To date I haven’t written anything about the Terri Schiavo case. It’s a family tragedy of the first order, and I didn’t feel a need to add to the cacophony. But now that it’s close to being over, there’s a few ideas I’d like to get down. Her autopsy results were just released, and Jeb Bush has pressed on the public prosecutor to reinvestigate the original 911 call that took place 15 years ago.
First and foremost, I regard this whole case as a family matter, and for anyone to make it a public event is absolutely reprehensible. Maybe you could forgive her parents for their actions, but only maybe. They were (and continue to be) in such denial about her condition as to be truly pathetic. But all the other politicians, doctors, ministers and hangers on should be ashamed of themselves. Here we have the most painful of family misfortunes paraded around for the benefit of everyone else’s personal agendas.
If I had a dying loved one at the same hospice that Terri was at, I would be very angry at all the demonstrations. How dare anyone interfere with my last few days with a loved one. This is Christian charity? And I think of her husband Michael, who has been slandered by all sorts of people who never met him and know nothing of what he has gone through in the last 15 years.
The most charitable excuse for this interference I heard was that her husband had placed her in a hospice that “specialized” in euthanasia. Given that, so the theory went, maybe the doctors at the hospice were too eager to ply their specialty on her. So maybe all the politicians were really truly concerned that she was being killed by her greedy husband when she really was still responsive. The unspoken assumption is that euthanasia-minded doctors are willing to ply their trade on people who are still alive and functional. This is a real slander on those doctors. Most doctors, especially those connected with a hospice, already see enough of death. They also see enough of pain and hopelessness to realize that sometimes there’s a reasonable tradeoff there.
Never mind that a whole series of Florida courts had ruled that the husband was, and deserved to be, her guardian; and he alone had the right to make these decisions. If any state in the Union has judges who have seen everything under the sun with respect to dying people, it has to be Florida. I don’t think it would be easy to fool them, especially if your intent was to profit from someone else’s death. And of course I can’t go without mentioning the hypocrisy of the GOP yelling about States’ Rights, but only when the States agree with them.
I also am wondering where the liberal media was. I understand that all the networks were continuously showing all the videos of Schiavo seeming to be responsive. You’d think, wouldn’t you, that if the media was so in bed with the Democrats as the conservatives claim, that the media wouldn’t essentially be enabling her parents and the conservatives carry out their respective agendas.
And now we have Jeb Bush keeping the affair alive by getting the prosecutor to start an investigation into the timing of the original 911 call that her husband made 15 years ago. If the governor thinks there was something amiss, why wait until now? I think 15 years is past the statute of limitations for everything but murder. Is that what he suspects? Just now? Or does he just have a hard-on for Michael. This really is abusive, almost criminally so.
June 17, 2005