Christianity and Middle-Earth

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Knife in the Dark

From Blogs for Terri– please pass this on.

Urgent Update:

Alert archived: more here.


I now return you to my regularly scheduled ranting:

This is the argument that the delightful Congressman Blumenauer is making:
“…the measure is immoral because Schiavo made it clear to her husband that she would not want to live in a vegetative state.”
There’s considerable disagreement about whether Terri ever did make such a statement: the principle witness for the prosecution—her repellent husband—is the same one who is living with his mistress and their two children. (The children are blameless, by the way. Though I suspect that they're going to need some serious counseling at some future stage of their lives. Why on earth would a loving father damn his children to have to live with something like this?)

Mr. Schiavo’s statements to that effect are what is called in legal circles “hearsay.”

Let me draw the reader’s attention to this story. It’s an old one, this particular tale of execution by hearsay, but none the less pertinent for that.

Secondly, for those who may have missed it, here is an object lesson in the perils of euthanizing people based on casual remarks, which I will repeat here for your convenience:
My brother’s near-death experience with acute respiratory failure, i.e. ARDS (read his story) began with a visit to the emergency room due to what appeared to be severe bronchitis. He didn’t want to go to the hospital, but a friend bullied him into it, fortunately, because he was already there when the ARDS hit, thus saving precious time.

One of the ICU nurses – a very nice man named Michael, oddly enough – told me later that it had been a struggle to get my brother on the respirator. He kept yelling at the nurses to let him die and he had the strength of the temporarily demented.

Now if my brother had had a wife who was bent on killing him, all she would have needed was George Felos and Judge Greer and she’d have been in business: “He said he wanted to die! You heard him! You heard him!” And they would nod solemnly and that would be that. Respirator switched off.

Fortunately, he had a sister and a brother-in-law to stand his back. And that is why he is alive today.

A few weeks after my brother began his delayed recovery from lung failure, he was fitted for a plug for his tracheostomy so that he could talk. His memory was still very faulty, both short-term and long-term, but there came a day when I felt it was time to tell him something of what had occurred. So I did, and when I got to the part where the doctor had wanted me to let him die, my brother piped up angrily:

“That’s when you tell ‘em to go to hell!”


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