Court Says Disabled Patient Can be Starved to Death Against His Will, Just Like Terri Schiavo

After a European court issued a ruling saying a disabled patient can be starved to death against his will, the brother of Terri Schiavo says the parallels in the case are eerily similar to what happened to his sister. Vincent Lambert, a tetraplegic patient who has been in a state of minimal consciousness in hospital for six years following a car accident, is current receiving food and water via a feeding tube. The decision to cut his intravenous food and water supply has divided his family. Lambert’s doctors and wife wanted to starve him to death while his parents, who are vehemently opposed to ending his life, took his case to court. In January 2014 a court in France ruled against starving Lambert to death. But, in June, the European Court of Human Rights issued its decision and, by a vote of 12-5, the Grand Chamber held that a State may take Lambert’s life against his will. As Terri’s family did when courts determined her estranged husband could starve her to death, Lamberts parents plan to appeal the decision. In comments to LifeNews.com, Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s brother, says the case reminds him of how poorly the court system treated his sister. “With so many questions in this case, why would you err on the side of death? As in my sister’s situation, we don’t know what Vincent’s wishes are,” he says. “Vincent’s parents are willing to care for him and have the right to do so. We strongly support their efforts and oppose the court’s ruling.” “This case parallels my sister Terri’s case in so many ways,” says...

House Committee Holds Hearing on Terri Schiavo, Protecting Disabled People (2005)

The hearing surrounded the death of Schiavo, the disabled woman who was starved during a painful 13-day process. The hearing was supposed to include Terri and her estranged husband Michael, but judges ignored Congressional subpoenas asking them to appear and allowed her death. Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) who is also a physician by profession, testified for the House Committee on Government Reform. He told them that feeding tubes should not be removed from incapacitated people whose medical costs are paid in part by the federal gov’t unless the patient has previously given explicit instructions to withdraw food/water. Weldon is writing legislation to require Medicare & Medicaid to have a national standard that requires providing all patients with food and water unless patients gave alternate instructions. “You’re going to see more and more people who are less and less disabled being denied care if we do not at least establish some kind of floor… or fundamental standard,” Weldon said. Weldon said the federal government system should be “biased toward life” [Ft. Wayne Journal report]. Chair Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) agreed with Weldon and said the federal gov’t “should protect patients rather than pave the way to hasten their death.” Souder said legislation is needed to presume a patient would want lifesaving medical treatment when no treatment decisions have been made in advance. Without such legislation, courts or doctors can decide patients should die, as happened with Schiavo. Souder: “This creates a vacuum where someone else may determine that a patient’s life is one not worth living; and this is most definitely a slippery slope”. A Dept of Health & Human...

Group Offers Power of Attorney Forms (2005)

Quad City Right To Life has developed a durable power of attorney for health care to protect a patient’s right to receive medical care, nutrition and hydration. QCRTL director Bowman said the form is being offered in the wake of the Terri Schiavo case. “One week ago, Terri Schiavo lost her life. Her death was not about end-of-life care, it was about putting an end to a life.” The group’s form will specify that a patient must receive medical care and that nutrition/ hydration cannot be withheld “unless death is inevitable & imminent”. “Unfortunately, all living wills and most widely-available durable powers of attorney, the two kinds of advance directives, are slanted towards death, directing that food and water be removed from a patient simply because he or she has suffered brain damage and is not likely to recover,” Bowman said. Quad City Right To Life, 1530 State St., Suite 4, in Bettendorf; (563) 324-0035. The Int’l Anti-Euthanasia Task Force also has Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care forms – http://www.internationaltaskforce.org/ 740-282-3810. The International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force is now termed Patients Rights Council. [Janeé Jackson, BETTENDORF [email protected]; N Valko RN,...

Mexico City Passes ‘Anticipated Death’ Law (2007)

Could be a First Step to Euthanasia in Mexico. The legislature of Mexico City, the largest city in Mexico and in the western hemisphere, yesterday passed an “Anticipated Death” law that will allow patients diagnosed as terminally ill to refuse life-prolonging measures. Although the law expressly prohibits active euthanasia, it is unclear if it will prohibit passive euthanasia in the form of withholding nutrition or hydration from patients, although pro-life groups in the country are not objecting to the bill. The danger of such an application is increased by the fact that the law provides for “living wills” and allows relatives of unconscious patients to decide to withhold treatments. Such arrangements have resulted in serious abuses in the United States and Europe, including the starvation deaths of helpless patients such as Terri Schiavo. However, the representatives of the more pro-life National Action Party (PAN) voted in favor of the bill, along with representatives of the socialist Democratic Revolution Party and the center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party, making passage unanimous. “This initiative covers ‘ortotanasia’, which basically means ‘between curing and caring’…we are not talking about terminating the life of anyone, but about the quality they want to have at the end of their lives,” said PAN deputy Paula Soto. Hugo Valdemar, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico, told the Mexico City newspaper El Universal that the diocese was not opposing the law, but was concerned that it takes a first step towards euthanasia. Mexico’s Secretary of Health, Jose Angel Cordova, told the press that the law would not necessarily be applied in federal hospitals, which make up the bulk of...

California’s ‘Terri Schiavo’ Allowed Food & Water (2008)

Twelve days after she was initially denied food and water, a California court ruled that Janet Rivera is entitled to the nutrition and hydration that a guardian revoked. Rivera is the latest disabled patient like Terri Schiavo to draw the attention of pro-life advocates because of her plight. Rivera lost her right to food and water on July 14 when a court-appointed guardian removed her feeding tube despite her family’s wishes. The 46-year-old had a heart attack on February 2006 and she never regained consciousness. She has been on life support for two years. Fresno County Probate Judge Debra Kazanjian, in a Wednesday hearing, called the case “truly a life-and-death situation” and ruled for Rivera’s family, which is fighting to save her life. Rivera’s brother, Michael Dancoff, told the Fresno Bee newspaper he was excited to hear about the ruling. “I’m happy they’re giving her a second chance,” he said. “I’m happy we’ll get to prove she’s not on her deathbed.” He says he believes Rivera, who doctors diagnosed as being in a so-called persistent vegetative state, is still conscious. “She looked at me and her eyes were open,” he said. “She wasn’t dying. She wanted to live.” The ruling is only a temporary decision to allow Rivera to receive food and water while both sides of the debate fight next Tuesday in a full-fledged hearing to determine her fate. [24July08, Ertelt, LifeNews.com,...