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clarifications and whatnot

[I said yesterday that I wrote my first and last thoughts on Terri Schiavo, but I'm diving into the subject again, mostly to defend myself against some rather crude accusations]

One of my greatest fears is of being buried alive. The dark side of my imagination has created a scenario in which this happens and it appears in my dreams every once in while: Imagine being held down, underneath layers of dirt or stone or maybe in a wooden box. You see a pinpoint of light above. Just out of reach. You can hear muted voices above you; there are people out there. Living, breathing people who are going about their daily lives while you are trying to claw your way out of your trap, while you are trying to shout to them. But no one hears you. No one knows you are in there.

When people tell me that Terri Schiavo is aware, that's what I imagine. That's how I envision her every cognizant moment to be. I donít know that this is true. Iím no medical expert. But no one knows whatís going on inside Terriís mind, do they? If anything is going on in there. The fact that she has no working cerebral cortex makes me inclined to believe that she isnít aware of anything. But I try to put myself in that place. Is that a way I would want to exist for fifteen years? Hell, I wouldn't want to live that life for fifteen days.

My post yesterday was not one based on expert witness testimony or facts and figures and data. It was based on emotion and I assumed it obvious that it was a personal view of what I would want if I were in that situation as well as an admonition to make a living will so this never happens to you.

To say - as some other bloggers as well as emailers did - that it would stand to reason then that I would advocate the killing of the retarded, the meek and the disabled is absolutely ridiculous. You may call my desire to see Terri die peacefully a slippery slope, but youíre creating that slope out of fallacies. When I advocate mercy killings, I donít mean that people should just run rampant through hospitals jabbing all the sick and elderly with needles full of morphine. I would expect that if euthanasia was ever made legal, it would be used only on people who have expressly and legally made provisions for such a thing to be done to them, in specific situations.

A few people asked why I didn't mention Michael Schiavo. I purposely didnít write anything about Terriís husband simply because he wasnít a factor in what I felt yesterday after reading countless news stories and blog posts about the case. I was looking at it from the point of view as someone who has watched loved ones die and as someone who would not want to linger inside a shell of myself for 15 years while my parents and husband fought over whether I may some day recover. My impression of her husband are not favorable, but I don't see why that matters.

And now I'm wondering why the Schiavo case is as famous, for lack of a better word, as it is. Why the lights and cameras? Why the politicians and reporters?

I mentioned yesterday the case of Sun Hudson.

The child was apparently certain to die, but was conscious. The hospital simply decided that it had better things to do than keeping the child alive, and the Texas courts upheld that decision after the penniless mother failed, during the 10-day window provided for by Texas law, to find another institution willing to take the child.

You have here another parent looking to keep their child alive. Where was the outrage? Where were the tv cameras, the Congressmen, the advocates? Sun Hudson's mother had to let her baby die even though she wanted to keep him alive. He would have died soon, anyhow, as do most babies born with Sun's defect. But should that matter? Shouldn't we err on the side of life? Aren't all lives worth keeping until nature runs its course? Then why weren't the same people who have been advocating for keeping Terri Schiavo alive doing the same for Sun Hudson? Why was the hospital able to kill him without a fight?

Honestly, I don't think anyone involved in this case any longer has the benefit of Terri Schiavo in mind. It's way past that. It's all about pushing agendas now. If people really, truly cared about making sure all lives are equal, whether brain dead or not, why weren't they rallying at the bedside of Sun Hudson?

Michael Totten:

Iím not at all impressed with either the White House or Congress right now. This is so obviously not the federal governmentís business that Iím embarrassed to even point it out. Whether Terri Schiavo lives or dies is of supreme maximum importance to her friends and family. Itís only important in a symbolic and voyeuristic way to anyone else - and thatís only because the media refuse to let go of it and political activists refuse to stay out of it.

