Terri Schiavo still alive

| | Comments (5) | TrackBacks (1)

No one can say now that Terri Schiavo was on artificial life support. She has survived ten days without food or water, and it is reported that she is still responsive to visitors and that there are indications that she is not completely dehydrated. It may be that she is being sustained in some miraculous way, and we need to pray that God will deliver her from the hands of those who seek her death.

Many have said that Terri isn't there any more, just an empty shell, and it's time her family let her go to be with Jesus. There are complaints about the hypocrisy of conservatives for seeking Federal intervention in what should be a state matter. Certain blasé bloggers prefer to shrug their shoulders -- it's tragic, sure, but there are plenty of other tragedies in the world.

Here is what seems so outrageous to me. This is why I cannot let go of this situation: Despite credible testimony that Terri is responsive and therefore not in a persistent vegetative state, despite credible testimony that she could take nutrition and water by mouth, Judge Greer refuses to hear any new testimony, refuses to permit new testing, refuses to consider that his finding of fact from nearly 10 years ago may have been in error. He is so determined that this woman die that no one is permitted to attempt to give her nutrition and water by mouth. If Terri were miraculously to get up from her bed and try to get herself a drink, I wouldn't be surprised if the judge ordered her bound and gagged. Her death seems to be the only satisfactory outcome to Judge Greer.

We need to continue to pray that God would sustain Terri physically and emotionally, as well as her parents; that God would change Michael's heart; and that God would change Judge Greer's heart, too.

Tim and David Bayly, the PCA pastors who have been blogging from outside the hospice, are headed back to Ohio. Their last entries from the scene are well worth reading and pondering. One of these entries is a doctrinal statement on euthanasia, footnoted with Scripture and the PCA's doctrinal standards. (In the excerpt, I've interpolated the text of the footnotes.) The statement makes an important distinction between treatment and care:

Today there are mounting pressures upon medical professionals, pastors, families, and individuals to hasten the death of those under their care or authority. Such hastening sometimes takes the form of direct action, such as a lethal injection. More commonly, it takes the passive form of neglect or withdrawal of the necessary means of preservation of life. (Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 135,136.) Such means include medical treatment, both extraordinary and ordinary. But they also include basic provisions historically understood as care: warmth, cleanliness, food, water, and love. Christians must distinguish between "treatment" and "care."

Where medical treatment which is not gravely burdensome is necessary for an individual to continue to live, the withdrawal of such treatment--except in cases where death is imminent and inevitable and to continue such treatment would pose a grave risk or cause more of a burden to the patient than it would alleviate--is a violation of the image of God which all men and women bear.

Loving care for all members of the human community is a fundamental Christian teaching and an obligation of Christian discipleship. (1 Timothy 5:4-8; James 1:27) Therefore it ought never to be withheld. This includes providing liquids and nutrition through spoon-feeding or tubes where the patient is unable to take them by another manner. Withholding such necessary means for the preservation of life must, therefore, stand under Scripture's condemnation, (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 25:31-46; James 2:14-17) even in the case of those who are perpetually comatose or in a persistent vegetative state. Christians should also ensure that members of the human community are upheld with the warmth and love of human contact.

Although it doesn't bear directly on Terri's situation, the final post from the site has some interesting observations on the way Protestants and Catholics worked together outside the hospice.

Be sure to keep an eye on Blogs for Terri for the latest news and what you can do to help.

1 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Terri Schiavo still alive.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.batesline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1396

» Terri Schiavo blog roundup from JackLewis.net

Congress: Captain's Quarters Governor: Outside the Beltway Courts: The Wide Awake, Cait's Oz Blog Media: Michelle Malkin, The Wide Awake,... Read More

5 Comments

David Adams Author Profile Page said:

There are complaints about the hypocrisy of conservatives for seeking Federal intervention in what should be a state matter.

My own complaint is any governmental involvement in what should be a private family matter. To the extent that families disagree, a court should decide the legal facts. This has been done.

Despite credible testimony that Terri is responsive and therefore not in a persistent vegetative state, despite credible testimony that she could take nutrition and water by mouth

I think you are in the wrong here. Several courts have agreed that such testimony is not credible. I'm not sure what you are basing your opinion on, but certainly the courts have a lot more information than you do.

This issue has become so politicized one cannot believe anything one reads about it. I caution you against giving too much credence to those who are using this tragedy for their own selfish purposes. In this case, every public statement and assertion should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

If Terri were miraculously to get up from her bed and try to get herself a drink, I wouldn't be surprised if the judge ordered her bound and gagged. Her death seems to be the only satisfactory outcome to Judge Greer.

