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on the schiavos

[Updated at 7:40, see below]

I wasn't going to write about this. I spent the entire day biting my tongue and then forgot about it for a bit when my site went down.

But now I'm thinking about it again. And, obviously, writing.

I always believed that a person should be able to choose to die if they are terminally sick. I think it's unfair to force someone to live with tubes and machines and agony if they don't want to.

If you don't make your wishes known to your family - if you don't have a DNR order signed, if you don't legally write down your desire to have your plug pulled should you enter a persistent vegitative state - then you will be forced to endure the rest of your blank life, just waiting to die.

Rightfully so, I might add. While a husband can profess to speak for his wife and vice versa, if there is no legal, binding piece of paper that says what one spouse wanted in a situation like this, then the other spouse cannot presume to know what the other would want.

In this case, especially, it is hard to take what the husband says at face value. Michael Schiavo is engaged to another woman. He has one child with that woman already and is expecting another. He has been overheard by a nurse muttering "when is that bitch going to die?" This is not exactly a man who is overwhelmed with grief and guilt at the prospect of his wife dying.

Then there's the parents. Terri Schiavo's mother and father swear that Terri responds to them. They want her kept alive. They do not want to sit by while their daughter starves to death, especially when they are convinced that she is, if even only minutely, aware.

Some people are protesting the fact that Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed a bill that will force the hopsice where Terri is located to put her feeding tube back in. They say the government has no right to intervene, that her next of kin should make the decision.

So, do you put your trust in a man, Michael Schiavo, who is living with, engaged to and having children with another woman while his wife Terri lays in a coma, while the money meant to go toTerri's rehibilitation is not being used because her husband has insisted on putting her in a nursing home instead of a rehabiltative center? Do you trust the man who stands to inherit this money should Terri die?

Or do you side with the parents of this woman, the people who gave her life, who raised her, who swear that she is responsive to them at times?

And even if it's only once in six months that Terri was responsive, even if it was only a small movement of her lip or a fluttering of her eyelashes, that's something. It would be heartwrenching to stand there and watch your child starve to death, wondering if she is feeling anything, hearing anything, wondering how much agony she is in as she is denied nutrients.

It would be different if Terri had left a living will stating that her life should be discontinued in the event of something like this. It would be easier on the parents - still painful of course - to know they were doing what their daughter requested, what she wanted and not what the man who has spent the last seven years with another woman wants.

This is a tough one. I've always been in the right-to-die camp but this one has "extenuating circumstances" written all over it.

I wonder how Michael Schiavo sleeps at night. I hope he doesn't.

That said, I will be seeing my lawyer tomorrow about a living will.

UPDATE: Upon further thought, I have to say that it worries me that a governor has the right to override a court's decision and to decide someone's fate. Which is why this is such a sticky case. On the one hand, I Michael Schiavo long ago lost the right to say that he speaks for his wife. On the other hand, we have the government deciding if someone lives or dies and making laws according to their beliefs at whim.

I keep going back and forth. The more I read, the more confused I become. I want her to be able to die, I want her to be kept alive, just in case. Obviously, what I want doesn't matter one bit, but it matters to me in the sense that I thought I had my ideologies all worked out and then something like this comes along and kicks my ass.

And then I have to wonder: how long would I devote myself to my husband for if he was in a coma-like state for years and years? At what point would I give up, or would I?

I'd really like to hear what you all think of this.

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Comments

This isn't about having the right to die. You need to make that choice yourself, and make it clear that this is your choice. Having the right to die means that no matter what your family might want, your choice stands. (I then think that there must be a better way than slowly starving to death, but that's another digression.)
This is about whether other people -- namely, next-of-kin -- should be able to choose for you.

I wonder how much money is involved in this story.

If a parent isn't caring properly for a child, you can have their custody revoked and given to the other parent. If Michael is obviously moving on with his life with another woman, he should no longer have legal guardianship over his wife. The right thing for him to do would have been for him to keep the $300k that was awarded him for grief, put the $700k in a trust fund for his wife, divorce her, and give custody to the parents. It's amazing that the money could have been awarded to him without stipulation that it be used for her rehabilitation.

