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March 23, 2005

Europeans Reflect on Schiavo Case: Where Florida went wrong for even euthanasia supporters

Topics: General

This is a further commentary on a previous BFT post.

- Opinion
I accuse the State of Florida, it's courts, and it's legislators of failing to protect it's citizens from the euthanasia-supporting guardianship and hospice community, and people like Michael Schiavo. The failure of our judicial and legislative systems to protect disabled people like Terri Schiavo is a world-wide disgrace, and even in Europe, where euthanasia is generally accepted, Terri's case is the cause of much dismay.

(...) The legislative and judicial battle over a Florida man's right to end his comatose wife's life has drawn some surprise reaction in Europe, where legal sympathy for euthanasia is widespread.

(...) Fifteen years ago, Holland had a case similar to Terri Schiavo's, A judge allowed the husband of Ineke Stinissen, who had been in a coma for several years, to remove her feeding tube. She died of starvation, and her case paved the way for Holland's pro-euthanasia legislation. But there is a very big difference between the Florida law that allows a husband to murder his wife(that he may have abused) and the European laws under which this could not have occured. What's the difference?

(...) European countries like the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium allow physician-assisted death in various incarnations. In Holland alone, about 2,000 people die through assistance from their doctor each year. But Schiavo wouldn't be one of them.

(...) Dutch laws, like those in Switzerland and Belgium, require that the patient clearly and insistently request death. Schiavo, had she ever requested death should she fall into a vegetative state, did not insist on it. For this reason, even relatively socially liberal groups, like the Union of Protestant Churches in Germany, or the German Medical Association, have not recommended removing Schiavo's feeding tube.

(...) there have been cases "of people who lived for 20 years in a 'waking coma' and then later came back to consciousness. The patient is certainly not dead."

(...) "The patient's doctors are required to continue to treat her and to feed her, because it's not clear what will happen next with her illness," said Jörg-Dietrich Hoppe, the head of the German Medical Association.

Although I am personally opposed to euthanasia in any form and at any time(I am not opposed to removing someone from totally-dependent mechanical life support if brain dead - properly diagnosed"), opposing sides here in the United States would not be very far apart had the U.S. enacted the laws that Europe has in effect to protect it's citizens. So here in Florida, in the United States of America, the law that has failed Terri Schiavo is now being used to murder her.

(...) In Germany, Schiavo's case would have gone to court much in the same way it did in the US. German law forbids doctors to actively assist in a patient's suicide but allows them to passively allow death if the patient clearly wills it. But Ruth Mattheis, the former head of the medical association and a doctor for more than 50 years said she could not remember such a case every making it to trial.

Terri Schiavo is dying, and if she dies, I hope that Bob and Mary Schindler sue Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer for wrongful death, and in the ensuing civil trial, Michael Schiavo's savage abuse of the law and Terri is brought out and made public. I am confident that BlogsForTerri, Hyscience, ProLifeBlogs, Blogicus and most if not all of Terri Schiavo's supporters will not let Terri's terror be forgotten.

But as much as I wish Michael to get his due reward, and it may be unlikely here on earth, my most fervant wish is that those of us who care about life rail to force our legislators to protect us like the Europeans have protected their citizens. Euthanasia should not ever again be used for personal benefit as with Michael Schiavo, and it should never again be used by the guardianship crowd of Pinellas County, Florida, to try to murder an innocent man or woman.

This should have never happened in the first place, and we can't ever let it happen again.

Contents cross posted at Hyscience

Posted by richard at March 23, 2005 1:18 PM


Articles Related to General:

Comments

1. Why can't she be manually fed or given liquids - why no food or liquids at all?
Taking the feeding tube out is one thing, denying all food and liquids by any means is murder isn't it?
2. Why did it take years before her 'husband' said she did not want to live this way?
3. Her friends said she was considering a divorce...certainly an indication that the relationship dynamics were in question,
4. Why can't guardianship be given to her parents so her 'husband' can go on with what he has already determined to be 'his own life'....another woman...2 children...engagement....common-law marriage (By the way, how did he file federal taxes?...joint or single and who was listed as the spouse and dependants?
5. What message is this giving to children today?
6. Could this issue possibly have contributed to the Minnesota school killings?
7. How do people with brain damage view this and what do they think? Are they next?
8. Why has the ADA been so silent? Why is no one calling them or why are they not on the news with statements?
9. What precedence will this now set…anyone who has a ‘loved one’ in ICU or on feeding or other life sustaining means could now say, ‘it was not the wish of this person to be this way, so pull the plug’…let me get the inheritance…let me stop the expenses…forget what the person wants…..whatever
10. Why can’t President Bush just ‘pardon her’?

Posted by: doc at March 23, 2005 1:35 PM

Doc, see my answers to your Qs on the previous thread. I tried to beat you over here, but I type too slowly! ;-)

Posted by: Mary in LA at March 23, 2005 1:50 PM

Reposting from "When the Law is Wrong" (dear admins, please feel free to delete if necessary):
Doc's Qs:
1. She can't be fed by mouth because her husband has forbidden it.
2. We don't know, but we think it's to do with the money from the malpractice settlement.
4. I don't know. Probably the court fight to get that changed would take longer than Terri has, at this point.
5. A terrible message indeed.
6. I don't know -- it's possible. Truthfully, I've been so involved with Terri's case that I haven't caught up on the Minnesota case yet.
7. People with brain damage or other disabilities, and their families, are indeed worried that they'll be next. I refer you to http://notdeadyet.org and other advocacy sites for disabled people.
8. I have no idea at all.
9. A terrible precedent.
10. The President can't pardon Terri because, since she hasn't committed a crime, there's no legal mechanism to pardon her! (Sickeningly ironic...)

