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July 17, 2005

New Mission - New Direction

Topics: New Mission - New Direction

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." - Mother Teresa

The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, Blogsforterri, and TerrisFight.org have been busy preparing for the next phase in the fight to increase awareness to the fact that 'quality of life' has absolutely nothing to do with the 'value of life,' and that loving care, nutrition, and hydration are indeed the most basic of human needs that must be provided for all of us until the very moment of our natural death.

In the process of working to increase awareness to such 'value of life' issues, TerrisFight.org along with BlogsforTerri and it's daughter and sister blogsites intend to address the many mistakes made during the conflict over whether Terri should be allowed to live out her natural life or have it ended by judicial fiat.

By looking at the mistakes, actions, and inactions that played a part in Terri's death, we hope to help everyone better understand the gravity of ending a human life by other than the hand of God.

This new mission of BlogsforTerri, is to, along with it's core group of sister and daughter blogs, focus on the discovery, analysis, and communication of 'value of life' issues related to Terri's life and death, while avoiding temptation for finding fault, pointing blame, or being overly critical of any individual(s), groups, or organizations.

The Group's intention is to be more tolerant of our adversaries than our adversaries are of us, and to convince the convincible, while letting those that are blind to the sacredness and mystery of the life God has given us, or be unwilling to attempt to understand the importance of not intervening in the process of natural death, rest in peace wherever and however they can find it.

The lessons that can and should be learned from Terri's life and Terri's death, are not going to be ignored, because all of us intend to make sure that they are made known and that they are heeded.

Our General Plan For The Development and Operation Of BlogsForTerri's New Mission:

Project: Startup and operation of our campaign to fight against euthanasia, to educate the public about the false diagnosis of PVS, and to campaign against the killing of the elderly, the infirmed, and the disabled, by judicial fiat.

Overall Goal of the project: To motivate constructive changes in legislations and be a voice for the oppressed.

Our Key Points:

1. Value of life unrelated to quality of life.

2. Loving care, nutrition, and hydration are basic human needs, and not options of medical care.

3. The lessons to be learned from the medical, judicial, and regulatory and criminal law-enforcement issues related to Terri Schindler Schiavo's death by judicial fiat should not and must not go unheeded.

4. We can all do a better job of working together toward a better understanding of the uniqueness and importance of human life, than we've done up to now. Regardless of our individual political and religious beliefs - the lives of the elderly, the infirmed, and the disabled, regardless of what may be percieved as being their quality of life, their lives are no less important and no less sacred than our own.

Available Resources And Resources That Are in-Preparation

Background resources

1. PVS Documentation
2. Scientific literature related to the definition and prognosis of PVS.
3. Medical point by point discussion of Terri Schiavo's autopsy report for the sole purpose of relating to mistakes that can be prevented in the future.
4. Medical expert opinions of the PVS diagnosis, relating to Terri Schiavo's case as a model not to be repeated.
5. Examples of PVS cases and outcome
6. Mark Furhman's Book - for addressing details in Terri's case, for the sole purpose of relating to mistakes in Terri's case that should be prevented from happening in future PVS and patient care cases.
7. Detail and chronology of judicial, legislative, and political issues related to Terri Schiavo - for the sole purpose of preventing a repeat of mistakes that could have contributed to Terri's tragic death.

Primary Internet Sites (The Core Group) - to be advertised as a group of core blogs involved in the blogging for life and against euthanasia effort. Additional core members will be considered based upon contributions to the overall blogging and organizational effort.

TerrisFight.org
BlogsForTerri
Hyscience
Blogicus
ProLifeBlogs
FreedomsZone
StraightUpWithSherri
ThrownBack
TruthandAction
ThePoliticalTeen

Additional blogs will be part of the BlogsForTerri blogroll(which will be advertised), and a number of blogs will also be contributors(posting privileges at BFT). A thourough "cleansing" of the existing blogroll will be undertaken, with only those blogs that post 4 or more times a week on BlogsForTerri issues to be included, moving forward.

Guiding Principles (revised and adopted from an article by Carolyn Gerster, M.D, of the NRLC:

The reasons that food and water should not be considered an option of medical care are summarized as follows:

1. All patients, no matter how severe or hopeless their illness, have the basic right to nursing care, emotional support, food, and water.

2. Hydration and nutrition are biological necessities. Food and water are not medications. We go into the kitchen, not to the pharmacy, for dinner.

