Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My last 2 cents on Shiavo

After my first post, I received a welcome comment from a nice person. I had a response & reaction to it, but in the end do not feel I expressed myself clearly. This will represent my last intended post on that topic - your comments are welcome, of course - I would just like to think this definitively states my thoughts about it.

I believe the government should not be trying to mind-read what someone might want or might have wanted. In the situations where that seems to arise, I see a failure in the law to be clear as to a default position. If there were a clear default position, this would be the go-to position in all cases lacking clear, even legally written, expression on the part of the person in question.

I believe in the absence of a clear, preferably written directive from Shiavo herself, the court should have no choice but to rely on the standard:
Re Browning:
In making this difficult decision, a surrogate decisionmaker should err on the side of lifeā€¦ In cases of doubt, we must assume that a patient would choose to defend life in exercising his or her right of privacy.

I believe that a feeding tube is not extraordinary means of staying alive. It is not the same as a full-on heart & lung life support machine. I do not believe denial of food & water is on par with switching off life support.

I believe that speculation on what can not be known about her wishes, what her family or husband want, what she might want in light of new therapies, what state of consciousness she may or may not be in, how long she has lived this way, what her medical reports say, what any expert says, what the judge thinks, what religious folk think, what political folk think, what the media chooses to report, is all irrelevant. Without a clear directive from the individual, I do not believe anyone should be able to violate her presumed wish to live.

I believe without legal enforcement of that presumption, many people with disabilities' lives will be in greater danger than they already are.

I believe that the court system has already behaved cruelly toward Shiavo, by the action of removing and reinserting her feeding tube. That is reprehensible. Get to the final decision, exhaust every single avenue, and then act one way or the other.

Well, that's all. I am not a religious fanatic or a political conservative, so I imagine my voice will be lost on this issue. Too many people are screaming. I am not screaming. I am thinking, and I am worried. To honor this woman, I am going to get my own living will in order.

12 Comments:

At March 23, 2005 at 4:57 AM, Blogger Doug Mc. said...

Brava!, Lilly. Well said. While I don't necessarily agree with your beliefs, I do thank you for stating them as beliefs, rather than carved-in-stone fact.

However, in the end it really does not matter whether we agree or disagree on belief (at least between you and I, in this circumstance), because we do agree on the one key problem and the obvious solution for it.

While I am not afraid of death itself, I am very afraid of some of the things families and government can do to interfere with one's wishes regarding one's dying process, especially if one has made the error of not putting those wishes (and instructions) in writing.

And that (for both of us, I should think) is the key problem, and having a living will is the only solution.

I too have a living will. I've had it for years (a quick boo at my Blogger profile will tell you why I have it) and yes, I think it's about time I update - and tighten - mine, too.

So, while you and I may have differences of view here, we have agreement on the point that matters, without any of the uncivilised yelling and screaming that others have indulged in.

Take care,
Doug

 
At March 23, 2005 at 5:44 AM, Blogger Jenorama said...

You know, this articulates how I feel PERFECTLY. Thank you.

 
At March 23, 2005 at 9:12 AM, Blogger spinderella said...

When I originally read my local newspaper on this issue (NEWSDAY) I believe they skewed the story to make it appear as if this woman had "right to die" and the husband was looking into her best interests by pursuing her "civil rights" and not letting her suffer. I think alot of people who only read articles like this one, skimming the surface of the issue and leaning towards the husband's side do not know enough about the case to really understand the issue at hand.

My Mom has been following this case for so long and filled me in on the horrible things that this husband has done - originally refusing her treatment as if he owns her - and now I can't help but feel that he's doing this not for her sake but for his, to get this out of his conscience so he can go on with HIS life.

The parents are willing to pay for her care and take care of her, they love her and she appears to be comfortable. How could he not respect THEIR wishes?

I feel for this poor woman suffering such a cruel death by starvation. Doctors said in the state she is in she won't "feel" the hunger. How does anyone know that?

 
At March 23, 2005 at 11:34 PM, Blogger Lilly said...

Thanks, you guys, for sharing your thinking on this. While governments and businesses rob me of my faith in my fellow man, individuals like you restore it.

 
At May 26, 2005 at 5:08 PM, Blogger Robin said...

This was such a horrible situation but it totally prompted millions of people to run out and draw up a living will. Yay for that.

These are my thoughts. She had Bulimia. She was killing herself with this eating disorder.Then this happens and she is basically dead but her parents were trying to keep her alive? Guilty because they couldn't help her overcome the Bulimia? No one will ever know.

As for me, I would never want to be kept alive if I wasn't really living. So sad.

 
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