Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terry Schiavo

I have become increasingly concerned with the Terry Schiavo situation as it has progressed. I have now reached the conclusion that we are witnessing nothing less than a case of judicial murder.
I do not think that the use of that term is hyperbolic. We have here a situation where a Court has ordered the killing of a person (make no mistake, it is "killing" not "allowing her to die") upon the sole evidence given by her titular husband that this would have been her intention. This man, Mr. Schiavo, her sole guardian, will become eligible to receive a huge amount of money at the moment that Terry Schiavo draws her last breath. If ever there was a more blatant case of conflict of interest I have yet to hear of it.
There is other evidence, which was ignored by the Court, in the form of affidavits from at least two of Terry's caregivers, that Terry was sentient and responsive. They attest to the fact that each time they tried to give her therapy, or even bring her out of her room, Mr. Schiavo threatened them, with the support of the institution that employed them. One of these caregivers swore that on at least two occasions, Mr. Schiavo injected Terry with insulin, which would have killed her had not immediate remedial action been taken. On at least one of these occasions, the nurse immediately reported the incident to the institution and to the police. She was terminated by her employer on the next day. She has tried to publicize these allegations for years, but was unsuccessful until she appeared on radio and television with Sean Hannity .
Only one doctor has diagnosed Terry as being in a permanent vegetative state. He spent a total of 45 minutes with her. Another doctor, a neurologist who spent 10 hours with her, has said that she could be rehabilitated to some degree, and this doctor was nominated for a Nobel Prize in this specific field!
Furthermore, there is no medical evidence as to the reason why Terry Schiavo collapsed in the first place. Her husband has said that it was brought on by bulimia, but there is no other evidence to verify that she had that condition, and several of her friends have denied that she was bulimic.
When there is doubt, the default should be life, not death - and there is plenty of doubt here... doubt that Terry Schiavo's intent would have been to die in the case of an irreversible vegetative condition, and doubt that she is, in fact, in an irreversible vegetative condition at all.
We are told that the majority of Americans believe that Terry Schiavo should die. However, these people are substituting there own intentions for themselves that they be "permitted to die" (again, the euphemism) were they in this situation, and assuming that that was Terry's intent. But they don't know that. Noone knows that. As previously stated, the only evidence of that comes from someone with a flagrant motive for wanting her dead.
As we countenance the withholding of sustenance from this woman, our ethical underpinning is eroding.
Wake up! We are witnessing the slow murder of Terry Schiavo. Let's call it what it is.

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