|| 03/19/2005 ||
Schiavo feeding tube removed - With a furious legal and political battle raging outside her hospice room, doctors removed Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube Friday after a judge rebuffed an unprecedented attempt by Republican lawmakers in Congress to keep the brain-damaged woman alive.

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Nony Wrote the following on 03/19/2005 02:21 AM :
Now the women is left to die of starvation. Amazing that in a country where people are excecuted without a second thought doesn't allow it's citizens to die in a decent and humane way. At least here in Europe they have euthanasia laws that take care of situations like this. Let us hope the political and religious pressure groups at least let her die in peace instead of using the whole issue as a way to get cheap media attention.

A brave decision on he part of the judge!

Sky Wrote the following on 03/19/2005 08:25 AM :
This is an exceeding sad case. I have been in situations like this myself and understand that sometime families, because of religious beliefs or somply because they cannot say goodby, will ignore the advice of physicians and demand that their loved one be kept alive no matter what. It is easy to judge these people, since often they are unwittingly committing a cruelty against their loved one. But the psychology of such situations is complex and delicate. In an effort to do what is best for his patient - letting him die - the physician cannot tell the family that what they are doing is cruel, since this will have serious psychological pamifications later. Medical ethics is a hard road to walk sometimes.

In Terry Schiavo's case, her own physicians, as well as those appointed by the court, have declared her to be in a persistent vegitative state. Most laypeople don't understand what this means. It isn't as many believe that she is in a deep coma from which she may one day awaken. Rather, her brain is intractably damaged. While autonomic functions are relatively intact, her cerebral cortext, the center of conciousness, is no longer functioning; it is essentially dead and it will never reactivate. Terry's body is still alive, but the woman - her personality, memories and experiences - is gone. Yet she can still experience pain. This raises serious and unanswerable spiritual questions such as where is her soul? Physicians cannot and do not grapple with such questions, except perhaps in the privacy of their own thoughts. They also do not make a diagnosis of persistent vegitative state in a vacuum or on the basis of observation alone. They bring technology to bear and are very cautious, indeed relunctant to make such a diagnosis. They use CAT scans, MRIs, and EEGs to obtain objective evidence of brain function. If they believe a patient to be brain dead, they will usually wait awhile and repeat their test , looking for any change in status. Almost invariably, they will seek a second or third opinion before making the diagnosis.

Nony, you raise another question of medical ethics, since, by removing her feeding tube, the doctors are, in affect, performing euthanasia. The Hippocratic Oath states "First, do no harm." Is allowing a patient to starve to death doing harm? Is keeping him alive by artificial means when there is no home of recovery doing harm? Is using drugs to end the life quickly doing harm? Is making medical decisions without consideration of the the resulting quality of life of the patient doing harm? These aren't questions so easy to answer are they? My own ethics on this would be that keeping a patient alive indefinitely in a persistent vegetative state is doing harm. Yet allowing her to starve to death, even though the suffering from this can be somewhat mitigated, is also doing harm. Rather, my choice would be to administer a barbituate to put her into a deep coma, followed by a fast-acting paralytic to stop breathing, and finally with a dose of hypertonic sodium bicarbonate to stop the heart. Clinical death occurs withing seconds. This is pretty much what is done during execution by lethal injection. But you see, a physician can make such a decision and perform such and act and deal with any spiritual aspects privately. But what of the family? He cannot make such choices for them.

Unfortunately, the religious groups are not going to back off and allow this family to deal with this privately. You are correct that they will use this case for some cheap media attention and to impose their point of view on others. They will not do as the physicians have done and present the family with the facts and options and then allow them to make the decision they have to make. In this case, Michael Schiavo finds himself at odds with his wife's family. This must be very hard for him to bear. His is forced into seeking legal remedies, as are his wife's family, whose feelings and beliefs must also be considered and weighed. But this should reside with the Court. Legislators, governors and external pressure groups have no right to be involved. These religious groups have maligned and tormented Mr. Schiavo. He's even received death threats. And they have done this in the name of God. Astounding....

