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Author Topic: Vacated body  (Read 17509 times)

Storm

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« on: November 11, 2003, 11:33:51 pm »

Reading Claire's remarks about the Florida case, which has been used to increase the power of the state over the individual as well as unfortunately cloud the exceptionally clear issues, were surprising given that this is a textbook case for ceasing the extraordinary measures maintaining the illusion of life long after the former occupant of the body has left it.

First let me be clear that I am not commenting on the points that Claire makes about the media. I have not seen what she describes, rather quite the opposite. I simply assume that we have seen, heard, or read different sources.


It appears that the furor that the parents created pivots on only two points:

1. A question of popularity or personability of the husband; and
2. Equivocation or misunderstanding of what constitutes a persistant vegetative state.

The first has no bearing at all on the issue of whether or not the extraordinary measures should be halted. Regardless of whether or not someone else likes the husband or believes that he has alternative motives ( which have only appeared as ad hominem attacks by the family who clearly have their own interests in mind), the criteria for ceaasing extraordinary measures does not pivot on the husband's character in any way at all.  None of the extensive work which has been done on euthanasia as well as ceasing extraordinary measures relies on any way at all upon the spouse's popularity or personality.  So any criticism which relies on this claim can be instantly dismissed as inapplicable as well as unsound in that it is a red herring.

The second issue, that of the misunderstanding of what constitutes a persistant vegetative state while understandable, unfortunately confuses the issue unnecessarily.  Does the body move a little? Yes. Do the eyes react to light? Sometimes. Are other basic functions working as they do in an infant with only a brain stem? Mostly. Do any of these point to the existence of a person? Not at all. The family did a fine job of filming and careful editing such that the videos give the impression that the body is responding to the calling of the name of the former occupant of the body, but one could easily repeat this process using any utterance you choose, or even no utterance at all.

Or to put it another way, there is no medical question here. The therapy claims are equally without merit given that no therapy exists which has shown even small hope of reversing such damage or returning an individual to a body. Are there people with promises who are more than willing to take money from those in extreme emotional states and therefore easily manipulated? Sure, but for those not directly involved we can still stand at a distance and ask for actual proof of the success of these methods and empty promises.

By playing on emotion, rather than objective facts, the family is misleading a number of people. Were the only result that the family had to suffer the consequences of the loss of dignity of their daughter, the expenses of the maintainance of the vacated body, and the humiliation of the rest of the world laughing at their gullibnility or feeling pity for them, then few of us, if any, would suggest that there ought to be any interference. Unfrotunately for all of us, the family does not accept any responsibility for the consequences of their actions. They do not care that the right to one's own person has been very seriously compromised through their deception and use of government as a tool. They do not even have to bear the economic costs of their actions, the husband pays that cost (regardless of his character- I personally do not know nor care if he is a saint or a sinner). They do not consider the loss of dignity of their daughter, were she to still exist.

Instead the family in their shortsighted uncompassionate inconsiderate use of any and all tactics they can find, have caused liberty to decrease, confusion to increase, deception to flourish, and emotionalism to take center stage. While we can sympathize with the pain they felt a decade ago when their daughter vacated this body, we ought not allow those sympathies to dissuade us from the path of reason, truth, and objectivity.

The family have changed their own roles as the unfortunate ones left behind after a tragedy, to active initiators in a greater tragedy. The should get no sympathy for this decision regardless of their former roles, but instead be judged upon their deliberate actions which harm the cause of freedom, as well as the cause of truth and understanding.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 12:33:38 am by Storm »
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mantispid

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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2003, 12:44:39 am »

I don't think the family is being malicious in this case, simply trapped by their love of the person who once was.  Unfortuantely, the love of their memory and subsequent use of government is resulting in a big media fest.

My personal view is that what is left of the entity that was once known as Terri Schiavo, should be allowed to expire.  I suppose one could make the argument that Terri died 13 years ago, and this shell can be kept alive for the benefit of her family members.  Of course, I don't think most people would treat a pet like they're treating Terri.  