While I don't normally approve of retroactive legislation, I think Jeb and the Florida legislature did the right thing in this case. It seems to me that whenever there's a question in a right-to-die case, government (including the judges involved) should err on the side of life.

Why wouldn't the judge at least order that rehab be tried before removing her feeding tube?

As much as I believe that people have a right to determine their existence (or lack of), in this case it is far from clear that Ms. Schiavo's wishes are being respected.

Faced with a decision of this magnitude I see no other option but for the state to err on the side of life. Where there is life, there is hope... and I don't mean Mr. Schiavo's hope to start his new marriage with a comfy little nest egg.

I'm saddened by this whole matter. Not in the least because I just agreed with Jeb Bush.

After 13 years, there isn't much of that money left. It was used to and is still being used to take care of her. The husband did try to get her care. He took her to specialists across this whole country and nothing could be done. Many, many doctors have said, nothing can be done. I am not on the side of the husband. I am on the side of enough is enough and I am really pissed that our gov, Jeb, now has the power to overthrow a judges decision if he doesn't agree with it. On the news here tonight, Jeb said he didn't want to play god, but he just did. It wasn't just one doctor or one judge that said unplug her, it was many. This is the second time her feeding tube has been removed by court order and now the second time it has been put back in. I am on the side of enough is enough. Enough suffering and back and forth bickering over her. It is time to let her go. It is completely wrong the the florida government just decided for people whether they can live or die.

I don't see why the governor is more "the government" than the courts. Either way, somebody's stepping in to decide the claims of the relatives.

Paul and I made up our wills as soon as we had our first child. We had never really thought about our own mortality until that point. There's always the "what if" factor and we wanted to make sure if anything happened to us, that the children would be safe and taken care of. We also have multiple insurance policies and a guardian for the children as well. We planned for the future and any God Forbid-type of situation. Now, the case with Terry, I am not so sure she is completely unresponsive. She is alive. The videos I see on the news show her being somewhat alert. I think that starving/denying a person food and water is cruel. The thought of my child being the one denied is horrifying. Add to that not having ANY rights in a decision regarding my child's life.. well, I am sorry, I think this case smells funny. Her "husband" denied a priest to come in and issue last rights to her. What is that all about? I don't think he should have to stay tied to her forever - hell - if he just divorced her, he can shack up or marry anyone he wants. I think he's in it for the money. 10 years ago, when he first started this, there was quite a bit of money available. Whether or not it's still there is questionable. The man obviously has other interests so I find it very had to believe that he can make that decision in Terry's favor.

Kat,

First, the husband has done very, very little to see that his "bitch" (his words) has gotten proper care. She has not received any therapy in ten years. Perhaps it would help, perhaps not. It has not been tried.

Second, I've seen the videos. I work with disabled children, and several of them have been less responsive than Terri Schiavo. Ten percent of the students at one of my schools receive food through a "g-tube." Perhaps we should starve them to death as well?

Since no living will was left by Terri Schiavo, all we have to know her wishes in this regard are the words of a man who has proven himself far from trustworthy in this matter, who prevented her own family from visiting her for years, and who has been engaged to another woman (and has had a child with her). In a gray-area case like this I believe it is best to err on the side of life.

Terri is in, essentially, a coma. There are a lot of things that Michael may have done wrong, but moving on and getting in another relationship is not, imo, one of them. Would you feel, had they been 70 and she got Alzheimer's and he moved in with another woman, that what he did was wrong?

