Saturday, March 19, 2005


They Made a Desert and Called it Mercy - Hubris, Projection, and Dehydration Therapy

We make a lot of assumptions about those who have been brain damaged the way Terri Schiavo has. We see them lying there, changed from the person they used to be to something different. No one wants to be there. We are repulsed, turned away, and think it is perhaps the worst of fates.

And yet how little we know about what's going on inside a person's head during all of this. We could learn more, like by using MRIs to see how much cognitive ability is really left, but too often in our rush to disassociate ourselves from the person lying there in the bed, we make judgements that are incorrect. Doctors are not immune to these feelings. There is case after case of persons who were encouraged to to what Michael Schiavo is finally getting to do to Terri, but they refused, and their loved one got better. The largest study of this problem was done in Britain, with a 40 percent misdiagnosis!

Hubris. To project our distaste about a certain life condition and then to declare, that the person cannot feel, cannot hear, cannot know what is happening because they cannot communicate. Lots of cases say this may not be true. Look at the case of Kate Adamson, who underwent something similar:

A decade ago, Mrs. Adamson, then 33, suffered a double brain stem stroke that left her completely paralyzed, unable even to blink. Inside though, she was fully cognitive, able to understand doctors telling her husband she would either die or wind up "a vegetable." She wanted to, but couldn't, scream out when "people talked about me as if I wasn't a person, as if I didn't exist. . . . It was like being trapped underground and you're praying that somebody is going to be able to find you."

During 70 days of intensive care, doctors fed Mrs. Adamson through a tube. Then her digestive system failed, forcing them to remove the tube until her body could again eliminate waste. For the next eight days, she learned what it feels like to starve.

Unable to communicate, she remembers the terror of being "on the inside screaming out, 'Feed me something! I don't want to die! . . . I'm alive! I'm a person in here! Do not let me starve!' The hunger pains were unbearable," she said. "I thought I was going insane."

On the ninth day, doctors reinserted her tube. Now at age 43, Ms. Adamson has regained most of her physical abilities and become an advocate for the disabled.

Source: World Magazine

But in a society that allows late term D&C abortions, where the unborn child, who is old enough to feel pain, is basically dismembered, and we provide no pain relief, why should we expect other? The hubris of our culture says if they cannot complain, it isn't happening.

Lord have mercy on us all.

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