrote in 2003:

I never wanted Terri to die. I still don't. After more than seven years of desperately searching for a cure for Terri, the death of my own mother helped me realize that I was fooling myself. More important, I was hiding behind my hope, and selfishly ignoring Terri's wishes. I wanted my wife to be with me so much that I denied her true condition.

Terri told me on several occasions before this happened that she would not want to live in her current condition. If we had been older, I am sure she would have signed a living will making it clear that she did not to be kept alive on tubes and machines. She never had the chance.

That left me to carry out her wishes. It has been hard. In fact, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. In the end, I did what I believe Terri would have wanted me to do.

Is there a single person among the parade of ghouls exploiting this tragedy who would wish to be kept alive in Terri's condition? Someone should ask Tom DeLay and other politicians if they have living wills.

Medical science gets better every day at keeping people alive in conditions no one would ever choose to experience. The right to opt out of life-prolonging treatment is exercised every day in this country:

My grandfather died at home at the age of ninety, after a slow decline from Alzheimer's disease. He died in his own familiar bed, surrounded by people who loved him. He was not in pain. His breathing slowed and slowed, and finally stopped. If it is "killing" to refuse life-preserving medical treatment, then my grandmother murdered my grandfather when she failed to call the paramedics. The others present at his death were accessories to murder. But who would have benefited had my grandfather been forced to squeeze out a few extra days in an intensive care unit, on a respirator, confused and disoriented? In what way would that have furthered a culture of life?

We should all be as lucky as Terri Schiavo has been, to have a spouse who would fight so hard for our right to die in such circumstances. The easiest thing in the world would be for Michael Schiavo to give up, raise the young children he has with another woman, and let Terri continue to linger hopelessly between life and death.

The only good thing to come from this sickening spectacle is that thousands of people, myself included, will be rushing to draft living wills.

Comments

"The right to opt out of life-prolonging treatment is exercised every day in this country"

You should KNOW that there is a HUGE difference between "life-prolonging treatment" that assist in involuntary human activities, like breathing, and the heart pumping, and voluntary activities, like eating and drinking.

Starvation and dehydration are some of the most painful deaths, and are easily prevenable. The courts have stated, as I understand it, that Terry Schaivo could not be given food or drink EVEN IF SHE COULD EAT/DRINK IT!

Truth and mercy go together. I am truly saddened when individuals like yourself show a shocking lack of truth, and a shocking lack of mercy. Conservatives all too often hold to truth without showing mercy, liberals all too often hold to mercy when it extends beyound the bounds of truth.

You are sadly mistaken in both areas.

Every activity by Terri Schiavo is involuntary. You appear to be suggesting that it would be acceptable to remove Schiavo's breathing machine (if she needed one), but it is not acceptable to remove her feeding tube. What's the difference?

I agree completely with you. I wonder if those who disagree would like the government to make their medical decision for them instead of their spouse. This is a family matter and the government shoould have no say in any decision. I would hope that my parents would respect my husbands choices. I feel for her parents, but they need to come to terms with the fact that Terry will never come out of her vegetative state. It is sad that this case has been this exploited.

What is odd to me is that the conservative politicians are blatantly grandstanding and the conservative constituents believe that they actually care about Terri or the “right to Live” tag line. The truth is that they are simply trying to garner votes.
Also many seam to dwell on the manner of death that will ultimately take Terri’s life. Nobody wants to starve anyone. This debate is NOT about the manner of death. It is about the rights of US citizens. We are a “Free” society and if left to the conservatives we will soon NOT be one. People fought many years ago to give us the rights that today the conservatives are so quick to disregard it is shocking.
Good Luck Mr Schiavo and may Terri rest in peace.

Mr. Cadenhead,
What a joke, to talk like you do.
You make no sense, sure she is in a vegitative state and sure you want to kill her. Why don't you get off your soapbox and go gather some knowledge.

You don't know, so don't act like you do.

With individuals like yourself, no wonder our country is only running about 75%.

Its the Liberals like yourself that are holding our country back.

I really wish they would just let her pass away with some dignity already.

