Sunday, February 20, 2005
The Struggle to Communicate
Terri Shiavo can be counted among the disabled who struggle to communicate; those with severe forms of autism, Down's syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy.
Helen Keller was disabled and at one time a blind, deaf and mute child considered by many in her family to be a monster who should have been institutionalized. With time Helen learned to communicate through sign language and went on to go to college. She became a champion of the disabled though her speech never really improved beyond the sounds those very close to her could understand.
Kate Admason suffered a double brain stem stroke, was completely unable to respond and in what doctors had diagnosed as a persistent vegetative state. Doctors pulled her feeding tubes and for eight days she lay in severe pain dying from starvation and dehydration. Her husband fought to have the tube reinserted and saved her life. Today she is a motivational speaker and author.
Rus Cooper-Dowda had developed a serious form of lupus and slipped into what doctors thought was a persistent vegetative state. She overheard as doctors described her prognosis as hopeless and discussed ending her life with her husband. Luckily for her the nursing staff began to believe her diagnosis was wrong. Rus went on to give birth to a son and become a teacher, minister and writer.
A new medical study released recently estimates that as many as 40 percent of those determined to be in a persistent vegetative state may be misdiagnosed. These people may hear and register what is going on around them and simply be unable to respond.
Contrary to what you may have heard or read in the media Terri Schiavo is not in a coma. She is not on a ventilator, she breathes on her own. She is not being kept alive by artificial means. She receives food and fluids through a tube in her stomach. Her husband wants this tube to be removed and when it is removed the medical staff and the courts will NOT allow her to be fed by mouth. They say that they are afraid that she would choke to death and they think that would be more cruel than starving and dehydrating her to death, a painful process that could take weeks.
Dr. Victor Gambone testified, after viewing the court videotapes that he was surprised to see Terri's level of awareness. This doctor is part of a team hand-picked by her husband, Michael Schiavo, shortly before he filed to have Terri's feeding removed. 14 independent medical professionals (6 of them neurologists) have given either statements or testimony that Terri is NOT in a Persistent Vegetative State.
Terri Schiavo's death is being promoted by Michael Schiavo, his attorney's and much of the media as being compassionate. The truth is, that for the disabled, it is the first step down a very dangerous road.
Richard at BlogsforTerri has more on the recent research indicating that a number of patients may have been misdiagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state.
Terri is about to be excuted in a cruel and painful manner, mostly because one man wants to get rid of her. If she were a criminal, this would most certainly be declared cruel and unusual punishment. If she were a prisoner of war, there would be massive protests all over the country about how evil the government was. But because she is vunerable, frail, and cannot communicate easily, and had the misfortune to marry the wrong man, and the misfortune to live in the wrong county, she is going to be put to a horrible death. God have mercy on all of us who don't try to do something to save her.
This is judicial murder at its worst.
Hopefully if all of us write a letter, send an e-mail or say a prayer we can save Terri's life!