I understand what you are saying, I really do but the stuff that the parents are saying is not all accurate. They have not been banned from seeing her. They have to have supervised visits because they continuously violate court orders. The priest was allowed in but not allowed to give communion.
Things were tried. Swallowing tests were done. Many , many, many doctors tried things with her. They all said in court trial after court trial that she is brain dead. Did he pay off all those doctors and the judges that ordered this?
I also know disabled children who are fed through tubes. I know that they have not been declared braindead, she has. I really understand what you are saying. I have seen the videos myself. This is like 24 hour news coverage here. I see it all. I have been watching this closely for years now. Why? I don't know. Her case just compels me. I too wonder what she can feel or hear or understand if anything. All I am saying is that this has to stop. This is the second time this has been done to her and it can't be good for her body. 6 days have passed without food or nourishment. Organs were starting to shut down.I just want this over. It's not my place to make that decision nor is it my governors who said he didn't want to play god but now has.
I just hope that this can all end peacefully for everyone involved.
I'm not arguing with you, just stating what I know after years of following this case.

This is directly taken from the moratorium that he signed today. "WHEREAS, a court has found that Theresa Schiavo is in a persistent
vegetative state as of October 15, 2003
;".

I don't think it's wrong for Michael Shiavo to move on. I just think he should have given up legal guardianship of his wife when he did.

As much as I don't like this, I was glad to read that the bill that Jeb Bush signed was extremely limited in scope.

It's been too complicated for me to follow. But I keep wondering why the husband can't just walk away and let her parents take care of her. Surely there's a way for him to have his freedom to get on with his life and her parents to have her to take care of. If he really wants his freedom - then it shouldn't be about the money. If her parents really want to keep her alive and take care of her - again, they'll come up with the money.

I first learned of this case from listening to a talk show host who recently came on the air in my area, Glenn Beck. (His show replaced ESPN radio on the station, and it was a long drive) But what he said about this case haunts me and makes me really side with the parents.

He said, "imagine you walked down the aisle and gave away your daughter to this man ..." and then he went into the details of the alleged abuse, the circumstances of her coma, the testimony of people who dealt with Terri schiavo, the constant attempts by Michael to block the parents' wishes, the way Michael moved on, the "when is this bitch going to die," SWORN TESTIMONY!

The girl didn't have a living will. WE DON'T KNOW what her will is. But I say err on the side of life.

And I say that as a father who will hopefully one day live to see his daughter down an aisle if she finds that special someone. God, I can't imagine what Terri's parents are going through. And it fills me with rage to think of what Michael Sciavo has done to them and to Terri in the intervening years.

Would you feel, had they been 70 and she got Alzheimer's and he moved in with another woman, that what he did was wrong?

Why, amazingly enough, yes, I would. And I'll even give you an example to prove it.

I don't know about you, but the vows I took when I got married stated that I would love my husband for richer or for poor, in sickness and in health until death do us part. And believe you me, I've stuck by them, even when some would say that I had more than enough justification for leaving. We've been married nine years, and only recently has my husband decided to quit drinking. He's an alcoholic and it took him that long to hit rock bottom. Some would call me co-dependent, some would call me an enabler. Slap whatever label you want to on me if it makes you feel better: I can take it. I think of alcoholism as an illness---no different than cancer or malaria or whatever---and I would not leave, even when he did things under the influence that seemed to demand that I just pack it up and go; that it wasn't worth it; that love shouldn't be this painful. I didn't. I stuck by him and now he thanks me every day that I did and our life, while not perfect, is getting better every day. You see, I had faith that our life would be better when he stopped drinking and we were allowed to work toward fulfilling our potential as a couple, instead of always dealing with his drinking. And I was right. I kept the faith.

Michael Schiavo, however, didn't: he lost his faith in his wife, and in his marriage, assuming it was there to begin with; he thought it would be easier to just find another woman, have some kids with her, and that society would allow him to move on, understanding that a woman who's in a "persistent vegetative state" truly belongs in a nursing home and should, ultimately, be allowed to die, to save everyone the pain and suffering associated with her current life. He refused to look past the woman his wife had become to see that the same woman was still there: he only saw her physical condition; that she was not the same person he'd married; he ignored her spirit and refused to nuture it. I don't see any reason why he should be compensated for the loss of his wife when he never honored his marriage vows in the first place, therefore voiding the marriage in its entirety.