As far as starving Terri to death goes (I'm trying to respond to all comments and emails here), some of you make it sound as if I'm sitting here gleefully rubbing my hands together, mumbling kill, kill, torture, kill! I've tried to read up on what happens when you remove the feeding tube of someone whose cerebral cortex is not functioning. I quoted such a thing yesterday. And if it were me - read again, if it were me, that's how I would want it done if there were no other legal recourse. Obviously, I'd prefer a nice shot in the arm of something that will let me die peacefully, but we only offer that resolution to animals in this country.

Does anyone remember Karen Ann Quinlan?

After three and a half months that Karen had been in a coma, the family decided to authorize the discontinuance of extraordinary procedures. The next day, the doctor decided that he would not take Karen off the respirator due to moral reasons.

Another reason to make a living will.

Karen lived for ten years after they took her off the respirator. Ten years in a persistent vegetative state. Ten years of laying in a hospital bed, unable to communicate. When I say I wouldn't want to live like this, that I advocate the mercy killing of people who would request such a measure be taken in such a circumstance, that is not the same as saying I want to kill the meek, the retarded or the disabled. There is no slippery slope here, people.

It's a complex issue. And an emotional one. It's easy to get caught up on either side of it and it's just as easy to sway from one side to the other. On the one hand, I imagine Terri suffering. On the other hand, I think of the suffering her family is going through in watching her die and I understand - though not necessarily agree with - their desire to not hasten that death.

I'm writing about this on a personal level, like I do every subject here. I'm not touting myself as a medical expert, a legal expert or as someone who speaks for any specific group. If I were in Terri's place, I'd want to die. It's as simple and as complicated as that.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference clarifications and whatnot:

» Terri Shiavo from Jeff the Baptist
Kim du Toit echoes much of my thoughts about Terri Shiavo. A Small Victory has more. My God, I'm agreeing with athiests... [Read More]

» Failing the Litmus from Ilyka Damen
I think I've got to thank Judith Weiss for saving my sanity this morning with a beautiful collection of opinions, plus her own two cents, regarding Terri Schiavo. Were it not for this: It looks like your position on the... [Read More]

» Terri Schiavo Roundup from Outside The Beltway
Just a few of the more significant stories and opinion pieces on the Terri Schiavo circus. Reuters states the obvious: "Schiavo Case Exposes Political Divide in U.S." By intervening in the fate of a severely brain-damaged Florida woman, Presi... [Read More]

» Random Sean Hannity thought, Monday, March 21, 1:44 PM EST from protein wisdom

"...Sean Hannity Sean Hannity Sean Hannity Sean Hannity Terry Schiavo! Sean Hannity Sean Hannity Sean Hannity Sean Hannity..." **** update: for those of you interested in the Schiavo case, allow me to point you to these links: James Joyner...

[Read More]

» Schiavo 2 from Right Thoughts

Let me pose this question to those who are big fans of a fucking Congressional act in this case: You really want to grant the federal government that much intrusion into your life? Do you REALLY want to voluntarily turn over that much control to the...

[Read More]

» Right-to-Life Hypocrisy, or Blogger Illiteracy? from JustOneMinute
Meanwhile, over in the [Read More]

I recommend you to read the following posts: Living Will - Get One (JustAGirlInTheWorld.com). Clarifications and Whatnot (ASmallVictory.net). The Conservative Dictators (TIADaily.blogspot.com). [Read More]

» Hiding an Agenda behind Facts from Gus Van Horn
What ABC did wrong does not make what Bush did right. And no matter what the American people really think or feel about this case, what Bush did was still wrong. Is Schiavo's husband a slimeball? Looks like it. Bush is still wrong. Might Schiavo be con... [Read More]


Again, I'm in total agreement with you.
The emails you're getting about wanting to kill everyone with a disability is the same wall I face on some forums I am in. I get accused of being a murderer because I want this ONE woman to finally rest in peace.
You know where you stand and what you mean and I know what you mean and if people can't see that this new bill is a huge brick thrown through the front window of their very private lives and medical decisions, then I just don't know what to say to them anymore.
I shake my head at this case because it has gone to far now and on too long and now that congress has stepped in, who knows how much longer this poor woman lives in a shell.

Same page, once again.

Totally in agreement that this has spun out of the realm of 'what's best for Terri' and into the theater of the agenda.

