Schiavo’s death leaves unanswered questions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Terri Schiavo’s battle for life ended March 31, after 14 days of dehydration and starvation as upheld by the courts of Florida.

She leaves behind a legacy of many unanswered questions and her death has forced most people to think of the subject we’d all rather avoid-death.

Death is the inevitable fate of all humans and the terrible tragedy of Terri Schiavo has forced many people to think about how we die. We are suddenly forced to look into the face of fear as we think of pain, and loss of control over our lives. Most of us would rather die than to become a burden to our loved ones.

Those are just a few of the common issues surrounding death and dying. We must also consider to what degree should individuals be allowed to control the circumstances of their death – even to the point of involving a physician?

Remember Dr. Kevorkian? &uot;Dr. Death,&uot; they nicknamed him in the media. Dr. Kevorkian is serving time in prison for helping terminally ill people to die, but I wondered why he was in jail and the doctors who disconnected Terri’s feeding tube were out purportedly treating other patients.

In addition, I wondered how many other people these doctors had &uot;treated to death.&uot;

There is currently proposed legalization of physician-assisted suicide and in some instances, euthanasia, which is a topic of debate in state legislatures, medical journals and family gatherings.

In my family, we had a discussion on many questions, including should personal autonomy in medical decision-making extend to having a physician assist you in suicide? If so, should this &uot;right&uot; be limited to a terminally ill condition, or also extend to the chronically ill? The question of depression and adequate pain relief to lessen the desire to die also came up.

All these questions should be discussed within every family unit. There should be no question of what your wishes would be should you enter into a condition like Terri’s; a &uot;persistent vegetative state&uot; (PVS), or in any other disabling condition. You should discuss the issues with your most trusted family member. It’s a terrible thing to think that your spouse may want to pull the plug on you if you are disabled, but after Michael Schiavo’s behavior, all aspects must be considered.

Mr. Shiavo claimed his spousal rights when it came to Terri’s care and feeding even though he was no longer living the part of a husband. In my opinion, he relinquished his rights to make decisions for his wife when he took up an adulterous affair with another woman. He has lived with the other woman for many years; they have two children and another on the way. He has never divorced Terri, but look behind the scenes and his motives in marriage come clear. As her husband, he stands to inherit over $1 million from her estate, funds that came from a medical malpractice suit on her behalf.

Terri was never dying of natural causes, nor was she ever in a coma. She was only severely brain damaged and disabled. My question is when do we start killing off the rest of the population in that condition?

I don’t pretend to know the law, but I believe this nation has watched a barbaric ritual, that of starving and dehydrating a woman to death. Somebody needs to pay. I see Michael Schiavo as guilty of conspiracy to murder, but the judges must also be accountable. Terri starved to death under, not only the approval of the courts, but under their direct order.

Every judge who failed to act to spare this woman from the torment she endured is guilty of judicial malfeasance as well as the cold-blooded, cold-hearted extermination of an innocent human life.

Terri Schiavo was been executed, under the guise of law and ‘mercy,’ for being guilty of nothing more than the inability to speak for herself.