No matter what else I feel about Michael Schiavo, mainly I feel sorry for him. That he could not look beyond his needs to care for someone he had promised to do just that for. I feel sorry that he missed out on finding out just who he is as a human being because when he was challenged, he cut and ran. He took the easy way out and it's a sorry state of affairs that some people think it's all right for him to have done this.

It's exceedingly ironic that Michael Schiavo could be free of all of this through the wonderful procedure of divorce and yet he refuses to do just that.

This is not so much about the right to die as it is the trustworthiness of the person trying to carry out the death warrant. I sincerely hope that Terri's parents are now able to get custody of their daughter and that she is rehabilitated to a state where she is able to tell her husband to go to hell.

Most of the comments are critical of Michael and I agree - he could easily move on with his life
with a divorce. Why hasn't he? I've read that their is still $750,000 left of the money received. Call me a cynic but that's 750,000
reasons for insisting that Terri "wanted" to die
(something that he only "remembered" after he had
received the 1.3 million settlement.) He wants to be free of her and the responsibility of taking care of her but not have to give up the money, it appears.

There are many, many people in Terri's condition across this country. Is it okay to "play God" when ever it's more convenient that we be rid of
these unfortunate people? How many others could we watch over while they silently die of thirst?

I just find it slightly ironic that Gov. Bush chose to mark Defense Of Marriage Week by overruling the husband....

OR MAYBE, Michael is the only one that really knows his wife would want. I cannot fathom anyone that would argue otherwise. My wife and I discussed it last night, and despite the fact we have no "living will" at this exact moment in time, her wishes are no less than crystal clear to me, the one who loves and cares for her more than anyone on this earth.

I give him the benefit of the doubt. Thirteen years is enough. The woman is dead, whether her body is being kept alive or not, and the one person who would know best what her wishes would be, is her husband. Most, if not all parents "think" they know us, but I defy anyone to tell me that they never withhold anything from their parents, that their relationship with their parents is as open and deep as their relationship with their spouse.

I suppose I will read up on this case more, but I doubt my opinion will change. If you are married, you know your spouse better than anyone on this earth. And you are the ONE person best suited to speak their wishes if they weren't written down.

I agree with the point that the husband has moved on; divorce her, and let her parents take over. I have three children, all married or involved in a stable relationship; it would kill me to watch my child starve to death because her husband told them to let her.

Think about it; your child being purposefully starved to death and you aren't allowed to do anything about it.

I would violate court orders; I would do everything I could. I carried that person in my body; fed her, raised her, will always love her. I wouldn't let her starve when she was little, and wouldn't do so now.

Elizabeth
Imperial Keeper

I take issue with the notion that because Governor Bush AND the Florida Legislature overruled the court, that somehow the government is wrongly making an decision for an individual.
Obviously, the government stepped in when the judge made his decision, and got promptly wrist-slapped by the legislative and executive branches.

As for Michael somehow knowing what his wife's best interest would be, somehow the use of the 'b' word in reference to her and the abandonment of his marriage vows lead me to believe the interests he's most concerned with are most likely not Terri's.

I do not think that Michael Schiavo is necessarily a bastard for wanting to move on with his life, but the manner in which he chooses to exercise influence over Terri, claiming rights as a husband, is repulsive to me.

Some things I'm curious in knowing: When did Michael start arguing that his wife wanted to die? Has he been arguing this from the start? What is his own position on this instance, were he where his wife now lies? (I feel like I would want to keep on fighting and living until the moment my body gives out, but my boyfriends have all been "pull the plug". We haven't discussed much of my side in the past, but I know their point of view and they know I know it, so would they assume that because I didn't speak up that I wanted to stay alive or that I wanted to have the plug pulled.)

I honestly think the suggestion to take the 300K grief money and turn custody over to her parents might have been the best thing. I wonder what the mother of his children thinks, knowing that if she dies, this man might choose to pull the plug on her.

