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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Feeding Tube has been REMOVED! (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Feeding Tube has been REMOVED!
scottneb
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I just heard it on CNN!
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Jay
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Yeppers. On FoxNews too.

Murderers.

If you find people who starve dogs you arrest them. Unreal.

[ March 18, 2005, 03:44 PM: Message edited by: Jay ]

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scottneb
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Linky

They said on CNN/TV that her husband has told them the tube is out.

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Jay
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They’re saying the judge that ruled to remove the tube could be held in contempt. Cool.
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Myr
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*gasp*
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TheHumanTarget
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Why is it so hard to let this woman die? She has no brain-wave activity, and no hope of ever recovering. What are we accomplishing by stopping this?
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Lady Jane
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Neither of your assertions are true.
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Elizabeth
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Wow, I just read about an hour ago that she as going to federal court.
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Chris Bridges
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I'm making my prediction now, because I believe in the sense of dramatic irony in the universe: barring the tube being replaced, she'll die on Easter Sunday.
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TheHumanTarget
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All of her doctors seem to be all for it, so why are my assertions untrue? I don't mind admitting that I'm wrong, but please substantiate your claims.
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Lady Jane
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Did you read the article? Aknowledging family, swallowing on her own, and sensory response does NOT equal no brain activity. Where are you getting your information?

[ March 18, 2005, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: Lady Jane ]

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AntiCool
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quote:
Schiavo, who is in a persistent vegetative state, will now likely starve to death within a week or two. No person has ever come out of a persistent vegetative state.
That's as close to "no hope of ever recovering" as you can get.
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scottneb
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quote:
Wow, I just read about an hour ago that she as going to federal court.
The cool part about it was that that made her a Federal Witness and nobody could touch her. That's why the judge could be thrown away.
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scottneb
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Terri's Fight
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BannaOj
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I believe "persistent vegetative state" is not actually medically defined for this case.

AJ

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TheHumanTarget
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I hadn't read that she acknowledged family, but swallowing is an involuntary action.
None of these points seem to be central to the husbands claim that she would not want to be alive in this state.
If she had written a living will, they would have allowed her to die years ago. Should the court be allowed to intervene in any case, or just those where the person involved has not given written consent?

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sndrake
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I've posted this stuff before, HumanTarget. EEGs and CAT scans are of limited use in determining what's really going on with people who have severe brain damage. And that's all the testing Terri Schiavo's had, besides limited bedside behavioral assessments, which aren't real reliable either, except as self-fulfilling prophecies.

Here's a link to some info on current information about diagnosis, assessment and misdiagnosis in "persistent vegetative state."

If you're on the website, check out the "hall of shame" - the associated press erroneously referred to Terri Schiavo as "brain dead" in at least one article, which helps to confuse people even more. AP articles get distributed all over the world and when they contain misinformation, that gets disseminated as well.

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scottneb
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quote:
Why is it so hard to let this woman die?
Simply because she didn't say she wanted to die in a situation like this. We have probable cause that she wants to live, with life we have no choice but to let her live.

What they are doing is less humane than what we do to stray dogs that have no one to love them. Terri has family that loves her enough to fight the Federal Government to let her live. I'd say that's enough to let her continue to fight.

[ March 18, 2005, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: scottneb ]

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TheHumanTarget
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All of these articles are interesting, and lend themselves to the argument that she may recover someday. What makes this case harder to judge is that she requires nothing but feeding to remain alive. There are no external attachments keeping her alive, and the removal of the feeding tube is starving her to death. Still, if she expressed no desire to live like this, why can't something be done to end her life?
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Chris Bridges
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She also has family that loves her enough to fight the federal government to let her die as she wished. Maybe.

We don't know her wishes. That's kind of the point. The argument isn't really over what her wishes were, the argument is over who gets to decide in the lack of a signed legal document expressing them.

Note: I have no particular opinion about this, but I suspect that both sides are doing what they are out of love for Ms. Sciavo.