If her husband is indeed telling the truth and Terri wanted to be terminated should she end up in the state she is currently in, then the only honorable thing to do is go with her wish.  If I made that promise to my wife, I wouldn't care what the court ruling was.  If need be, I'd sacrifice my own freedom/life to make good on the promise I made.  I always keep my promises. (which is why I'm really careful about making them! ;) ).

Now, how to determine her husband is telling the truth?  Well, that's the pickle.  I guess if he'd be willing to sacrifice all the money just to make good on his promise, that would be a decent indicator that he really is fulfilling a promise, and isn't just after the $$$.

 
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enemyofthestate

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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2003, 12:56:43 am »

Quote
Now, how to determine her husband is telling the truth?  Well, that's the pickle.  I guess if he'd be willing to sacrifice all the money just to make good on his promise, that would be a decent indicator that he really is fulfilling a promise, and isn't just after the $$$.
Well, let me play Solomon :-)  Declare the marriage ended then transfer the remainder of the trust fund to the family and let them pay for the upkeep of their daughter.
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-- Chaz Bufe, The American Heretics Dictionary

Storm

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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2003, 01:05:58 am »

I am not certain at all what the motives of the family are, though clearly they are not based on compassion. Even if we assume that they somehow mean well, their actions are at very best irresponsible and dangerous.

As for giving the family the money and conceding everything to them, I cannot see this as a reasonable position to take, if what the husband says, and some in the family have confirmed at one time or another, is accurate about the wishes of the individual that once occupied that body.  If she did not want to be kept alive in this state, then allowing the family to continue to abuse her dignity would not be acceptable.

I agree with mantispid, I suppose if I were in the husband's position, I would volunteer to give the family whatever money was left after the great many years of extraordinary measures, snake oil "therapy" and the like, if only they would honor her wishes. Somehow I doubt that there is anything short of getting all and only what they desire for themselves that will appease them.  
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Dana

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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2003, 02:38:03 am »

Quote
It appears that the furor that the parents created pivots on only two points:

1. A question of popularity or personability of the husband; and
2. Equivocation or misunderstanding of what constitutes a persistant vegetative state.

The first has no bearing at all on the issue of whether or not the extraordinary measures should be halted. Regardless of whether or not someone else likes the husband or believes that he has alternative motives ( which have only appeared as ad hominem attacks by the family who clearly have their own interests in mind), the criteria for ceaasing extraordinary measures does not pivot on the husband's character in any way at all.  None of the extensive work which has been done on euthanasia as well as ceasing extraordinary measures relies on any way at all upon the spouse's popularity or personality.  So any criticism which relies on this claim can be instantly dismissed as inapplicable as well as unsound in that it is a red herring.
I disagree.

I suspect that most (and probably all) of us on this board would come out swinging unequivocally in favor of whatever course of action Terri herself requested in such a scenario, were that course of action clear (i.e. had she left behind an unambiguous written directive such as a living will) and assuming that the economic costs of such action were not involuntarily imposed on others.

The issue then becomes second guessing "what Terri would have wanted" and therein lies the problem.

Her husband claims that she would want the plug pulled.  If the available evidence suggests that he is an honest and truthful individual, then this would (and should) carry a great deal of weight.  If the evidence suggests that he is a pathological liar, then his account of Terri's wishes should be viewed with a great deal of skepticism.  I don't know which it is, but it's a question that needs to be asked.  As a result, the personality of Terri's husband is quite germane to the discussion.  It is useful (though not definitive) for ascertaining the truth of his claim that she would wish the plug pulled.  Similarly, the overall truthfulness (or lack thereof) of her parents regarding their claims she would not want the plug pulled is also germane.


