Sunday, March 27, 2005
It's been a month since I posted this information, but in light of what Terri Shiavo is suffering at this very moment, I'm reposting it for all those of you out there who think she is "at peace" during her ordeal.
I ran across this post at Res Publica. I haven't seen much written about the specifics of death by starvation and dehydration, and if anyone is still on the fence regarding the issue of removing Terry Schaivo's feeding tube this is an unnerving description.
"Since the people to whom this is done generally can't communicate, we mostly don't know what they actually experience. But in at least one case we do: that of a young woman who had her tube feeding stopped for eight days and lived to tell the tale.
"At age 33, Kate Adamson collapsed from a devastating stroke. She was diagnosed as likely to develop a persistent vegetative state (PVS) but was actually "locked in"-that is, she was completely awake and aware but unable to communicate.
"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."
"Moreover, although Adamson was not deliberately dehydrated-she was constantly on an IV saline solution-she still had horrible thirst:
"I craved anything to drink. Anything. I obsessively visualized drinking from a huge bottle of orange Gatorade. And I hate orange Gatorade. I did receive lemon flavored mouth swabs to alleviate dryness but they did nothing to slake my desperate thirst.
Read it all, then tell me Terri Shiavo is not suffering through her murder.
Friday, March 25, 2005
If anyone out there has an answer to this I'd like to read it.
I thought Florida had a law against assisted suicide, even at the request of of the patient. Allegedly the rational for Terri's starvation is that she stated her desire for assisted suicide to her husband which, according to FL law, is illegal. Why can't law enforcement arrest those responsible--including the husband--in Terri's onging death?
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Having sat on a number of grand juries in the past few years, I've learned a bit more about examining evidence that would result in someone being held over for trial and, perhaps, convicted and jailed. While there are compelling arguments on both sides, I personally see too many questions in Michael Shiavo's actions to have confidence in his suitability as Terri's guardian.
1. In the original hospital admittance report there was evidence of trauma to Terri's neck that apparently was never fully explained.
2. There were reports from Terri's friends she was considering a divorce from Shiavo just prior to her sudden collapse.
3. Is there a life insurance policy on Terri Shiavo naming her husband beneficiary? When was it purchased and what is the amount?
4. Michael Shiavo did not "remember" her wishes until after seven years and a $1.2 million malpractice settlement.
5. Nurses have testified Shiavo deliberatey denied proper rehab and therapy even though it had been ordered by the courts.
6. Caregivers have testified Shiavo seemed anxious to have Terri dead and anticipated he was going to be rich when she finally succumbed. (See #3 above.)
7. Michael Shiavo's attorney is a leader of the right-to-die movement in Florida.
8. Until 2002 that same attorney sat on the board of directors of the hospice where
Terri is confined.
Much of this evidence is circumstantial, yet if it had been presented to the various grand juries I sat on there is a very strong possibility we would have voted to have Michael Shiavo held over for trial where a full accounting of all the evidence would be presented and judged.
I find the conflicting reports of doctors and caregivers unsettling, raising too many questions about both their political agenda and finanical interest in this case. If for no other reason Terri's feeding tube should be restarted to allow for independent examination, including video monitoring of her day to day behavior and responses.
And if I was the adjuster for the insurance company holding Terri's life insurance policy (if any) I would strenuously urge my superiors to deny payment until every conflict of interest is examined.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Principle, not Expediency
As Terri Shiavo continues to die in the most painful way imaginable, we continue to center our debates around the quality of her life--or, as I heard one radio personality comment, what good is her existence in her current state?
The real debate is the sanctity of life--and she has already done us all a lifetime of good just by bringing this issue to prominent public awareness. Does it matter if Terri knows or understands what she's done? Of course not. What matters is our response not hers.
News reporters would have us believe Terri Shiavo is on life support, implying her heart and lungs cannot function without mechanical help. Thanks to the blogging community, this false information has been--and will continue to be--debunked. Terri has no motor controls over her body making her unable to feed herself or consume food normally. Whether or not this is from a lack of proper physical therapy shortly after the onset of her illness will never be known. She cannot speak and doctors have diagnosed severe brain impairment. Again, the permanence of this diagnosis differs from expert to expert.
But Is her lack of speech, coordination, and ability to feed herself enough reason to allow her to starve to death? If you answered yes to that question, then you would support the "merciful" starvation of these people as well.
Michael J. Fox - Parkinson's Disease . The late stages of Parkinson's include significant swallowing problems--and the need for a feeding tube. Patients are limited to a wheelchair or a bed for most of their day and suffer severe dementia from the high drug dosage. When the time comes for Michael J. Fox, should his wife or other caregiver starve him to death because his "quality of life" is no longer up to our standards?
Dr. Stephen Hawking - ALS . Author of A Brief History of Time , Professor Hawking was 21 when diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In his own words:
"Up to 1974, I was able to feed myself, and get in and out of bed. Jane [his wife] managed to help me, and bring up the children, without outside help…In 1980, we changed to a system of community and private nurses, who came in for an hour or two in the morning and evening. This lasted until I caught pneumonia in 1985. I had to have a tracheotomy operation. After this, I had to have 24 hour nursing care.
"Before the operation, my speech had been getting more slurred, so that only a few people who knew me well, could understand me. But at least I could communicate. I wrote scientific papers by dictating to a secretary, and I gave seminars through an interpreter, who repeated my words more clearly. However, the tracheotomy operation removed my ability to speak altogether."
Should he be starved to death because his "quality of life" is so limiting?
Read this interview with the mother of a young adult with ALS--who can only "eat" through a straw. Should she be starved to death because her "quality of life" is preventing her parents from moving on with their lives?
President Ronald Reagan - Alzheimer's . In the last years of his life, President Regan had lost the ability to respond to his environment, speak, and control his movements. Alzheimer's patients cannot walk, sit upright, or hold up their head without assistance. Their reflexes are erratic and their muscles become rigid and even their ability to swallow is impaired. Should he have been starved to death because his quality of life was no longer equal to what it had once been?
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
A Picture is Worth 133 to 233 Bullets
And one big lie.
Via Little Green Footballs: pictures of Giuliana Sgrena death car "riddled" with 300 to 400 bullets. (Enlarged pictures by LGF reader "Thomas.")
Now compare that with this picture of the Bonnie and Clyde death car "riddled" with 167 bullets:
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Fear and Society
"The point is, ladies and gentlemen, is that fear--for lack of a better word--is good.
Fear is right.
Fear clarifies, cuts through, and caputres the essence of the evolutionary spirit.
Fear, in all of its forms--fear for your life, of poverty, of loneliness, of ignorance--has marked the upward surge of mankind."
The reworking of Gordon Gekko's famous "greed" monologue from 1987's Wall Street is the response we should all have to the recent Supreme Court ruling.
Fear of retribution has held society together and kept people safe for over six millennia.
The Supreme Court just ruled to eliminate the fear of retribution for those who need the restraining hand of fear the most.
If they rule to eliminate the Ten Commandments from government facilities, they will have completed the quest to eliminate the acknowledgment of fear--and retribution here or hereafter--from all of society.