Okay, I'm going to say it...

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by Manny Laureano, May 3, 2005.

  1. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    We've not had any talk about this but...


    http://edition.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/05/03/firefighter.speaks.ap/

    I wonder if Terry Schiavo would be alive if her husband had allowed her to have the stimulation and therapy this man got. It's quite a story.
    Virtually the only difference between Schiavo and Herbert is that she didn't get the therapy she needed. He did.

    This could be an interesting discussion if we can keep our collective cool.

    ML
     
  2. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

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    Hey Manny, I'm not gonna take a position on this, but let me be devils advocate.
    The man in the story you mentioned there was in a comatose state. Basically, your unconcious while *and sometimes If* your brain recovers. People have been known to awaken from this state.
    Terri Schiavo was in a persistent vegatative state, basically, she was NOT unconscious, nor was she conscious. Ms. Schiavo sustained such a debilitating brain injury that the only part of her brain that was still functional was the basic breathing, heartbeat etc....
    It was not possible for her to wake up because she was basically in stasis, no real interaction with the outside world.
    All that is what your gonna hear over and over again from anyone for what happened to Ms. Schiavo.
    I think the real questions here are where do we draw the line? What type of brain injury is there ENOUGH of a chance to keep that person alive. Or, What type of brain injury is there TOO SLIM a chance to keep that person alive. What percentage of a chance do we give them? 20? 10? 5?

    Do we really know enough about these kind of injuries to start playing God?
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Hey, Jarrett,

    I was able to download the afidavits of three nurses that worked with Terry Schiavo in the mid-nineties. These aren't faked or anything, they're part of the record with the state of Florida so they're as legit as anything sworn to can be. The nurses names are Carolyn Johnson, Carla Sauer Iyer, and Heidi Law. I only bring there sworn testimony up to illustrate that their assessments of Terry Schiavo's condition conflicts with the characterization you asserted. The Iyer testimony is the most compelling.

    I say this, Jarrett: I don't believe it's playing G-d to feed someone and give them the therapy they're entitled to. I think removing a feeding tube is more a de facto deity act than feeding someone. The husband denied that therapy while the parents, who were non-custodial, couldn't do anything about it.

    At this point I had to edit this point because my "facts" were in error, for which I apologize. I was going to contend that there was not enough therapy at first but that's not the case. Where the case becomes curious is when the parents sue to become Terry's guardians even though earlier, they had no problem with it. The split happened in 1993 over the course of therapy. The money to care for her came from a lawsuit involving her medical care after the stroke.

    Sorry, Jarrett, I'll have my "argument" in better shape next time. But I guess I still ask the question: after reading the afidavits, was this a person that was beyond all help?

    ML
     
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Yee HAW!
    I watched this case as it unfolded this last year or so. Normally I wouldn't comment but this discussion seems to have reached a point where it's winding down so....

    I reckon we'll never know for certain whether she was beyond all help or not. The one thing that I did observe (and that most of the news reports that I saw missed) in this sad situation is that the husband had absolutely nothing personal to gain by allowing her passing; the insurance had been paid, the care was in place, his life had moved on and he was essentially remarried with children. I have to believe that his ONLY motive was that he honestly felt he was honoring her wishes. The difficulty arose because it wasn't done as a "living will"... and even if it had been so, the question then pops up "but exactly what was her intention when she signed it"? That (precise and exact intent) is something that will always be debated. Let's all hope that she and her husband (who was as much a victim as she was) can now be at peace.
     
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Toots,

    I just can't go there, Toots. I got a terrible sense that there was a compelling reason for him not to let her be rescusitated. Why not, if he wants to take up with another woman, divorcev the poor thing and let her parents have custody. I can't accept the notion that fathering two children out of wedlock while your wife is under care is "getting on with his life". At least, I can't accept that as the behavior of a caring husband.

