Different River

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

March 21, 2005

Federal Judge Declines to Rule, Terri Without Food and Water for 74 Hours

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:51 pm

As reported here:

U.S. Judge in Schiavo Case Withholds Ruling on Feeding Tube

March 21 (Bloomberg) — A federal judge declined for now to order a feeding tube reinserted in Terri Schiavo, the brain- damaged Florida woman who has been in a vegetative state for 15 years.

U.S. District Judge James Whittemore, after hearing arguments for about two hours in Tampa, gave no indication of how soon he may act on a request by Schiavo’s parents to order the tube inserted.

“I will not tell you when, how or how long it will take,” Whittemore said.

That could mean he’s planning to wait for her to die so he doesn’t have to make a ruling.

(Hat tip: Blogs for Terri, citing Thrownback.)

Crime and Guns in Philadelphia

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:14 pm

There is a massive crime wave going on right now in Philadelphia, as reported by KYW:

Within the past eight days, there have been 23 homicides in Philadelphia, including three in the late-night and early morning hours after District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham made her appeal and vowed that her office will protect witnesses.

“We cannot only move you out of the city, we can move you out of the state; we can move you across the country,” Abraham said.

The latest deaths brought Philadelphia’s 2005 murder total to 78, up from 66 at the same point a year ago, police said.

[Mayor John F.] Street has declared the violence throughout the city a crisis and as a result has ordered the full review of police department policies and has suggested a full moratorium on the issuing of gun permits.

In addition, Street has requested a meeting with Governor Ed Rendell to talk about possible new gun legislation. He contends that some murders are impossible to prevent without tougher gun laws.

I’m sure Mayor Street would consider this a dumb question, but humor me for a moment: Does he really believe that people who are willing to violate the laws against murder would be unwilling to violate gun laws? Even if they were “tougher gun laws”?

I mean, really — the penalty for murder is typically the “toughest” penalty for any crime in any given state or city, ranging up to life in prison, and in some states, death. Much “tougher” than the punishement for violating any gun law. What kind of person would be afraid or unwilling to break gun laws but not murder laws? I’d say no person at all.

Imagine this conversation:

Gang member #1: OK, your job is to kill Mrs. Jones down on 28th Street. She called the cops on me last week.

Gang member #2: Sorry, no can do — they just passed tougher gun laws and I can’t get a gun permit.

If that sounds reasonable to you, then Mayor Street’s proposal probably makes sense to you to. If not, then it shouldn’t.

(And this leaving aside the fact that with all the background checks and the like, it’s very rare for crimes to be committed by gun-permit holders. First, if you’ve ever committed a violent or drug crime, you can’t get a permit. And second, if you’re planning to commit a crime, would you show up at the police station or courthouse to apply for a gun permit? A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis found that gun permit holder are 1000 times less likely to commit crimes than the general public.)

(Hat tip: VCDL.)

Definition of the Day (Syllogistic Hypocrisy #4)

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:04 pm

A liberal is someone who believes that convicted wife-and-baby-killer Scott Peterson should live, but innocent-but-disabled Terri Schiavo should die.

Or, more particularly, that convicted wife-and-baby-killer Scott Peterson should be spared the death penalty (because the state has no right to kill someone), but innocent-but-disabled Terri Schiavo should die a slow and painful death from dehydration (because that’s what the judge ordered).

Fortunately, there are a few liberals out there who may prove this definition wrong — if indeed they remain liberals.

For an explanation of the “syllogistic hypocrisy” series, click here.

Baby pulled off ventilator over mother’s objections

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:40 pm

Folks, it’s not just Terri — and it’s not just when family members disagree over what to do.

Last week, a hospital pulled a breathing tube from a six-month-old, conscious baby, against the objections of the baby’s mother.

Story here:

The baby wore a cute blue outfit with a teddy bear covering his bottom. The 17-pound, 6-month-old boy wiggled with eyes open and smacked his lips, according to his mother.

Then at 2 p.m. today, a medical staffer at Texas Children’s Hospital gently removed the breathing tube that had kept Sun Hudson alive since his Sept. 25 birth. Cradled by his mother, he took a few breaths, and died.

“I talked to him, I told him that I loved him. Inside of me, my son is still alive,” Wanda Hudson told reporters afterward. “This hospital was considered a miracle hospital. When it came to my son, they gave up in six months …. They made a terrible mistake.”