Posted by: Mary in LA at March 23, 2005 1:54 PM

Everybody is always arguing about whether anybody disserves any type of suffering. Well we all do, if I could glorify the Lord by being in Terri's place I'd take it in a heart beat, knowing that my mind would already be in heaven. Unfortunately for her her own parents are preventing her from entering the Kingdom of God. Thats very sad. I don't believe in euthanasia. But I also don't believe in denial of death. If the Lord God wanted to heal Terri He'd do it whether she was on life support of not. Why can't anybody here just try to trust in the Lord and have a little faith. If she lives then Gory be to God for healing her. If she dies then Glory be to God for taking her home. I understand now that because this is so simple that nobody can understand it, b/c they're still thinking of the creature and not the Creator. So sad. My prayers are with the simple-minded.

Posted by: JCWarrior at March 23, 2005 1:54 PM

Murder is murder no matter how it is done, without a living will the hospitals doctors and everyone are expose to save lives, how can they change their minds now? If she can be fed oraly why kil her, her husband should try fasting for a week and see what it is like.

Posted by: brianna Stuart at March 23, 2005 1:55 PM

A cogent article by a michigan news author:

Here's an excerpt:

First, if you think you are supporting Terri’s “Right to die” of natural causes by supporting the removal of her feeding tube, once that tube is removed, shouldn’t you allow her the chance to fight for life on her own? In other words, if you are going to remove her artificial supply of food and water, why would you stand guards in her room to arrest anyone who tries to give her a drink or an ice cube? This isn’t just denying her “life support”; it is denying her any chance at all…

Second, if I came to your home and stood guards around you, denying you any form of nourishment or hydration, you too would eventually die, maybe faster than Terri. Would you have died of natural causes, or did I murder you?

What makes it okay to stand guards at Terri’s room blocking any effort to provide her with hydration or nourishment of any kind? And why would it be called murder if we did the same thing to anyone else?

No matter what you think of the people involved, what we are allowing to happen to Terri Schiavo is insane, immoral and un-American on this basis alone…

Posted by: RESUME FEEDING! at March 23, 2005 1:56 PM

URL to article above:

http://www.michnews.com/artman/publish/article_7398.shtml

Posted by: Resume Feeding! at March 23, 2005 1:57 PM

This part of a post I entered earlier:

There has been a silent epidemic of pulling feeding tubes from those who are incapacitated for years now. Those who have a brain injury and have no one to care for them have been quietly killed behind closed doors because it's too costly and inconvienent, sanction by doctors and insurance companies. When rehab is one of the only things that would help someone and even with that it would be unlikely that they would go back to work, they become expendable. They call this dignity. It's no wonder that people have become brainwashed.

As a caregiver for a spouse with a brain injury and all caregivers who sacrafice so much, we are not given much help to care for their loved ones because of this horrible movement to exterminate incompacitated individuals. Also all states are not the same. For Florida to choose death over parents who want to care for their daughter is a horrible precedent!

Posted by: Caryn at March 23, 2005 1:58 PM

Caryn your comment is very well stated. This is precisely why, I who am an Australian feel that it is necessary to make a noise about this case.

She is not comatose but this is the impression that her husband has been giving. It is disgusting.

Posted by: Maggie at March 23, 2005 2:03 PM

Caryn:

I think someone else (AB?) mentioned a connection between the judge in the Schiavo case and Scientology.

Where according to LRonH:

"a disabled person wants to die."

Accoring to the linked report Judge Greer was a litigant for the cult.

There are more details listed here:

http://libertytothecaptives.net/scientology_clearwater_bar_association_judge_greer.html

Posted by: Makesyougohmm at March 23, 2005 2:12 PM

The US Supreme Court should have dealt with this issue long ago. When Felos (Micharl's attorney) can take the case then petition to have a bill introduced in Florida to include feeding tubes as "life support" along with Rep. Billirakkis (on the board of the hospice) in 1999 and Judge Greer ,who worked side by side as a county commissioner with Barbara Sheen Todd (county commissioner and who is on the board of the hospice) for 8 yrs and then declare that brain damage is a terminal illness so that Terri can be housed with no rehab for 5 yrs to result in her death, then how can any reasonable person not see the corruption?

What tangled webs the corrupted weave!

Posted by: Caryn at March 23, 2005 2:41 PM

If someone was standing on the top of building and wanted to die, don't we try everything to stop them?

Posted by: Caryn at March 23, 2005 2:59 PM

A correction:

The article actually only states and has a picture of Greer WITH litigants for Scientology. Regardless, some connections apparently exist.

Posted by: Makesyougohmm at March 23, 2005 2:59 PM

The pro-death harpies can't even emulate their heroes correctly? Maybe that SC judge who has his ear to the European pulse is paying attention. If it's not okay in Europe, surely it shouldn't be okay here.

Posted by: Virginia at March 23, 2005 3:15 PM