see also terri2Terri Schiavo, may God Bless her.
First, does Terri feel pain? Yes.
I base this on the findings of simple neurologic examinations at the bedside that include pinching the skin to see if there is a reaction. Granted, if the neurologists are correct that her brain's cortex is basically destroyed, she does not in a cognitive sense conceptualize what is going on but at the same time she does reflexively respond to painful stimuli. Therefore, she experiences the pain. The perception of pain is also modified with our thought processes which involve the cortex as is seen with individual differences in their tolerance of pain. I would assume she lacks complete perception of pain from this sense. At the same time, as physicians, a goal is to minimize pain. Just because she does not respond normally does not mean she has no pain, that has already been documented. It is perceived as pain with a grimace as I believe Terri is capable of showing. Is that enough to protect?
Just because a fetus/baby cannot scream when an abortionist rips limbs off with the instruments does not mean the unborn person does not feel the pain. Again, they respond to painful stimuli. Therefore, it is felt, admittedly not as well as you or I would feel it.
The Florida courts allow the scum bag sex offender out over and over again leading to the sexual assault and murder of precious Jessica Lunsford. She should not be dead. It is their fault she is dead. These same arrogant justices want to kill Terri.
Her state is not even close to "brain dead". As a physician and having worked as a transplant coordinator, she is not even close to the criteria needed to declare this condition. Has no one asked why don't they transplant her obviously well functioning organs when she dies? "Brain Dead" individuals, according to a powerful study by Harvard physicians in the 1970's, made specific criteria for this diagnosis. They followed many individuals to find that even if you worked full speed ahead on these individuals, all of whom cannot breathe without a ventilator, most needing powerful vasopressors to avoid shock, their hearts stopped beating within approximately a month. This is not the case with a woman who has been without life support for many years. It is because the husband and the judicial system have chosen to destroy her organs for their own self interest. Senator Bill Frist, as a transplant surgeon, also knows this and recognizes the vast difference between Terri's condition and those of the donors he has seen in the past. He knows, as all physicians should know, that she is not on "life support" any more than the rest of us. He has stood correctly. The feeding tube merely simplifies feeding and avoids pneumonia.
Is she in a persistent vegetative state? By many accounts, including other physicians, she isn't. If she is, then the court should have allowed observation of her and release of the records to make their case. Truth is made stronger in the sunlight of openness. Secrecy in such an important matter becomes evidence against appropriate decision making, as the arrogant justices have chosen. They refuse to call into question the possibility that the lower court had made a mistake because of their own ideology. The United States Congress, politically motivated or not for some, did the right thing. The President did the right thing in signing the Bill and more so even as he rightfully called for erring on the side of life in such difficult cases. Will he do enough? He has the power. The courts are out of control.
Is she conscious? It doesn't matter. She is alive. She deserves love and care. She can feel pain although it probably isn't fully mentally registered as you or I would feel it. Pain is a basal sensation. In her neurologic examinations, undoubtedly she is pinched or pricked by a needle to see how she reacts. Much of this is reflexive. Do we really know she doesn't feel it? She may be able to grimace. What a terrible way to kill someone, true cruel and unusual punishment for someone who has not been convicted of a crime. If she was a convict in the state of Florida and was being treated this way, the civil libertarians would be fighting on the other side of the fence. I have respect for Dr. Timothy Johnson of ABC News but when asked about if starvation is painful in this situation, he replied 'the experts say this is not painful in the persistent vegetative state and if they see any agitation, this can be treated with medications'. Excuse me, but why would she start showing agitation that needs treating? If so, she must be in pain. Not the same as if it was someone with full consciousness but still misery. Cruel and unusual. Disgusting. She would be better off if she got the death penalty and was killed by lethal injection. Shame on the arrogant judges who ignore reason at the cost of a helpless lady's life.
For Governor Jeb Bush or his brother president to shrug their shoulders
in this time of crisis is against the tradition of strong executive branch
leaders who came before you. It would be a failure of duty to God, to the
people of Florida and to life and freedom. Is it not true that the governor
is in charge of the police and the Florida guard? The President controls the
military as well. In the 60's Gov. George Wallace used this power (for
ignoble purposes). Political fallout? Probably. Save Terri and fight it out
in the courts, at least she is saved. At least with that approach we can
then examine the true current condition of her mental status.
Dr. D. James Kennedy understands and said:
A living will may be absolutely wrong, even if it was her written instructions to pull the plug if she ever got into a condition such as what she has now. Teenagers would not like to be alive if they look ahead to being elderly. They cannot predict their "wants" without knowing exactly what it would be like. If it supposedly matters what she would "want", then why should anyone oppose suicide? If she truly doesn't understand what is happening, then she currently doesn't care. It would be wrong if she had signed a living will that would have killed her off years ago if she really is appreciating her parent's care. Living wills make it easier to destroy a life, never the opposite.
I am on the Ethics Committee at a metropolitan hospital and we occasionally must make difficult decisions with family battles on both sides of the argument. Some want to maintain life support of their loved one despite absolutely impossible situations to save their relative. Others show no interest in taking care of the relative when this is appropriate. Terri's parents are willing and able. She would not qualify as requiring life support.
Life is more than simply someone's comfort. Life is orchestrated by Almighty God and it is His to control. Suffering has a purpose, whether we want it to be that way or not. Terri was likely not suffering at all, prior to the starvation process. She was merely a nuisance for her caretakers. At the same time she taught caretakers the value of giving to others, especially those who cannot give back. Terri's current life exposes those who selfishly choose to get rid of the problem and those who exhibit true love for someone. Even Terri teaches us how to be better servants of others. She may not give back but caring for someone like her is the greatest sacrifice. We become better people as we give and we learn love in a deeper way. Christ said:
This verse doesn't just mean throwing yourself on a grenade in a foxhole saving your buddies. It also speaks of being a servant for others. We should learn to be servants of those who are weak, as our LORD taught us.
We have a pervasive judicial problem in federal and state courts. We need the Restoration of the Constitution Act to move through. We need a wake up call to the judiciary to reel them in. Impeach the worst and the others will get more in line. Haven't we had enough? Chief Justice Roy Moore was right and yet he was largely dismissed and was inappropriately ousted. People are crying out for justice yet there is none. Life and death is backwards. They kill those who deserve life and free those who deserve death. We must end this now. It is long overdue.
Travis Kidd, Jr., M.D.