I've taken a long hard look at the controversy surrounding Terri Schiavo and her feeding tube, and I can finally say that I feel like I have thought it through enough to write about it. I remember months ago when I first heard about the case and how her husband desperately wanted to have the tube removed. I remember thinking, this poor man, he's been living the past 15 or so years of his life with the woman he loved in an almost complete vegetative state. This may be the romantic in me, but I think it must be pure agony for him to be reminded daily of how helpless he is. The doctor's say there is no hope. Now, I would also consider the optimist in me. I always believe there is "hope", regardless of if it's scientifically proven or not. But, in this case, I feel like hope needs to be abandoned, to ensure that people such as Terri's husband can resume living a semi-normal life.
Now onward to Terri's parents and brother. I also find myself identifying with Terri's immediate family. Although I'd like to believe that seeing a loved one in that kind of state would make me want to end their suffering, I also feel like my selfishness and love for said loved one would make it extremely hard to agree to place them amongst the non-living. I know that they're also playing the Religion card, and I do respect peoples beliefs, but it's very hard for me to identify with anything having to do with scripture or commandments. Needless to say, I'm more of a physical evidence type believer.
Regardless of all of the above, this should never have been a federal matter. All of my hatred towards George W. aside, the publicity this case is receiving makes me nauseous. It's bad enough that this family has to reside in Florida, under a Bush regime, but to bring the Federal court into it tugs a little bit harder at my desire for there to someday be a non-fictional "separation between church and state."
I also like how the Q daily news points out that George W. is also responsible for signing the Texas Futile Care Law in 1999, while governor. Here's a little snippet of that Law that I believe pertains to the situation:
§ 166.039. PROCEDURE WHEN PERSON HAS NOT EXECUTED OR ISSUED A DIRECTIVE AND IS INCOMPETENT OR INCAPABLE OF COMMUNICATION.
(a) If an adult qualified patient has not executed or issued a directive and is incompetent or otherwise mentally or physically incapable of communication, the attending physician and the patient's legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney may make a treatment decision that may include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment from the patient.
(b) If the patient does not have a legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney, the attending physician and one person, if available, from one of the following categories, in the following priority, may make a treatment decision that may include a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment:
(1) the patient's spouse;
(2) the patient's reasonably available adult children;
(3) the patient's parents; or
(4) the patient's nearest living relative.
(c) A treatment decision made under Subsection (a) or (b) must be based on knowledge of what the patient would desire, if known.
(d) A treatment decision made under Subsection (b) must be documented in the patient's medical record and signed by the attending physician. (e) If the patient does not have a legal guardian and a person listed in Subsection (b) is not available, a treatment decision made under Subsection (b) must be concurred in by another physician who is not involved in the treatment of the patient or who is a representative of an ethics or medical committee of the health care facility in which the person is a patient.
(f) The fact that an adult qualified patient has not executed or issued a directive does not create a presumption that the patient does not want a treatment decision to be made to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment.
(g) A person listed in Subsection (b) who wishes to challenge a treatment decision made under this section must apply for temporary guardianship under Section 875, Texas Probate Code. The court may waive applicable fees in that proceeding.while governor of that state in 1999, a law that allows hospitals to discontinue life-sustaining measures over the objections of parents
Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 291, § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1998. Renumbered from § 672.009 and amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 450, § 1.03, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.
What's stated here is basically acknowledged throughout the country, with a few give or takes. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe, although Terri's parents had tried to sue Terri's husband for guardianship, that Terri's husband is still, in fact, her guardian (see (b)(1)). So how does would Bush explain this? He'd never admit to being a flip-flopper, would he? I'd like to hear it.
What it all comes down to is a matter of Terri Schiavo's rights. It's her right, as it is anyone's right, to deny anything that would medically keep her alive. After her husband first brought this issue to the court in 1998, the court deemed it that Terri wouldn't have wanted to be sustained on a feeding tube, and ordered the tube to be removed. If it weren't for her parents argument that Terri, in fact, would have wanted to be force fed, this would have been all over, then and there. But the tube was re-inserted and the drama continues.
For all of those who think this is a matter of murder, they're way off. Nobody is trying to kill Terri, they are just going to stop the medical treatment that is keeping her alive. It is then her body's decision to keep living or die. Yes, we all know, in this case, that she doesn't have a chance of survival without food, but perhaps that's the way it's supposed to be. I'm a firm believer of "everything happens for a reason." So unless there is some type of miracle, and Terri is suddenly healed, and free of the damage her brain has sustained, she will eventually die. We're all gonna die sometime. Everyone.
So, what I've learned from this is that I should keep a living will, and update it weekly with the changing of my moods. This way, they'll be no debate over if I would want medical treatment to keep me alive, or if I would rather end everyone's suffering very quickly by opting to deny that any treatment be administered. I think my will will state the latter.
Further reading: Obsidian Wings -good evaluation
Some interesting takes