Imposed Death - Definitions / Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide / VSED

Terry Schiavo: Set the Record Straight

The following excerpts are from the article “The Case of Terri Schiavo: Setting the Public Record Straight”, Euthanasia: Imposed Death, Human Life Alliance (www.humanlife.org), 2004:

“Nat Hentoff, journalist for the Village Voice, has covered ‘right to die’ cases for more than 25 years. It is noteworthy that he calls the reporting on the battle for Terri Schiavo’s life ‘the worst case of jounalistic malpractice I’ve seen.’

One thing the media has largely missed is that Terri is disabled, not terminally ill [or comatose] [emphasis added], and that this case is first about disability rights, which affect millions of Americans. What makes Terri’s case stand out is the public outcry in support of her right to live. More than 100,000 people contacted Florida Governor Jeb Bush, pressing him to save Terri’s life. The various media have generally portrayed this outcry as coming from religious conservatives and ‘right to life’ forces, and indeed, they do deserve credit. However, as Hentoff observed, there has been ‘hardly any mention in the press of the deeply concerned voices of the disabled, many of whom, in their own lives, have survived being terminated by bioethicists and physicians who strongly believe that certain lives are not worth living.’

Now [41] years old, Terri has been permanently brain damaged since February 25, 1990, the day she collapsed and the oxygen supply to her brain was cut off for a period of time. Contrary to most media reports, Terri is not brain-dead, not comatose, and not on a ventilator  [emphasis added]. Fourteen independent medical professionals have fiven either statements or testimony that Terri is  not in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) and, given therapy, could improve[emphasis added]. She could also learn to eat ‘normally.’ In 2002, internationally recognized neurologist William H. Hammesfahr, MD evaluated Terri. In a signed medical report he listed among his findings that she is responsive to her environment, responding to specific people best; tries to please others by doing activities for which she gets verbal praise; attempts to verbalize; can swallow; and can feel pain.

Almost three years after Terri’s collapse, a medical malpractice jury awarded Terri $700,000 for her ongoing medical care and $300,000 to Terri’s husband Michael Schiavo…Shortly thereafter, Michael, who is also Terri’s legal guardian, decided it was time for her to die. He denied her antibiotics for infection and all forms of rehabilitation. When she did not die, he sought to have her feeding tube removed. Terri’s parents vehemently objected and asked to be named Terri’s guardians.

The case has remained in court for about a decade, with Terri’s life hanging in the balance. Finally, her feeding tube was removed October 15, 2003.

“Terri’s Law”, which Governor Bush and the Florida legislature enacted as an emergency measure to protect Terri from starvation and dehydration, has been under attack since it was enacted on October 21, 2003. That very day, “Michael’s lawyers immediately threateded to sue any doctor who reinserted the feeding tube.” However, it was reinserted that evening in October and Terri began to recover from six and a half days without food or water. 

Assisted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Michael sued to have ‘Terri’s Law’ declared unconstitutional. If a judge were to order the dehydration death of a condemned murderer, the ACLU would scream ‘cruel and unusual punishment!’…

As for the $700,000 awarded to Terri for her care and rehabilitation, it’s almost gone. The courts have allowed Michael to use it to pay the attorneys he hired to fight to end Terri’s life.

On May 6 Judge Baird declared ‘Terri’s Law’ unconstitutional. Governor Bush immediately filed an appeal and got an automatic stay while Baird’s ruling is reviewed by higher courts…”

Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo died 31 March 2005 after 13 days of dehydration and starvation.

For continued updates on this and similar cases:

www.terrisfight.org

www.internationaltaskforce.org