3. Unlike all other modalities of care (e.g., antibiotics, cardiac drugs, etc.), the withdrawal of hydration and nutrition is universally fatal. Death will occur within a predictable time, usually within 10 to 14 days. There are no survivors. This means the doctor, not the disease, kills the patient. Withdrawal of water is essentially a homicidal act. A hospital is an inappropriate place to kill a patient. The lethal impact of the order to withdraw fluids is well understood by nurses, hospice staff, and hospital personnel. It is neither fair nor appropriate to involve health care professionals in hastening the death of a patient.

4. Unlike respirators, dialysis, and other technology, "artificially administered" nutrition and hydration are not burdensome or painful. If long-term support is contemplated, a percutaneous gastrostomy (done by a gastroenterologist, not a surgeon) offers the
alleviation of hunger and thirst without discomfort. There is no substance to the argument that fluid may represent a risk to some patients. In instances of renal or cardiac failure or cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), hydration may be temporarily decreased but is not discontinued.

5. The cost of a gastronomy feeding, itself, is minimal. In some cases, the formula may be simply prepared in a blender. Family or nursing home personnel may administer the feeding. The patient may resume oral feedings if he or she improves.

6. Death by dehydration is protracted and painful for the patient (if conscious) and for the family and hospital staff in all cases. One need only recall photos from the Ethiopian famine to realize the enormity of the act. Since the only purpose of stopping hydration and nutrition is to hasten death, it is only rational that euthanasia proponents will promote "death by injection" as a humane alternative. Such has been the argument of Derek Humphry, the past executive director of the Hemlock Society, in promoting "assisted suicide." It is illegal in Arizona to starve a horse or dog to death. Surely human beings deserve the same protection.

7. Continuing hydration allows a "time buffer" in the event that an error has been made in diagnosis. Doctors are not omnipotent. Most physicians have had the personal experience of patient survival or improvement despite their initial diagnosis of terminal illness or
irreversible coma. Once the patient is put to death by dehydration, it is too late for the doctor to rectify the error.

8. The potential for abuse in allowing death by dehydration is undeniable, given the interest in reducing the cost of health care and concern of some family members that their inheritance not be devoured by hospital costs. Those most vulnerable are the elderly, the physically and mentally impaired, and the poor. We already had a 1987 example in Tucson, Arizona, of a surrogate appointed by the county to make a life or death decision regarding withdrawal of fluids, even though the surrogate had never known the incompetent patient.

9. There is no evidence that most patients desire their lives to be shortened. There is, in fact, very strong evidence that patients, once actually confronted with a terminal illness or serious illness, want intervention to delay death. An American Journal of Psychiatry article (143:2, February 1986) cited an interview of 44 terminally ill patients. The majority (34) never wished death to come early. All the remaining 10 were found to be suffering from clinical depressive disease. (Three had been suicidal before their illnesses.) A 1998 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association involved 160 patients age 55 or older who underwent treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, during a one-year period. Of these patients, 74% would be completely willing to undergo intensive care again, even if it meant their lives would be prolonged for as little as one month. Twenty-two percent
expressed a desire for ICU treatment dependent upon the duration of survival. Only 4% were unwilling to repeat heroic life-sustaining treatment.

As a physician treating a large percentage of elderly and seriously ill patients over the past 35 years, Carolyn Gerster, M.D. had only five persons ask that no life-prolonging treatment be given as death approached. She has never had a patient ask that nutrition be discontinued.

Carolyn Gerster, M.D., is vice chairman of the National Right to Life Medical Ethics Committee and chairman of the board for Arizona Right to Life. For more information about NRLC's "Will to Live," go to www.nrlc.org.

You will see additional changes in the site over the next few days.

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." - Mother Teresa

AND SO NOW IT BEGINS!

Posted by richard at July 17, 2005 3:15 PM


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Comments

What if you are a regular contributor but have fallen behind in blogging?

I hope that I will be included on your blog roll in the two locations where I tend to blog regularly. As I have been a regular with your sister site, I hope that I can keep up my end of the bargain to promote the issues that are of relevance in the fight against euthanasia on demand.

Posted by: Maggie4Life at July 18, 2005 12:39 AM

Great post. I am trying to keep in contact with legislators in an effort to maintain a culture of life, and I have been lax in my own personal blogging. And frankly, I have been in quite a funk since Terri's death, feeling a bit more 'hopeless' about society today.

Posted by: I hope at July 19, 2005 1:08 AM