March 23, 2005
OpEd: Terri's Last Chance - It's time to try giving Terri Schiavo orally administered liquids.Topics: Medical Issues
While I am in total agreement with the author of this article, William Anderson, a lecturer at Harvard University and Senior Psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, I believe that his suggestion falls short of an opportunity for success. Instead of dealing with rational and caring human beings which would find no reason to do other than as he suggests, we are instead dealing with the Pinellas County court system which is heavily entrenched in the guardianship and euthanasia community, and a judge that is committed to killing Terri Schiavo.
- By William Anderson in The Weekly Standard
There are only two possible explanations for having employed gastric tube feeding. Either (1) her neurologic damage has brought about a swallowing dysfunction with danger of aspiration pneumonia; or (2) it was simply a matter of convenience to avoid labor intensive hand feeding.
In either case, no medical reason now exists to refuse a trial of natural drinking. She may have impaired swallowing function, but that at its worst cannot be as bad as death by dehydration.
Allowing her to drink water would be the definitive test of swallowing function. She may be able to swallow water and other clear liquids, in which case she will avoid death by dehydration, even if she later succumbs to malnutrition. Or she may be able to swallow pureed food, which will avoid death by malnutrition. Or she may not be able to swallow water without aspiration into the lungs, and so would develop pneumonia, and have a quicker and more peaceful death.
As to legal concerns, a guardian may refuse any medical treatment, but drinking water is not such a procedure. It is not within the power of a guardian to withhold it, and not in the power of a rational court to prohibit it.
EXCEPT IN A PINELLAS COUNTY FL COURT!
Posted by richard at March 23, 2005 2:32 PM
Articles Related to Medical Issues: