GOD & MAN IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Several judges in several courts have ruled on all the evidence, not just one or two of the items the Schindler family selected for their website. Heidi Law was one of two nurses (the other was Carla Iyer) who claimed they heard Terri Schiavo say, “mamma” and “help me” eight or nine years ago, and that she could then swallow jello or juice without gagging. Even Mrs. Schiavo’s parents have not claimed she can speak today, although there was an effort to gain another appeal because of sounds she made. If Mrs. Schiavo could eat and drink without a feeding tube, then all the agitation about removing that tube would be moot. Not being a physician, Heidi Law also misinterprets the fact that Mrs. Schiavo could follow motion with her eyes, which is something those in a vegetative state normally do. The phrase “vegetative state” does not imply that the person is a vegetable, as some have wrongly objected, but only that she is only capable of passive, involuntary bodily functions and reactions. Nobody disputes that Terri Schiavo's cerebral cortex is gone, replaced by spinal fluid. Her breathing, heartbeat, sleeping and blinking, however, are still controlled by the lower brain stem. Therefore she is not, in that literal sense, brain dead. Conservatives and libertarians are normally reluctant to disrespect the law and the courts, and even more reluctant to breach jurisdictional boundaries that prevent the federal government from becoming omnipotent.
Alan, you are right about the conservative-libertarian bent in favor of respecting law and not encouraging overreaching centralized power. I haven't gone overboard trying to make that argument. I'm just dealing with simple right and wrong and I feel what's happening is wrong. My understanding is that there is debate over whether she has any cerebral cortex remaining. That is one of the issues that I have heard disputed more than once. It seems that the tests required to clear that point up have not yet been performed (PET scan and MRI.In the law, we talk a lot about rebuttable presumptions. I think Terri should have the strongest possible rebuttable presumption in favor of protecting her life. The fact that the professional community is not unanimous about her status should give pause to anyone considering her case.
"The fact that the professional community is not unanimous about her status should give pause to anyone considering her case. "Hunter, surely you know of the "Flat Earth Society." If we can't all even agree that the earth is round then how can you hope to get everyone to agree on a diagnosis.
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