Michael Schiavo is the real brave man here. He could have thown up his hands and given up years ago. He could have walked away and started a new life, leaving his wife in the care of her family. A judge would have summarily granted him a divorce. But he didn't do this. He stood by his wife, attempting to do the one last thing he could do for her. Look what it has cost him, and all because a bunch of false Christian moralists think they have a right to interfere in the lives of others.

Nony Wrote the following on 03/19/2005 2:28 PM :
Well put Sky. This case has been a hot topic in the press in Europe also. Some interesting interviews with doctors on the ethical aspects of the case. Here is their take on it: If a case like that happens, the doctors will check, double check and then triple check their results. They will then explain the hopelessness of the situation to the family. Usually a final check is then made, and the person (or better the body) will be euthanized to avoid senseless suffering. They would never let it drag on for years (the article is 2 pages, deals with the emotional/ethical/legal aspects etc..)

Well here you can request euthanasia when you are terminal ill, they made it legal, all you have to do is register your wish for euthanasia and apoint a trusted person to say "when" in case you would no longer be able too (of course after the doctors agree there is no more hope.) This is done to prevent greedy relatives to try to snuff you out prematurely in order to get the inheritance. Think I'm going to sign one of those forms...no point putting other people (usually your loved ones) trough the agony of having to make that final decision for you.

Probably some religious wise ass will come up with some case where a person miraculously got better after being in a coma and declared hopeless.... Wouldn't change my mind.

Sky Wrote the following on 03/19/2005 3:20 PM :
Oh absolutely someone will come in and talk about how someone was in a coma for years and came ot of it. This has happened, though it is so incredibly rare. God had performed a miricle! And people see the Virgin Mary in cheese sandwiches and Jesus in dental x-rays too. But PVS is not a coma. for the sake of simplicity, I ommitted that it is possible to come out of PVS, but if it is going to happen, it usually does within the first few weeks and there is always resultant disablility. After six months, there is little hope that one will come out of this and if they do, the brain damage is so profound that they will be severely disabled, will not know who they are or who their loved ones are, will have no understanding of their environment, and will in all probability relapse into PVS again at some point. Beyond six months, there is almost no hope of recovery, and after as long as Mrs Schiavo, none whatsoever.

PoPo Wrote the following on 03/20/2005 9:20 PM :
So make her suffer one to two weeks of a slow starvation death. Yeah thats compasion. Shining democratic policy at work.

Juniper Wrote the following on 03/21/2005 03:26 AM :
Sorry PoPo, but if it had been up to the democrats, she would have had an honorable death, not this dragged out excuse for life. If they do this do an animal everybody would be in uproar! What if they can keep here alive for hundreds of years???? Should be possible eventually. You mean to tell me that all braindead people should be tied up to machines then? Boy soon we will have hospitals filled with corpses stuck to machines kept alive artificially if the family requests it! Insurance companies are going to love that! They will never have to pay out.

Did you know that Bush signed a law in Texas taking people of lifesupport when they can't foot the bill anymore? I submitted a link on that. Nice guy isn't he!

Sky Wrote the following on 03/21/2005 05:50 AM :
PoPo, you have a point. Slow starvation isn't the answer, either. But this isn't a case of republican vs. Democrat. There are people on boths sides of the euthanasia questions from both parties. I know "bleeding heart" liberals who are opposed to euthanasia and ultraconservatives who support it. Most health care professionals are in favor of it. No doubt, Juniper has watched a lot of people die and has had to watch a lot of people who should be dead kept "alive" by miricles of modern technology. I know I certainly did and it always broke my heart. Just because we can keep someone alive indefinitely doesn't mean we should. People opposed to euthanasia will always drag out the argument "you can't play God." Well, keeping someone alive indefinitely by artificial means when there's no chance of recovery is also playing God.

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