Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Terri is not alone...

It is amazing the eagerness that some folks have to kill people who are vunerable, who don't match someone's criteria of quality, or who are just weak and able to be put down because they can't fight back.

Life Matters notes some of the following cases:

But those of us for whom the fight for Terri Schindler-Schiavo is not our first, our tenth, or even our 100th battle—not our first fight for life nor our last—know only too well that that surrender to the law of the jungle was made long ago and that rather than high noon, it is, if seen from an optimistic viewpoint that rivals Pollyanna, minutes to midnight in America.

* Where was the national outrage, a quarter century ago when Clarence Herbert, a 55-year-old security guard, was starved to death on doctors' orders in the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Harbor City, CA, in 1981?

* And where was the public outcry in 1983 when the nephew of Claire Conroy, an 84 year-old resident of a New Jersey nursing home, described as "conscious but confused," sought to have her starved to death?

* And how many protested when the Florida Second District Court of Appeal—yes, that District Court—ruled that 75-year-old Helen Corbett, deemed "incompetent," could be starved to death in 1986?

* Or when 45-year-old Massachusetts fire fighter, Paul Brophy, became the first person to be starved to death on court order that same year?

Wesley Smith describes this horror story:

The worst of these cases of which I am aware is the tragic dehydration of Marjorie Nighbert. Marjorie was a successful businesswoman until a stroke left her disabled. She was unable to swallow safely, but not terminally ill. She was moved from Alabama to a nursing home in Florida where she would receive rehabilitation to help her relearn how to chew and swallow without danger of aspiration. A feeding tube was inserted to ensure that she was properly nourished during her recovery.

Marjorie had once told her brother Maynard that she didn’t want a feeding tube if she were terminally ill. Despite the fact that she was not dying, Maynard believed that she had meant that she would rather die by dehydration than live the rest of her life using a feeding tube. Accordingly, he ordered all of Marjorie’s nourishment stopped.

As she was slowly dehydrating to death, Marjorie began to beg the staff for food and water. Distraught nurses and staff members, not knowing what else to do, surreptitiously snuck her small amounts. One staffer—who was later fired for the deed—blew the whistle, leading to a hurried court investigation and a temporary restraining order requiring that Marjorie receive nourishment.

Circuit Court Judge Jere Tolton appointed attorney William F. Stone to represent Marjorie and gave him twenty-four hours to determine whether she was competent to rescind the general power of attorney she had given to Maynard before her stroke. After the rushed investigation, Stone was forced to report that Marjorie was not competent at that time. (She had, after all, been intentionally malnourished for several weeks.) Stone particularly noted that he had been unable to determine whether she had been competent at the time the dehydration commenced.

With Stone’s report in hand, Judge Tolton ruled that the dehydration should be completed! Before an appalled Stone could appeal, Marjorie died on April 6, 1995.

The implication begins to move that once you reach a certain condition, you ought to be put down.

Prolife Blogs
shares this story:

A somewhat different experience is recounted by Christianity and Middle-Earth who had to make difficult decisions regarding her brother’s life after he suffered acute respiratory failure.

... by the end of that first week in the new hospital a doctor ambushed me and informed me my brother was going to die anyway, so I should let him 'die with dignity' they needed my permission to bring him off the paralytic long enough for him to be able to breathe on his own, then they’d pull the life-support. Otherwise, it would be legally murder.

After some contemplation, the writer stood firm stating to the doctors, “If you can make him comfortable enough to die, why can't you make him comfortable enough to live?" We can always kill him later; we can't resurrect him." Although the experience was difficult, the story has a good ending,

Two months later he was buying books and shopping at Walmart. He’ll be on a lot of medicine for the rest of his life, but that’s a minor detail. And the reference to the news*? If I hadn't been seething for weeks over the attempted murder of Terry Schiavo, my brother would now be ashes.

Tom McMahon asks the question that anyone who has a disabled loved one should be thinking in this day and age:

In February 1991 our son Ryan suffered a severe brain injury. He was in the hospital for 6 months, and has never regained the ability to walk or talk. He cannot answer Yes or No by any means. He is totally dependent on our care. When he came home from the hospital, he had a feeding tube to his stomach just like Terri Schiavo does now. Through a lot of repetition he learned how to eat and drink again at home, and since we didn't need the feeding tube we removed it and the hole in his stomach healed quite well, quite naturally. He likes to be around people, and he watches a lot of TV.

In short, Ryan's pretty close to the level of functioning of Terri Schiavo, as far as I can tell from the news reports about her. And now her husband, Michael Schiavo, is very close to having her feeding tube removed and having her starved to death. It's at this point I hear the words of actress Frances McDormand as Fargo's Police Chief Marge Gunderson in my head: "And for what? A little bit of money." A little bit of money. The hundreds of thousands Michael Schiavo got to help her, he now stands to receive when she is starved to death. So he can continue on with the other woman he now lives with, and their children. The honorable thing would be for him to simply walk away and let Terri live, but I guess precedent-setting case law is not often set by honorable men doing the honorable thing.

So Terri Schiavo is about to die of a court-ordered thirst, to be starved to death. Ironic, isn't it? In this country a condemned man gets a Last Meal of whatever he wants -- steak, lobster, you name it. So the only thing you can conclude is that mass murderers have more rights than Terri Schiavo. But that's not the worst of it. If a demented disk jockey were to attempt to stage a wacky radio stunt that involved starving a bunch of small rodents, he would be run out of town on a rail. In this country, even gerbils have more rights than Terri Schiavo.

Right now the chess game in the courts continues. And when Terri Schiavo is put to death, you all will feel bad about it for a while, but it will slowly fade from memory as you move on to other things. But for us, a haunting question will remain: When Will They Be Coming For Ryan?

Who decides on what makes "quality of life?" When will your imperfection be the next up on the list of "ought to be put down?"

Just thought I'd stop by for some inflammatory trolling... or maybe some dwarf burning...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?