Why Terri Schiavo’s Feeding Tube Should Be Reinserted
To be honest, I prefer not to blog about issues I have mixed feelings about because usually it leads to poorly written, mushy punditry that comes across as inconsistent and leaves readers unsure of where I really stand. That’s why personally, until this post, I have yet to chime in on the Terri Schiavo case. It’s because when I look at what’s happening to that poor woman, a potpourri of thoughts and emotions come bubbling to surface.
For example, were I in her place, I’d want the feeding tube pulled. Moreover, I come from a family full of people who’d rather perish than continue on in that situation. I’d even say that I believe that most of my friends wouldn’t want to live in Terri’s position….yet, that’s an easy thing to say when you’re well. Who am I — or any of us for that matter — to say whether Terri Schiavo would have wanted to live without knowing her feelings on the matter (more on that later)?
Furthermore, my honest opinion is that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and she’s not going to get any better. But again, her family obviously has a different opinion and when I hear that a neurologist who was nominated for a Nobel Prize examined Terri and said that she could “eat on her own” & “improve with therapy,” I think that has to be taken VERY seriously.
Then there’s Terri Schiavo’s husband. Normally, in a case where the husband claims that his wife didn’t want to live in this situation, you take his word for it. However, this isn’t a normal case.
First of all, Michael Schiavo has been with another woman for ten years and he has had two kids by her. That may be an understandable thing to do if you believe your wife is a vegetable and she can’t get better. Be that as it may, Michael Schiavo’s “I’m just a devoted husband looking out for Terri” act can’t be taken seriously when he’s had kids with another woman while his wife is lying in a hospital bed.
On top of that, Schiavo seems suspiciously determined to put Terri Schiavo in a pine box. When you hear that an RN who used to treat Terri says that she could eat food, but Michael didn’t allow it and that he said things like, “When is that b*tch gonna die,” then any rational person has to wonder if there’s another agenda here that doesn’t have to do with Terri’s well being.
Let me also add that I find the “state’s rights” arguments being tossed around about this case in some circles to be rather frivolous. Since when does one unelected judge speak for a state? Especially a judge who’s imposing his will to force a result that’s directly contrary to wishes of the real voice of the people of that Florida, the elected state legislature?
What it all comes down to for me is that if you’re going to stand back and allow a woman to starve to death in a hospital death, then at a minimum you should be sure that she’s a vegetable. Given the conflicting testimony in this case, I just don’t see how anyone can say that fact has been definitively established. So why not have another round of extensive testing and bring in some outside experts? If they don’t all agree, then try some therapy and see what happens. If she’s a vegetable, she won’t know the difference. If she isn’t, then maybe a life might be saved. To condemn this innocent woman to death without truly knowing what her condition is would seem to me to be callous and cruel.
PS: I would like to interject one final word of caution in the form of a quote from Thomas Sowell:
“‘Hard cases make bad law’ is another way the tragic vision has been expressed. To help some hard-pressed individual or group whose case is before them, judges may bend the law to arrive at a more benign verdict in that particular case–but at the cost of damaging the whole consistency and predictability of the law, on which millions of other people depend, and on which ultimately the freedom and safety of a whole society depend.”
This is the sort of situation about which that quote was written and I would strongly encourage everyone from the President on down to try to carefully tailor what they’re doing to make sure that they don’t end up unleashing a flood in an effort to try to water the lawn.