Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube has been removed.
I have written so much on this subject, there is really no point in saying it all again. My posts about Terri Schiavo are collected here.
There are two things on which, I would hope, most people could agree. First: starving and dehydrating a person to death is cruel. If we wouldn’t do it to our pet, we shouldn’t do it to a human. Second: absent a clear written directive, substantial controversies regarding a patient’s wishes on life-and-death issues should not be resolved by a single judge according to a civil standard of proof. I make that argument here.
Listening to the radio today, I could tell that most people are ignorant of the basic facts of this case. For example, Morton Kondracke said on Hugh Hewitt’s show that this is about how we treat terminally ill people — even though it is undisputed that Schiavo is not terminally ill. I think this is a good example of the way that people’s view of this case is colored by their own painful personal experiences, to the point where many are unable to look at the facts of the Schiavo case on its own merits.
In the extended entry, I pick a few of of my past posts on this issue, for the benefit of those who don’t know the facts.
I ask a friend of mine, a former director of neurology at a major hospital in the New York City area, to look at the videos and give me his opinion. His opinion is that, based on her responsiveness, withholding nutrition and hydration is “inhuman.”
Michael Schiavo bars Terri’s family from visiting her.
I give some basic facts about the controversy, in showing how the L.A. Times has misled its readers about the facts.
I publish excerpts from affidavits from three nurses or nursing assistants, who alleged that:
- Terri Schiavo was making progress, but entries about her progress were removed from her chart;
- Michael Schiavo said: “When is she going to die?,” “Has she died yet?” and “When is that bitch gonna die?”;
- Michael Schiavo talked about the things he would buy, and trips he would take, once Terri was dead;
- Michael Schiavo deliberately withheld rehabilitative therapy from Terri; and
- Terri Schiavo spoke in recognizable words at times.
Sometimes people are written off as “vegetables” and later recover.
The New York Times reports that “many neurologists” back the court’s decision that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state — but the article shows only that a single doctor who testified for Michael Schiavo says that. Turns out he’s a right-to-die activist who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
These are just a few relevant posts, but they’ll give you a good start.