Do you hear what you are saying? Do you know anything about Terri, or Michael, or the Schindlers, or Judge Greer outside of what you've read on the Internet? Have you met them? You ascribe evil motives to people you have never met.

I don't think anyone directly involved in this case is evil, but the farther removed one gets from the primary players, the more evil things get. Politicians, pundits, activists, and news networks using this as an opportunity to score points, make money, and grow ratings are the lowest of the low.

The bottom line is that this should be a private family matter. The involvement of the world and the rhetoric surrounding this is shameful and disgusting. The courts have found that Terri would not have wished to live in her current state, and by law her wishes are being granted.

R. said:

To blame Judge Greer for this oversimplifies the situation. Had his decision not been based on the rule of law, the appeals court, the state supreme court, or the U.S. Supreme Court would have overturned it. None did.

George W. Bush's aides repeatedly said that the nation "must respect the rule of law" during the 2000 election aftermath. Ultimately, Bush did respect the rule of law in this case.

And the so-called credibility of the experts. I saw the credentials of the experts. If anything, they *strained* the credibility of the Schindlers' case. The experts either weren't experts in the field of neurology, or based their diagnoses on videotape or other half-baked means.

It's also hard for any court to take plaintiffs seriously when there are strong indications they are lying. The story that Terri said "I want to live" seems particularly dubious when the parents have been videotaping and recording their interactions with Terri. At the moment the feeding tube was removed, would I have had it videotaped? You betcha. Had Terri actually said those words, there would have been concrete evidence to present. No such evidence was presented -- except for hearsay. Instead, the Schindlers apparently resorted to lying.

I find it interesting that several polls of the American public are finding that they support Michael Schiavo over the Schindlers by 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 margins. I think it's because the vast majority of Americans are not pro-life, but pro-death. Americans like to eat meat, which requires the killing of livestock. They support executing mass murderers. Americans favor abortion in the case of rape and incest. They support killing vicious dogs. They support euthanasia in many cases. I don't see why that Americans' lack of support for the Schinders is such a shock to conservatives.

And right now, there are more important things to worry about. As I type this, there has been a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean. Thousands are feared dead, and thousands more need help. Maybe this is God's way of telling us to stop focusing on just one woman who's been severely brain-damaged for 15 years. Here's one way to help:

http://www.catholicrelief.org/

Monica said:

This situation has me debating close friends and relatives even more so than Iraq. I suppose because my son was in Iraq they left any differing opinions to themselves.
However, I think what's going on is wrong. If she can't feel pain, why is she on morphine? If she's ready to die, why is she holding on so valiantly?
I think you wrote a great post on this.

Dave, as far as I can tell by reading the record, only one judge, Judge Greer, has acted as a judge on matters of fact. The appeals courts have not taken evidence and testimony. No other court has done a de novo review. The Schindlers have asked for new tests to be conducted and for Terri to be re-evaluated, but the way the system works, they have to get Judge Greer to agree to it. In a situation like this, where there is a dispute about her condition, there ought to be a safeguard in the law allowing another court to examine new evidence and hear new testimony. That is what Congress attempted to do, but they were thwarted by the Federal judge in Tampa.

Ron, I'm sure the Schindlers would love to have video of Terri to show how she is still responding, but they are forbidden by Michael from bringing in a video camera. Visitors to Terri are searched -- remember that there are police officers around the hospice, in the hospice, and in Terri's room, to make sure no one tries to give her anything to eat or drink and no one tries to remove her. Anything Michael doesn't want brought in doesn't get in.

David Adams Author Profile Page said:

In a situation like this, where there is a dispute about her condition, there ought to be a safeguard in the law allowing another court to examine new evidence and hear new testimony.

I have to disagree. If Judge Greer were negligent in what new testimony he allowed or did not, the higher courts could have done something about it in any of the numerous appeals. People can always say they've been cheated. Repeating trials because the outcome is upsetting is not a good solution to this problem. That the federal judge who heard the most recent appeal, that entire federal circuit panel and the supreme court seem to agree is pretty strong evidence to me that the courtroom procedure was fair and correct.

Congress or the Florida legislature could have gone a lot farther if they were really serious about saving Terri and others like her. That they didn't tells me that their goal is not to help Terri, but to undermine the public's trust in the judiciary. Even if Terri dies, a Congress that took this issue seriously would take up real legislation to address the topic, but I predict the political storm will die along with Ms Schiavo.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 28, 2005 5:57 PM.

Tulsa County audit on KJRH news tonight was the previous entry in this blog.

Woodsman, spare that tree! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Contact

Feeds

Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
Atom
RSS
[What is this?]