Different River

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

March 16, 2005

If you did not need a feeding tube, would you want food and water?

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:42 pm

If you did not need a feeding tube, would you want to be given food and water to prolong your life? That is, if you didn’t need a feeding tube, would you want to food an nutrition provided by “natural means”? There’s a judge in Florida who says “No.”

Much of the debate over Terri Schaivo has centered around the assumption that she cannot obtain nutrition and hydration except through a feeding tube. But what if she could obtain nutrition and hydration by “natural means,” that is, through procedures known to medical science as “eating” and “drinking”? In that case, would it still be justified to end her supply of food and drink and let her die of starvation and dehydration? The answer, according to Judge Greer, is yes, and furthermore it’s probihited to find out if she could eat or drink. And, so, Judge Greer has issued an order prohibiting giving Terri “food and water by natural means.”

I’ve told this to enough people in person to know that you’ll probably think I’m either making this up, or completely crazy, since no one would order such a thing. So, here’s a copy of the actual court order signed by Judge Greer. It’s a PDF file (meaning you need Adobe Reader or equivalent to read it) containing a scanned image of the court document, including the judge’s signature.

After a paragraph reviewing the motion to allow natural feeding and another paragraph citing some procedural rules, and determining that they “are asking for an experimental procedure” the order concludes:


ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Respondents’ Emergency Expedited Motion for Permission to Provide Theresa Schiavo with Food and Water by Natural Means is DENIED.

DONE AND ORDERED in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida, this 8 day of March, 2005.

This just has not just ordered removal of a “feeding tube” — he’s ordered complete removal of food and water, given by any means.

He has determined that “providing food and water by natural means” is an “experimental procedure.” There are millions of people around the world who are given “providing food and water by natural means.” Some get it put in their mouths by other people without their express consent (e.g., babies), some with their consent (e.g., double-arm-amputees), and — Judge Greer would be shocked to discover — some even perform this “experimental procedure” on themselves. But Judge Greer feels that there’s no justification for subjecting Terri Schiavo to this procedure. After all, there’s been no evidence present in court that she ever ate or drank before becoming incapacitated, is there? So we don’t know if she’d want it…

(Why is it “experimental” anyway? Well, I guess the FDA never approved “eating and drinking,” so what else could they be but “experimental”?)

5 Responses to “If you did not need a feeding tube, would you want food and water?”

  1. Victoria Says:

    I think you mean that Terri need nutrition and *hydration*. Without it, she will *dehydrate*.
    I wrote to my congressman, but I don’t know what he can to. Maybe Jeb can give her a pardon…
    as if she is a criminal rather than a victim.

  2. Different River Says:

    Typographical errors corrected. Thank you!

  3. Different River Says:

    P.S. Jeb tried to “pardon” her over a year ago, and the law under which he did that was ruled unconstitutional by SCOFLA (Supreme Court Of Florida).

    Not only can you write to your Congressman — hopefully by using their online “e-mail: form, since real mail takes weeks with all the anthrax precautions — but you can also call your Congressman’s office(s), and do the same with your Senators.

  4. Different River Says:

    Schiavo swallows?
    It is reported that after first refusing, Michael Schiavo allowed Terri to receive communion on Easter, and on March 18:

    The Rev. Thaddeus Malanowski said he gave Schiavo wine but could not give her a fleck of communion bread because her tongue was …

  5. stephanie post Says:

    I hope that george greer gets violently ill where he can’t eat or drink
    and he can know how it feels to be starved and dehydrated. if he ends
    up in the ER, I hope they put on his chart…hydration DENIED

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