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Author Topic: Vacated body  (Read 17512 times)

rick

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Vacated body
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2003, 04:30:17 pm »

IMHO the only "brain dead" persons involved are the journalists, dancing in the gore waitig to be shed. Terri happend to land on the very edge between life and death. I have no idea if her brain can be completely recovered. She is definitely not an apallic, but she can't articulate anything at all. I believe that the husband wants to restart a new life for himself, so he'd better file for divorce. I often wonder how much a human being can bear and this is one of the most extreme examples. I say, let her continue and hope either for a wonder or mother nature's mercy.
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rick

I bear no hate against a living thing I just love my freedom all above the King

Docliberty

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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2003, 05:05:31 pm »

Now y'all knew the doctor had to weigh in on this one sooner or later.

An old saying goes that "the devil is in the details".  Today the devil is in the definitions.  First let me clear up a few.

1. Extraordinary Measures.  Extreme measures used to maintain life, specifically to maintain heartbeat or breathing.  It does NOT include IV fluids or feeding tubes.  Extraordinary measures are not being used to keep Terri Schindler alive.

2.  Persistant Vegetative State.  A vegetative state that persists for a period of time.  It does not mean permanent.  I won't even address wheather or not Terri is this condition.  I haven't examined her, I don't know.  I will point out however that if at any time she exhibits any cognitive function, that is a good indication that she is still "in there".(you can edit a lot out of a video tape but you can't edit in what isn't there to begin with)

This case is strange from the begining.  Her unexplained collapse at home.  The hospital listing the cause as a heart attack (a very general term).  The husband waiting 13 years to try and terminate her life.(suddenly he remembers that she didn't want to be kept alive like this)  Etc.

In the husbands defense, 13 years is a long time to deal with something like this.  I can't blame him for wanting to move on with his life.

The one thing that this case reveals most clearly is that the court system is ill equiped to properly deal with something like this.  As a doctor and the guardian for a disabled person (my brother), I know what is involved here.  The evidence, as presented by the media is at best ambiguous and as such, the error should be made on the side of life.  Death is perrmanent and irreversible.  The husband is in a very conflicted position and should remove himself from the decision making process.  Events have moved beyond his ability to control or even to properly respond to them.  Any action he takes from this point on to press his position only serves to bring suspicion upon himself (did he deny her therapy so that she wouldn't be able to tell authorities that his attack on her caused her mysterious collapse?  Hmmm.).

At this point, impartial third parties should be brought in to conduct thorough evaluations and report to the courts.  Decisions should be made based solely on these reports.  Too many groups are trying to make too much hay with this case.
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Doc

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them."  Marion Morrison

"I do not fear my government.  I fear what my government will cause me to become."   Docliberty

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." H. L. Mencken

Storm

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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2003, 05:44:07 pm »

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1. Extraordinary Measures. Extreme measures used to maintain life, specifically to maintain heartbeat or breathing. It does NOT include IV fluids or feeding tubes. Extraordinary measures are not being used to keep Terri Schindler alive.

Clearly we disagree on this point, for all of the literature on the subject refers to all artificial means of maintaining the body, including the use of feeding tubes and other forms of life support, as extraordinary measures. Given that this discussion relies on the consistent use of such terminology, I am more than happy to follow this lead.

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she will die when it's her time and not by someone starving her.

No one has suggested that the body cannot go procure its own sustenance if there is a person occupying it. No one is forcing starvation upon any other person in this situation, rather extraordinary measures ought to be halted.  You employ a bit of slight of hand in failing to recognize the distinction already made clear, between taking an action to kill a person, and ceasing helping a person. (all of which assumes a fact for which there is no evidence: that there exists a person in the vacated body)

Let us apply your suggestion as principle. If we accept that all others are obligated to provide benefit to others,  as is necessitated by consistency of thought and your suggestion, then we suddenly find that none of us can fulfill our obligations. I cannot provide benefit to very many people at all, certainly not everyone all at once. The nature of actual moral obligations are such that they can be followed with regard to all moral agents at all times. This fact alone demosntrates that the suggested principle cannot be an actual obligation.

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The one thing that this case reveals most clearly is that the court system is ill equiped to properly deal with something like this.

While I am not a fan of the courts in any manner, we ought not casually dismiss this, or pretend that there is some uncertainty here, when it is a very routine matter. Granted usually there is no need for the court to get involved because usually the participants are mature enough to get past their emotional states, else do not have the pull that this family has. Still there is no legal issue here, but only a wonderful example of the emotional appeals used to cloud the issue, hide the truth, and increase the power over individuals.

If we look again at the family's claims, minus the carefully filmed and edited videotapes, we find no substance. This ought to tbe the focus instead of the yanking of heartstrings combined with ad hominem attacks on opponents.

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The husband is in a very conflicted position and should remove himself from the decision making process.
Regardless of emotions about the husband, why ought he deny what he has clearly stated, and what is legally his obligation, which is nothing more than conceding to the emotions of the family? Ought not the family be removed from the situation as befits their legal status? If your argument is that the husband has already lost in the court of public opinion, I wholehearted agree. There is nothing he can do to refute the ad hominem attacks, nor will anything he does be sufficient to appease the anger generated by the family. Given that he cannot personally benefit in his status with the public, shouldn't he abide by what he certainly believes, and what is legally his obligation?


