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March 22, 2005

Comments

Eutychus Fell

The judge just refused to help Terri. AP.

Joel

These are the terms of the Texas Futile Care Law, signed by the then-governor George W. Bush:

"PROCEDURE WHEN PERSON HAS NOT EXECUTED OR
ISSUED A DIRECTIVE AND IS INCOMPETENT OR INCAPABLE OF
COMMUNICATION.

b) If the patient does not have a legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney, the attending physician and one person, if available, from one of the following categories, in the following priority, may make a treatment decision that may include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment:
(1) the patient's spouse;
(2) the patient's reasonably available adult children;
(3) the patient's parents; or
(4) the patient's nearest living relative."


Note that under the terms of this law, Terri would have been allowed to die months ago.

Why is the man who signed this law now fighting for her?

sj

There's also informed discussion of the CT scan here, largely differing from the conclusions of Code Blue Blog. I think the limits of the net's ability to provide reliable information are being reached.

Joel

I agree with sj. Every neurologist who has actually examined Schiavo in person has reached the same conclusion: she's not going to wake up.

It was for cases like this that the Texas Futile Care Law was written, with input from National Right to Life, and signed by a man who is, for all his other faults, more or less pro-life. Being fed forever while the personality is gone is not a fate that any of us would choose, and it consumes health-care resources that would be better used for people who might actually benefit from it. The Texas Futile Care Law is good legislation, and I wish that it would be adopted by other states. And I wish that Congress hadn't embarassed themselves by getting involved in this, not least because it provided another example of President Bush to contradict himself in public.

And I wish I had a pony.

Yurodivi

Joel,

W signed that law because it was the best one he could get. It was far better than the status quo ante, under which hospital ethics boards decided whether to continue treatment without regard for the family's wishes.

Peggy

Of what relevance is it really (ok maybe to some law) that Terri might not improve? Did FL law require a showing of some improvement to allow Terri's parents to care for her?

This case could blow wide open the scandal of the imperialist judiciary. It would help, however, if the public understood the true circumstances of this case. They are under the impression that Terri had clear intent to die under these conditions--just because a court said. The press is probably not reporting that Schiavo is shacking up and fathering children with a new honey. The public probably do not clearly understand that when the trial court's rulings are reviewed the facts of the case are not reviewed, but only judicial procedure.

Elaine

Sj - the link is broken. It takes me to a Microsoft web page.

sj

My fault. I left an extra "http" in. Edit the link properties to remove it or just go to http://respectfulofotters.blogspot.com and scroll down to the Saturday post labeled "Terri Schiavo: Part 1, The Medical Post".

Julianne Wiley

First of all, a question regarding the Texas Futile Care law: does it automatically follow that feeding is a "medical treatment"? I thought feeding was supposed to be "ordinary care," inasmuch as ALL human beings need food, and ALL human beings, at some point in their lives, need to be "assisted" in order to be fed; and in Terri's case, the nutrition/hydration is not in itself futile, since it is doing exactly what nutrition is supposed to do: it's sustaining all her tissues, organs, and systems, maintaining her life, preventing her death by starvation.

Second question: How would preserving Terri's life use up "healthcare resources" when her parents have offered to take her home, care for her and feed her themselves? All she needs is the kind of hygenic and comfort care that I am giving to my aged, vascular-demented father at home right now, plus feeding (the cost of the liquid food is about $8 per day.)

Third question: isn't it true that Terri's medical guardian has taken steps to cause her death precisely because of her disability? Isn't that in violation of the Florida Constitution, which states that equal rights under law are not to be denied to persons with disability?

I personally think that the decisions to cause Terri Schiavo's death by starvation are not ultimately "medical" decisions, any more than the decision to execute somebody in "The Chair" is an "electrical" decision.

The underlying question is a human rights question: may one person be deliberately killed at the discretion of another person ---- that is, by her guardian, who is explicitly required by law to promote her health and well-being?

Julianne Wiley

And why aren't the alarms sounding over at the Code Blue Blog the equivalent of the superscripted "th" in Rathergate? That is, enough to raise a serious suspicion that something dishonest is going on?

Jeff Tan

"Every neurologist who has actually examined Schiavo in person has reached the same conclusion: she's not going to wake up."

The neurologists you speak of have:

- been hired by Michael Schiavo's camp
- never ordered nor seen an MRI or PET scan which is standard for neurologists to ask for

The start neurologist in Michael's camp is Dr. Ronald Cranford, a famous proponent of euthanasia. He's published questionable views such as euthanizing Alzheimer's sufferers even where they can swallow on their own. He diagnoed Robert Wendland with PVS, even as Robert could operate an electric wheelchair with a joystick and an ordinary wheelchair with his left hand and foot. How's that for a credible expert witness?

Another neurologist who found PVS was Dr. James Barnhill, who testified to having examined her for 10 minutes. MRI and PET scans were not requested either.

Next, it's not true that every neurologist who personally examined Terri in person reached the PVS conclusion. Senator Frist is being advised by one of those neurologists who examined Terri, and his finding is that Terri can probably recover with treatment. Then there's Dr. William Hammesfahr, world renowned neurologist, who actually went up to the hospice yesterday I think, to explain that Terri can recover, can swallow and is awake and aware.

Dr. Hammesfahr's report can be read here:

http://libertytothecaptives.net/hammesfahr_dr._report.html

In it he also details three other physicians, including a former chief of medicine in a hospital, who examined Terri personally and afterwards filed affidavits that Terri has been swallowing fine -- she doesn't even need the feeding tubes.

What is so frustrating about this case is that there are so many affidavits flying around from doctors and nurses who have worked with Terri personally, and yet the courts, the media and lots of people following the news have ignored them completely.

SouthCoast

"Being fed forever while the personality is gone is not a fate that any of us would choose, and it consumes health-care resources that would be better used for people who might actually benefit from it. "

My father died (in Texas) of Alzheimer's. Would you have preferred that, the moment he was diagnosed, they had stuck a needle in his arm?

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