Quote
By playing on emotion, rather than objective facts, the family is misleading a number of people. Were the only result that the family had to suffer the consequences of the loss of dignity of their daughter, the expenses of the maintainance of the vacated body, and the humiliation of the rest of the world laughing at their gullibnility or feeling pity for them, then few of us, if any, would suggest that there ought to be any interference. Unfrotunately for all of us, the family does not accept any responsibility for the consequences of their actions. They do not care that the right to one's own person has been very seriously compromised through their deception
Loss of dignity?  Suffering family members?  Humiliation?  Laughter?  Isn't that just a tad, well, emotional?  Care to rephrase that using objective facts?

Terri's right to her own person has unfortunately been compromised by either {A} pulling the plug [note that it has been pulled on occasion, only to be replaced] or {B} failure to pull the plug (but obviously not both.)  The great tragedy is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain with certainty whether the compromise took place with {A} or {B} because only Terri herself is capable of making this determination, and asking her is rather difficult at this point.

I readily admit that I am not intimately familiar with all of the evidence in favor of either {A} or {B}.  It is my understanding (perhaps wrong) that Terri's husband and her parents are making conflicting claims regarding what her wishes were.  If there is something I'm missing in this regard, I'm quite open to hearing about it.


Quote
...use of government as a tool.
Unless one is a principled market anarchist and sees no role for the State whatsoever (period!) (a perfectly valid viewpoint, btw), then is not entirely un-libertarian to involve the State in disputes between individuals involving the use of force.  I think Terri's case qualifies (assuming, for the sake of argument, that we're not pure market anarchists.)  If there is indeed a role for the State (and I'm not saying there is) and the State is incapable of enforcing (due to lack of knowledge) Terri's actual wishes, then it becomes reasonable to ask what "default" position the State ought to take in such a case.  I submit that, all else being equal (i.e. no available knowledge regarding such a patient's wishes) it is the interests of Liberty to revoke from the State all power to choose death, for anyone, under any circumstances.  Even bestowing upon the State the power to enforce death (rather than simply to step away) in accordance with a patient's clearly stated prior request is, IMHO, a risky proposition given the State's tendency toward lies and deceit.  (I hope I never hear the words "the prisoner's inexplicable persistent vegetative state" and "Guantanamo" in close proximity in some pronouncement from the State, but I'm not counting on it.)

Note also that reasonable people can disagree on what constitutes a "persistent vegitative state" or even death itself.

Quote
They do not even have to bear the economic costs of their actions, the husband pays that cost (regardless of his character- I personally do not know nor care if he is a saint or a sinner). They do not consider the loss of dignity of their daughter, were she to still exist. I
This point is well taken.  Terri's estate should bear the costs, and if it is unable to do so, those who would keep her alive should bear the costs.  In no circumstances should someone be coerced into unwillingly bearing these costs.

Perhaps the most important lesson here is for each and every one of us to make our own wishes in such a situation crystal clear, so that we never have to be Terri's situation ourselves.

My $.02 worth.

Dana

 
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Storm

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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2003, 08:21:48 am »

Quote
The issue then becomes second guessing "what Terri would have wanted" and therein lies the problem.

There are two important factors here which have been consistently overlooked. First is that in lieu of a clear written statement, the closest family member, in this instance a spouse, is understood to be in the best position to know the wishes of the individual. Second, members of the rest of the family, the sister and mother I believe, have admitted on previous occassions that she would not want to have her body kept in this state. In the interviews that I heard with them, they acknoweldged these wishes, but then said that she could not know what was best for her, and that she never thought that she would actually be in this situation.

As to the character of the husband, again let me point out that it is completely irrelevant to the issue of ceasing the extreme measures. As I have noted, none of the literature on the subject of ceasing extraordinary measures, or even on euthanasia, ever refers to much less relies upon the popularity or character of a third party. Even if the husband were lying about the wishes of the former occupant of this body, it still remains a text book case for ceasing the extraordinary measures. Nothing about the husband changes this fact.

Quote
Loss of dignity? Suffering family members? Humiliation? Laughter? Isn't that just a tad, well, emotional? Care to rephrase that using objective facts?