[ March 18, 2005, 04:26 PM: Message edited by: Chris Bridges ]

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jeniwren
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Consider, HumanTarget, that someone who fails to say they want their organs donated upon death does not have their organs donated. If you don't say what you want, we have to make some assumptions. For respect of the dignity of the dead person, we do not violate their remains.

Failing to have a living will that she should not be kept alive by medical means, it should be assumed she would want to live. The scary question about this case is that we are being asked to change our assumptions about the unstated wishes of those being kept alive by medical necessity.

edited to remove a distractingly funny typo.

[ March 18, 2005, 04:26 PM: Message edited by: jeniwren ]

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Katarain
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Shouldn't it be obvious that providing food and water should be a given?? How can that be artificial?!

Most of the arguments I'm hearing to let her die are arguments for euthanasia--NOT for taking someone off life support. Maybe euthanasia should be legal, maybe it shouldn't be..but that's not really the issue here.

Starvation is a cruel and painful way to die. The fact that her death would have to be by starvation or dehydration is enough to decide this issue for me. If she were on actual life support--then I would be torn over the issue.

-Katarain

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Bokonon
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It should be noted that a lot of the evidence of her responding to stimuli voluntarily was edited from long portions of video. Some would say in order to portray her state in the most advantageous way for their opinion to be supported.

I don't know how to feel about this, but I think some folks here have long accepted this evidence as self-evident, when in court it has been shown to be less than that by experts.

-Bok

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scottneb
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quote:
still, if she expressed no desire to live like this, why can't something be done to end her life?
I wouldn't want to live if I was eighty and crapping on myself but I would do it none the less. Just because you don't like the way another person lives doesn't mean their life isn't worth living.

[ March 18, 2005, 05:16 PM: Message edited by: scottneb ]

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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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We disscussed this in my Gov't class this morning. My teacher said that Terri might be able to live at least a week and a half more.
I guess I wouldn't want to live like she is, but I wouldn't want to be starved either, thats just cruel.

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dkw
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I'm wondering whether her nurses/family will be allowed to attempt to give her food or liquids the "natural" way. When her feeding tube was removed in 2003 there was also an order that nothing could be placed in her mouth.
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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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How sad.
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Myr
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[Frown]

To me removing the feeding tube is like if someone took away my insulin pump, just because it is only regulating my life, not making anything better.

The point is to wait for a cure! I'm very saddened by this decision, I hope they can do something about it rather than starve her.

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Elizabeth
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I heard her "vegetative state" compared to the functioning of an eight to eleven month baby today.
I don't know. If she were hooked to all sorts of life support, it might be different for me, but this is food. Starving her seems wrong. I have seen video footage of her responding to people around her, and I have worked with mentally retarde children who are wheelchair bound and nonverbal.
This just seems wrong to me.

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Eaquae Legit
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[Frown]

I don't have much to add that hasn't been said, except for my own sorrow.

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Destineer
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It does seem like the husband and his cronies have gone too far here.

As I've made clear before, I am a firm believe in principle in the right to die if you so choose, and also the absence of the right to life in human organisms that are no longer conscious people. It's not at all obvious that Terri Schiavo meets either of these criteria.

This is a point in your favor, sndrake. Perhaps we're not yet advanced enough as a society to handle these issues.

quote:
If she were hooked to all sorts of life support, it might be different for me, but this is food. Starving her seems wrong.
To me, this seems beside the point. The question shouldn't be how much elaborate machinery it takes to keep her alive. It should be about whether she still has a human mind.

[ March 18, 2005, 05:49 PM: Message edited by: Destineer ]

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scottneb
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I heard from The Glenn Beck Program that the accident that put her in this state was under questionable circumstances.

Given the situation, does this count as public execution?