While I agree with folks horrified by detailed descriptions of death by lack of food/water, it just strengthens my lean towards seeing euthanasia as a valid option for physicians to offer.

I think a lot of people's agendas may be stripped to the bone if the Federal Court rules that extensive, fine grain testing be performed (MRI), and that, with another evaluation, comes back with a diagnosis of PVS.

Also, like you, quite a bit of my opinion on the matter is driven by knowing that I would not want to be kept 'existing' in such a state.

It's a complex issue. And an emotional one.

Very much so. This is the kind of case that breaks up friendships. I refrain.

We ALL bring baggage to the debate. I've followed this case for well over two years. Let's take pro-lifers and pro euthenasia activists our of the equation for a minute. WHat's left? The people who argue most adamantly on the "Let her live" side either are disabled, care for, or love someone who is disabled. (Full disclosure: I am in that group). The people who argue loudest on the other side have in the past been confronted with an end-of-life issue (usually involving their parents, cancer and morphine or a feeding tube). Interstingly enough - I am in that group too.

I suppose it's possible for people who don't have baggage to discuss this dispassionately - I wouldn't know. Somehow, to do so seems, well, unseemly.

You state your case very well. I'm not going to argue with it. You and I have a fundamental difference when it comes to this case and others like it :

You have drawn a line where you feel life would not be worth living. For fear of erring, I refuse to draw that line. Each of us could argue that the other was being heartless in their position. Let's not.

I'd rather talk about hating Duke.

You have drawn a line where you feel life would not be worth living.

I have drawn a line where I feel my life would not be worth living. I believe I hold that right.

Fair enough, michele.

On a side note, ironically, if you ever find youself in such a position, this post could be used in a court of law showing your wishes. But I'm sure you have a living will (as do I)

You ask a good question that I would apply to many more than those in need of extensive medical care,

"Aren't all lives worth keeping until nature runs its course?"

To put it simply, the answer is 'NO'.

The problem is, no one appointed me to judge for anyone but myself.

I again come back to the differences between the sun hudson case and the terry schiavo case. Hudson has been on a respirator since birth. The child was born with a death certificate waiting. Schiavo is not on respiration and is not fading physically.
"From the time Sun was born ... he was on life support because his chest cavity and lungs could not grow and develop the capacity to support his body. He was slowly suffocating to death," Texas Children's said in a statement today.
I find this whole discussion of Sun Hudson a convenient distraction from the Schiavo issue.

I would be happy to discuss the level of moral outrage that should be felt over Sun Hudson as a completely separate issue than Schiavo. But comingling the two is wrong.

i have the fear of being buried alive too.
and then i saw kill bill.
so really, we all just need to learn to punch our way through wood.

About 10 years ago (when my wife and I bought our house, and had something worth inheriting), my wife and I went out and had wills made up. The lawyer offered the option of living wills. I declined - in my late 20's I was not ready to make those decisions.

After watching this case and the "I know better than you do about your life" theocrats, I will be making out a living will as soon as my wife's job situation is resolved (and we have the cash and brain cells to devote to it).

I'd like to prohibit groups of people from even being involved in my case:
1. Any organization (only PEOPLE should be involved in this decision, not groups with an agenda)
2. My parents
3. My in-laws parents

In other words, I'd like to find a way to codify OUT anybody but my chosen decision-maker. I don't want anyone challenging my wishes in court.

You don't have to be a God-bothering Bible-thumper to think that killing Terri Schiavo is wrong. Me, I'm an agnostic myself.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that fact that the state of the art in medicine continues to advance. Sure, there's nothing we can do for people like Terri Schiavo right now. There isn't anything we can do for paralyzed people like Christopher Reeve right now, either, but you didn't see him saying, "Just let me die." He hung on, hoping that medical advances would someday fix his broken body. How would Terri's family feel if a few years from now, they come up with a treatment to fix her damaged brain, but due to her husband's wishes, she was dead and unable to avail herself of such a treatment?

Mark, tbat's probably the only "good" thing to come out of this - so many people are thinking about these things for the first time.