You seem to be confused as to referrring to the consequences of their actions, which include emotional effects, and the idea of BEING emotional in an argument. The argument is sound, never once relying upon emotion, despite the fact that I refer to emotional consequences of the actions of the parents. No rephrasing is necessary to make this objective, it is already objective by its nature.

This is analogous to saying that I am red because if I spoke of old red barns.

Quote
submit that, all else being equal (i.e. no available knowledge regarding such a patient's wishes) it is the interests of Liberty to revoke from the State all power to choose death, for anyone, under any circumstances.

This is an example of but one of the many problems with the handling of this issue. The initial premise of the anti-personal choice position, the pro-state interference position, is that this is a case of murder. This is not a matter of choosing death, but rather ceasing extraordinary measures, and allowing the person to die. The difference is not all that subtle to be honest. Would the body have ceased to function 13 years ago if extraordinary measures had not begun then? Without a shadow of a doubt it would have.It has been kept functioning through these extraordinary measures alone.  All that is being suggested is that these measured be halted.

Imagine if we were to take the intereference of the parents and the state as priniciples to follow. Then whenever a doctor was keeping a heart rhythm going by manipulating the heart either directly or indirectly then he would be required to continue this indefinitely, rather than employing it as a stop gap measure in emergencies.

And then of course there is no reason not to extend this principle to other actions such as stopping others from self destructive behaviors etc...

The point is that the can of worms being opened necessitates the impossible and the absurd. This ought to tell us that the principle itself is in error.

As to persistant vegetative state, well I already addressed that. As a medical term it is well defined and perfectly clear. The confusion which arises is due entirely to the family's less than accurate emotional appeals and careful filming and editing of video tape. I have thus far not seen a single report which takes this fact into account or addresses the factors which constitute a persistant vegetative state. Instead the media points out that the body is not in a coma, and then concludes that it must be "alive" and aware.

From what I have seen, the medical ethicists are not discussing this case, other than to shake their heads at the tricks and emotional appeals used to cloud the issue. Again, this is a text book case for ceasing the extraordinary measures, and nothing that has been offered even addresses this fact.  
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Herself

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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2003, 10:46:23 am »

I have a few points to make.  As usual, I'm off in a world of my own, so feel free to assume my points are inane or irrelevant.

     1.  I work in the media.  In the flashiest of the media.  I can assure you, anything you see on televison has been grossly distorted.  Not by deliberate intent to mislead -- or not usually! -- but by time pressures, both short prep times and the "minute-thirty" typical length available to any given news story, and by the need to show interesting pictures.  Anything you hear on the radio has been distorted, also due time pressures; probably not as much as on TV.  Anything you read in the paper has also been distorted, thanks to time pressures, space limitations, need to make photos "compelling," and the need to not write over the heads of readers.
     Another source of distortion for all media is the reporter's own ability to make sense of what he or she observes and is told.  Just as a person who knows nothing of basketball cannot give coherent play-by-play of a game, a reporter ignorant of the matters and disciplines underpinning and germane to the situation he or she is reporting on will give a flawed account.

     That said, our attempts to form a judgement in the matter of Terry Schiavo, her husband, the Schindler family, and such medical treatment or lack thereof as may or may not be appropriate are ill-informed and inappropriate save as they may apply to the wider issues of such cases.

     The short version of the foregoing reads, "Vass you there Charlie?"  If the answer is no, what are you talkin' about?

     2. We may now apply ourselves to the matter of "standing."  Who has "standing" in the instant case?  Terry, Terry's husband, Terry's family, and the physicians and health-care workers employed in her care.  No others.  Does the State have a legitimate interest?  My own philosophy says no, never; yours may differ.  If so, you will have to decide if the State is obliged to keep persons alive, or merely prevent them being killed.  --But neither of us have "standing."  We are nibbing in our neighbor's business, and not our next-door neighbors, either; no, we're going much farther than across town to offer our unsolicited advice.  Why?  How is this case different from a poor, homeless wino, breathing his last for lack of medical attention on the courthouse steps in your home town?