I thought that Terry was Roman Catholic? Catholics believe that one must take all ordinary measures to keep someone alive; it is only extraordinary measures that can be discontinued. There seems to be a lot of dispute over whether or not she is brain dead, but she does not need a ventilator, which (I believe) is considered extraordinary. Food is not considered an extraordinary measure, so as a Catholic she would not have a feeding tube pulled, unless it was true that she was brain dead. This fact seems to be in some doubt, with medical testimony on both sides.

Terry's Catholicism, the fact that no rehab has ever been tried, and Michael's having NOT sought a divorce when he has so obviously moved on, makes me think that money is the main motive in this, and that Michael is NOT acting in Terry's best interests, nor in a way that Terry herself would have wanted.

If Terry is indeed brain dead, then leaving the tube in erroneously would not cause her suffering. If she is not brain dead, then starving her would be cruel. With her mental status being in question, it seems only right to err on the side of life until such time as it can be proven conclusively that she is brain dead.

I haven't read everything on this, but I haven't seen anything mentioning the results of EEGs to establish the level of cerebral function she retains. That's the sort of information I'd want to see before making a decision to pull someone's feeding tube.

Bush or no Bush, the governor and legislature have no right to overturn a decision from the courts (2 of them.)
The bill passed was obviously tailor suited for this case. The only condition not included in the law is that the patient must be named Terri.
The husband, Michael Schiavo, is an obvious asshole in every light and angle you look at the way he has handled the situation.
However, as the courts have decided, he IS the husband and has the right to call the shots regarding his wife, asshole or not. The parents gave that up that right when Terri turned 18.

It is the parents I feel for the most in this case. After all these years, they can't let go of their child. I do not know how I would react in their shoes, but it reminds of the stories of Victorian women holding their dead babies for days after a stillborn pregnancy.

Kat,

Mr. Schiavo claimed that the money he sued for was to rehabilitate his wife; no therapy has been tried; he has another woman, and she has already had a child by him; and he still has not tried to divorce his living wife, but instead has tried for some time to cut off her access to nourishment.

Doesn't it seem probable that what he wants is the money? I presume that Terri Schiavo hadn't made a will. (Very few 26-year-olds have.) So if she dies while he is still married to her, he will inherit her trust fund, yes? But if he divorced her, the money would go to her next of kin, presumably her parents.

I am guessing here — I don't know anything of estate law in Florida. If there is anyone reading this who has better information, I'd welcome it.

As far as I can see, this man isn't functioning as Terri Schiavo's husband. If he honestly cares for the woman he now lives with, who's already borne him a child and apparently is pregnant now, he would secure a divorce from his current wife. And if he insists that he will be loyal to Terri until death, then he ought to renounce any claim to the money he sought, and was granted, for her care.

If he does neither thing, then he's a greedy piece of scum, period.

I can think of a number of reasons why it wouldn't have been wrong for him to have moved on but not divorced his wife. Any or none of them may apply here, but his being with another woman and not divorcing Terri is not what he's done wrong.
Assuming the parents' story is true, his not using her money for treatment was wrong; his trying to have her taken from life support only to get her money is wrong; his using that money to fight a legal battle is wrong. But continuing living -- with someone else -- isn't.
It's not the only choice, but you could (reasonably) argue that "as long as you both shall live" doesn't extend past brain death. If I were in a coma for years, I would hope that my husband didn't spend the rest of his life (or mine) mourning me.

It is interesting that nowhere here is the medical evidence discussed. It is as if the courts decided this case based on emotion and prejudice, which it saddens me to say, I see in plenty on this topic.

"Coma vigil" to use an old term, is one of the most difficult situations in medicine. Patients open and close their eyes, they cry, groan, grimace (which can look like a smile, but then so does the rictus of tetanus), move spontaneously, and even chew, grasp reflexively and turn toward noises. Hard to believe that this is all brain stem reflex, isn't it? Severely disabled, and/or brain damaged people can show similar looking activity orginating from higher brain centers.