Funny you talk about enumerating - I did the opposite. In the "no heroic measures" clause I made sure to specify that a feeding tube is NOT included. But that's me.

Mark - Terri didn't signify that she wanted her husband to make such decisions (friends have said she wanted to leave him - and that there were signs that he abused her.) So, in MY situation - my loving husband, father of my 5 kids - yes, I trust HIM to make decisions for me if something like this happened. I think many, including her parents, have doubts about the husband's motivations. He gave orders to not have her teeth brushed, to not treat a (minor) infection with antibiotics. At a base level, he plead (in court year ago) that he was suing (for the bulimia misdiagnosis) in order to care for her, and then he STOPPED any and all treatment. He ordered pictures and music removed from her presence. He yelled at a nurse who rolled up a cloth, and put it in her hand (a form of therapy, in his opinion.)

I've decided to keep an element of chance in the decision mix ..

In my living will I've tied heroic measures to the Powerball drawing.

If the Powerball is even, I want the medical team to do everything humanly possible to prolong my life

If it's odd, pull the plug.

It relieves everybody of decision making and puts it where it belongs - in the hands of the gambling industry.

The Republicans have involved themselves in this case because the issue of "viability" was central to the Roe vs. Wade decision. "Culture of life" voters are not just an important block of voters, they comprise a large donor base. And that pretty much explains the whole circus.

Oh, and Roosevelt and Ike are spinning in their graves right now.

Although it's hard you have to set out side the emotional heart strings that so many people are pulling on. Put aside if the husband was abusive or not or hearsay from all sides. Look at who has the right/responsibility to make the calls. Obviously the individual has a say but take that away. If she was killed in a car crash the surviving spouse would be the "executor" of the estate. Legally the surviving spouse, while they are still legally married, has the responsibilities - not the parents. Now look at the religious views - when you marry the child leaves thier parents house and becomes a new family. Either way the parents have no legal right. As a parent I would act the same way as they did but legally I have no rights in my childs marriage. End of story.

If you take the parents out of the picture since they are not legally involved (only emotionally) than this case would have gone out 7 years ago. Now we come to the right to die arguement. I can only say that if I was in her shoes and all doctors had been asked - then put a bullet in my brain. Starvation is the wrong way, we should allow an overdose or quicker method. At what point do we legally allow someone to die? After conception but before birth has many views. The extreme aged has even more views. As the person above said, w would do it for the family dog to spare her/him of a poor life.

I think it comes down to no one wanting to pull the trigger. No one wants the "blood" or responsibility on thier hands. All will jump on the save her bandwagon and those that dont, would "allow" her to kill herself by starving herself (ironically wasnt it an eating disorder that casued this?). If she starves then therefore she has killed herself - the blood is on her hands.

How do we know what she wants? My father a very well fit senior citizen with diabetes slipped into a diabetic coma. He almost died but was revived in the ambulance. Instead of relief he was angry and attacked the medics - Why did you bring me back? I didnt even realize I had almost died. It was painless. Now Ill probubly live and die a long slow painful death." Isnt that all we ask for - a painless death. If all the religions are right isnt the other side better than the here? So why keep someone away if thier life is so "lifeless" now?

Well, we live in a culture of pain and suffering. A good part of our population worships a dude who died a slow, painful death on the cross.

All I can say is, there DAMN WELL better be an autopsy. Michael Schiavo has demanded an immediate cremation after she dies - hell no. After all the pro-death people go on and on about how her brain has "liquefied" based on a half-assed scan done 15 years ago, I want to see her skull cracked open and evidence of this presented firsthand.

This is a difficult and emotional issue.

I think it comes down to, everyone should have a living will, specifying their particular wishes. For me, that means feeding tube is OK, if there's a chance I might improve in the future, but being on a respirator forever is not. If my heart keeps stopping, don't keep restarting it. (I have also said, only in jest, that if I developed a condition that would require me to use a bedpan for the rest of my life, I'd like someone to kill me first).

But that might not be another person's wishes. And they need to be written down, and preferably, witnessed by a lawyer.

