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Old 10-23-2003, 07:09 PM   #1
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Should She Live or Die

The case of Terri Schiavo is very interesting. A judge says "Let her die." A governor says, "Let her live." The facts in the case are not clear cut.

Based on this case alone, what would you do - let her live or die?

The latest from CNN

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Father: Brain-damaged daughter responsive

PINELLAS PARK, Florida (CNN) --The father who has fought for more than five years to keep his brain-damaged daughter alive said when he visited her Thursday, she turned down his kisses, saying, "Uh-uh."

"I was in front of her and I'm kissing her on the cheek, and she doesn't like that," said a smiling Bob Schindler after visiting his 39-year-old daughter Terri Schiavo.

He said he then asked, "'Do you want me to kiss you again?' She goes, 'Uh-uh. Uh-uh.' That's what I got from her."

Terri Schiavo's brain was damaged in 1990 when she collapsed from heart failure, the result of doctors' misdiagnosis. She recovered from the heart attack, but oxygen was cut off to her brain, leaving her in what doctors call a "persistent vegetative state."

Eight years later, her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, filed a court petition to remove his wife's feeding tube as he claims his wife wanted, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The woman did not have a will.

Terri Schiavo's family fought the move, maintaining that their daughter responds to them and should be kept alive with a feeding tube.

Schindler said Wednesday his daughter is "alert, active, a live human being" and said videotapes that showed her condition moved Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to act on her behalf.

Michael Schiavo claims Terri did not want to be kept alive artificially. Doctors said last week she would have died within two weeks without the feeding tube.

A court seemingly ended the five-year legal battle when it ordered the tube removed last week. But the state legislature quickly passed a law giving the governor the right to intervene, which he did Tuesday. The feeding tube was reinserted Wednesday.

Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, said the law allowing Bush to order her feeding tube reinserted is unconstitutional. His attorneys asked a circuit court judge in Pinellas County Tuesday to grant an emergency injunction preventing the re-feeding of his wife.

The judge rejected the request, but gave attorneys five days to file paperwork for a permanent injunction.

"Each of us -- and the Florida Supreme Court has said this -- has a right to control our own body," Felos said. "We have a fundamental right to make our own medical treatment choices, and the state doesn't have a right to override our wishes."

Michael Schiavo has not allowed the family to see Terri Schiavo's medical reports, but Wednesday he allowed them to visit her.

Schindler said when he saw his daughter Wednesday night she looked withdrawn, but "today it's just the opposite."

He said his daughter looked a little weak from not having food for a week, but "other than that, she really looks good, I mean, too good.

"She looks like she did before this incident with the tube," he said, adding that the family is trying to get access to medical reports on her current condition.

Asked if the husband may finally give in to the family's demands and just walk away from the entire case, Schindler said he was unaware of any such possibility, but would definitely welcome it.

"Michael Schiavo is not our primary concern," the father said. "It's to see her back to the condition she should be in."

Independent guardian to be appointed
A Pinellas County Circuit Court judge this week ordered lawyers for both sides to agree within five days on an independent guardian for Terri, as required under the law signed by the governor.

The new guardian would become Terri Schiavo's advocate in legal proceedings, but Michael Schiavo would remain the decision-maker.

If an agreement cannot be reached, the judge said he will appoint Dr. Jay Wolfson, a professor of health and law at Stetson University, as the guardian. Wolfson also works for the College of Public Health at Florida State University and the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida.

Terri Schiavo's parents have accused their son-in-law of selfish motivations. Michael Schiavo -- who has a girlfriend with whom he has a child -- won $1.2 million in a malpractice case against his wife's gynecologist and another $250,000 in a settlement with her general practitioner. Most of that money was to go toward her treatment.

In addition, he received $300,000 for pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

Michael Schiavo has declined to comment on whether there is an outstanding life insurance policy on his wife.
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Old 10-23-2003, 07:31 PM   #2
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I've been following this case for a few years and when I hear her husband's side of the story, my first reaction is that he would know her better than anyone and his wishes should be carried out.

Then, I hear the parent's side and see the video of Terri "appearing" to smile and respond and I think that even though there isn't hope of a normal life, she's still very much alive and shouldn't be let to die.

Then there are also her parent's allegations that the husband won't divorce her and walk away because he would jeopardize his million dollar malpractice settlement.

