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AlbertJayNock

Terri Schiavo

Thursday was the 5th anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo, the comatose woman caught in a custody battle between her parents, who wanted her kept alive, and her husband, who wanted her taken off her feeding tube.

The decision about Schiavo's fate polarized the nation. I was a bit slow to form an opinion. The question of when to stop extraordinary treatment is a tricky one, largely because it's difficult to define what extraordinary treatment is. In this case, the treatment consisted of a feeding tube.

I finally came down on the side of the parents after a judge ruled that not only must her feeding tube be removed, but no effort to feed her at all must be made. Whether or not a feeding tube constitutes extraordinary care is a question reasonable people can disagree on. I don't think the same is true of just feeding someone. The judges ruling, IMHO , went beyond "no extraordinary treatment" to "Terri Schiavo must die."

A lot of people made the argument that the government should stay out of life-and-death decisions. But as Thomas Sowell pointed out, the people who made this argument in favor of taking away her food "somehow have no problem with a squad of policemen preventing her parents (or anyone else) from giving their daughter food or water.". Policeman work for the government.

I pointed out to someone that I didn't like the idea of policeman keeping a mother from giving her dying daughter a drink of water. He accused me of basing my opinion on emotion. I'll admit there were emotions involved. Just like there were emotions involved when appeals were made to help the people of Haiti after the earthquake.

But if you want a strictly nuts-and-bolts analysis of the situation, you could ask if this was the best use of law enforcement resources.
I remember in this time period there were at least two rather gruesome child murders in Florida, of Jessica Lunsford and Carlie Brucia.
I couldn't help but notice the juxtaposition of these events. Those kids would probably have been killed anyway. But somebody in Florida state government should have noticed there were people doing worse things than giving Terri Schiavo water and jello and allocated law enforcement personnel accordingly.

Comments

This makes me angry. I didn't know much about the case, but I do know someone personally whose husband was in an accident and in a coma for a while. Naturally she and her kids were very distraught. But after a few months...a "miracle" happened. Her husband was okay again, and came home. It's cases like this which makes me very wary of "unplug the feeding tube" orders.

"I pointed out to someone that I didn't like the idea of policeman keeping a mother from giving her dying daughter a drink of water. He accused me of basing my opinion on emotion."

And he is basing his opinion on...what?