# Shall Terri Schiavo die?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Saint, Mar 24, 2005.

1. ### everneoRe-searcherRegistered Senior Member

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If you say kill her with a hammer, i would most probably agree with you for it is better than starving her to death.

3. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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The whole thing has gone officially surreal. As the legal process winds down, the cable news media have shifted into a secondary pattern. Perhaps it's just having Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory hosting Hardball; they ask real reporters' questions. But the odd moment of the week so far was CNN's Carol Lin grilling Bobby Schindler.

Nonetheless, the media has accepted that Terri Schiavo will (and should) die at this time, although I didn't watch Scarborough today, and don't remember paying attention yesterday, but there might still be some rhetorical slapstick left in that one. Today I finally heard the argument about why no further, newer tests were done to check Mrs. Schiavo's condition.

And while there's plenty of "Blame Michael" left to go around, I'm sure, something strikes me as odd. Given the magnitude of federal intrusion in this, why did certain things not happen? The problem with the de novo do-over was that the merits hadn't changed status: the Schindlers were unable to establish them. One of these merits was Terri Schiavo's consciousness, lack thereof, and the lack of confidence in medical data that has been critiqued as everything from legally sufficient to criminally lacking:

• Why did Congress not order monitoring of Terri Schiavo's brain and CNS?
• Why did President Bush not issue an executive order to monitor Terri Schiavo's brain and CNS?
• Why did the Schindlers, given the right to sue anybody for anything, not sue to order further medical evaluation of Terri Schiavo's brain and CNS?​

• • •​

Let's talk the dirty stuff: money.

Now, just work with me here: Add up the cost of Terri Schiavo's medical care. Add ten percent for administrative fees, and five percent as gratuity. Thus, if the medical care cost $1 million, we now have a total of$1.15 million.

Put the sum in front of Michael Schiavo. Ask him to sign away.

If he takes it, you've a 50/50 shot at best of having averted a massive tragedy. If he refuses it, you have your answer as to what he truly believes.

Sweeten the pot? Double it? \$2.3 million? Don't tell me that couldn't have been arranged.

• • •​

There were things that were not done by those seeking to preserve and extend Mrs. Schiavo's life. Yes, bribing Mr. Schiavo is a little crass, I admit. But the medical data, that's a puzzlement. In the second Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan, Spock makes the note that, even out in deep space, Khan seems to be thinking two-dimensionally, as if he's in a ship on water. Kirk employs the third dimension, and saves the day. Sort of. Spock actually saves the day, but that's beside the point. That extra dimension sometimes makes all the difference in the world.

Too complex? How about this? Given the whole field to play with, the Schindlers and their supporters essentially threw bodies at the guns. This is a fine idea if you're, say, China and on the defensive. But it doesn't necessarily gain you any ground. They didn't try to go over, under, or around Michael Schiavo. They came straight at him when it was bloody well apparent that he was fortified and on the legal high ground.

It is obvious that this is a trying time for the Schindler family. But what's their lawyers' excuse? I mean, come on, a grieving family, a Congress being Congress, and a President being the President. These people are excused their inability to think clearly, even though the politicians are at their absolute limit. But the attorney(s).

How could they miss that?

By the time they got to, "She's pleading for mercy" ... how the hell could they miss it?

Or did I miss a ruling in there somewhere? What happened?

5. ### BellsStaff Member

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24,118
So it's better to leave her as a vegetable instead of letting her go naturally? Hey I agree, I don't think much of the starving to death thing. That's why in such cases, she should be given a nice large dose of morphine or something to let her go without pain and to save those around her from further distress of watching her starve to death. After all, when one thinks about it, the only people who will be distressed at her starving to death will be her parents, because Terri does not know if she is starving to death or not. She has no consciousness or awareness to register pain. That is the result of being in a vegetative state.

Yes, I'm sure that when she was well and had a functioning brain, she said I don't want to be kept on life support but keeping me alive as a vegetable is alright.

Yes and the parents of serial killers have often commented that their child was good and an angel. The point is okinrus is that she won't recover. The damage done to her cerebral cortex and thalamus irreversible. The woman has NO brain activity whatsoever.

Yes she is in a persistent vegetative state. Now lets look at what it means to be in a persistent vegetative state.

1) She has no awareness whatsoever.

2) She is not conscious, even though her eyes are open.

3) Her personality and in essence who she was is no longer there. She cannot communicate and does not respond to any stimuli, no matter how much her parents think her blinking is in response to them.

4) Her breathing, open eyes, noises and eye movements she may make are involuntary and automatic... caused by the undamaged brain stem.

5) She cannot understand anything that is said to her or anything in her surroundings. In fact, she has no understanding whatsoever.

6) She cannot feed herself or even know when she is hungry or thirsty because the she has no awareness or consciousness to recognise the signs from her body.

In essence, Terri is no longer there.

As for referring to her as "she". What's your point? I watched my uncle die nearly 2 years ago now and I still refer to him as "he". That has nothing to do with this case. Stop being so pedantic and childish.

