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March 1, 2005

Myth: Terri Asked to be Taken Off Life Support - Updated

Topics: Medical Issues

[Michael] Schiavo has claimed that [his wife], Terri, expressed a desire not to be kept alive by artificial* means should she ever be debilitated by an accident or illness. His brother and sister-in-law corroborated that assertion, which [Judge George] Greer accepted as "clear and convincing evidence" of Terri's wishes.

But Terri's biological relatives, co-workers, friends and fellow church members universally dispute the claim, noting that she was extremely upset when the family of Karen Ann Quinlan disconnected the respirator that had been keeping the comatose woman alive, with the help of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The Quinlan case differs from Terri's in that there was complete consensus in the medical community that Quinlan could never recover and her entire family was in agreement that she would want to be allowed to die.

[Source: CNS News, HT: WriteWingBlog]

It remains conspicuously unexplained as to why Michael never mentioned his wife’s wishes until 1998, after his wife had spent eight years in a coma.

Michael’s former girlfriend, Cindy Shook, testified that when she asked Michael what Terri’s wishes were, his reply was, “How the h*** should I know we never spoke about this, my God I was only 25 years old. How the h*** should I know? We were young. We never spoke of this."Trudy Capone, who dated Michael in 1992, testified,

"I will tell you one thing. Micheal never knew what Terri wanted. He never Knew. He would say to me all the time, 'I don't know what to do. I don't know that to do with her. I just don't know.'... He would confinde in me all the time about how he did not know, and he would ask me what I thought he should do."
In addition, Terri never talked about life support with her parents and supported placing her grandmother on a ventilator [more].

Michael's weak and convenient assertion that Terri would want to be starved to death is contradicted by a substantial body of testimony from individuals who were close to Terri. His sudden revelation of Terri’s wishes are further impugned by the inherent conflict of interest created by his relationship with another woman (his fiancée’) and their two children and the money he stands to gain from Terri’s estate.

*Sideote: Terri is presently not kept alive by artificial means (at least according to the definition of "artificial" when Michael claims she made the statements in question). She does receive food and water through a removable tube, which experts testify would not even be necessary if she were given therapy. This assisted feeding is a natural means of preserving life and not a medical act of life support or heroic measures.

Posted by tim at March 1, 2005 5:04 PM

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Tracked on March 2, 2005 12:21 AM