I don't know what it is like for Schiavo. I think that's a lot of the problem people run up against. I think of being starved and dehydrated and I cringe - I'd say, shoot me first. But I suspect that the hospice workers will do what they can to keep her from feeling agony (at least, I hope so).

I think part of the problem involved is that we are all projecting our own personal horrors or our own imaginations on her situation. What is being in a persistent vegetative state like? Has anyone ever come back from one to tell us? It could be absolutely hellish - trapped in a body that won't function, dimly aware that something's wrong but unable to do anything to fix it. Or it could be like being mostly asleep, and not really conscious that one should be in agony. Or it might be like early infancy - stuff is going on, but memories are not being really laid down. Or again, it might be like being buried alive.

I've read a book called "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," about a man who had a brain-stem stroke that caused him to develop what is called "locked in syndrome" - his mind still functioned perfectly but he was essentially paralyzed with the exception of one eyelid, and later on, some weak speech. He actually composed the book by having people read off the letters of the alphabet in order, and then blinking when they got to the one that came next in the word being composed. (I don't THINk it's a hoax even though it sounds like one). At any rate, the book showed a remarkable lack of self-pity, and there really wasn't a "let me die" comment anywhere in it - rather, it seems the author took the condition as a challenge. (He did die, I think of heart failure, shortly before the book was published). But what if someone came and said "oh, he's pitiful, he can't stand to live like that" and stopped his feeding or his respirator - so I don't know. I don't think I'd like to continue to live with "locked-in syndrome" but I can't say that for everyone.

This has become such a giant mess. I hate to see the government involved - this is NOT a valid issue for the government to step into. This is just extending the tentacles of Big Government further, done in the name of saving a life.

While I personally - were I the one given the say - would probably bow to the parents' wishes, rather than the husbands' (it seems to me that there's more to his motives than simply wanting his wife to pass humanely) - I cringe to see federal judges and Congress get involved. I can see this being used on either side of the aisle - to stay executions, and to stop abortions. Although I'm personally opposed to abortion (and, for that matter, to most executions, except in extreme cases), I don't like the idea of the government using twists and turns of law to, say, subpoena a foetus - so it can't be harmed until it's called before Congress.

I guess it comes down to personal responsibility. If you don't want someone else (possibly some congresscritter you've never even met) deciding your fate if you're really in a bad medical case, you need to make a living will.

if any good comes of this case, it will be to raise awareness of that need.

Pull the plug. A life powered by ventilators, feeding tubes, and pumps is no life at all; just prolonging the pain.

Nice one Rox, Christians are sadists. mmmm smell the tolerance. Pain and suffering don't exist, just a "culture" of pain and suffering, brought on by jesus freaks.

Arrgh. This case gives me a cerebral vortex.

(Best. Typo. Ever)

This comment about sums up this whole issue for me:

Asplode wrote: All I can say is, there DAMN WELL better be an autopsy. Michael Schiavo has demanded an immediate cremation after she dies - hell no.

Who the HELL do you think you are to say something as all fired stupid as that ? You don't know jack about Terry, Michael, and the rest of them. To even suggest that you should have such a forceful opinion is embarassing.

"What's he saying?"
"Kill me... over and over again... kill me"


Care to elaborate on your passionate response? I get the feeling there's more to it.

@g: Is it wrong that I immediately thought Metallica?

Really, Sherard, what's your problem? Are you afraid that the truth will prove you horribly, horribly wrong, so let's destroy the evidence as quickly as possible?

It doesn't matter whether or not they allow her to die or not. The thing that is in that hospital bed is not her anymore.
Whatever it is that made Terry, Terry, is gone.
Do the tests. See what her brain is like now.
Count the money, it's my understanding that it's all gone to the lawyers.
I can't blame the husband for finding someone else, he knows his wife, as he knew her is not coming back, again, see above, whatever made her Terry is gone. (All other rumors of spousal abuse, etc etc aside, she will not be back. If there was hope of that, it would have happened by now, therapy or no therapy, hell it's been YEARS!)
I can understand that the parents don't want to let her go, but I would be insulted if my parents saw me like her and still thought I was human. Or actually, no I wouldn't because I wouldn't know what they were doing, or anything else.
She won't know when they pull the plug. She won't know if they don't.
All the rest is just mental masturbation.
If you don't want it to happen to you, or someone you love, get the written will. Have it enforced by someone outside your family that is neutral. And then don't worry about it. When you get to her place, you won't know amyway. And if you do, you can probably communicate your wishes then.