Its very sad...and hate to see a person in her state be kept alive by machines for what could be decades but then again, I don't know if I could let her die if she was my daughter or sister.
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Old 10-23-2003, 07:36 PM   #3
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You can't tell me that if this were an animal being starved to death, the animal rights people wouldn't be ALL over this. But because she's a human being...eh. It's not a big issue.
Disco talked about this in her journal, and it really is sad but true. Quality of life has become more important to people than sanctity of life
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Old 10-23-2003, 07:40 PM   #4
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Originally posted by Bono's American Wife

Its very sad...and hate to see a person in her state be kept alive by machines for what could be decades but then again, I don't know if I could let her die if she was my daughter or sister.
Is a feeding tube considered a machine? It is my understanding that she needs basic care for bathing, dressing, feeding, etc. but is not actually hooked up to machines such as a ventilator...
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Old 10-23-2003, 08:11 PM   #5
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i think , it's up to her parents to decide , they should have a final opinion , i mean , they want their daughter to be alive , even as a vegetable , i'm sure her husband cares , but it's really should be up to them .
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Old 10-23-2003, 08:11 PM   #6
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If she was unassisted by technology, she would have died 13 years ago. If I use Roman Catholic theology as my guide, it is morally permissable to disconnect someone from artificial means of survival, if it is believed that there is no chance of recovery. What have the court-appointed doctors said? There is no chance of recovery. What little responses she has made over the past decade are consistent with someone in a persistent vegetative state, and I believe that she has ceased to be truly alive for years. The question, now, is whether or not she will ever be permitted to die.

The irony, perhaps, is that those who believe in an afterlife are the most afraid of dying, and, arguably, Terri has been denied an afterlife for the past 13 years.

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Old 10-23-2003, 08:28 PM   #7
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Originally posted by bonosloveslave


Is a feeding tube considered a machine? It is my understanding that she needs basic care for bathing, dressing, feeding, etc. but is not actually hooked up to machines such as a ventilator...

No you are correct..that's actually what I meant. She is being kept alive by a feeding tube. If they removed it, she would die of dehydration.
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Old 10-23-2003, 09:20 PM   #8
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I wish there was a will.

My family has made this a very important point. Both my parents, brother, grandparents and I have appointed Power of Attorney to each other to insure a DNR is carried out. People have a right to live and a right to die.

Based on the medical evidence at hand, she has no chance of a meaningful recovery. Persistent vegetative state means exactly that. I'm uneasy about starving her to death, but I don't think that her current state qualifies as being alive either. There is a lot more to life than breathing.

If there was some way to show that she did not want to live in this way, then I say to remove her feeding tube. I can understand her parents would want her around, but what is her quality of life, what is the sense of her going on? I don't know.
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Old 10-23-2003, 09:31 PM   #9
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well , there is always a place for a miracle , you know
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Old 10-23-2003, 11:49 PM   #10
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The irony, perhaps, is that those who believe in an afterlife are the most afraid of dying, and, arguably, Terri has been denied an afterlife for the past 13 years.
This is so true. Honestly who here would be wanting to stay alive in this state. You have no life and your loved ones have given up theirs to be by your side. You can't even do the essential things to stay alive, technology has to do it for you. You can't even thank your family for their support. You are costing people small fortunes and for what, because your body still works but nothing else does. I would never want to "live" like this, why prolong my entrance into a place where a failing body won't hinder me any longer.

I personally think her parents are being extremely selfish wanting their child to live like this. She's not living, she's breathing but not living. I feel very sorry for her and pray to God, that my loved ones would never do this to me.
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Old 10-24-2003, 01:02 AM   #11
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Originally posted by melon
If she was unassisted by technology, she would have died 13 years ago. If I use Roman Catholic theology as my guide, it is morally permissable to disconnect someone from artificial means of survival, if it is believed that there is no chance of recovery. What have the court-appointed doctors said? There is no chance of recovery. What little responses she has made over the past decade are consistent with someone in a persistent vegetative state, and I believe that she has ceased to be truly alive for years. The question, now, is whether or not she will ever be permitted to die.

The irony, perhaps, is that those who believe in an afterlife are the most afraid of dying, and, arguably, Terri has been denied an afterlife for the past 13 years.

Melon
Exactly. And ditto what BonoVoxSupastar and anitram said, too.

It's pointless to keep her alive with the state she's in now. If she hasn't improved at all by now, it's highly unlikely she ever will improve.