Fortunately, today there is some help. CAT and MRI look inside the skull. According to court filings Mrs. Schiavo's brain is no longer intact. Most of the cerebrum has liquified and been replaced with spinal fluid. Recently the parents have found some medical blue-skyer who asserts that Mrs. S. has, on MRI, "significant brain activity" and that hyperbaric oxygen might help. Oh, please.

Hyperbaric oxygen for brain damage is right up there with laetrile for cancer. [That scam took 20+ years, multiple double blind studies, at least one FDA trial, many stupid laws passed and proposed by Congress, and I don't know how much money fleeced from desperate patients and their families before it finally lost its "alternative"
status for the hopeful and the gullible. It's still available, and it's still as useless as ever.] Back to Mrs. Schiavo.

First, "significant brain activity" is not normal brain activity, and second if there really was an even slim chance of significant recovery Mrs. Schiavo would have progressed, if only slowly, in 13 years. She has not done so.

Why is it that all the assumptions I see here are that multiple medical tests, competent consultants and disinterested courts are less worthy of belief than the desperate credulity of Mrs. Schiavo's parents, who are being influenced by religious con men and medical quacks?

Does it not occur to all of you that the quacks and con men have a financial interest? The religious cons, and I do know that not all the religious people here involved are cons, are receiving donations and publicity, and I guarantee you that the quacks are not "expert witnessing" for free. Plus which they have a possiblity of big bucks for "therapy" if the parents win. Indeed, there is money here. Just don't think that Mr. Schiavo is the only one looking at it.

Surely, I do not have to point out the motives of the scientifically ignorant, constitution destroying Florida Legislature and Governor? How many of you want these untrained flat-earthers making medical decisions for you?

This is way too long, but, remember, all of you arguing emotionally about this woman's "life" that what you see is a spinal cord reflex organism: not aware, no pain sensations, no hearing, no vision, no thought, no future, no past. She has contractures of all her major joints. Her body is trying to die because the structure of her brain has dissolved. Terri is gone with it, never to return. Only her shell remains.

Here are just the plain facts of the case, no emotion, just facts:

Schiavo Case Highlights

February 1990: 26-year-old Terri Schiavo suffers a heart attack. Because her brain was deprived of oxygen, she lapses into what doctors call a persistent vegetative state.

January 1993: Her husband Michael Schiavo successfully sues the physician who treated her before the heart attack. A Pinellas County jury awards the couple $1 million, with $700,000 of that designated for her perpetual care.

May 1998: Michael Schiavo files a petition to end his wife's life support.

February 2000: Circuit Judge George Greer grants the request and orders Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, begin an appeal.

April 2001: The Schindlers' appeals fail. Terri Schiavo's feeding tube is removed. Two days later, Circuit Judge Frank Quesada orders her feeding resumed in light of a new lawsuit filed by the Schindlers.

November 2001-January 2002: Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers try to resolve the case through mediation but fail to come to an agreement.

October 2002: As ordered by an appeals court, Greer holds a second trial to decide if new therapies might help Terri Schiavo recover. Two doctors chosen by her parents say she can be helped; two selected by Michael Schiavo say she is beyond help and a doctor selected by the court agrees.

November 2002: Greer again orders Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed, setting a date for Jan. 3. The Schindlers appeal again.

December 2002: Greer postpones his order to allow the appeals to go forward.

September 2003: With appeals running out, Greer sets a date of Oct. 15 to remove the feeding tube. The Schindlers ask a federal court to intervene.

October 7, 2003: Bush files a brief in the federal case, asking the court to endorse the Schindlers' petition.

October 10, 2003: U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzara rules that the federal court has no jurisdiction in the Florida case.

Tribune research by Angie Drobnic Holan

For all the facts, stories, letters from family on both sides, please see here:http://reports.tbo.com/reports/schiavo/.

I am not on the side of the husband, I don't personally know him, I am on the side of peace for this woman who has now had this tube removed twice and put back in twice and is the center of ugliness. I also firmly believe that Jeb and the good ol' boys are wrong to intervene the way they did.

