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April 17, 2005

Just got back from the Vigil for Clara Martinez


The good thing is...Clara was given nutrition again yesterday (don't know what time) after an agency got involved, but we don't know which one, or any of the details. She had been on water only for 35 days. (According to Pastor Espinoza) The young lady told me that the Martinez family is travelling in from all around the country to..."make a decision". So although nutrition has been restored to Clara, it appears as though this isn't over.

The vigil began at about 3:00. I got there at about 2:00, and there were already representatives there from two different hispanic media sources. We were getting to know one another and sharing small talk, and they were very protective over their space. When I walked back to my car to get my camera, one of them was on the phone with someone trying to figure out who blogsforterri were. We then talked a little bit about Blogsforterri and Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia. I went for Clara on behalf of Blogsforterri and CURE. I never realized how competitive people from the press are! When they realized that I was just on the internet, they relaxed a little bit.

I noticed a police car down the street, just sitting there observing, as more people gathered. Senator Sandoval has been contacted by CURE, by the hispanic representatives of the media I spoke with: Clemente Nicado at HOY, and Jorge Mederos at La Raza.

Clara had her stroke about a year and a half ago. No one knows if the husband has insurance for her, or what the particulars are about her care, if money is an issue, and so on.

Pastor Espinoza showed up with some of his flock, and someone from inside the house came out and said that everyone must leave. He didn't want anyone on his property. Apparently Clara's husband is a lot like Michael Schiavo, he insists this is a "private family matter" and doesn't want the media involved in any way.

Pastor Espinoza went ahead and conducted a little service celebrating the fact that Clara's nutrition was restored to her and that their prayers were answered.

Jorge Medores from La Raza was very gracious and filled me in, saying that the family doesn't want to talk to anyone from the media, he had been in the house but the family (the husband) forbade him to use the pictures he had taken.

The media is under the impression that she is in a COMA. (I got this from that little gal that suddenly didn't know English anymore.) But then, I also heard representatives of the media complaining in a derogatory way how many church people there were, and wanted to identify who was with them and who wasn't.

We still don't know answers to many questions. Tim hooked me up with questions to ask, and I didn't get the opportunity to speak with anyone from the family or Senator Sandoval.

Because Channel 2, 5, 7, 9 and someone from the Tribune was there and three representatives from three different hispanic news sources, it was virtually a media circus and I didn't get the opportunity to speak with the Pastor privately. I'm going to call him over the next few days to ask him more questions. He is in touch with Clara's mother, apparently not speaking much with the husband.

The media was still there when I left. I want to say HI and thank you to Robert Corey, who came out after reading this at Blogsforterri. It was nice to see a friendly face.

I have pictures and they'll be posted in a day or so at Cao's blog. (Technical difficulty!)

Posted by cao at April 17, 2005 5:45 PM

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Well, if the pastor believes she's receiving nutrition, then I'll believe it's for real. As you say, for now.

Interesting about the anti-Christian attitude by the media, but not surprising.

I wonder very much what the legal situation here is. Michael needed to get a court to grant him (in 2000) a "petition" to stop feeding and hydrating Terri. But a) that was in Florida, b) that may just have been because the Schindlers were willing to go to court to challenge it, and c) heaven knows how easy it might be to get such a petition granted in this case. But at least in the meanwhile she might be fed. It would be good to know what legal authority is possessed by whom, here. It appears that the husband was acting without full authority, since her feeding has been restored. But will he have to jump through hoops before starving her again, or is this feeding just happening while the attention of others is on the case? And I wonder _whose_ family is coming in to "make a decision." Hers? Or hers and his? And I wonder what "decision" they will make.

All still very much up in the air.

We'll look forward to more details.

Great job reporting by Blogs!

Posted by: Lydia at April 17, 2005 6:49 PM

I feel confident that the success we've enjoyed in helping Mae and Clara stems from the fact that they weren't in Pinellas County, FL. I also believe that if we can keep PC, F from creeping out into the rest of the country we will see many more Maes and Claras and far less Terris. Can anyone else grasp this?

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 17, 2005 7:17 PM

I think this one is far from over. What's going to be interesting is if it continues to get coverage when her husband is so seriously opposed to media coverage.

Posted by: Cao at April 17, 2005 7:39 PM

If anyone reads this who knows (perhaps somebody connected with CURE):

What exactly is the legal situation w.r.t. people who can eat soft foods/drink by mouth?

I was under the impression that it conferred some sort of protection, that feeding by mouth was regarded as normal care, not as "treatment" that could be refused by a guardian. Is this not so?

I _do_ know that the Cruzan precedent applied only to *tube feeding*.

But perhaps any protection involved is just on paper and no one will be prosecuted for dehydrating or starving people who _don't_ need a tube, either.

Note--it isn't that _I'm_ saying that it should make a difference morally whether someone needs a tube. But if we _can_ protect people who can eat/drink by mouth, it would be good to make use of that legal fact in cases like this one.

Posted by: Lydia at April 17, 2005 8:17 PM

Food and hydration is what Judge Greer ordered Michael Schiavo to stop. There is nothing in the verbiage about tubes. It started out that way, but a clever bait and switch over time in the documents got them their desired result.

Posted by: Cao at April 17, 2005 8:20 PM

You're certainly right about the final court order in Terri's case, Cao. But if Terri had been eating by mouth for years, the whole thing could probably never have gotten off the ground, legally. And as you know, Felos was able this way to go on TV all over and lie, telling everyone that some dreadful fate would befall her if she were fed by mouth. They weren't allowed to prove him wrong, because she hadn't been fed by mouth for so long. I saw the order in which Greer told the parents he wouldn't order that they be allowed to try to feed her by mouth. He called giving her food or water by mouth "an experimental procedure." Pretty bad stuff and nonsense, but he couldn't have said it if she'd been sipping from a straw all along.

So I'm hoping that when we encounter a case where the person clearly can receive stuff by mouth and is in fact taking it right now that this is a whole different ball game, legally. For example, suppose Clara had never had a tube in the first place? Would that make a legal difference?

If not, things have gone even farther than I thought and anyone at all can be starved to death.

Posted by: Lydia at April 18, 2005 7:00 AM