    There was a lot of very strange behavior from local officials that didn't get nearly the amount of press that the timelines haven't published and those afidavits are the stuff between the lines that are unanswered questions, in my mind.

    Oops, gotta go... talk to you later!

    ML
     
  6. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    I'm with ML here...and from what I heard from physicians and doctors, she was NOT in a persistent vegitative state. There is a very technical, but crucial, dividing line there.

    Besides, the monies were available (or should have been), for the therapy to continue. Even if it WAS a money issue, the family of Terry had offered to undertake all guardianship and costs on her behalf. All the husband had to do was agree and walk away forever.

    His motives and morality do not seem clear to me. Given her state, he could have divorced her and remarried. He did not. He remained married to her and thus essentially had an affair on her. He clearly wanted her dead, not simply out of his life, but dead.

    Why?

    Because she supposedly told him (something he didn't remember until seven years later) that she didn't want to live like that and would you please starve me to death if I do?

    No, I cannot condem the man for purely circumstancial evidence. Lord knows I have a good understanding of what THAT is like. But still...he did not take the moral high ground in his actions since she was hospitalized. If he wanted to move on without her, why not divorce and let her parents deal with it, then get on with his own life? Why was it so imperative that she be "allowed" to die, and allowed to die while he was still married to her?

    You see...his actions raise more questions than they answer.

    And regarding when a procedure should be done...if the money is available and the choice is between death or a possible new life...I'd say .0001% odds are good enough for me.
     
  7. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

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    Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, so take this with a lot of salt, I probably should just stay out of this, for that matter...

    I saw the images made of her brain. Or rather, what was left of it. It seems that with the exception of the vital portion, that which controls breathing and the necessary bodily functions such as heart beats, had not only died, but dissolved. It was a fluid. You can therapy all you want in that case, but you cannot transform fluid into brain cells. Furthermore, once brain cells are dead, they cannot be revived. The most, and this is would have taken a bloody miracle, we could have seen her respond more definitively to stimuli. However, this could be equated to she now has the capacity of a paralyzed dog.

    This brings us to the point where the argument gets sticky. What part of the brain contains the human conscious? Will we ever know? Probably not. If we go with what science tells us, that the cerberal (yeah, that's misspelled, probably) cortex is the center for human intelligent thought, then Terri Schaivo lost the thing that makes humans unique- thought. And if one follows that premise, one could say because she didn't have the capability to think, she wasn't really there (nice way of saying the lights are on but nobody's home). However, one could possibly argue (and probably will before this is over with) that has nothing to do with the human spirit/consciousness. That's more a medical battle than I can make an educated statement on.

    As far as the people are concerned, I take the nurses' statements to be just that, observations. The problem is that nurses' do not have the same type training that a full MD has. The neuro specialist is more aware of what symptoms show over a long period of time. I've heard that the majority of specialists that examined her said that basically she was in a permanent vegitative state.

    And both the parents and the husband just really leaked me off. They made an ordeal out of something that should have stayed between them. Legally, the husband has say. However, the husband, going off and having 2 kids out of wedlock, to me, is just not right. I can't say I agree with him on that. As for the parents, I know that I cannot comprehend the pain of watching your offspring laying there like that, and I hope to G*d I never do. However, there is a point when you have to accept that maybe you need to let go. And they certainly worked the media. What makes all of this so hard to think on is that we don't know if Terri really said that she would rather have been dead. The husband says she would. I have to think that because there is no real hope, I am inclined to believe him. Had she NOT said that, I probably would have transferred her to her parents' guardianship. But, I am a trusting person, so I'm gonna say the husband did the right thing (with the exception of the having kids part).

    Don't even get me started on the politicians on this crap...
     
  8. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    One more thing...and I'll try to keep this simple because the issue IS so very cloudly, but:

    ...with all due respect, I must dissagree. Her husband is still alive, her husband is the benficiary of a massive cash settlement, her husband still has a family and children.

    She has not even the fleeting breath of life to claim any longer.

