Monday, March 21, 2005

Pull the damn plug

I've said this to my fiance, my sister, and now everyone out there in blog-land: If I am ever rendered a vegetable, pull the damn plug.

I wrote this on J's blog:
I wonder how these people pick & choose which lives are "precious." Why is Schiavo's life worthy of saving, yet thousands of soldiers dying over a lie is not. What about the innocent on death row? If they want to fight for someone, fight for them.

Politically Incorrect Comment Alert:
This all started for Terri Schiavo because of complications from bulimia. Of all people, a bulimic would not want to be kept alive by a feeding tube!


M said...

I so agree. Such bullshit to continue her "life" on so many levels - physically, emotionally, financially.

Snave said...

The only pictures of Terri Schiavo I have seen in the media are the ones of her with a facial expression resembling a smile. Is this an attempt to sway the public toward the right-wing viewpoint on the issue (i.e. keep the tube in)? She can "smile", therefore she is a fully functioning human being? She "smiles", therefore she is not miserable?

Without cognitive functioning, I doubt she can recognize pain. Sure she can feel it physically, but she wouldn't be able to think "this hurts" or really know what pain is. If she has no cognition, she is unaware of what has happened to her and where she is... so she would not be able to feel "miserable". Likewise, she would not be able to feel "happiness". And without cognition, what of the poor woman's soul?

Nonetheless, as both a husband and a father, I am a bit torn on this issue. I don't like the idea of "starving someone to death". I also don't like the idea of allowing someone to linger for years just so some religious fanatics can feel good.

I supported Oregon's death with dignity act with my vote in two separate elections, and I think the most merciful solution would be to let her die, if that is what she originally said she wanted, and to help speed the process.

Damien said...

I think I'm currently at the same point, although I do actually support ending her suffering. So basically I've been avoiding commenting until I can actually fill myself in on the history of the case. Although I do intend to post up my personel feelings soon, although possibly from a more political angle. It is a keystone issue and hopefully it will sorely test the relationship between the conservative religious right and rest of the GOP brigade.

Rob B. said...

I click the old "next blog" button all the time to see what else is out there. I came across your blog and read a few postings. Let me sum up: We are polar opposites on the political spectrum. However, I am curious, not for the sake of arguing against it, but to understand how you feel over a few questions on the Terri Shiavo stuff. So if you wouldn't mind humoring me, give me a idea on some of these points.

Generally, the liberal side of the political spectrum seems to adhere to policys that wants government to fix problems. They seem to abhor the loss of life, like the opposition to the war, and support envormental efforts. It makes for a fairly consistent view, that I think is ethically based, in that we are to use governmental power to perserve life be it human or not.
That being the case, why does the liberal mindset seem to have a contrary position on choices made towards life preservation in the Shiavo case.. The same people that are adamantly "pro-choice" and are willing to eat all vegtables so that animals don't have to suffer for their food are ralling for Terri's right to die, even though she hasn't asked for that. Likewise, the empathy that is displayed hasn't seemed to take issue with the fact that a 2 or so weeks of starvation is inhumane. That suprises me that the same people that decry the humanity of a death by lethal injection are ok with starvation.
Is there a idealogical disconnect that I am unaware of that makes this consistant or is there another foundation that makes this position subordinate to those factors?

I post at and you are more than welcome to drop it under the Schiavo link there as well as any that post on your blog.


Lizzy said...

Thanks for all the great comments.
Rob, I don't want to get into a whole big thing here because I know from past experiences with the right, it doesn't go anywhere, but I will tell you this. A year and a half ago, my father was dying from multiple causes, including dementia. He no longer could communicate with us and his quality of life was non-existant. In the end, all he could do was lay in his hospital bed while being fed by a feeding tube and having his diapers changed by nurses. He wasn't coming out of it. With help from hospice, my sister, brother and I made the decision to let him go. In order to let him go, they did the same thing they are doing in the Shiavo case. He felt no pain and he was gone within days.

Snave said...

Rob, it is refreshing to hear a voice from the other end of the spectrum that doesn't resort to name-calling but who instead asks thoughtful questions. Thanks!

Nobody will convince me that Terri Schiavo shouldn't be allowed to die, OR that her death should be by starvation. I guess you can call me Dr. Kevorkian if you like, but I would advocate helping her die.

Lizzy's comment is very illustrative of what many of us go through with our loved ones, when we have to consider quality-of-life issues. I have been in a somewhat similar situation.

About a month ago my family and I had to decide on whether or not to intubate my dad in order to keep him alive, knowing that only 10% of his heart muscle was still working and that his congestive heart failure was killing him. He ended up making the choice himself. He chose the breathing tube, because he was still quite conscious and didn't want to die. He had all of his cognitive runctioning intact. Now he is home, still alive, very lethargic, often asleep, and when awake he is often out of breath, but we all live nearby and visit him often. He is comfortable, he is not in pain, and although his quality of life is diminished, he says he is glad he's still around. He doesn't know what he will ask the docs to do next time he's in the hospital though. Because he still has the ability to think and reason, he can wrestle with imminent issues re. his mortality.

My wife and her siblings had to go through this in December of 2003. Her dad had a massive stroke, and he was left paralyzed, unable to talk or eat, barely able to breathe, and in a dying state. The decision was made to place him in hospice care, and not to prolong the inevitable, but not without some dissent among the ranks, not surprisingly from my wife's fundamentalist Christian sister... What could have been a big rift there has healed, thankfully.

My heart goes out to anyone who is involved in such a decision. There is never anything easy about it. While it may be easy to advocate continuing the life of Terri Schiavo or to advocate letter her pass away, what lies beneath those "surface" decisions is dark and muddy, and it is different in every case.

For Congress to address this issue in the way they have is a scary proposition. Who is to say they won't intervene more often now, in similar cases?

For the record, I am a left-winger who does not like abortion and does not support it except in cases where the mother or child is in danger (or in some cases where rape or incest has occurred); I don't support the death penalty; and I don't support letting a terminal patient die a slow death. Again, I supported Oregon's Death with Dignity act by voting for it each time it has been on our ballot. I believe in Death with Dignity.