Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

February 24, 2005

How To Save Terry Schiavo’s Life

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:04 am

Clayton Cramer has figured it out:

Have the State of Florida convict her of a capital felony (“aggravated vegetativeness”); then the ACLU will file suit to keep her alive.

Meanwhile, the stay of execution has been extended until 5:00pm Friday.

As La Shawn Barber puts it:

I hope my life never hinges on a judge’s whim.

She also links to a critical, personal, cut-to-the chase story from Tom McMahon, who has a son in a similar conndition — and wants to know when they will be coming for him:

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?

11 Responses to “How To Save Terry Schiavo’s Life”

  1. Different River Says:

    Habeas Corpus for Terri Schiavo?
    Concerning the Terri Schiavo case, much has been said about how Terri seems to have fewer rights than convicted (let alone accused) murderers on death row (examples here). If the Judge’s latest stay is lifted, Terri is due to be killed in a manner (s…

  2. charmayne borchert Says:

    The Judge should be tried for murder! How can our country let this happen? please step in Mr President. You are Terry’s only hope. Be her Angel.

  3. Cintia Says:

    I cannot believe that in today’s age, the US court system is allowing this girl die just because she is brain damaged! I work with such men, women, and children in NJ and I cannot imagine that ever being allowed here. I hope the National Brain Injury Association gets involved and help never allow such and unjust death sentence happen. Shame on these Florida judges!!! My prayers are with Terry and her family. May God bless you and give you the strength.
    -Cintia – New Jersey

  4. Janice Russell Says:

    I too have a severely handicapped son.
    He is 49 and cannot fend for himself.
    When they removed Terry’s feeding tube
    it was as if they began starving my
    son too. My heart aches for her
    parents. Please someone – intervene
    here and allow her to be helped!!

  5. Ruth Says:

    I cannot understand this country. I am no longer proud to be an American citizen. If Terry’s husband is allowed to keep the feeding tube removed from Terry , this should be considered legal domestic abuse. I will not let my sons fight for a country who disregard the human race in such a terrible way. It is awful that President Bush and congress do not have any further legal routes available to them, and they are now just sitting ducks . Terry had unexplained broken bones. It appeared the fractures were well before terry’s unfortunate illness. JUDGE WHITTEMORE REMEMBER THOU SHALL NOT KILL.

  6. Allen Says:

    Hello, my name is Allen. My wife is typing this for me because I am a ventilator dependent c1-c2 quadriplegic. I was a healthy man before i was afflicted with polio in 1992. For 4 weeks I was in a coma. I had a feeding tube a repirator to breathe,I had no living will. I had my wife who would keep my best wishes at heart. I couldn’t talk eat swallow or breathe. My feeding tube was in for 6 months. I wasn’t able to speak for 8 weeks. I have been on my respirator for over 12 years. I live with my wife and our 7 beautiful children. My wife Ruthie and I are going to write living wills, not because we do not trust each other but because we do not trust all doctor’s opinions. We definately do not trust judges anymore. And we don’t want anyone to question our decisions. We want all heroic means possible . Michael let Terry live. Divorce her. You had only 5 years with her. Her parents have had a life time. They are willing to care for her. You have only your bests interests at heart. you care nothing about your children. You have been having an affair with their mother, and are trying to kill your wife. Great role model. If you and George Felos are scientologists, which many people believe are the occult, you have no business placing your beliefs on Terry. If you think your going to be reincarnated some day. Good for you. Terry is catholic. Hey maybe you’ll come back as someone who has a soul and a heart. Judge Whittemore remember your faith in making this delicate decision. THOU SHALL NOT KILL. Thank you Allen disabled in America 2nd class citizen.

  7. EP Says:

    You people are ridiculous in your quest to “save” Terri Schiavo. This woman, while not brain dead, has no significant brain function to speak of. Her cerebral cortex, where all higher brain activity is located, is liquefied; the brain cells simply no longer work, and no amount of therapy is going to rewire her brain to a point where she can have any willful life ever again. To the person who commented on the five year Michael Schiavo had with his wife versus the years her parents had, I say this: I have been married for less than five years. My wife and I last year executed advanced directives so that if we ever found ourselves in a state where we could not take care of ourselves and had chance of getting better, that no heroic measures be taken to prolong our lives. Do you think that the lendgth of our marriage has anything to do with whether or not we legitimately expressed our wishes on how we lived? Michael Schiavo is her legal guardian, you morons, just like I am my wife’s and she is mine! The courts, our only method to decide this sort of matter under these circumstances, have sided with Terri’s legal guardian over and over again. Your anguish over Terri’s fate, while understandable, is going to get you nowhere. God’s will is working here, despite the fact that it’s an outcome with which you disagree.

