March 19, 2005

To die or not to die

Her husband says his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially.
Her parents dispute that, without giving a single supporting shred of evidence.
The parents hope she might get better.
The parents and everyone else involved went doctor shopping until finding specialists who supported their position.
The judge who ruled on the case had weeks and months of testimony and all the facts of the case before making his ruling.
Congress and other judges waited until the last second to get involved. When Jeb Bush tried to step in long ago, he was slapped down pretty convincingly.
The blogosphere has rallied to her cause, and the total effect has been zilch. Zip. Nada. A good reminder of just how important we are in the universe.

The woman was stripped of her dignity long ago.
This isn't even about her any more.

I'm disgusted.

Posted by Ted at March 19, 2005 09:32 PM
Category: Square Pegs

The husband has no proof that this is what Teri wants, he says that she wanted to die but from the reports that I have read she was a serious Catholic and suicide is not an option. He has two serious conflicts of interest ( the other woman and the children, and the settlement money). You also have a judge who refuses to give an inch on anything. Since Teri cannot give voice to her desires and there is nothing written down, the best thing to do would be that which does the least harm and how can starving a human being be the least harm?

Posted by: Annette Bennett at March 19, 2005 09:40 PM

First off,Annette,someone pulling the plug on you is called a mercy killing and is not murder and is certainly NOT suicide.You whole arguement is invalid.
This woman is essentially braindead.Most likely she won't get better.She is doomed by people like you to spend decades staring at the ceiling and pissing and shitting all over herself.Also,never being able to really do or be anything but a human doorstop for no other reason than the fact that her folks just are not emotionally strong enough to let go.Either that or perhaps their faith is not so strong after all.If they so thought that heaven is so wonderful then why would they want their daughter to continue suffer on Earth?Perhaps they think that if she suffers now she will move up a tier or some other silly non-bible based catholic thing.
Also,the only reason the government is sticking their nose into this one is because it's a perfect chance for them to re-enforce their "you'll die when we say you do because we want to control ever aspect of your life so just be a good zombie and take your daily "medication".Notice that the government also has the same attitude towards assisted suicides?

Posted by: Russ at March 19, 2005 10:05 PM

Ted... I'm with you.

Posted by: Boudicca at March 20, 2005 01:04 PM

The poor husband had long ago asked the legal system to intervene in her best interest. And everyone but her parents seem to believe it's time to let her go because she's been gone for 15 years already. What I'm curious to know is how much it costs to keep her alive and who is paying for it, because at some point, cooler heads need to prevail and that family needs to finish grieving and get on with their lives.

Posted by: dawn at March 20, 2005 06:57 PM

I've been involved with "pulling the plug" on two people close to me.

In one case, the patient was completely conscious and aware. All I did as next-of-kin was sign for authorisation to discontinue pointless and agonising 'heroic measures' in accordance with his strongly expressed wishes at the time. An inevitable and really uncomfortable death was only hastened by hours, if at all. And made as painless as possible. He'd fought to his utmost as long as there was the slightest shred of hope - but there sometimes comes a time when fighting is not just futile, but pointlessly masochistic.

In the other case, I provided support to the husband, when the tests showed his wife and best friend was unquestionably brain-dead. It still took a long time for her brain stem to cease functioning, hours of sheer torment for all concerned. But at least it was hours, not the days we'd been preparing ourselves for. I'd been best man at the wedding, I'd known them both for years.

So I know how absolutely apalling the whole thing can be. The problem is, the alternative can be worse.

From what I've read, no MRI or PET scan has ever been performed on the lady in question. There's some serious questions about *this case* that means you can't go by general principles. Ny initial reaction of "For God's sake, let her go in Peace!" has been changed by what research I've done, and I'm not sure now what the position is or should be.

Now it's become a political cause celebre the details and facts about what should have been a difficult but straightforward medical and ethical decision have become blurred by misinformation.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at March 20, 2005 11:51 PM

My wifes grandfather had a huge stroke and was in a coma, basically brain-dead for something like 2 or 3 years or more. Some of his "caring" family members guilted his wife into keeping him alive, even saying "it'll be your fault if he dies". During that time he needed major surgery but they couldn't give him any anaesthetic, so they opened him up and performed it. There were even tears running out of his eyes, his body obviously felt it even if his brain couldn't.

Finally they pulled the life support plug, but he had to be kept on a feeding tube, and he lived on as much life as there was there. Finally they opted to send him home without a feed tube and my poor mother-in-law had to house him while he died. If the ignorant buggers had just pulled the plug and see if he lived, he would have passed away quietly and with relatively no pain.

This just adds to the fire to have a DNR form signed now while you are sane and healthy. Don't let some selfish relative keep you as a soulless living cadavre, while they decide that they have grieved long enough and can now let you die.

Posted by: Oorgo at March 21, 2005 07:31 PM
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