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Terri Schiavo

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The Wrath
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Two questions related to this case which interest me but have gotten little attention:

1. Once it was finally decided that she would no longer be kept alive, why must starvation and dehydration be allowed to take their course? Why can't she be given something which brings death on quickly and painlessly, rather than go through a process which is agonizing to her if she's still capable of sensation, and is certainly agonizing to her family and probably even to her husband? Decrepit pets and capital murderers are given this final mercy--why not a once-human being?

This is a rhetorical question; I know that the answer is, "this is what the law allows." I just wish someone would express a tenth the outrage over it that the Religious Right is generating over the feeding tube removal.

2. What are the details of the malpractice suit that her husband won? Did genuine malpractice occur, or was it a "litigation lottery win" based on a pathetic patient, deep-pockets defendant, and sympathetic jury? I read somewhere that it was based on the hospital's failure to diagnose her bulemia; if that's true, it seems like the hospital was held to an unreasonable standard of omniscience, considering that bulemics generally go to great lengths to hide their condition.

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What are the details of the malpractice suit that her husband won?  Did genuine malpractice occur, or was it a "litigation lottery win" based on a pathetic patient, deep-pockets defendant, and sympathetic jury?
As I understand, one defendant, Dr. Joel Prawer, settled out of court, but was later exhonerated by the Department of Health (not that that proves much). Dr. Stephen Igel was found guilty of negligence by a jury (in treatment of missed periods and abdominal pains). There is some evidence to indicate that that case existed, as Schiavo v. Igel, Case No.92-939-15 in Pinellas County court. I'm not being funny: it's actually extremely difficult to determine that there ever was a case, and completely impossible to find a record of the judgment. If you were to paw through the records (which you cannot do), you might be able to get some info. Note, also, that he did not win the suit, she did (though he filed on behalf of her). He was also awarded some amount of money, about $300K, but the bulk of the award was to her, put in a trust account. Unless they're lying.
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My question is, why is this such a big deal? Why is something so unimportant, one person that is already essentially dead, all over the news?

I believe it was Tom Delay who claimed "she is still alive... she is still one of us.". That is precisely why it has become a big deal, because there those who actually think Terri is, in fact, alive. According to that conclusion, human life is defined as electrical impulses, random(undetermined) physical motions, response to physical and sensory stimulous, blinking eyes, and a beating heart. It is particularly gruesome to think "living one's life" means having one's body sustained by feeding tube while being oblivious to the fact.

All you have to do is tune into Fox, or any other station covering the protestors outside the hospice, to see this. These protestors are even calling the judges involved in the case killers and murderers.

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Yeah, but for all intents and purposes, she already is dead, that's why it doesn't matter how it's finished. She can't feel pain or starvation...or anything, she is no longer conscious. This is scientifically proven. The person that was once Terri Schiavo is already gone.

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Yeah, but for all intents and purposes, she already is dead, that's why it doesn't matter how it's finished. She can't feel pain or starvation...or anything, she is no longer conscious.

Are you sure? My understanding is that she has no cognitive ability or volition, but some level of sensation may still exist.

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I agree with the above post, but I thought her needs where being taken care with money from the lawsuit for medical misdiagnosis or that her family was going to foot the bill. Is this a mistaken view? I know it's what has been reported on T.V.

This source appears to agree with you regarding just that

Mr. Schiavo even went to nursing school with the goal, his brothers say, of better caring for his wife.

He filed a malpractice suit against the obstetrician who had overseen Ms. Schiavo's fertility therapy, contending that the potassium deficiency should have been detected. In January 1993, the couple was awarded $750,000 in economic damages for her and $300,000 for loss of companionship for him.

A month later, on St. Valentine's Day, both sides say, a fight over the award signaled the beginning of their estrangement. The way Mr. Schiavo has described it, he was visiting his wife when the Schindlers walked in and Mr. Schindler asked how much money he would receive from Mr. Schiavo's part of the malpractice settlement.

The Schindlers say the fight was about what the treatment their daughter's money would go toward, with their advocating rigorous therapy and Mr. Schiavo wanting basic care.

Note that this is a link to a New York Times article, which may require you to register. Hence my excerpt.

Edited by Yes
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Considering that it seems like we've identified all the major issues of this case, and that a number of people looking to spread their "pro-life" position have somehow found this forum and have used it to post their worthless drivel, I'm closing this thread.

There are many legal questions that are important to Objectivists, as David mentioned, and also it's worth exposing and understanding the emotionalists on both sides of the issue: the "pro-lifers" and the nihilists who blindly hate religion.

Though this thread is closed, feel free to start a new one dealing with a particular moral or legal issue that is related to this case. If you'd like to see this thread reopened, let me know why through PM.

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