And by the way, the hospital refused to allow the mother to take her case to the media:

The hospital’s description of Sun — that he was motionless and sedated for comfort — has differed sharply from the mother’s. Since February, the hospital has blocked the media from accepting Hudson’s invitation to see the baby in the neonatal intensive care unit, citing patient privacy concerns. [This is total bunk -- the federal HIPPA law gives the parent the right to waive privacy for a minor and insist that the hospital comply. They jsut didn't want any evidence to get out showing the baby was actually responsive. --DR]

“I wanted y’all to see my son for yourself,” Hudson told reporters. “So you could see he was actually moving around. He was conscious.”

This too was completely “legal” — meaning, on the orders of a judge, in compliance with a Texas law that allows hospitals to “remove life-sustaining care” (i.e., kill) patients even if the patient and his/her family objects. The baby was not brain-dead, or any other kind of dead.

On Feb. 16, Harris County Probate Court Judge William C. McCulloch made the landmark decision to lift restrictions preventing Texas Children’s from discontinuing care. However, an emergency appeal by Hudson’s attorney, Mario Caballero, and a procedural error on McCulloch’s part prevented the hospital from acting for four more weeks.

Texas law allows hospitals can discontinue life sustaining care, even if patient family members disagree. A doctor’s recommendation must be approved by a hospital’s ethics committee, and the family must be given 10 days from written notice of the decision to try and locate another facility for the patient.

Imagine this: You have (say) a car accident. You are sitting in a hospital. Your spouse, or parent, or child comes to visit and says, “We just got a letter from the hospital’s lawyers. The hospital has decided to stop treating you and let you die. We have 10 days to find you another hospital, and you have to survive the move there — and by the way, the 10 days started when they wrote the letter three days ago.”

Meanwhile, in most areas hospitals have overlapping management (here in Northern Virginia, all the hospitals are owned and run by the same hospital, so obviously none would take a pateint rejected by another).

In Terri Schiavo’s case, everyone is arguing over whether her estranged husband has the right to pull the tube against her parents’ objections. But it’s quite possible that wouldn’t matter, since in some cases, the hospital can pull the tube over all the relatives’ objections!

(Hat tip: Clayton Cramer, who cites Mark Kleiman.)

Court hearing at 3:00pm ET

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:08 am

From Blogs for Terri:

There is a hearing scheduled in court today at 3:00 PM ET before Honorable Judge James D Whittemore in Tampa today for a restraining order to be placed on Judge Greer, Michael Schiavo and the Hospice of Florida Suncoast for denying Terri food and water.

Please continue to pray. Terri’s family is concerned that the judge is not alowing the immediate reinsertion of her feeding tube and is waiting until 3:00 PM ET. She is not holding up as well as last time her tube was removed.

Meanwhile, a victims’ rights group called The Justice Coalition has asked U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to investigate whether Terri has been deprived of her civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I don’t know if they had to wait for the food and water to be pulled before filing that, or if they just didn’t think of it, but I don’t understand why all this is being done now instead of before. Or maybe they were doing stuff like this before, but we only hear about it when it’s last-minute.

The Bill Passed!

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:48 am

I was just watching C-SPAN, and the bill to allow Terri Schiavo’s case to be removed to federal court passed the House by the required two-thirds majority, 203-58. (Republicans: 156-5; Democrats 47-53. Not voting: 71 Republicans, 102 Democrats, 1 Socialist.)

Having passed the Senate earlier, it now goes to the President and should be signed shortly. President Bush returned to Washington earlier this weekend just for this purpose.

Then, on to federal court. It’s not over yet, or even close.

See also here and here.

UPDATE: (3/21/05 9:55am) President Bush signed the bill within an hour, and the relevant papers were filed in the federal district court in Tampa asking for an emergency injunction. The case was assigned (randomly) to Judge James Whittemore, a 1999 Clinton appointee. No ruling yet, as Terri nears the beginning of her fourth day without food.

Also, to re-insert the tube requires a 90-minute procedure done under anesthesia. This is somewhat risky given that she’ s rather dehydrated already. It also presents an easy opportunity for a zealously pro-euthanasia doctor to “accidently” cause her death. But, it’s been done successfully twice before.

Carnival of the Capitalists

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:11 am

Carnival of the Capitalists, the weekly roundup of economics blogs, is up at Beyond the Brand.

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