 
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Claire

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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2003, 05:56:21 pm »

Misfit, Rick, and Docliberty, thank you. For that matter, thank you to those who think Terri should die but still understand that we're talking about a human being. What a miserable tragedy this is for everyone involved, and how hard even to observe it from the outside. There are miles of room for disagreement.

But ... Those who "dispassionately" determine that a living, breathing, feeling human should simply be starved to death or left to die of thirst because she's "unfit" by some abstract, intellectual criteria ... do you have any idea how your words echo those of the American and British eugenicists whose work inspired Hitler? For that matter, do you have any idea how the physicians of Germany in the 1930s -- the single biggest professional group among Nazi party members -- sounded when they talked about the "inferior" and "unfit"? One or two people on this thread would recognize themselves.

(And Storm, please don't even bother to call me "emotional" or to tell me which of several dozen logical fallacies I'm guilty of. Just as emotion without thought leads to catastrophe, so does "logic" without empathy or compassion.)
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 06:52:44 pm by Claire »
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When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


My life is my message. -- Gandhi

Docliberty

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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2003, 06:28:42 pm »

Claire,  the missus says thank you for using the "c" word (compassion).  She hadn't seen it used yet in this discussion.  It is very easy to be dispassionate and aloof if you have never been involved with anything like this.  

Storm, the inability to swallow is the main reason for the use of a feeding tube.  It is used regularly for a number of conditions and does not constitute "extraordinary measures".  The cessation of extraordinary measures usually results in death in a matter of minutes, not a prolonged suffering.  You are right about the court of public opinion.  What I don't understand is why the courts have let this go this far.  Whenever I have had to do anything major regarding my brother, a guardian ad litem has been appointed by the court as an impartial third party.  Why hasen't this been done in this case?

My brother is one of those people that the eugenicists would eliminate but I can tell you from experience that he is living up to his maximum potential.  Granted, his contribution to society is not as great as any of ours, but he still has the right to make that contribution.  So does Terri Schindler if she can.  
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Doc

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on.  I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them."  Marion Morrison

"I do not fear my government.  I fear what my government will cause me to become."   Docliberty

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." H. L. Mencken

Misfit

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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2003, 06:36:10 pm »

Storm,

If you break both your arms and can't feed yourself, make sure no one goes to the "extraordinary" measures of feeding you...there's no difference.

pc93

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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2003, 06:42:00 pm »

Storm give me a shout at pc93@bellsouth.net and we will figure out a way to talk about this on-line in real time.
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Claire

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« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2003, 07:00:43 pm »

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If you break both your arms and can't feed yourself, make sure no one goes to the "extraordinary" measures of feeding you...there's no difference.
Dr. Stephen Hawking can't feed himself, either. Can't speak. Can't walk. I suppose some think it's a shame somebody didn't euthanize him a long time ago, before  he came up with all that brain-damaged nonsense about black holes, gave all those engaging but vocally defective lectures, or wrote all those best-selling but obviously tainted-by-imperfection books that opened the universe to the understanding of millions.

No, I'm not saying that Terri Schindler-Schiavo could do what Hawking has done. Nor that docliberty's brother could. Nor that my own severerly autistic aunt could. I couldn't. But I can feed myself, which some warped person might imagine makes me Hawking's better.

As Hawking has helped show us, the world is a larger, stranger, more mysterious place than we can imagine. It's just possible that within this vast and strange universe even Terri Schindler has a place that we aren't morally or intellectually equipped to judge, if judging means we determine whether Terri lives or dies. Terri's contribution might be to teach us something about ourselves, our mortality, our perseverance, our remaining ability to guard and cherish one another on this sometimes cold and unforgiving planet.
 
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 07:06:12 pm by Claire »
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Just as the flattery of friends often leads us astray, so the insults of enemies often do us good. -- St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 8


When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


My life is my message. -- Gandhi

Misfit

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« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2003, 07:01:57 pm »

A further note on a more personal level, is that a lot of people don't know what it's like to lose an immediate family member, especially a young person whose time shouldn't be up yet. I thank God my family never had the choice to let my brother die, because we would of never been able to do it. My parents and I have discussed this several times. I know it sounds selfish, but it truly is that difficult to let go. If there's a 1 in 1,000 chance at some kind of recovery, if there's any element of that person left you just want to keep them.
My brother died nearly instantly in a car crash, but I had a good number of dreams after that about him having not died in that accident and lived, but being mentally or physically challenged. Maybe it's selfish of me, but I would of taken that. I had one dream where I dreamt I was tying his shoes and during it realizing that I'd have to be his caretaker for the rest of our lives and I was ok with that. I still feel that way...if that's the way things would have went I'd just be glad to still have him. If they're not suffering, if there's a possibility that they're "in there", if there's a possibility that they might still enjoy something in life...what is the harm? Our lives are so short and you're dead for an awful long time. I'm sick of visiting a grave.  