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Elizabeth
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The accident? I thought it was due to a potassium deficiency as a resul of bulimia?
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scottneb
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I'm not so sure my source is credible in this regard, but it brings up an interesting point.
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Myr
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quote:
The question shouldn't be how much elaborate machinery it takes to keep her alive. It should be about whether she still has a human mind.
Since she's lost the capacity to communicate in a normal human fashion, there is no way to judge this.
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scottneb
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:applaud:
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NinjaBirdman
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What exactly was it that they decided in court? That Terri would have wanted to die? That the husband is allowed to choose for her? It seems to me like they decided that she wanted to die... Could anybody clear this up for me?
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dread pirate romany
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**shakes head sadly***
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Destineer
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quote:
Since she's lost the capacity to communicate in a normal human fashion, there is no way to judge this.
That doesn't make much sense. A headless corpse has also lost the ability to communicate, but we can still be pretty sure that it has no mind. Likewise (at the very least) for people who meet the clinical definition of brain death.

The problem is that T.S. doesn't meet this criterion.

[ March 18, 2005, 06:16 PM: Message edited by: Destineer ]

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Bokonon
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The legal battle has been, in absence of any living will, or strong evidence of her desire to live or not, does the spouse have authority to disconnect (as has been traditionally the case), or does the family. There are circumstances involved as to motives and timing.

-Bok

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Belle
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quote:
Likewise (at the very least) for people who meet the clinical definition of brain death.
But she doesn't meet that criteria. And we're not talking about meeting criteria for death - we have someone who has been living for some time in this state, doesn't need artificial respiration, just needs to be fed to stay alive.

I just can't fathom why anybody would think it's okay to starve a person to death, when as already mentioned - we would lock someone up if they did it to an animal.

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Belle
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Destineer - I posted before your edit - so that's why I look like I'm just repeating you. [Smile]

quote:
The legal battle has been, in absence of any living will, or strong evidence of her desire to live or not, does the spouse have authority to disconnect (as has been traditionally the case), or does the family.
I understand, but what I think should happen is in the absence of a living will - you must assume the person wanted to live. In cases of clnical brain death, then I can understand giving the family the choice of turning off life support or not, but the Schiavo case is especially gut-wrenching because she is not clinically brain dead, she doesn't need machines to breathe for her.
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Hobbes
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Does anyone have a decent guess as to how long she'll live without food?

Hobbes [Smile]

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Myr
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quote:
That doesn't make much sense. A headless corpse has also lost the ability to communicate, but we can still be pretty sure that it has no mind. Likewise (at the very least) for people who meet the clinical definition of brain death.
I'm quite well aware that a dead corpse isn't thinking.

The PROBLEM is if her brain is still producing human thought, she has NO WAY of telling us.

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Bob_Scopatz
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I think there are two separate issues here:

1) Whether her guardian has the right to make this decision on her behalf -- this is the legal issue.

and

2) Whether or not hers counts as a "human life" -- which is a moral with legal implications only if the answer is in the affirmative.

This case has become important from a legal perspective because it appears to be a great test case of what to do when someone is incapacitated (i.e., can't communicate their wishes) in absence of a legal document. While it would seem that our existing laws deal effectively with this, the fact that a guardian may have a conflict of interest (as Terri's husband certainly does) means that there are at least some legal issues to resolve. Appointing an independent guardian should have resolved these issues.

and...

It has become important from a moral standpoint for at least 3 groups of people:

1) The disability rights community, who see this as a test case in battling the poorly-named "right to die" movement in this country, as well as making several valid points about the loose nature of coming up with a prognosis, figuring out what brain death means, and what a persistent vegetative state really means.

2) The vast majority of people who wish to "affirm life." In this case, usually diverse groups ranging from those who define human life as any collection of cells derived from a human being to those who define it as a functional body capable of (assisted or not) respiration, ingestion, and elimination.

and 3rd

3) the "quality of life" proponents -- another diverse group, usually divided but who see some common ground in this case. The subgroups here include people who want to define a minimal standard for "quality of human life" mainly as a way to reform society, and those who do this from an economic standpoint, pointing out that as medical treatments advance, we set up ethical dilemmas for ourselves in terms of whether or not to keep bodies alive when the "person" is either gone or completely unreachable.

To me, Terri's situation makes a horrible test case for most of the folks who are coming at this from a moral position. The reason is that every single doctor who has examined her in person has come away stating in court (and out) that the person who was Terri has ceased to be. Her body is alive, but there is no evidence that her personality or memory has survived the trauma that destroyed her cerebral cortex.