    Has anyone stopped to think that, if Terri dies, she will no longer be in the state she is in? I presume most of you are Christians, and I know that you believe that in heaven there is no suffering and no affliction. Terri will see, hear, and experience a new level of consciousness that we humans can’t even begin to understand, so let her go and shut up about keeping her alive. The only people who will benefit from her staying alive are her parents and siblings. No one’s even thinking about how God will take care of Terri. Give up! Let go, let God.

  8. Different River Says:

    EP writes:

    Her cerebral cortex, where all higher brain activity is located, is liquefied; the brain cells simply no longer work …

    This is not correct. The CT scan — the only one she’s had — can be found here . This is from the blog of a radiologist, who says that there is substantial cerebral cortex remaining, and that the CT scan is not consistent with PVS; in fact,
    the radiologist says he’s seen people walking and talking with worse
    damage than that shown in that CT scan.

    In short, the brain is not “liquefied”; the brain cells are there, and they work. In addition, read this report of the neurologist who actually examined her.

    Has anyone stopped to think that, if Terri dies, she will no longer be in the state she is in?

    Um, yes, she’d be in the state called “dead.” That’s the whole point.

    I presume most of you are Christians, and I know that you believe that in heaven there is no suffering and no affliction. Terri will see, hear, and experience a new level of consciousness that we humans can’t even begin to understand, so let her go and shut up about keeping her alive.

    Well, this is my blog, and I am Jewish, so to that extent you presume incorrectly. (Readers include Christians, Jews, atheists, and agnositcs — and those are just the readers I know about.) Judaism teaches that reward in the next world in incomparable to reward in this world — but the reverse is also true. As such life in this world is infinitely valuable. See Pirkei Avos 4:22. In addition, we believe that people are punished for their sins before receiving the eternam reward for their good deeds, and suffering in this world can replace punishment in the next world.

    I don’t know what exactly Christians believe about all this, but the Jewish believe is entirely consistent with living as long as possible in this world, regardless of the so-called “quality of life.”

    My and my wife’s advance directives say that we want to be kept alive by whatever means are necessary. However, in this climate, I doubt anyone will ever read them; if the situation comes up they’ll just here we “have an advance directive” and assume it means we want to die.

  9. Harry Kermet Says:

    EP, I totally agree with you, Terri will be in a better place than we are. Her parents and siblings are selfish in keeping Terri alive for their own happieness. Keeping a suffering person alive is inhumane!

  10. Different River Says:

    Harry Kermet: If she “has no significant brain function to speak of,” then how can you say she is suffering? And if she has been suffering all these years, isn’t she suffering more from starvation and dehydration?

    It seems to me like you are trying to have it both ways — She has no awareness at all, so there’s no loss in letting her die, but she is aware enough to suffer, so we need to let her die, but she’s not aware enough to suffer, so it’s OK to kill her by starvation and dehydration, which is extremely painful for any aware person.

    Which is it?

  11. Harry Kermet Says:

    Different River, you’re absolutely right. By the holy name of Jesus to whom every knee
    shall bow down in front of on Judgement Day, we should have saved Terry. We should have
    attacked that hospital full of those murdering doctors and nurses who kept water and food
    away from Terry. They should have released Terry to her loving mother and father so they
    could have kept her alive for as long as they liked. Let’s pray together for Terry…

    Dear Lord JESUS, we hope and pray that you have taken Terry into your loving and gracious
    arms when she died. Please forgive my sins as well as Different River’s. Please fogive us
    for any immoral or sexual thoughts that we might have in our minds as well as for thinking
    it was okay for Terry to die the way she did. Please forgive me as well as Different River
    for we were not made perfect. Amen.

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