Saturday, February 26, 2005


Abstracting out the human factor

Musing Minds has noted:
The judge has ruled that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube can be removed in three weeks, stating "The court is no longer comfortable granting stays simply upon the filings of new motions..."

How could a court make such a callous statement, as if it wasn't a human life at stake, but rather a house deal gone bad, or a contested will? The problem isn't the judge, though his statements seemed to be grotesquely insensitive. The problem is the fact that courts determine legal issues and nothing more. The same courts, the same judges and the same legal procedures that were developed to determine the validity of a will, or a house sale, are now determining the existence of someone's life.

The process has abstracted Terri out of the equation. It doesn't matter if she feels pain, it doesn't matter if she has people who love her. It doesn't matter if she's been left badly cared for by her husband's orders as he can legally get away with.

Blogs for Terri
wants to get this information out:
  • Terri Schiavo is not a “vegetable” and is not “brain dead”. She recognizes and responds to others and makes attempts to verbally communicate.

  • Terri is not on life support but does receive food and water through a removable tube, which experts testify would not even be necessary if she were given therapy. This assisted feeding is a natural means of preserving life and not a medical act of life support or heroic measures.

  • Twelve medical experts and nurses who cared for her confirmed these facts*. Video available through shows Terri responding and interacting with others. Health care workers have testified under oath that she expresses herself using words, such as “mommy” and “help me”.

  • Terri is a person with disabilities who thinks and expresses her moods and desires. She is loved by her family and responds to their visits with smiles and laughter.

  • Terri Schiavo may be the victim of ongoing negligence and injustice. She has been denied therapy and rehabilitation by her guardian since 1991*. Florida’s guardianship laws REQUIRE that these necessary services be given to her.

  • In 1992, Terri’s husband Michael won $1.7 million in negligence lawsuit under the pretext of funding her rehabilitation and care. He testified, “I believe in the vows that I took with my wife. Through sickness, in health, for richer or poorer. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that.” *Since that time, Terri has received no rehabilitation, all beneficial forms of stimulation (e.g. music) have been prohibited and basic health care, such as treatment for a life threatening urinary tract infection, has been purposefully withheld at Michael’s direction*.

  • Even though Terri’s husband has started a family of his own with another woman and their two children, he refuses to end his marriage to Terri or relinquish her care to her immediate family.

  • Terri’s “collapse” has become controversial after a previously hidden bone scan surfaced in 2002 which revealed multiple fractures consistent with a traumatic event. *To date, no investigation has been conducted to determine the source of Terri’s injuries*, but a radiologist gave a sworn statement that the date of those injuries would fall sometime near the time of her mysterious collapse.

  • Remarkably, The Florida Courts have sided with Michael, accepting the testimony of two “expert witnesses”, one of whom is a known advocate of “mercy killing”, over that of twelve independent medical professionals (6 of them neurologists). *Judge Greer admitted to not even reviewing their sworn statements*.

  • Without intervention by the Florida Governor and Legislature, Judge George Greer is set to give Michael the legal empowerment to withhold food and water from his wife *for the purpose of starving her to death*.

  • Terri Schiavo deserves to have medical tests and therapy. She does not deserve to be starved and dehydrated to death.

  • Advancements in the understanding of brain activity and misdiagnosis and the recent recovery of a patient after 20 years in a persistent vegetative state, further calls into question any decision that would end the life of Terri Schiavo.

Action Items:

  • Contact Florida’s Governor, Jeb Bush at, and demand that he invoke Florida Statute 415.1051 to provide protective custody until investigations into abuse and neglect can be carried out.

  • Contact Florida Senate at and ask them to institute an immediate moratorium on withholding assisted nutrition and hydration until Florida can adopt a new standard of testing protocols for brain-injured patients.

  • Contact Florida’s House of Representatives at and ask them to pass legislation that would forbid the removal of food and water without the informed consent of the patient.

  • Visit and see for yourself the woman who has been called a house plant by her husband’s attorney and why

  • Get a Protective Medical Decisions Directive from the International Anti-Euthanasia task force at and make your medical treatment desires known to your family and friends. You don’t have to be starved or dehydrated to death simply because your life is effected by disability.

Even if they succeed in killing Terri, remember that death by dehydration is one of the most painful ways to die. They could apply this to you sometime in your life. And as you lay there screaming, possibly only in your head because you are damaged and can't communicate well, remember the day you read the story in the paper about the woman in Florida.

It is time to take action to protect the vunerable.

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