     Now it is just barely possible that the State has "standing" as providers of a venue in which the individuals with actual involvement in this case may seek mediation; but to go much farther than that requires we assume Terry to be property of the State, and by implication, you and I will be, too, if ever we are in her condition.

     In Western culture, it is generally taken that, barring other arrangements, one's spouse, if married, may speak for oneself in circumstances under which one cannot, just as the parents of minor children may; and that for the unwed, one's immediate family may speak, although their claim is generally given less power than that of a spouse.
     Is Terry's husband a louse?  As may be.  Are all principles, then, to be flexible when it suits our emotions?  Are all men not equal before the law?   If so, what then of law and custom?


     There are a number of possible determinations a judge might make, many of them worthy of a Solomon.  ...We're a bit short of that sort of judge, but we do ourselves no favor to attempt filling the gap with headline-hungry demagogues from the other two branches of government.


     What do I think should happen in the instant case?  What I think is, I don't have standing.  Period.  So my opinion doesn't matter.

     --Herself
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 11:16:06 am by Herself »
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mantispid

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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2003, 10:46:34 am »

I think I could change my mind on this issue if they would research some method to communicate with Terri.  If they could develop any consistent form of communication, no matter what it was (and it wasn't some conditioned response.. i.e. had sufficient realtime variability and elements of originality), then that would be evidence enough to me that she is at least still sentient.  

If after a time all methods were fruitless, then my view would stand as it is.

Perhaps, ultimately, this is also a 'what is a person?' issue.  Those of us who use sentience and/or sapience (I'm beginning to like sapience more than sentience myself) as a measure, would likely conclude that Terri is no longer an entity that qualifies as a person.  Those of us who use a biological measure may very well conclude the opposite.  And that's likely the real crux.  Let me try to break it down:

1.  Terri is not a person.  In this case, it doesn't really matter what her wishes were when she was alive, as she is no longer a person and therefore is on the same moral standing as a plant or garden snail.  It is not possible to violate her rights as an individual.  She no longer has any rights.  Following any wishes she had when alive would be an issue of honor to those who made any promises to her.  I.e. scattering one's ashes off the coast of Maui, etc.  Those ashes are no longer a person, and so they are of no moral standing.  But, to the person(s) who promised to scatter the ashes, there is a matter of honor in respecting the final wishes of the dead.

2. Terri is still a person.  In this case, her wishes must be respected.  However, if it isn't possible to communicate, and she hasn't left any verifiable recording on what to do, there is a problem.  In Terri's case, her husband (an some others) say she did not want to continue living if she were ever in a situation like she is now.  But again, how to know if what these people say is the truth?  

From a perspective of honor, a promise still applies whether or not an idividual is a person or not.  Honor transcends any consideration to consequence of law, and in order to maintain one's honor, the wishes of the promisee must be executed unless the promisee can communicate otherwise.  If the husband is willing to sacrifice all that he has (even his life), to fulfill his supposed promise, then that would be sufficient evidence that he is indeed a man who honors his promises, and that he isn't in this just for the money or any other auxillary perk.  Of course, if he were the type to honor his promises, Terri would have passed on over a decade ago, even if he had to take matters into his own hands and be sitting in jail for murder to this day.

To those of us who follow #1, this is a pretty cut and dry case.  To those of us who follow #2, the case is a real pickle.  And, seeing how much of a circus this issue has become, it seems that most folks out there follow #2.