No she's not on life support. But without being fed through a tube, she would not survive. She is fed not because she is hungry, but because she needs to be given nutrients to allow her body to survive. And how do you know her wishes are unclear? Her husband seems to think that her wishes were clear enough when he waited 7 years to make the decision to let her go naturally, after he'd realised that there was no chance of recovery. This is especially in light of the fact that the American Academy of Neurology has deemed that if one is in a vegetative state for a year, there is pretty much no chance of recovery. And her husband waited nearly 7 years before he made the choice to let her go. By that point, there's virtually no chance of her recovering, no matter what the medical technology that exists. Her brain has been so damaged that it's shrinking. If medical technology existed that could help her, it would have done so already. We don't know what could come in 20 or 30 years from now. Does that mean we should keep her going like this for another 20 or so years just in case? What the hell will have happened to her brain by that point? Is it fair to keep her alive like this because the parents can't let her go? In hindsight I'm sure she'd have set things down in writing in a legal document stating her wishes exactly had she known that her parents would have wanted to keep her like a well kept cauliflower. But she did not. It seems that her parents aren't disputing her wishes, but as you have said, they are disputing that she "could" recover and because they are strict Catholic and it goes against their belief to let her go naturally by removing the feeding tube. I'm sure that had she known her parents would do this, she'd have made her wishes quite clear.

Hmmm... go the irony. They kill others with in the to preserve life. Do you not see the contradiction here? Do you not see how hypocritical that sounds? Are they not murderers themselves? As for self defence, sure that would work if they were the one's who were under attack or in danger. So how does taking out Terri's feeding tube result in a prolifer loser chanting outside the hospital, threatening to kill the judge or husband, be constituted as an act of self defence? The loser outside is not the one who's in danger? How does that work exactly? Ah yes.. silly me.. It's self-defence by proxy. While they may not be in danger themselves, they will kill to defend the self of another. They're quite happy to blow up a family health centre to kill the staff who perform abortions, along with any other people who may be going there for obstetrics care during their pregnancy as not all people who visit those clinics do so for abortions... but hey.. they're killing to preserve life so it's alright. Pathetic excuse for a bunch of pathetic people who are who they kill or threaten to kill. But that's another subject altogether not pertaining to this topic.

7. ### okinrusRegistered Senior Member

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2,669
Well, from my perspective, killing or outright by lethal injection would be more humane than starving her. In fact, starving her to death combines a vague notion of ethics with the notion that active force must be there to kill someone. Nothing can be further from the truth. To cause someone to live without food or water, when their own preservance isn't at stake, is murder.

You're confusing her inability to express herself with her consciousness. We don't know whether she's consciousness or not, and some in her condition, who've since recovered, tell us otherwise. "Patients who have recovered from such a state can recall things that were said or done to them while no one knew they were aware." http://www.humanlife.org/publications/imposeddeath14.pdf

I don't believe her husband can be trusted because he has basically situated himself in a state where he has a conflict of interest. Her parents contest this point.

Possibly. With her case, I must mention, there's more chance for to recover. But because we were created physically from one cell, practically anything is possible medically.

Terri's also Catholic. While the husband said she was not a "devout" Catholic, he does not have the authority to make that claim. So, it's resonable to think that when Terri said she wanted to be taken off of lifesupport, she first meant to be taken off of lifesupport when no hope was left--there is hope in this case--and, second, she was likely referring to a condition where she was effectively brain dead--she's not brain dead in this case. But without hearing the testimony, I can't really debate further on this point.

No, a police officer kills to protect life. I don't see the problem with it.

If the person their killing is directly attemting to kill another human being, then their not murders but protecting other human beings. But by breaking the law, they've already consented to the punishments and they'd have to show how killing the person attempting to murder was the only way to stop the murder and would stop the murder. Similar restrictions are true for just war.

Presumably, killing the judge or the husband wouldn't stop Terri from dying. But, then again, it might resonable to try to protect Terri. The force nessary, however, would only kill other innocent lives, I think, and you'd still have trouble showing it was the only way and the that it's likely to succeed.

8. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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6,230
That’s one of the things that really gets me about this whole situation. They have to starve/dehydrate her to death rather than just give her a large dose of something that’s lethal and painless, all because some people like to draw a distinction between actively killing someone and “allowing them to die.”

I’m reminded of a Simpson’s episode in which Homer and many of the other characters had been captured by pirates. The pirates had them all tied up in a giant net that was dangling over the water. Homer asked one of the pirates “You aren’t going to kill us, are you?” and the pirate responded “No, we’ll just cut the net loose. For insurance purposes, it will be the ocean that kills you.”

Any time you perform an action that creates circumstances in which someone can’t continue to live, you are killing that person. It seems so obvious that I can’t imagine why anyone would see it differently, but apparently some people actually see a moral difference between killing someone by starving them and killing someone by poisoning them.

9. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

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She has no cerebral cortex, so it doesn't matter. Save the morphine for people that need it.

