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Do you believe Terri Schiavo should be allowed to die?
Yes [ 17 ]  [80.95%]
No [ 4 ]  [19.05%]
Total Votes: 21
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MDF3530 
  Posted on 20-Mar-2005, 12:00 PM
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Do you believe that the courts andTerri Schiavo's husband Michael, or her parents, are acting in her best interests?

Her family believes that she could return from the vegetative state she's in with therapy. Court-appointed doctors have testified that that would be extremely unlikely and that she most likely would remain in that state the rest of her life.

I am siding with the courts and Mr. Schiavo. My reason is this: I don't want to be kept alive by any artificial means. Being kept alive by machines is not the same as living.


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Swanny 
Posted on 20-Mar-2005, 12:45 PM
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Actually, I believe that everyone involved is trying to act in Terri Schiavo's best interest, but have vastly different ideas of what that means.

I am absolutely convinced that Michael Schiavo is trying to do what Terri would have wanted him to do. That he has refused offers of vast sums of money to abandon his efforts indicates to me that his honor can not be purchased for any price. Rather than play the "blame game" I'm willing to accept that his motives are precisely as he has described them.

This case is really no different than thousands that are addressed by the courts in every state each and every year. When an adult becomes incapacitated, the courts must rely upon those closest to the patient to represent the patient's wishes. That duty, let me stress that duty falls first upon the spouse, if living. If no living spouse is available it falls next upon adult children. If no adult children are available then, and only then, do the courts rely upon the parents.

Because this particular case has attracted extensive media coverage, it has been blown WAY out of proportion, and now everyone in the United States seems to feel that they have a personal right and duty to interfere. Nothing is further form the truth.

The only good that has come from it is that it reminds of the importance of putting our wishes into writing lest some "do-gooder" try to impose his/her will over your own personal affairs.

Swanny


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MacEoghainn 
Posted on 20-Mar-2005, 12:53 PM
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Brother Mike,

I can't vote in your poll as I disagree with the phrasing and premiss of the question. Terri Schiavo is not being allowed to die. She is having food and water withheld from her. If I locked you in a room and withheld food and water from you you'd die too. Would I have allowed you to die or killed you?

As for the question you posed in your post I can't tell who is correct based on the information we are being provided. Based on the lack of information I have no choice but to choose life over death, parents over the husband.

As far as I can tell Michael Schiavo is surrounded by the Euthanasia Crowd. Their opinions on Terri don't count much with me.

I do agree with Swanny, if you want to avoid interference in these life and death choices when/if your time comes then put things in writing, one way or the other.

This post has been edited by MacEoghainn on 20-Mar-2005, 05:18 PM


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gaberlunzie 
Posted on 20-Mar-2005, 02:37 PM
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QUOTE (MacEoghainn @ 20-Mar-2005, 12:53 PM)

I do agree with Swanny, if you want to avoid interference in these life and death choices when/if your time comes then put things in writing, one way or the other.

I agree with both of you. And we should do it in time...not only when we get older because you never know when you will be in need of it. I did it after I had talked about it with my children. I don't want to see them in a situation one day which will give them conflicts of conscience.


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MDF3530 
Posted on 20-Mar-2005, 04:07 PM
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I have made my wishes known to my family too.

As far as Terri Schiavo's parents, I think they're hoping some divine intervention is going to help their daughter.
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gwenlee 
Posted on 20-Mar-2005, 05:13 PM
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During the 80's this question came up when it came to brain damaged infants. And at that time the courts said that all humans were entitled to comfort measures, such as food , warmth and shelter. Starving a brain damaged infant or leaving it exposed was not allowed, in fact the care givers could be charged with neglect or murder if this action caused death. No one knows if she experiences pain or not. At one time no one thought preterm infants felt pain and procedures such as open heart surgery were done and no anesthetic was use except a muscle paralyzer. Now we know that premature infants do feel pain and pain medications are given. We are we to say that Terri won't have any pain from starving?