Granted...this is not an exact science. Granted, they could be wrong. But, realistically, they probably aren't wrong and her prognosis is one of never again being able to do anything for herself, communicate, react or respond in a purposeful manner, or engage in anything like a self-directed action. That's the probability. So...that makes her a terrible test case for many of the moral issues because, ultimately the likeliest outcome is death after never regaining self-awareness. Death will come soon or late, and until then, it will be life her primary care physicians predict.

NOW...having said ALL of that (and I realize that many may disagree with my characterizations, or the "matter of fact" way I've spelled them out), there is an even larger moral issue that we can and should address as a society. That is whether we should err on the side of life or err on the side of something one might call "societal value" for lack of a better term.

Here, Terri is important to every human on the planet. Not because she ever has a real hope of significant recovery, but because we can't be sure. We can't be sure what she would've wanted. She didn't really tell us (and taking the word of her husband is just plain silly given his conflict of interest). We can't be sure what she really thinks or feels. Again, she can't tell us.

Does that mean there's REALLY no-one (no person) there? Is her body truly an empty shell. Is there no personality when the personality can't be expressed? Is there no soul if you can't act and affect the world on purpose?

Truly, the list of things we don't know is endless.

And even if medical and mental/psychobiological science answers 99% of all these questions, there are still important ones that will not and cannot be answered.

Again, we know that whatever rule we set, it will result in some errors.

There's a way to approach this that I find extremely helpful. That is: what kinds of choices align?

In the case of Terri, the following choices align nicely:

1) THe choice that always affirms human life as valuable and worth preserving.

and

2) The choice that says "When conditions are uncertain, if you can choose such that your choices aren't FINAL and irrevocable, that's the better choice."

Since it must be granted that we do not and cannot know what Terri herself wants (or would have wanted), there is really only one non-aligning choice. That is the economic analysis which says that it is possible to calculate the cost of keeping a person alive and compare that to the likely contribution(s) they will, in future, make to society. Even giving every human a huge presumptive "net value" in their favor the cost of a lifetime of treatment for Terri is going to be more than she'll ever directly contribute by her own labors or imagination.

That one choice, which is usually viewed as a repugnant and repellant one (but which, I submit, is often the basis for some incongruant stances on things like capital punishment versus their view on abortion) is the only one in opposition to keeping Terri alive.

The only one. And stated starkly like that, it is repugnant.

No-one who says they are defending her right to die is truly defending HER choice. They are defending her surviving spouse's right to automatically choose for her. And, they are doing so because they believe what he says "that she wouldn't want to live this way." But, realistically, they must be doing the mental calculus that says "I wouldn't want to live that way, so I believe it of her." And that's not what the question is.

There is no way that her husband is a credible and unbiased actor in this. His statements should've been discounted long ago.

If that'd happened, there would be no question that Terri would be treated as needed unti she died.

And that's what we should decide to do now.

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scottneb
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I need some cookies for reading that, Bob.

But, very nicely put.

[ March 18, 2005, 06:48 PM: Message edited by: scottneb ]

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Papa Moose
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I haven't really followed the case, I must admit -- can someone (maybe Bob, since he's the one I'm quoting) give me a brief synopsis of the reasoning that "There is no way that her husband is a credible and unbiased actor in this. His statements should've been discounted long ago." Is there an about-to-expire fifty million dollar term life policy on her or something? Surely as her husband he's biased, but what is it that makes him non-credible?
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Bob_Scopatz
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Pops...

Even if he has Terri's best interests at heart, and she truly told him that she'd never want to live "like that" -- whatever "like that" means -- he has some serious conflict of interest issues:

1) a new life partner with whom he has children.

2) He has apparently spent a huge amount of the money originally intended for Terri's medical treatment on legal fees fighting for the right to decide her fate.

