In Our World

Schiavo Showdown

Hmm. I don't know that I'd really call it a showdown, but increasingly that seems to be what it is. Or at least what it is that the press would like us to think it is (accurately or not). I'm still trying to decide how I feel about…

Hmm. I don’t know that I’d really call it a showdown, but increasingly that seems to be what it is. Or at least what it is that the press would like us to think it is (accurately or not). I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it. I just don’t know.

On one hand, Terry Schiavo is a living being. Removing her feeding tube is roughly akin to neglecting to feed your children, who are unable to fend for themselves. Of course, the children could eat grass in the yard or drink toilet water or something, an option that Ms. Schiavo doesn’t have.

This woman has been brain-damaged for 15 years. I believe that the proper term is that she is in a persistent vegetative state. As I understand it, this means that her body functions – it sleeps, it wakes, it breathes, that sort of thing. But there are no higher brain functions. According to that link, someone can recover from such a state, but I have to believe that after 15 years, it’s increasingly unlikely that she will recover to anything resembling a normal life.

Which leads to the other hand. While I believe that there is a certain amount of mercy being shown, there is also a time when difficult decisions need to be made. Many people will only encounter this sort of experience with a dog or other pet, who simply isn’t enjoying a quality of life that they probably should. At that time, it becomes an issue of whether they should be put to sleep or not. And while comparing a pet to a person may not be the most apt comparison, it’s the most likely comparison that many of us will be able to recognize.

Personally, mostly because I have not been in such a situation, I cannot imagine having a family member in such a state for 15 years. I don’t know if I could handle it. But still, I think that life is sacred. So much so that sometimes the best thing to do may very well be to end it. To go back to my earlier, inaccurate, illustration – I have previously determined that a pet’s quality of life is no longer there and decided to end it. That was one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make.

When I made the decision, I did so only after I had seen for myself that the spark of life was no longer there. So without seeing that same thing for myself, I can’t say that it’s time to end Ms. Schiavo’s life. Equally, I can’t say that it isn’t time. Only someone exposed to her can do that. And rightly or wrongly, it seems to me that the person justified to do so (her husband) has made that decision. I think that someone has to make the call, and in our society, I believe he is the person entitled to do so.

3 replies on “Schiavo Showdown”

I know I am a little late in responding to this…

I believe with all my heart that her husband had no special interest in her, which is a shame. He moved on with his life yet denied her physical therapy. If she had been given the chance she may have moved on with her life too. He could have easily given ‘ownership’ over to her parents.

The fact that he had her cremated and didn’t even give the parents the priviledge of having her buried in their cemetary tells us he’s just an ASS!!

I, for one, am glad to know that my husband would account for my family’s wishes as well as his own. I know they would work together to come up with an agreeable solution.

This was not a living will issue. There was no ‘pulling the plug’ for Terri. I am so saddened to know that we, as a society, treat prisoners with more respect than we showed this poor woman. She more than likely died of thirst before she died of starvation.

How is Terri’s condition any different from a person going through the last stages of Alzheimers? Are we stating it is okay to walk away from responsibility and let that person thirst or starve to death because one doesn’t want to be accountable to that human being any long. That is so pathetic….

I, for one, believe that I witnessed a great injustice.

Is the implication that the only way my spouse could (or should) follow through on my wishes to not be kept alive in such circumstances is to drop my life insurance policy?

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