Couple of things:

In regards to the Baby Sun case. I work, in news, for one of the TV stations here in Houston. For those wondering where were all the TV cameras: all 5 of the english speaking tv stations (I can't speak for Telemundo or Univision affiliates) as well as our only newspaper covered this story's every development from it's first court appointment to the death of Sun. Why it didn't get national exposure remains, as always, a mystery.

Background: the mother, definitely grieving (who wouldn't be) is also of questionable mental facilities- this is public record as well as the opinion of everyone that I've ever spoken with who's ever had a conversation with her.

Also lost in the reporting, the hosptital who's comittee wanted the pull the plug, PAID for the mother's lawyer to take THEM to court. They wanted to make certain every legality was observed. It also gave Sun's family and lawyer time to find another facility which was willing to take him. None would.

As for the Schiavo case. Chalk me up with those who:

a) are in agreement with Michele- dear God never allow me to be kept alive under such conditions

b) are less than enamored with the husband to say the least, but view that as secondary to Terri's quality of life (or lack there-of)

c) are counted as Republicans who are totally disgusted with a party that is supposed to be about less government in people's lives but instead undertakes such heroic measures to keep ONE woman alive despite the state courts' rulings

d) have already repeatedly expressed my wishes about being kept alive to my wife, trust my wife without reservation to carry them out- however hard that may be, but still plan to make a living will to make her role that much easier

I have lots of details about the Sun Hudson misdirection play here

It has become a useful talking point for the left, but the analogy is hopelessly strained.

"I can't blame the husband for finding someone else, he knows his wife, as he knew her is not coming back..."

Then why didn't he divorce her?

I would expect that if euthanasia was ever made legal, it would be used only on people who have expressly and legally made provisions for such a thing to be done to them, in specific situations.

I would like to expect that too, but so far in countries where it is legal, that is not the case. In fact, where it is legal, even when people expressly and legally make provisions to be sure NO such thing is done to them under any circumstances, their wishes are sometimes overturned, often for some truly amazing reasons.

Michele, I think I feel the same way you do about not wanting to be in her situation...for my shell to linger so long that it becomes a major burden on those who loved me, much less the object of a major legal fight. In fact, I'm thinking of adding a clause to my living will demanding the end of life support at exactly the moment when lawyers have depleted more than 29% of my remaining net worth.

But I can't imagine forcing my own wishes in that situation on her. Especially over the objection of other loved ones who are willing and able to continue her care.

And I can't imagine how you manage to ignore Michael--or more importantly, his behavior ever since her collapse--as a factor in developing your point of view. Given that:

1) Terri left no legal expression of her wishes--which eliminates about 70% of the hot air in this debate, and

2) in this case there is a major dispute within her family--which is quite rare, and

3) at least one family member is willing and able to assume all costs of her continued care and therapy, and

4) she has no terminal illness, no apparent pain, and no 24/7 life support is needed--only food & water;

Then why should anyone have a right to demand her death, over the objection of family members who will continue her care?

At this point I hear people yelling "but her husband and his supporters KNOW her wishes [remembered at a very convenient time 7 years later], and he's her GUARDIAN!!!"

To that I must say: wow, he's got it made. Control all that malpractice money, "loss of consortium" money, and trust fund money; start a new family with no divorce threat; maybe pick up a big life insurance benefit. If only he can find the right judge, and prevent any "therapy" or new medical tests...yeah, sure, that's the ticket.

No, I think I'd rather use that rule where a jury of 12 disinterested peers must reach unanimous agreement before society imposes death. Unless she definitely, legally insisted in advance on dying. In this exact situation.