(Hey, at least this discussion has additional practical utility!  I wonder if forum discussions can be used as evidence as to a person's wishes?  By talking about this, it becomes clear what are positions are on this issue.  I wonder if in the event that something similar happens to one of us that, at the very least, these posts can be used a convincing evidence.  How long is this forum going to be around?  ;)  )
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 10:51:21 am by mantispid »
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2003, 10:53:21 am »

Herself is right about legal standing in traditional marriage.  A married couple is essentially a single entity as far as the law is concerned.  And so yes, no matter how much of an arse the husband is, he does have standing in this case.
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2003, 11:34:42 am »

I agree with Claire...
I wouldn't want to be in such circumstances, but this girl is and she's obviously not completely brain dead so I say let her live. It'd be another thing if she was on a respirator but she's not. In order for her to die they have to starve her to death, which I heard they said would take a couple weeks. I don't care if she has the mental capacity of a goldfish at this point, it would be inhumane to starve any creature.

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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2003, 11:58:52 am »

I remain all over the place on this one.

I see the (admittedly selected for impact) video footage of this poor woman, and the thought of starving her is horrific.

Then I think, "Wait a minute. She's being sustained by a tube. She's probably not even capable of being spoon fed. Let her go."

Then I see the video...

I don't believe for a second, regardless of how I feel about this case on any given day, that the majority of Fla's Legislature and esteemed (uuuurrrrp) governor acted the way they did for any reason other than to appeal a certain demogrpahic. That, to me, is the real perversion in all of this.  
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2003, 12:36:23 pm »

Quote
As for giving the family the money and conceding everything to them, I cannot see this as a reasonable position to take, if what the husband says, and some in the family have confirmed at one time or another, is accurate about the wishes of the individual that once occupied that body.  If she did not want to be kept alive in this state, then allowing the family to continue to abuse her dignity would not be acceptable.
There is no firm evidence one way or the other so the issue of what she wanted when alive is insoluble.  One fact I can see is the husband considers his wife to be dead.  The body is still alive but the sapience that animated it and made it human is gone.  The lights are on but nobody is home.  No matter what is done to the body, his position is there is no human being harmed.  It also mean that 'til death do us part' of the wedding vows has been satisfied.

I happen to agree with the above and if it were up to me, I'd use a sryinge full of barbitutes and end it quickly.  I wouldn't condemn a politician to death from thirst

Nevertheless, for some reason, certain relatives are making a counter claim that the person the  knew as "Terri" is still in there somewhere.  I think they are full of crap and I suspect their motives.  Howerver, the original trust was set up to care for Terri so give the family control of it with the proviso that it cannnot be used for any other purpose except medical treatment for Terri's body.  Once the body dies, any remaining money reverts to the husband or his estate.  If the money runs out, the family members are responsible for the upkeep of the body.
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Mystical man values human life.  Rational man values the ability to value human life.
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Atheist   n.   A person to be pitied in that he is unable to believe things for which there is no evidence, and who has thus deprived himself of a convenient means of feeling superior to others
-- Chaz Bufe, The American Heretics Dictionary

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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2003, 03:30:17 pm »

I am new to the Forum, but would like to weigh in on this subject — all over the board!

First of all, I can’t be sure that her husband is suspect, though it may be true. But she has been in this condition for quite some time; he may simply be running out of funds. The medical field is nothing, if not lucrative. And it is hopelessly optimistic. Doctors tend to ‘give hope’ where there is none. He may be facing reality now.

There are too many times when a person says, “Don’t leave me in that condition, I’d rather be dead” — but doesn’t put it on paper, and may not have talked to someone else about it at all. But in medicine, “If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen”. So we can only guess at what she told him, and at what she didn’t tell her parents. (This is the red flag that went up for me, BTW: the husband apparently had never mentioned her desire for no life-sustaining measures. If she had discussed it with him at all, why didn’t he tell the doctors years ago? Or did he? I haven’t heard this addressed.)

But: it IS possible to be ‘responsive’ and not be aware. Terri may ‘respond’ to a voice, a touch, a look, without knowing who is communicating, or what was said or done. She can hear without understanding, smile without knowing why, grip spontaneously when her hand is grasped without knowing she has done so, ‘recognize’ a soft or familiar voice without knowing whose. (Quite often it is the *tone* of voice, and may even belong to a doctor or nurse who has cared for her for months, rather than a family member). Without trying to compare, animals do these things as well. We hear or feel, and give back in kind, even when unaware. If plants can ‘respond’ to music, why not damaged brains to kindness and to rote?