10. ### ArditezzaBannedBanned

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http://www.medpagetoday.com/tbindex.cfm?tbid=753&thePhoto=Today's&CatName=&CID=

She will not starve to death, she will die of dehydration. Even if she was starving to death and felt "pain", it would still be a relatively easy way to go. After a few days without food and water, endorphins from your brain are release in such great numbers that you do not feel hunger, and are almost euphoric. Making it one of the easiest ways to die peacefully. However, she's been in this state for over 15 years, and she is not feeling any pain according to all the doctors who have been her doctors for years and all the doctors who have kept a careful watch on her the last 12 days.

11. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

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Interesting, Michael Schiavo has said his wife suffered from bulimia, an eating disorder, that resulted in a potassium deficiency, triggering the heart failure.

Death by dehydration causes an increase in potassium levels, triggering heart failure.

12. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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36,988
The issue with potassium is severity of imbalance. Additionally, isn't there some sense of distinction between "heart attack" and "heart failure"? Did her heart go into acute arrhythmia the first time? Will it simply stop beating this time?

13. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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36,988
Source: New York Post Online
Title: "Enough"
Date: March 30, 2005

I will only preface this by saying that I have nothing to add or argue at this time.

____________________

Notes:

New York Post Online. "Enough". March 30, 2005. See http://nypost.com/news/nationalnews/43506.htm

14. ### ArditezzaBannedBanned

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624
Terri Schiavo has passed away, as reported by cnn.com around 9:00 am CST.

She is now, at peace.

15. ### AngelOfDiseaseRegistered Member

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I say when a situation like this arises, there is only one way we can justifully and tastefully handle it. That is, set up a little lottery action with the names of celebrities. Not just any celebrities. Celebrities that were the stars of failed pilot TV shows. Disgruntled souls, indeed. Whomever is chosen from this lottery can decide the fate, as they are the only ones with enough malice to make a discission towards human mortality.

16. ### Quigly......................... .....Registered Senior Member

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On the Next Lifetime Original "Terri Schiavo: A womans struggle against a woman hating society"

Anyway, she's dead, be on the lookout for an "Original Movie" I say Lifetime or Womens Entertainment. Probably sponsored by Oprah.

17. ### AngelOfDiseaseRegistered Member

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I bet Oxygen and Hallmark are trying to put together some sort of an arm wrestling contest between the dykes for the copyrights. Spike! TV gets to send a bipartison rep to officiate.

18. ### Less Than Zero-1Registered Senior Member

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67
I feel bad for her. Her husband should be shot

19. ### ArditezzaBannedBanned

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624
Why, because he's the only one that cared about her enough to put her in a place of peace? Because he carried out her wishes when no one else was willing? Because for the first five years after her accident, he was with her round the clock. Found the most aggressive doctors and the most progressive treatment for her? Moved her to different parts of the country to get her that treatment and put himself through school during that time to become a critical care nurse so that he could take care of her in the best way? Maybe it was the yelling he did at the nurses who treated her poorly, or the unsanitary conditions he often found her in when he was not able to be there? That he will carry the burden of the outstanding medical bills that the malpractice suit did not cover after it was exhausted two years ago?

Michael Schiavo did the best things he could for the woman whom he loved dearly. And when all avenues for her recovery were exhausted, all the experts pointed the same way and after there was no hope at all for her to every think, feel, live and love he decided that her wishes not to be kept alive as an empty husk of a human be carried out. To put her with her maker to find her place in the peace of heaven?

Yeah. He sounds like a real monster to me.

The monsters here were the selfish parents who would see their daughter exist in a void, anguishing all those who cared about her, so that they could love her a little longer.

20. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

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36,988
The movie script is being written, or so I've heard, by a pro-lifer. I didn't mark the name at the time largely because I don't take it seriously. Not that I doubt the guy is developing the idea, but because Hollywood will defy even my low expectations picking up a political activist with no other associations to the Schiavo and Schindler families to tell "The True Story of Terri Schiavo", or whatever the movie-of-the-week will be called.

And Michael Schiavo's in a tough situation on that front: what story could he tell? Focusing on his decisions and feelings, while certainly insightful, can be written off as arrogance and exploitation. Focusing on Terri and his insider's view of the legal and political drama would bring similar disdain in the form of questioning whether he's hiding from himself while exploiting a bad situation.

Most likely, the Schindlers will have the best opportunity to push a movie or novel. Indeed, I should mention that, except for the filth coming out of his mouth, my Hollywood sensitivities sounded off whenever I saw Bobby Schindler. He needs to do a movie with Ben Stiller. Doesn't matter what about. Even while his slanderous words still echo, I can tell you he belongs in front of a camera. That sincerity just bleeds off the screen. He's cathartically accessible like few out there.

21. ### spidergoatLiddle' Dick TaterValued Senior Member

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He also became a nurse, so he could understand and provide better treatments for her! That's not the action of an insensitive man.

22. ### GuessWhoA CalifornianRegistered Senior Member

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This is what I see from the Terri story:

The Good: her husband.