Kirk's comment is a complete joke. There definitely are more humane ways to end Terri's life, but it's "religious right nutjobs" like yourself who have fought people like Dr. Kevorkian, who actually tried to ease the pain of death in terminal patients.
Terri's wishes are not important to you, this is about your political agenda.

There's a Florida attorney who blogs on state legal issues and has produced an extensive reference site on the Schiavo case.

I've read it along with a lot of other coverage of this case. You can question my conclusions, but to claim that I don't have any knowledge of the particulars is off base.

In Cruzan v. Missouri (1990), the Supreme Court upheld a patient's right to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment if "clear and convincing evidence" is presented that such refusal was desired.

A Florida judge ruled in 2000 that such evidence existed of Terri Schiavo's desire to refuse such treatment, and the ruling was upheld by the Second District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court.

If you believe that a person has the right to refuse treatment, I don't see how you can support the extension of Terri Schiavo's torment after the courts have concluded she didn't want to live like this.

Speaking as a member of the religious right nutcase squad... there's no Terri Schiavo to save. My wife, also a member of the religious right nutcase squad, very strongly feels the same way.

This might be an interesting story if there was a person to save here, but there isn't, just a body. Interesting cases have occurred; the Discovery Health channel runs a story every so often on this man who was in a coma for something like 18 years, long after the medical people had given up, and he finally came out of it. There are interesting issues to debate in such cases.

But he "merely" suffered trama, his brain pieces were all still there (although they were not %100 after woke up).

There's a lot more interesting and important issues to be covering than an uninteresting legal spat between a family over whether or not to pull the plug on an empty human shell.

(Do read that link Rogers pointed to; I think it does a good job of being neutral and informative. The brain damage in question is such that even if we were to re-grow the missing brain parts, she'd be a cognitive newborn again; Terri Schiavo is unrecoverably gone.)

blah blah blah who cares? i got my own problems. life is hard enough without brain damage. with brain damage, i'd imagine life is as fun as swimming in a sewer.

This "loving" hubby of Terri's conveniently forgot FOR YEARS that Terri had told him she wouldn't want to live like this, tearfully telling the jury that awarded him money in a malpractice suit that he would "take care of Terri" as long as he lived. After he got the money, he suddenly remembered that she said she wanted to die. He's also been so kind as to not allow her ANY kind of rehabilitation for 10 years, nor will he allow anyone to so much as place an ice cube in her mouth (which, by the way, is ILLEGAL under Florida law). I'm not against allowing someone to die, and perhaps not even against euthanasia, but starving and dehydrating a person to death is cruel and inhumane. Perhaps we'll be starving crippled children who can't feed themselves, or infants who can't feed themselves, because their "quality of life" doesn't measure up to what we think it should be.

I've heard that nuses have fed terri jello that she was capable of swallowing if she got some therapy i bet she will have a decent life. But by not giving her therapy he has been trying to kill her for years.
I personally wonder why he won't divorce her and let her fasmily have the final say.
See he already moved on with his life and has a common law wife and two children with her.
he should let terri go so he can marry her so his bastard children carry his last name.

There's a lot of ugly rumors out there about Michael Schiavo, but so far, none of the people slandering him has provided a single reputable source for their claims.

Additionally, people who are attacking him demonstrate a significant lack of knowledge about this situation. Schiavo did not decide as his wife's guardian that her feeding tube should be removed -- he petitioned the court to determine what should be done.

A judge heard from Schiavo and Terri's parents along with others, and ruled she would want the tube to be removed. Two appellate courts backed the ruling.

What I find most despicable about the Bush Administration Congressional Republicans' actions in this matter is the constant harping that all they want is for Terry Schiavo to get her day in court. Which, convenient for them, ignores the SEVEN FREAKING YEARS of litigation that have already happened.

Second, by a hair, is the desire to overrule the decision of her closest (legal) relative when in so many other situations (such as an abortion request by a woman less than 18 and teaching evolution in schools) these same people stand on their tippy toes insisting that the families must decide and not government.