I don't necessarily see him as the evil being that many do. He's even been praised by earlier judges for his devotion to his wife (must've been before he started having children with someone else, of course). But he has a financial interest in her death that, to me, disqualifies him as the kind of unbiased actor we'd want in a guardian.

the other aspect of his behavior that bugs me is his entrenchment. I think this has taken on aspects of a blood fued with his wife's parents. Ultimately, the same could be said of them in reverse. But they aren't acting as guardians and probably won't ever act as guardians for Terri.

The links that sndrake has been posting have more details.

I found some legal synopses that gave both a chronology and some of the financial stuff.

Frankly, I don't see him as evil. But that doesn't mean he's unbiased.

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Dagonee
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quote:
does the spouse have authority to disconnect (as has been traditionally the case)
This has not traditionally been the case. At most, you can say that traditionally the spouse's word has been given great weight.

quote:
In making this difficult decision, a surrogate decisionmaker should err on the side of life. . . . In cases of doubt, we must assume that a patient would choose to defend life in exercising his or her right of privacy. Schindler v. Schiavo (In re Schiavo), 780 So. 2d 176 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App., 2001), quoting In re Guardianship of Browning, 543 So. 2d at 273.
In re Guardianship of Browning is elucidated the standard for making these decisions:

quote:
In this state, the surrogate decisionmaker makes the decision under the doctrine of "substituted judgment." Bludworth, 452 So.2d at 926; In re Barry, 445 So.2d at 370. We emphasize that this HN17Go to the description of this Headnote.doctrine does not allow the guardian to truly substitute the guardian's judgment for that of the patient. [**43] The guardian makes the decision which the evidence establishes the patient would have made under these circumstances. The guardian makes the decision which the patient would have made even if that decision is different than the [*273] decision which the guardian would make for himself or herself.
quote:
This state has already determined that HN18Go to the description of this Headnote.the surrogate decisionmaker can decide to forego life-sustaining treatment only on the basis of clear and convincing evidence. In re Barry, 445 So.2d at 372. Although we permit the guardian to make this decision in an informal forum, we emphasize that the decision must still be made upon clear and convincing evidence.

HN19Go to the description of this Headnote.
Clear and convincing evidence requires that the evidence must be found to be credible; the facts to which the witnesses testify must be distinctly remembered; the testimony must be precise and explicit and the witnesses must be lacking in confusion as to the facts in issue. The evidence must be of such weight that it produces in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction, without hesitancy, as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established.

Slomowitz v. Walker, 429 So.2d 797, 800 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983). It is possible for the evidence in such a case to be clear and convincing, even though some evidence may be inconsistent. Likewise, it is possible for the evidence to be uncontroverted, and yet not be clear and convincing. [**46] In re Jobes, 529 A.2d at 441.

HN20Go to the description of this Headnote.In making this difficult decision, a surrogate decisionmaker should err on the side of life. In this state, all natural persons not only possess a right of privacy, they also possess "the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty, to pursue happiness . . . ." Art. I, § 2, Fla. Const. In cases of doubt, we must assume that a patient would choose to defend life in exercising his or her right of privacy.

Dagonee
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sndrake
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quote:
Frankly, I don't see him as evil. But that doesn't mean he's unbiased.
Yeah. I get asked sometimes what his Michael Schiavo's motivations are. The fact is, I can't get in his head. At one time, it looked like it might have been about money, since he would have been able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in a malpractice award that was originally meant to be used for her care.

But that is not a factor any more, because he used up almost all of that money in legal fees in the fight to end her life.

There's also that nasty coincidence that he didn't start arguing for ending her life until winning the malpractice award. It's reasonable to assume the award would have been much less if he'd said then Terri would be dead soon because she wouldn't want to live that way.

Michael even made a video for the trial - it's a post-injury Terri in make-up, sitting in her wheelchair, being a part of family gatherings, and looking like she's reacting to a lot of what is going on around her.

Admittedly, she isn't as responsive now. But for the past few years, she's been pretty much confined to her room and her bed, without much stimulation. It's not surprising that a person with severe brain damage becomes less responsive when given that kind of treatment.

Horrible irony here - if he divorced Terri, he wouldn't be able to marry in the Catholic Church. He probably will be able to do so once Terri dies as a result of his order to remove the feeding tube.

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