In the case of Terri Schiavo's I don't understand why he won't give custody to her parent. He should go on with his life, which he has and let her parent take over. Especially since there was no written living will.
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mariah 
Posted on 20-Mar-2005, 07:21 PM
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I voted no due to the fact that was stated in a previous post re: brain damaged babies and that they were to be fed. I agree with Gwenlee that if he wants to be free of Terri's care then sign the power of attorney to her parents for her health care and divorce her. He has already established a second family with his longtime girlfriend. Remove himself from the picture and let her parents become her guardians. Enough said. She is not brain dead. She can breathe on her own, her body takes up the nourishment that is given to her, and other bodily functions continue. This may not be your life or your idea of how you would live out your final days, but with out a signed document stating otherwise how do you let someone starve to death?

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Swanny 
Posted on 21-Mar-2005, 09:40 AM
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I think that if Michael had "wanted to be free of Terri", that he would have taken the offered money (esp. the million bucks recently offered) and run. He has had ample opportunity to do so. That is why I am willing to accept Michael's position at face value.

Perhaps he made his wife a promise, and now feels duty bound to fulfil it. I know it's a difficult for some folks to understand and rare to find, but there are still a few old throwbacks in the world for whom a promise is taken seriously and who will do whatever is necessary to fulfil a promise, and can actually be trusted to keep their words.

The difference between Terri Schiavo and the brain damaged babies mentioned earlier is that Terri allegedly discussed her wishes with her husband. Therefore it was HER choice, not someone else's choice. I believe it should remain HER choice.

True, Terri is not brain dead. She exhibits brain stem activity (she can breath, autonomic functions such as gut motility remain intact). She is allegedly in a persistent vegetative state. I've seen nothing in the videos to indicate otherwise.

Terry isn't in there anymore.

Why let someone starve? Because it's illegal to to extend to her the same courtesy of a painless death that is routinely adminstered to the most heinous of criminals.

No one is killing Terri. She is dying of natural causes. Had the feeding tube not been inplanted in the first place we would not be enjoying this controvery today.

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MacEoghainn 
Posted on 21-Mar-2005, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE (Swanny @ 21-Mar-2005, 09:40 AM)
I think that if Michael had "wanted to be free of Terri", that he would have taken the offered money (esp. the million bucks recently offered) and run. He has had ample opportunity to do so.  That is why I am willing to accept Michael's position at face value.
I'm not. In fact the more I hear and read about Michael Schiavo the less likely I am to accept anything he or his representatives have to say.

QUOTE (Swanny @ 21-Mar-2005, 09:40 AM)
The difference between Terri Schiavo and the brain damaged babies mentioned earlier is that Terri allegedly discussed her wishes with her husband.
The key word here is "allegedly" (see my response to the first quote).

My local representative to the Florida House of Representatives is a man named Jeff Kottkamp. Last year he had open heart surgery and as a result contracted a staff infection that almost killed him. He was in a coma for almost two months and his doctors had given up hope (he's in is early forties with a wife and young children). This is an excerpt from his March 21, 2005 Legislative Update he sends to his constituents, which includes his comments made on the floor of the house during a debate on a bill concerning this very issue:

"The second week of the Session was dominated by Rep. Baxley?s Starvation and Dehydration bill. As you might expect, the debate of the floor was very emotional. I felt an obligation to weigh in on the issue since I have some personal experience in the area. The law we passed in the House says in essence, if you have not specifically indicated that you want to be denied food and hydration, then there is a presumption that you want it.  We carved out exceptions.  For instance, if someone is terminally ill and food and hydration would cause them pain...you wouldn't have to provide it.
 
During the debate on the floor, several Democrats complained that we had not heard from the experts.  After holding my tongue for quite a while, I finally got out of my seat and addressed the chamber.  My comments included the following:
 
"Experts.  Where are the experts we keep hearing from the back row.  Well, I suppose I sort of consider myself an expert on this topic since I was in a coma for nearly two months with a feeding tube.  And I can tell you that there was a time that doctors had lost hope.  They were apologizing to my wife, telling her we are sorry but the treatment isn't working.  Fortunately, I am blessed with an incredible wife who would accept nothing less than a full recovery.  But what about all those people out there who find themselves in this highly emotional situation.  How many are being convinced by doctors to starve their loved ones to death.  You know, if you were a murderer on death row, we wouldn't deny you food and water...because that would be cruel and unusual punishment.  If you denied your dog or cat food and water...you would be guilty of felony animal cruelty...
 