What a total joke these Republicans are. So blatantly obvious hard to believe they can keep from breaking into hysterical laughter as so many people buy into their crap.

kim...you're stupid

Gee Christopher Reeves NEEDED a repirator to breathe for him in order to keep him alive. Extraordinary means to keep him alive...bad quality of life being paralyzed....guess his wife should have starved him to death years ago.

Wow, the left and right are in full force, but I was taught to forego emotion and look at FACTS!

Is it really so terrible to stop the feeding and water tubes of a person in a coma for years brought about by a self-inflicted eating disorder. Terri is in the condition because she was bulemic!

She was voluntarily starving herself over her personal vanity, she believed she was fat. The photos I have seen of the Terri before the heart-stopping, brain-damaging chemical imbalance that caused the brain damage, she was not fat.

Let's change this situation a bit. Let's say, when her heart stopped that fateful day, she didn't get the medical care that has put her into this shell of an existence, and died. Would Congress be conducting emergency sessions to pass unenforcible laws to stop eating disorders?

And let's talk about LIFE, not just a beating heart and breathing. The QUALITY OF LIFE that would be Terri's future is nauseating. If it was a pet dog, it would be put to sleep.

I feel it is very selfish of her parents to insist she continue on in her condition. Terri has no detectable emotions, she died years ago when her brain capabilities were destroyed by HER! Terri killed herself that day, she just hasn't lay down and died yet.

Ralph Edwards
Tampa, FL

The court records from the previous proceedings pretty much answer all the objections put forth by the "pro-life" advocates. I'd suggest reading them. Nothing being said is really new.

For instance, as Rogers said, the court made the decision to remove the feeding tube based on Terri's wishes as it determined them from quite a bit of testimony. It wasn't based just on Michael's statements. Her uncle, her best friend, and her brother-in-law also testified in more-or-less the same manner as Michael. Her father and mother were also permitted to testify. The court found that based on all the evidence she did not want to be kept alive in these circumstances, and reading the court record, it seems like a reasonable conclusion. In my view, anyone who wants to argue otherwise needs to cite the parts of the court record that they have a problem with, and give reasons.

One good thing about the court proceedings is that the insane conspiracy theory stuff is filtered out.

David Blunkett is... oh wait...sorry...wrong site.

Bulemia is a disorder, not a descision.

Think about one thing though: we don't do what we're doing to her to ANIMALS much less human beings, with or without a cerebal cortex. Starving any living being to death is barbaric. IF they want to end her existance, at least they could do it with an injection or something. Heck, even criminals get better treatment when their death sentence is executed!

Whether she feels it or not doesn't matter, it's a principle issue, and conscious or NOT, she is still a human being. No caring society would do this to a human being no matter what.

If it HAS to happen, if it IS her time, at least make it humane.

The person who blames Terri of her condition because of bulimeria is shameful. If this was a person with AIDs, would you blame it on his sexual behavior. If you did, watch out you would have holywood and the ACLU after you. Bulimia and anorexia (which I suffered from anorexia) is a mentaland societal disorder. Society feeds it with the expectations of women having to be thin. We are all guilty of contributing to this disorder. She cannot be blamed for it, especially if you have pressure from a husband that says "I'll divorce you if you ever get fat." However, that is beside the point. I am also an Occupational Therapist and work with patients like this. I too am struggling with this case on a professional and personal level. However, I believe that there is so much uncertainty to what her wishes would be that why not err on the side of life. Death comes to all of us soon enough. She has parents and a family that wants to love and care for her. A loving family is not as common as it should be in these situations. I believe that in her young twenties, maybe after watching a T.V. show like E.R., she may have made a statement inferring no life support (which eting and drinking by no means are invasive life support) If so we are all on life support. However, it's easy to make statements flippantly. but when you have to really think about it, and put it in writing, it is not that easy to determine. I pray that the truth will unfold, and Terri will be given another chance at life. There is so much we do not know about the brain, and so much we are learning. And so much of the brain that is unused. Keep up the fight, Terri.

Michael Schiavo should take the polygraph challenge. His refusal to do so would speak a thousand words.

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