    I'm sure her husband suffered, and maybe he should or shouldn't have. I'm sure he was crushed when she entered the condition she was in. I'm sure he's done his share of suffering. But he did not have to rely on someone stuffing a feeding tube into him for life, he did not have to lie in bed for years, he did not have the value of his life being determined by everyone else but him. He did not have to endure day after day of starvation until his body gave up the ghost.

    No, he has not suffered as much as she.

    Sorry...I understand your point, and it may very well be valid. And if you honestly believe that Terry asked to be put to death instead of live like that, then he does deserve a degree of merit in your book for withstanding the piles of criticism thrust on him. But's it's stretching poetic license to the max in any event to claim he suffered as much as she did.

    I don't mean to be rude...just want to ensure we keep a proper sense of perspective...

    Z
     
  9. Jarrett

    Jarrett Piano User

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    Hey Manny, it's funny, but in our "differing" arguments, we both managed to make the exact same point. This is not just coincidence, because I agree with you 100 percent. As I said in my argument, I was just playing devils advocate to the "other" side of the line.
    My own beliefs however tend to agree with you, in that I don't feel that we should be playing God and deciding who dies and who does not based on an area that we really don't know all that much about.
    I don't know whether the husband caused the state she's in, which has been alleged. I also don't know how much he had to gain or lose or whether his motives where in the best interests of Terri or himself. All I do know is that we are deciding life and death decisions off of "he said she said" type evidence. We don't convict criminals with this type evidence, so why should we sentence patients to death with this kind of stuff. It just seems to me that in a murder case the proof has to be "beyond a reasonable doubt" to sentence someone to death while in these cases we have a much lower burden of proof.
    With the affidavits of the three nurses is in my mind a very important issue that was payed too little attention in this case. While, as it has been stated, nurses do not have the training or schooling that a PHD has, nurses are often MORE learned in person to person relations than PHD's are because the majority of the job involves face to face care. If the diagnosis of "persistent vegetative state" had been reversed, Terri Schiavo would very possibly still be alive today.
    Who am I or any of us to decide what the quality of life of a person is?
    Can any of us state with certainty what level of consciousness a person has?
    -Jarrett
     
  10. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

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    I've seen the scans too. They've been debated ad infinitum it seems. Nobody is arguing that the brain has atrohpied and lost some function. However, it is not completely gone.

    There was still cortical material intact. It had thinned considerably, yes, but it is very similar to that of a 70 or 80 year old woman.

    Would you have that woman put to death because of an apparently degenerative brain?

    There was fuid in the brain, yes...but there is ALWAYS fuid in the brain. Cerebralspinal fluid. The black area in the scan is not a "bag of water", it is her ventricular system, which holds the cerebralspinal fluid, and it is enlarged in this case.

    The scan also shows the use of a shunt, a tubular device designed to releive pressure from fluid buildup. If a shunt was required, that means there was an obstruction to the flow of fluid, which cannot be explained by the thoery that oxygen deprivation caused the brain damage.

    Blunt-force trauma to the head can, though. Just a thought....

    So yes, there was a fluid buildup, but it was not a bag of water in the brain. It was a buildup of fluid that has always been present in the brain. And yes, the cortex thinned, but no more so than that of an elderly person. Even if you equate it to a senile person...does that senile person deserve to die? Okay...let's go whack the nusing homes everybody.

    As for the court cases -- it should be noted that the appeals courts only ever reviewed the actions and decision of Judge Greer based on the evidence he ACCEPTED and did no re-hearing or reivew of the new evidence or refused evidence. There was no rereview of new infomration or review of the case as a whole, only a review of Greer's decisionmaking based on the evidence he allowed into court.

    The problem is new forms of treatment and therapy were not allowed, and new evidence was not considered. Comments by doctors at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville, nuerologists, and radiologists specializing in these cases were ignored. Mabye their opinions were invalid, but since they never had their day in court, we'll never know....
     

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