Winterr's words

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Terri's obituary published while she is alive!

I find a lot of things regarding the Terri Schiavo case disturbing. Things just keep getting more unbelievable.
First off it was the allegations against Michael Schiavo that have never been investigated, the nurses who witnessed Michael Schiavo saying "when is this b--ch going to die" and giving her shots of insulin.
Abuse was reported to the police and they never got called to the courtroom. Also the fact that Terri is not on life support but lives by her beating heart and breathes on her own, at meal times she needs to be fed via the tube and thats about it.
Numerous doctors have said "she is not in a PVS state" well the story goes on.
The newest thing that is disturbing is that Terri Schiavo's Obituary appeared on the CNN news website on the 28th of March. Titled "The Short, Sad Life of Terri Schiavo"
Thanks to
Glen Beck for the story.
You can read the obituary
posted by Grace B at 3:21 PM


I think that what is most disturbing about this is the way in which unsourced and unsubstantiated rumours are keep alive by posts like this one. The parents of Terri Schiavo had numerous opportunities to have any and all allegations of abuse heard in court. Anyone can see the original court documents including the findings of Judge Greer and other judgements in the case.


If abuse was reported to the police and no action (presumably you mean charges, etc) was taken, then one has to presume that the police were not able to substantiate these allegations. Unless you are suggesting that the police themselves are party to some sort of conspiracy. In which case, we're in la-la land.

Secondly the issue is not whether Terri is on life support or not. The issue is whether she has any hope of recovery from the brain damage that has lead to the diagnosis of PVS. That she has PVS is not in serious dispute. Both her husband and her parents have had their opportunity to put their respective medical opinions forward, and the court has appointed an independent doctor to examine Terri. The judge has found that she is indeed in a PVS state and at there is no hope of recovery. Her parents dispute this, as is their right. But the court findings and medical opinions are in the public domain.

One of the main doctors who seems to publicly disagree with this diagnosis is Dr. William Hammesfahr. His claims about Terri's condition continue to be medically dubious at best. There is little doubt that he seeks publicity, that his claim to be a Nobel nominee is false and is based on a letter written by Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL), that his treatment is controversial and unproven.


In any event, the next question is whether she can be treated for her condition. Again the evidence is that she was agressively treated when she was originally admitted to hospital after her heart attack. Her husband took her to numerous doctors and hopitals for treatment. There was no improvement in her condition. Again this is on the public record.

So now we have Terri's parents putting forward Dr Hammesfahr who claims that he can treat her. But he has put forward no objective evidence to the court that his treatments would work in Terri's case. Apart from that, the Florida Medical Board has investigated Dr Hammesfahr and found against him. The medical profession itself is deeply sceptical about his treatment.


So it is hard to imagine the court would find it appropriate that Terri should be the subject of such medical "experimentation".

Finally we have the question of Terri's wishes. Whilst this is still a topic of controversy, it is important to remember that is NOT about what her parents want, what her husband wants, what the politicans and religious right wants, what the Catholic Church wants, or, least of all what you and I, want. The only question to decide is whether Terri expressed an opinion on whether she would want extraordinary treatment to keep her alive (there is no question about returning her to her former state of health) beyond this point.

Here again, we have to turn to the court determination. Both sides put their case, and the judge determined that the weight of evidence presented to him was that Terri did express her wish, and that her wish was that she would not want be kept alive and in her current condition.

So what do we make of the current situation? Her parents are using every mechanism available to them to frustrate their daughter's wishes. Whatever their motives, good or bad, this frustration of the legal process agreed to by the citizens of Florida is not legal, and the courts are bound to enforce their judgements. The alternative is anarchy.

It is undoubtly a sad and tragic situation for the family. And having it dragged into the public arena compounds the tragedy. But lots of families around the world face this medical and ethical tragedy every day. And with more grace and dignity than the farce surrounding Terri demonstrates.

But to also argue that we should throw hundreds of years of legal tradition and precedent and law onto the scrap heap because we don't agree with the decision of a judge is simply wrong and dangerous. And to argue that elected politicans should ignore the law, ignore the judicial process, ignore their sworn duty, and worse, ignore the wish of Terri herself is, in the end, to support a dictatorship no differnt to that of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein.

Is that what American's want? Pray they don't!

5:27 PM  

the obituary is not a rumour, read about it on The parents of Terri Schiavo truly believe that this is wrong as many of us do.
The courts are not always right, we do not always see justice prevail, it's a reality.

5:37 AM  

We can certainly agree that CNN was incompetent and tasteless. But I guess that every media outlet has drafted Terri's obit by now.

Be we certainly disagree on whether justice was done. I would hate to see a situation where the legal system or, worse, politicans and priests overrule my wishes when it comes to the medical treatment that I choose to receive or not receive.

No, the courts do not always get it right. That is why we have an appeal system. But every court and judge that has been involved in this sad saga has agreed that justice has been done for Terri.

Why do people find it hard to accept this exhaustive and exhausting legal process?

Because religious beliefs can override respect for our laws and courts. This is the danger that has led to the strict separation between church and state.

I absolutely respect your religious beliefs. But I do not want someone's religious beliefs to be imposed on my rights of freedom and choice. This is the path to religious fundamentalism no different to the dictatorship of the Taliban.

5:52 AM  

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