I understand it'd be hard for her parents to let her go, but it needs to be done. It can't be much better seeing her every day in the state she's in now, knowing there's nothing they can do to make her better.

This is not a "life" worth living.

Angela
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Old 10-24-2003, 01:44 AM   #12
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A life not worth living is an interesting line. I dont disagree with it, but I dont know that I agree with it either. A friend of my sister's lost one of her 2 sons in a car accident. During the stress of the ensuing legal battle to fight for the negligent driver to face the music, her husband had a fatal heart attack. Within 2 years she lost her remaining son to a brain tumour.
She has now for all intents and purposes a life not worth living. Her entire family died, one by one in a relatively short period of time. She certainly wakes up every morning and asks why is she still alive. No one killed her though.

We all have a different interpretation of what a life worth living really is.

2 things concern me after reading this and that is one being Terri's 'vegetative state' and her will (according to her husband) to not live. I am no doctor but don't see how someone in such a severe vegetative state could be able to make this request for themselves. Like others here I am wondering over the settlement claim and the potential $$$ he can receive.
The other is the issue of her currently being kept alive through a feeding tube. To remove this and let her die 'peacefully' is an oxymoron. Starvation and dehydration in advanced stages are incredibly painful, decreased brain function or not. It would be nothing short of inhumane to let her suffer like this. It is not as though she is in a severe coma and during a period of previous clarity stated in writing to have a live support switched off if she deteriorated to this.

But I guess it is a life not worth living.
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:36 AM   #13
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Originally posted by Angela Harlem
A life not worth living is an interesting line. I dont disagree with it, but I dont know that I agree with it either. A friend of my sister's lost one of her 2 sons in a car accident. During the stress of the ensuing legal battle to fight for the negligent driver to face the music, her husband had a fatal heart attack. Within 2 years she lost her remaining son to a brain tumour.
She has now for all intents and purposes a life not worth living. Her entire family died, one by one in a relatively short period of time. She certainly wakes up every morning and asks why is she still alive. No one killed her though.

We all have a different interpretation of what a life worth living really is.

2 things concern me after reading this and that is one being Terri's 'vegetative state' and her will (according to her husband) to not live. I am no doctor but don't see how someone in such a severe vegetative state could be able to make this request for themselves. Like others here I am wondering over the settlement claim and the potential $$$ he can receive.
The other is the issue of her currently being kept alive through a feeding tube. To remove this and let her die 'peacefully' is an oxymoron. Starvation and dehydration in advanced stages are incredibly painful, decreased brain function or not. It would be nothing short of inhumane to let her suffer like this. It is not as though she is in a severe coma and during a period of previous clarity stated in writing to have a live support switched off if she deteriorated to this.

But I guess it is a life not worth living.
Your're sister's friend still has life. It may feel like everything is gone, but she has friends. She has your sister. Yes it's hard, but it's really an entirely different situation. She has the option and the ability to still go and create a new life for herself. One of my Grandmother's friend had almost the same exact thing happen to her. She lost everyone within an 18 month period. She was 54 and had no husband, children, parents or siblings. She decided to start a new life and now she's 80 something and is one of the most lively people I've met and she heads all these old women in their card games and day trips they take through the church.

This girl doesn't have that ability. Your sister's friend is alive for a reason. This poor girl is being kept alive because her parents can't let go. Will the suffering after the food tube is removed be more than the suffering she's endure over the last decade?
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:52 AM   #14
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I see your point, and the example I used wasn't to paint any definate comparison as they are entirely different situations but more to say that we all have different ideas of what a life worth living really is.
This woman (Terri) is responsive. She may be unable to live with any of the freedom or ability we take for granted, but she is alive.

Here's another example. Once I worked in OOSH care and there was a client who required tube feeding. She had brain injuries and couldn't walk and had little to no gross motor capability. She would smile though, make a sound to laugh, another to show displeasure. Is she any different? If her parents decided she had no quality of life whatsoever, would it really be ok to let her die? I'm asking genuinely, not to be a smart arse. I can't be comfortable with this.
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Old 10-24-2003, 11:06 AM   #15
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The problem with the "life not worth living" standard is that you are applying it to another person. It is easy to say, "this life or that life is not worth living," but would you really be willing to make the call?

Imagine that you are fully aware of your surroundings, but have no ability to communicate. Imagine hearing someone else make the determination that your life is not worth living.

The Schiavo case is challenging as there is a conflict between the doctors regarding the chance for recovery.
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