Claire

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« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2003, 07:13:30 pm »

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If there's a 1 in 1,000 chance at some kind of recovery, if there's any element of that person left you just want to keep them.
 
Oh, Misfit! I've never understood the desperate wish to keep a hopelessly damaged victim or terminally ill person alive. I watched that desperation only once, with a dying relative who lived her last months in torment only because everyone around her wanted to try and try and try in vain to keep her alive. I couldn't understand how she could try for them or how they could even want her to try, seeing what misery the treatments caused her.

And yet I start to understand it here when I hear you and docliberty talk about your brothers.

I don't know what I'd do in the circumstances you describe. But I do know that these aren't situations that can be analyzed as if they were mathematical problems and provided with tidy answers in which human emotion plays no valid role.  
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Just as the flattery of friends often leads us astray, so the insults of enemies often do us good. -- St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 8


When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


My life is my message. -- Gandhi

Peregrine

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« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2003, 07:34:04 pm »

I have to say I have never considered this particular set of circumstances (feeding tube) when thinking about not allowing extraordinary means to prolong life; if Terri has no other "purpose" left in life, she (and her circumstance) has given me much to think about.

Interesting that death by starvation would be cruel and unusual punishment for a prisoner sentenced to death, eh?
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 07:35:00 pm by Peregrine »
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Misfit

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« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2003, 07:39:50 pm »

There are no clear cut decisions...what is decided for one can't be decided for all. It has to do with the individual, what their condition is, if they're suffering, if they've "lived their life" or if it seems too soon. We had to make the choice to remove my 76 year old grandmother from life support last year. It was still hard, but we just knew it was time. Some people you never feel it's time.

Storm

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« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2003, 08:28:56 pm »

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(And Storm, please don't even bother to call me "emotional" or to tell me which of several dozen logical fallacies I'm guilty of. Just as emotion without thought leads to catastrophe, so does "logic" without empathy or compassion.)

I am sorry to see that you still bear me some animosity. I am also sorry that again in this thread you mischaracterize my own statements and presume to be able to read minds and hearts. I have already addressed the issue of compassion. If the family had any compassion, if they thought of their daughter rather than their own short sighted emotional reactions (selfish in the negative sense) they would not continue this irresponsible and irrational behavior. More and more it sounds as thought they are merely using the husk of their daughter to get some sort of revenge on the man who married her. Fine, let us assume that he is a complete bastard (though I for one do not proclaim to have such knowledge in the absence of any evidence) if they were compassionate about their daughter and truly believed that she was somehow still tied to this broken husk, then they would immediately cease the extraordinary measures regardless of the fact that it would give the appearance of a "win" for the husband.

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If you break both your arms and can't feed yourself, make sure no one goes to the "extraordinary" measures of feeding you...there's no difference.
-Misfit

So you really want to assert that rationality and personhood lay only the the use of arms? That is an even more difficult position to defend that that which you have previously asserted. The difference lay in your omission of all of the criteria, including the PVS. If I no longer occupy this husk, then I certainly hope that no one will put their own desires and short-sighted compassionless emotional reactions above my desires for there to be no extraordinary measures taken (BTW extraordinary measures is a very specific term and it by no means originates with me.)

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Dr. Stephen Hawking can't feed himself, either. Can't speak. Can't walk. I suppose some think it's a shame somebody didn't euthanize him a long time ago, before he came up with all that brain-damaged nonsense about black holes, gave all those engaging but vocally defective lectures, or wrote all those best-selling but obviously tainted-by-imperfection books that opened the universe to the understanding of millions.
- Claire

Has anyone actually taken the position being attacked here? Certainly nothing I have said could be interpreted to be defending such a position. Hawking is more than capable of communication. There is no doubt about the existence of a person, regardless of his physical condition. The same cannot be said about the body of Terri. There is no reason for any doubt that there is not a person occupying the body, this lack of doubt being the only similarity in the two instances.

If you knew me you would know that I would not dream of taking the position you appear to be attributing to me, else to all who dare to suggest that a little bit of objectivity and proof is desirable in this case. I am physically "defective," to borrow your word. My brother and step brother are both physically defective, more so than myself. There is no doubt that they are individuals. Nothing I have stated could in any reasoned way be interpreted to mean that one must be physically perfect in order to have value, much less personhood.
Oh and BTW I never said that emotion has no role in terminal situations, it simply has no role in sound arguments.
 
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Storm

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« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2003, 08:32:08 pm »

Doc,

The issue of compassion was actually brought up in the post with which I started this thread.

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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.

As I noted, if the family were compassionate they would set aside their grievences with the husband, whether they be honest greviences or not, and cease their actions.  
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enemyofthestate

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« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2003, 08:53:51 pm »

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Storm,

If you break both your arms and can't feed yourself, make sure no one goes to the "extraordinary" measures of feeding you...there's no difference.
Until you, no one here has equated severe brain damage to a broken arm.  Rights derive from the fact of human sapience not the number of functional limbs.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 08:54:38 pm by enemyofthestate »
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Mystical man values human life.  Rational man values the ability to value human life.
--Stephen Carville

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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