Obviously we can never get inside another person’s head, there’s no way to be sure how much awareness is present. But if I were as brain-damaged as Terri, I would not want to live either. At this point it is not about how much benefit her husband would receive; rather it is about the respect given a human soul that once lived and loved, laughed and cried, and above all, *was able to think and function as a human being should*. That person no longer exists.

While writing these thoughts, I read Nat Hentoff’s remarks and would like to respond with the following — maybe just to be contrary:
1) $750,000 does not go very far toward a hospital bill these days, with or without lawyers; and certainly not over thirteen years of bills.
2) There is a qualitative difference between the brain damage Terri apparently sustained in her illness, and the brain-functioning ability of patients with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or autism (as mentioned in Hentoff’s article). They cannot be equated. There is more than speech involved here.
3) For every neurologist that can be found for the prosecution, there is at least one that can be found for the defense. “He said/she said”, even by experts, proves nothing. Each of them can be right in certain specifics; each of them might be wrong in conclusion.
4) Terri was without feeding from Oct 15-21. Restarting that feeding (not to mention reinserting the tube first, if need be) would cause more pain to her system than keeping her off the feeding. Feeding ‘more’ is harder on the system than to be fed ‘less’. Her body has been in ‘starvation mode’ for many years, being given just enough to keep it alive. Prisoners are given that much!  
And she *is* a prisoner, a non-cognitive entity caught in a legal, and political, world of everyone else’s maneuvering. Whether she ever expressed a desire to be let go under these conditions or not, surely she would express them now if she understood the circumstances of her celebrity.
Two questions: Why did her husband wait so long to make this decision? (Which would seem to indicate expediency on his part now.) Couldn’t he have sued for divorce or non-responsibility for an insufferable situation a long time ago, if he had chosen to do so? (Which might seem to indicate he took it as long as he could, financially and/or emotionally, not wanting to give up on her.)
Obviously the facts are not all in yet. But for humaneness sake, I say, “Let her go.”

 
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Storm

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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2003, 03:40:31 pm »

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I agree with Claire...
I wouldn't want to be in such circumstances, but this girl is and she's obviously not completely brain dead so I say let her live. It'd be another thing if she was on a respirator but she's not. In order for her to die they have to starve her to death, which I heard they said would take a couple weeks. I don't care if she has the mental capacity of a goldfish at this point, it would be inhumane to starve any creature.

How is it "obvious" that there is a person still in existence? The criterion for ceasing extraordinary measures is not brain death, but persistant vegetative state or coma.  Nothing that has been presented gives any evidence of the existence of any person, merely a body.

As for terminating the extraordinary measures, there are two important points. The first is that assuming that one is obligated to maintain such measures is question begging, and necessarily not moral. The second is that allowing one ot die is far different from taking a life. One is purely passive, it means only that you do not continue to take extraordinary measures, the other is a positive action for which one is necessarily responsible. No one is suggesting that this body should be destroyed, and certainly there is no issue of murder. Failing to provide extraordinary measures is not at all inhumane. It is not uncommon to allow those suffering from bone cancer, which is extraordinarily painful, to go home and spend their last days in peace, not eating.

No pain is being caused, no positive action is being taken, and there is no element of torture or abuse, so there is no basis upon which to claim inhumane treatment even if there were a person involved.
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Misfit

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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2003, 04:07:04 pm »

A feeding tube is not an "extrordinary" measure...
I once worked for a short time at a home for profoundly retarded children, some of which were on feeding tubes as their permanent state...it's not life support. Some people feel just the same about those kinds as they do about Terri, they should be put out of their misery, but they weren't miserable and neither were their care givers. I don't think we should be the judge of what is classified as "human" or "life"...if she can pump blood and breathe on her own let her be...she will die when it's her time and not by someone starving her.
 
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