To Save

The Terri Schiavo case is deeply distressing from a moral, an ethical, and a legal point of view. In general, I agree with Peggy Noonan when she writes that whenever intent can be discerned, the law should always error in the side of life.

On the other hand, all medical knowledge suggests that Terri Schiavo will never be more than what she is now. The parts of her brain that held the self — her ability to engage with the world are gone and can never be recovered. Terri Schaivo exists somewhere between life and death, and our medical science simply does not have the requisite understanding to know what (if anything) she is going through.

It’s a terrible dilemma. Live without consciousness or die of starvation. One cannot imagine the anguish that such a thing would cause.

However, if it is true that Terri Schaivo is in a irrecoverable persistant vegitative state (which by all medical evidence is true), exactly where is the harm in allowing her to live? Her parents have offered to provide all the care she needs. Her husband has clearly moved on in his life. If she has nothing even remotely resembling a consciousness, then she is already gone and doesn’t care what happens to her. Let her parents give her a comfortable life and let her die of natural causes when she does.

Legally, it’s disturbing that a court can make the decision whether you live or die based on heresay. No court should have the ability to discern intent without a stated document like a living will or a do not rescutate order. Especially not when one of the leading figures in the “pull the plug” camp is someone who has a large financial reason to want his wife dead. Even if Michael Schiavo is on the up and up, a capital murder case wouldnt except that sort of “evidence” and neither should any other civil action.

This case touches upon many key issues, not the least of which is the very definition of life itself. However, if we must draw a line, the demands of humanity beg us to draw that line on the side of life. Too much evil has been done by those who wished to proclaim “existence without life.” We dare not make the same mistake again. Terri’s family has taken it upon themselves to take care of her for as long as they can. They have no vested interest in that decision other than the wish to ensure that their family member does not die a horrifying and slow death. They should be allowed to do so.

5 thoughts on “To Save

  1. When people emphasize that Terri is in a persistent vegitative state, they are really arguing that anyone in such a case should be “allowed” to die. They don’t care about her intent (and maybe shouldn’t because if a vegatable, she’s already gone, can’t have intent, wouldn’t care, etc.). So, the very next step following from the PVS argument is that all PVS should be allowed to die – no reason to care either about her intent or her families wishes because they are clearly deluding themselves.

    At least, that’s what the argument looks like to me.

  2. Yes, and “existence without life” is exactly what we have in the case of Terry Schaivo… god, we treat our pets better than this…

  3. Maybe there should be a review done to see what is really going on. An EEG, MRI and whatever else that can be done. But I dount it will help, since no one has come out of PVS after years in that state. Is that a person there or just a mass of cells that sadly looks like what was once a human being. So there is 99.9999999% percent that what we see is an “it” and not a “she” in the sense of human being.

    This asll just makes me very sad. I can see all xides. Michael S. just wanrts closure. Parents are hoping that something that looks vaguely human is their daugther just might want to sort of hang on to the thing that is more a doll than their daughter. People who worry that we have lowered the value of life want a symbol to keep alive to prove we have not fallen down a slippery slope. People who want people to think rationally want people to jusst look at the evidence and if it pretty much says “it” is really not human but some sort of spooky doll thaat maybe we should just let it go away that perserve it ghoulisly.

    I tried to think this through and if she had a cortex that was preserved but she could use iit then she might still be a she and we should err on the side of life. But if there is no cortex there is nothing tjhere to err on the side of. Because BaseLimbicSystem+Cotex===>I/me/you person. I am tempted to write a strange Living Will saying ig anything should happen to me and I have a cortex but damaged lower cenrters please try to keep me around until I can be fixed but no cortex plus 11 other things showing no chance of “me” being there then cut me up for spare body parts. I don’t know how to word it but that is where I would start.

    Have Fun,
    Sendfs Steve

  4. Do we know that she has PVS? Some doctors say yes and other doctors say no. Do the Testing! Find out for sure before you label her an it.

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