I am referring to the Terri Schiavo case. I have been following it quite closely recently, and the whole situation makes me quite sad. I think it would be awful to starve to death. What would be worse would be to starve to death while those who want me to live are powerless to save me.
Such is the case of Terri Schiavo – her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, wants her dead, claiming that “it’s what Terri wants”. Her parents want her alive and are willing to take complete financial and physical responsibility for their daughter. For the past 15 years, Terri has been kept alive with a feeding tube that eases her feeding. Twelve days ago, a judge ordered the feeding tube removed at the request of Michael – a request which her parents have fought bitterly. They are watching their daughter die of starvation and thirst, not even allowed to put an ice cube on her parched lips. Protestors are lining the streets of the hospice where Terri lives, wanting the tube reinserted. So far, 47 people have been arrested trying to smuggle food into Terri – including a 10 year old boy.
If Terri was in a vegetative state without any hope of recovery, then I could see the point Michael Schiavo is making. However, there is little evidence to convince me that she is a vegetable. My cousin, who is a nurse, raised some very good points on her blog. She points out that Terri’s body is alive – she follows things with her eyes, she swallows throughout the day, she smiles and makes noises, and she is responsive to other people around her. Her body is healthy and free from complications (bed sores, etc.) that even Christopher Reeve had trouble with. Her body is not shutting down, but is very much alive.
There is also so much evidence that this isn’t what she wants. A good friend of Terri’s reported a conversation they once had, where Terri said, “I hope my family always fights to keep me alive.” When this friend of Terri’s first came forth, the judge thought Terri was a minor when the conversation took place, and threw the testimony out of the court. Later it was discovered that he had been wrong about her age, and she was in fact over 18. However, the judge wouldn’t let the testimony back into the court.
A nurse who worked at Terri’s hospice has talked about how Michael Schiavo used to kick them out of the room, then lock the doors. When he left, the nurse would find many bruises on Terri – evidence that he has been trying to kill her. The nurse once found an insulin syringe in the trash can that Michael had used, and shortly after she found this Terri went into an insulin shock. The nurse tried to call the police but they said that unless she had actually seen him give the insulin to Terri, there was nothing they would do. Michael would pace the halls saying, “When is this @%$#! going to die? Why haven’t you killed her yet?” In 1992, he was awarded a million dollars to help cover the costs of rehabilitation for Terri, and he hasn’t used any of it for her. He has very specifically ordered “no therapy”. This nurse was yelled at one time when she was massaging Terri’s hands, which Michael Schiavo considered “therapy”.
So here was have this “concerned husband” who, in the past 15 years, has been trying to kill his wife. He has been denying her sunshine and therapy, even though he has money specifically set aside for this. He has a mistress and two children by this woman. Even though Terri’s parents are willing to take full responsibility, even without demanding any of the $1 million that Michael had received earlier, he refuses to let them.
Yeah. This is a man who’s only doing this because “Terri would want it”.
And the woman who “wants to die” last received nourishment 12 days ago and is still alive. The woman in a vegetative state smiles and makes noises and follows things with her eyes, responding to people. The woman in a vegetative state is being given morphine for pain. The woman who is not worthy to live in the eyes of the courts hasn’t even been given the chance to prove that she could do more. There are countless survival stories of people who have recovered from brain damage – why can’t she be one of them too?
The part that makes me the most mad is that it is the United States government deciding to take the life of this woman, even though there are so many people who want her alive. They won’t even reexamine the evidence that shows new findings in the case (new knowledge about brain damage, etc.), and testimonies and facts that show the true nature of Michael Schiavo.
Girls, be careful who you marry. Paul, I want to live.