Of course the quacks are touching this case caduceus - don't they always?

In this case, according to WND, her profiteering quacks are the "Galaxy Wave Group"

Here's the WND article:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35077
Here's their main webpage:
http://www.galaxywave.com/
And the two quality quackery pages:
http://www.galaxywave.com/adam_technology.htm
http://www.galaxywave.com/the_math.htm

Some choice quotes from these (snark)esteemed doctors(/snark):
"This program is an educational program delivered via the Internet, in conjunction with a new form of telepathic communication."
"The ADAM machine opens a dimensional rift allowing direct communication between the machine and the other dimension."

Wolfangel: I see your point; if he is convinced that his wife is really dead, it would seem natural for him to "move on" as he actually did (with indecent haste IMO, but then it's none of my business). The problem is that until his wife is actually declared dead, he is (a) still married; and (b) still the presumed heir to whatever is left of the settlement that, let us remember, he obtained specifically for her "perpetual care." Which means that if he were to divorce her, he would have no access to the money; and also that, as long as he actually is married to her, it's strongly in his interest that she die as quickly as possible.

Caduceus: The Schiavo parents' hopes may be vain, but they at least don't stand to gain personally from feeding their daughter, as her husband stands to gain from letting her starve.

That brings me to Kat's timeline, which is instructive. About three years after Mrs. Schiavo's injury, Mr. Schiavo obtains a settlement of $1.3M earmarked for "her perpetual care." This is interesting. His current argument is that she did not want "perpetual care" in this condition. But someone up above in the comments says that a coma that lasts over a year is a "persistent vegetative state," and that it's very unlikely that the patient will ever recover.

OK, so three years in, Mr. Schiavo is accepting money for "perpetual care." Why, if he is sure that his wife would not have wanted any such thing?

I repeat: If he hasn't any interest in the money, however much it is, why doesn't he simply announce his intention to give it away to one charity or another?

Ethically, when there is a dispute, the hospitals' ethics committee will normally err on the side of life, not death. Only when the courts and government get involved does the situation get screwed up.

In this case, according to several doctors who have been interviewed, the "spontaneous motion, smiles, vocalizations and eye movements" are normal in these cases. It's heartwrenching to watch, and only builds up unrealistic hope.

Get a living will. Get it now! Don't let any government flunky tell you how to die.

Yes, Hipocrite, they do. Always.
I'm not sure how they find these desperate, credulous people, but they always manage. I have seen this over and over. These hopeless situations are very similar.

In the Schiavo case there is a great deal of money so the parents are being told that there will be no limit to the "therapy," and therefore it will surely succeed. Quacks never admit that their previous failures, and failures are all they have, are due to the worthlessness of their method. It's always because "it wasn't used long enough," "the family didn't follow the program exactly," or some such. They also neglect to mention that without the money, upfront honey, they're out-a-here. Quacks do not give discounts or compassionate care.

Kat, thank you for your effort.
I had not seen a good timeline before. It looks about right for the husband to have denied, struck back, grieved, recovered and begun to move forward. The malpractice suit is strike back. During a suit or other legal proceeding (murder trials,say) the relatives funnel grief and loss into anger. The suit is completed, win or lose hardly matters, and the patient still doesn't recover. The relatives then (slowly) change emotional direction. It looks like after 5 years Mr. Schiavo did so. The parents, however, still had options to enable anger and denial, and that's what they're doing. It is rare, however, to get a state government involved.

Please be reassured that Mrs. Schiavo is, and has long been, at peace. This fight is over the relatives' acceptance of that fact. The extraordinarily selfish and unwise interjection of the Florida state government into this process cannot change the outcome. It has prolonged and deformed it.

Michelle Dulak, the parents are gaining personally. Not financially perhaps, although we cannot know that, but certainly emotionally. They have avoided dealing with their loss, built a wide, dysfunctional support group, and made themselves unique. What do they have if their daughter dies? Death is not unusual.

