Friday, March 18, 2005

Just in case...

I know I talked about this a couple of years ago but since I don't want to wind up the same situation, please consider this, for the time being, to be my wish should I ever be in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery:


I do not want Tom Delay, Bill Frist, or Denny Hastert telling me that I have to be kept alive just because they don't like the idea. Attention, gentlemen, just beacuse you don't like it doesn't make it wrong. (And of course the converse of it is true as well.)

Is the death process going to be difficult for Terri Schiavo? Probably although some medical experts say she will be simply slip into a coma and peacefully pass away. Again, if this was me and I'm operating on the same age level as her parents' attorney says she is (which incidentally is that of a six month to eleven month old baby), then I do not want to my family or loved ones through the pain and agony of having to care for me. And I still want to see ONE lawmaker who is trying to circumvent 15 years of court verdicts that would be willing to trade places with her.

I keep thinking back to Nancy Cruzan's case and how her family went to court to have her tube removed because it was what her daughter had expressed as her wish -- she didn't wany to live in that manner. The Supreme Court agreed that she had the right to refuse treatment and a feeding tube constituted treatment. I don't see the difference here. The causal factors might be different but having read as many court transcripts and documents as I have, I cannot see how Terri Schiavo can be rehabilitated.

And don't worry, I am getting a living will drawn up. But for the time being, in the event that I get pushed in front of a subway train before I can get it done, I've made my wishes known.

In closing, I offer the following from the Second District Court in Florida. I think it very fairly sums up this true tragedy.

The judges on this panel are called upon to make a collective, objective decision concerning a question of law. Each of us, however, has our own family, our own loved ones, our own children. From our review of the videotapes of Mrs. Schiavo, despite the irrefutable evidence that her cerebral cortex has sustained the most severe of irreparable injuries, we understand why a parent who had raised and nurtured a child from conception would hold out hope that some level of cognitive function remained. If Mrs. Schiavo were our own daughter, we could not but hold to such a faith.

But in the end, this case is not about the aspirations that loving parents have for their children. It is about Theresa Schiavo’s right to make her own decision, independent of her parents and independent of her husband. . . . It may be unfortunate that when families cannot agree, the best forum we can offer for this private, personal decision is a public courtroom and the best decision-maker we can provide is a judge with no prior knowledge of the ward, but the law currently provides no better solution that adequately protects the interests of promoting the value of life.

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