...We have heard about the right to die free from government intrusion today.  Well, what does our state Constitution say?  Article I Section 2 Basic Rights...All natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty...What about the right to live?...
 
?This bill is about who we are as a society.  It says that we value life.  And when there is a doubt about someone's intentions at the end of life...we will err on the side of life." "
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gwenlee 
Posted on 22-Mar-2005, 09:07 AM
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Well put MacEoghainn. I still don't think starving someone to death is humane. And as stated before if we did this to animals we would be brought up on charges. The problem here is there was nothing in writing, or no other person has come forward to say Terri had expressed these wishes. I feel that Michael should give up custody and walk away.
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Shamalama 
Posted on 22-Mar-2005, 11:47 AM
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Something tells me that this thread is going to go way beyond a simple poll. So let me take my shoes off and jump into the fray.

One of the tragedies here is that people who have no real interest in Terri Schiavo as a person are perfectly willing to seize her and brutalize her in order to further their own political and/or religious agenda, be it from the left or the right.

Nineteen judges in Florida, three turn-downs from the Supreme Court, and now a Federal District Court judge in Tampa has refused to order the feeding tubes for Terri Schiavo to be reinserted. Now its off to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

- Terri Schiavo is brain damaged but not brain dead.
- She is not on life support.
- She breathes on her own.
- She may or may not occasionally laugh.
- She may or may not react to stimuli.
- She may or may not respond at times to her parents.
- She is not dying, though she needs a feeding tube.
- A doctor diagnosed her as being in a "permanent vegetative state" but other doctors have disputed that view. Indeed there are legitimate questions about her initial diagnosis.
- Schiavo's parents have offered to take full responsibility for her care, relieving her husband of any obligations whatsoever. They are willing to pay the expenses of her hospitalization and any rehabilitation program.
- Senate majority leader Bill Frist, himself a doctor, has talked to a neurologist who examined Schiavo. The neurologist told him that with proper care of a type she hasn't received there is a good chance that Schiavo's condition will improve markedly.

Wesley J. Smith detailed the case of Kate Adamson, a woman who, was diagnosed to be in a persistent vegetative state (like Terri Schiavo) and had her feeding tube removed (like Terri Schiavo). It turns out that she wasn't in a PVS and, luckily, she lived to tell exactly what being dehydrated to death feels like.

Adamson was asked if having her feeding tube removed was painful. She replied: "Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. To say that - especially when Michael [Schiavo] on national TV mentioned last week that it's a pretty painless thing to have the feeding tube removed - it is the exact opposite. It was sheer torture."

"The agony of going without food was a constant pain that lasted not several hours like my operation did, but several days. You have to endure the physical pain and on top of that you have to endure the emotional pain. Your whole body cries out, 'Feed me. I am alive and a person, don't let me die, for God's Sake! Somebody feed me.'"

If the tragic case of Terri Schiavo shows nothing else, it shows how easily "the right to die" can become the right to kill.

She is not like someone whose breathing, blood circulation, kidney function, or other vital work of the body is being performed by machines. What she is getting by machine is what all of us get otherwise every day - food and water. Depriving any of us of food and water would kill us just as surely, and just as agonizingly, as it is killing Terri Schiavo.

The process of dying begins in the kidneys, which filter toxins from the body's fluids. Without new fluids entering the body, the kidneys produce less and less urine, and the urine becomes darker and more concentrated until production stops entirely. Toxins build up in the body, and the delicate balance of chemicals like potassium, sodium and calcium is disrupted. This electrolyte imbalance disrupts the electrical system that triggers the action of muscles, including the heart, and eventually the heart stops beating.