As for the notion that Mr. S should just give the money away, I admit it seems neat. Never met a family that did it. Mr. S. lost his wife and his future with her. He was intensly involved from at least 1990 to 1998, and has continued to devote a lot of time to his wife since. If he has accepted the hopelessness of his wife's condition, he may feel that her parents deludedly prolonging her caricature of life is exploitation, which he feels duty bound to prevent.

13 years later is not that quickly. Even 5 years later, when he first tried to have her taken off life support, doesn't seem that quick to me.

Why shouldn't he have the money? He was her husband; one assumes they loved each other. He paid for her care for 3 years after the settlement and she got absolutely no better. Perhaps it took him that long to accept her death. Who knows?

He paid for her care for 3 years before the suit and for the last 10 years since. It wasn't until 1998 that he began the process of wanting her at peace so he actually gave it 8 years to see if she got better. Look at the timleine again. All this information is public knowledge and available at the site that I attached to the timeline.

Caduceus: The point about the money is that Mr. Schiavo sought it explicitly for his wife's care. If she is dead, he doesn't need it, does he? As matters stand (as I understand it), the sooner she dies, the more he gets. This is not pretty.

Wolfangel: When I said Mr. Schiavo had "moved on" with indecent haste, I meant his establishing a new family while his wife was still alive.

Kat: I suspect that it wasn't Mr. Schiavo but his insurance company that paid for his wife's care for the first three years, and it was the proceeds from his lawsuit that paid since then.

I am at a loss to understand why Mr. Schiavo sought money for "perpetual care" of his wife if he was convinced that she didn't want to live in this state. And I am equally perplexed as to why he ought to have access to that earmarked money on her death. If he swore he'd never touch a dime of it, I might perhaps believe he was acting out of love.

Oh, and one more thing to Wolfangel: Can you really imagine a man who loved his wife wondering out loud when "that bitch" was going to die?

Michele,

I agree with the original version of your post 100%. I find concerns about the governor and the Legislature "overriding a court's decision" to be misplaced. Making, amending, and repealing laws is not some bizarre end run around the Constitution; all it is, is the Legislature doing its job.

The only thing unusally about Terri's Law in particular is the fact that it was passed so quickly, at such a late stage in the game. They should have acted much sooner and much more deliberately, long before the feeding tube was removed in the first place. But in the end, they had to act fast and they did. If Congress can act at lightning speed to stop telemarketers from annoying us in our homes, surely a state legislature can do the same to save a human life (or whatever is left of it, anyway).

As a mother with a brain injured son (age 29)who to this day still is described as being in a persistent vegetative state this case has caused me many tears, reflections and counting my blessings that he at least was not married when he suffered his accident. I don't know what I would have done if there would have been a spouse dictating course of treatment for my son. That label persistent vegetative state more often than not is used incorrectly. Moreover, doctors love to tell us moms with brain injured children that what we are reporting is just reflexes. I had been following Terri's life and death battle for about 1-1/2 yrs, but it wasn't until I saw the videos that I realized she wasn't doing anything less than my son was doing for the first 5 years of his brain injury. Keep in mind that we went through all the traditional therapies for those 5 years. This last January 2003 we went off mainstream therapies and tried a controversial therapy of hyperbaric oxygen and with the first treatment he started mouthing words, he throws a ball to us with precise targeting, he displays humor and does so much more. He has a g-tube for nutrition, has never passed a swallow test but he can eat by mouth now and doesn't choke or aspirate. Is he 100%, no but slowly he's working towards that goal. My point, you can't give up on your kid, where there is life, there is hope. Terri did not leave her wishes in writing. Michael's motives are suspect at best. I don't believe that his all of a sudden recollecting, by the way Terri told me she didn't want to live on life support with collaboration of his own family should have been enough to convince a court. Terri has had a few infections and 2 g-tube removals, if she really wanted to die any one of these would have done the job. In my book, that young lady has a very strong will to LIVE.