I'm more than a little uncomfortable aboutu all the projection going on in this case. On all sides. Especially regarding "quality of life."

There's also an interesting juxtaposition if you compare this case with the arguments recently made for stem cell research. People who are all for working on those baby stem cells because it might save some people who've lost limbs or organs or suffer from Lou Gherig's or something are frequently arguing that Terri Schiavo should be "set free" despite the fact that - were you to take the stem cell arguments at face value - she could be kept alive because a promising stem treatment might come up in a few years.

Apparently it is because he is doing what he thinks he needs to do as her advocate. It's not for the money, it's my understanding that all the money is gone to the attorneys, although someone in her family did offer him quite a large amount of money, (more than he'll get from any insurance, trust fund, settlement etc) to divorce her, and he wouldn't because he wanted to continue as her advocate.
And isn't he Catholic? I could be wrong here, but that might be another reason that he wouldn't divorce her. (Lame though that is...)

"And isn't he Catholic? I could be wrong here, but that might be another reason..."

If it were religion, he wouldn't be living with and having children with another woman, would he?

Adultery doesn't get you kicked out of the church, but divorce does. His children are not recognized by the church though.
I just read the Guardian Ad Litem's report that I found on one of the links you gave, and from what the GAL said, her parents encouraged him to date, and met anyone that he dated. Also, and I found this interesting, her family has stated that no matter what Terry had said, even if she had "specifically stated her wishes to die if she was ever incapacitated directly to them" they would not give permission to allow her to die, and would keep her alive at any cost, up to and including allowing "amputation of each of her limbs if she developed gangrene through diabetes."
I didn't understand why they'd keep her in this state until now, but they stated to the GAL that THEY recieve joy in being able to see her, and interact with her in whatever limited manner that is.
And this is gruesome also, those people that were trying to smuggle in bread and water to her would surely have killed her as she has no swallowing reflex, and she would have aspirated it causing infection if not outright suffocation resulting in death.
I highly recommend reading the GAL's report, he had access to everything.

The report I was referencing:

The fact that she has no working cerebral cortex makes me inclined to believe that she isnít aware of anything.

That is not a fact, it's a claim, based on a CAT scan. It's one reason why supporters of Terri Schiavo's parents are raising hell. Another reason is that Michael Schiavo has barred the use of MRI and PET scans, said to be a far more reliable measure of brain activity.

Terriís diagnosis was arrived at without the benefit of testing that most neurologists would consider standard for diagnosing PVS. One such test is MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). MRI is widely used today, even for ailments as simple as knee injuries ó but Terri has never had one. Michael has repeatedly refused to consent to one. The neurologists I have spoken to have reacted with shock upon learning this fact...

I'd think after all this time, if she had any brain left, she'd have shown some improvement to show that she's not in a PVS.
On the other hand, what the hell do I know?
I'm like Michelle, if it were me, I'd want to be let go.

"I think I'd rather use that rule where a jury of 12 disinterested peers must reach unanimous agreement before society imposes death."

That's another problem here: because this is a civil case and the claims involved are all equitable rather than legal in nature (simplistically, they involve seking orders to mandate and/or prohibit certain actions rather for money damages), a jury has never heard this case: we've apparently accepted that it's OK for ajude sitting alone to decide Terri should die. And, as has been pointed out elsewhere, that is the crux of Judge Greer's order: it requires, it COMMANDS that she be starved to death, rather than merely authorizing Michael Schiavo or the hospice to allow it.

When I advocate mercy killings, I donít mean that people should just run rampant through hospitals jabbing all the sick and elderly with needles full of morphine. I would expect that if euthanasia was ever made legal, it would be used only on people who have expressly and legally made provisions for such a thing to be done to them, in specific situations.

That's how euthanasia started in the Netherlands, too. Now, the doctors sometimes commit mercy killing without any consultation or permission. Some elderly patients even carry cards into the hospital saying "Doctor, please don't kill me."

Once we get into medicide territory, any "guidelines" are bound to be elastic. Someone will always try to push on to the next level down.