What we must avoid, always and everywhere, is yielding to the temptation to regard some human lives, or the lives of human beings in certain conditions, as "lives unworthy of life", like an unwanted fetus or the terminally ill. Since the life of every human being has inherent worth and dignity, there is no valid category of "lives unworthy of life". Any society that supposes that there is such a category has deeply morally compromised itself. As Leon Kass recently reminded us in a powerful address at the Holocaust Museum, it was supposedly enlightened and progressive (a.k.a. Liberal) German academics and medical people who put their nation on the road to shame more than a decade before the Nazis rose to power by promoting a doctrine of eugenics based precisely on the proposition that the lives of some human beings ? such as the severely retarded ? are unworthy of life. The American South did the same thing for years regarding slaves from Africa.

What's really going on here ? and I don't think we can afford to kid ourselves about this ? is that Terri's husband has decided that hers is a life not worth having. In his opinion, her continued existence is nothing but a burden ? a burden to herself, to him, to society. He has presumed to decide that his wife is better off dead.

Which one of us is willing to stand before Terri and proclaim, "You are unworthy to continue living" and remove the feeding tube yourself? What about a more humane lethal injection - would you push the plunger?


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Monarchs Own 
Posted on 25-Mar-2005, 09:00 PM
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I know what I am going to say may sound cruel but in my opinion we are more human to our animals then to our own species.

If it would be for me I wouldn't mind having humans - which want it that is - put to sleep like we do animals. But then we are in the thing with murder again.

It's a conflict. But if they would give certain doctors the right to administer the drug which put you asleep - would it still be murder? I mean they put people on death row to death and no one screams murder there either.

No if I am in a stage where there would be no hope at all and I would live only because of machines I told my husband to pull the plug.

But I don't think that witholding food and water is more humane than give them a gentle death were you would fall asleep and just never wake up again.

I know that's sounds maybe cruel but done under supervision of the law it should be made legal but only if the patient has it written somewhere. There should be rules so not one Familymember can take advantage of the situation. But I guess that is just wishful thinking on my part - but since I have seen both of my grandparents pretty much die from starvation and morphium overdose I thought that a shot which would bring them quicker and less painful over this would have been more human, than weeks and month of this.


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maggiemahone1 
Posted on 26-Mar-2005, 12:05 AM
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My mother-in-law lived with a feeding tube for 5 years, the last 3 years of her life she was bedfast and in a semi coma. My husband and I wanted her in our home so we could take care of her. She had Parkinson and Alzheimer's Disease. I guess to some, she had no quality of life, she just laid in her bed, she did breathe on her own, she was more or less like a baby. Wouldn't it have been terrible if I decided, ok I've had enough, I don't want to take care of her anymore, time to remove the feeding tube so I can get on with my life! I can't imagine letting anyone starve to death when there is a way for them to get the nourishment they need to keep them a live. My heart goes out to Terri's family and what they must be going thru now!

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DesertRose 
Posted on 28-Mar-2005, 12:08 AM
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I was one of the few who voted no. Like Mac said, the key word to Teri's husband is that she "allegedly" expressed her wishes to him. Who really knows that but him. Personally, I do not think he has his wife's best interest in mind, but has his own. He should divorce her and go on with his life like he already has instead of starving his poor wife to death. Teri must be suffering all the more because of it too. I agree totally with what Maggie, gwenlee, Mac and Shamalama has said. This is a horrible tragedy going on in our country that we would allow one of our loved ones to slowly and painfully die like this.


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erickbloodax 
Posted on 28-Mar-2005, 07:01 PM
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QUOTE (Swanny @ 21-Mar-2005, 09:40 AM)

Perhaps he made his wife a promise, and now feels duty bound to fulfil it.

Swanny

What about that promise made before God to love honor and cherish til death do us part? Do you get to choose which promises you keep and which you do not?

Granted, I don't think I would like to live like Terii, but if I am brain dead, what would it matter? If I am only aware that someone I love is in the room, but that makes me happy, who can say if that is not a good quality of life?

Terii is a test. How do we treat the most defenseless among us? We are failing that test.


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