Whose Wishes are They Anyway?

Michael has had at least two other girlfriends since Terri’s collapse (possibly more). An ex-girlfriend has testified that he admitted to her that he didn’t really know what Terri would have wanted, because they’d never discussed it. This ex also said that he was abusive, stalked her at work, and she was afraid of him.

Michael Schiavo never ‘remembered’ that Terri wanted to die until after he won a hefty lawsuit on her behalf. In that lawsuit, he promised to care for Terri for the rest of her life, and claimed he needed the money for her care.
Instead, he cut the check, put a DNR notice on her charts, and has spent over half the money on his lawyers to try to kill her. He moved Terri to hospice and put her on Medicaid.

Terri swallows her own saliva. There is a good chance she could swallow soft foods and liquids, but Michael and the judge refuse to permit her to try.

Michael has children with another woman- the woman he has lived with for the last several years. To those who say that Terri died at the time of her collapse and this is just finishing the process- what died fifteen years ago was Michael’s marriage with Terri- not Terri herself.

But this isn’t just about Terri.

Further reading:
Nat Hentoff:

The reporting on the fierce battle for the life of 39-year-old Terri Schiavo has been the worst case of this kind of journalistic malpractice I’ve seen….
For 13 years, Terri Schiavo has not been able to speak for herself. But she is not brain-dead, not in a comatose state, not terminal, and not connected to a respirator. If the feeding tube is removed, she will starve to death. Whatever she may or may not have said, did she consider food and water “artificial means?”
The media continually report that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state, and a number of neurologists and bioethicists have more than implied to the press that “persistent” is actually synonymous with “permanent.” This is not true, as I shall factually demonstrate in upcoming columns. I will also provide statements from neurologists who say that if Terri were given the proper therapy—denied to her by her husband and guardian after he decided therapy was becoming too expensive despite $750,000 from a malpractice suit—she could learn to eat by herself and become more responsive.
Terri is responsive, beyond mere reflexes. Having this degree of sentience, if she is starved to death, she will not “die in peace” as The New York Times predicts in an uninformed October 23 editorial supporting the husband. What happens to someone who can feel pain during the process of starvation is ghastly….”
Read the whole thing, especially what he says about the new priesthood of death. It’s not just people like Terri who are at risk.

“Wesley Smith, author of Forced Exit—who has accurately researched more of these cases than anyone I know—reports that of the $750,000 to be held in trust for Terri’s rehabilitation, two of Michael Schiavo’s lawyers pressing for removal of her feeding tube have been paid more than $440,000. Whom did that rehabilitate?”

REad the whole thing, which you can link to from

Via My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, h/t Anchoress

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Is life important?

Would you care for Michael Schiavo’s attitude on the involvement of congress in this case?

“I’m outraged, and I think that every American in this country should also be outraged that this government is trampling all over a personal family matter that has been adjudicated in the courts for seven years. I think that the Congress has more important things to discuss.”

More important things to discuss? He wants to end his wife’s life, keep her from receiving *any* therapy or any hope of recovery from future medical advances. Ending her life is irrevocable, and he clearly shows how very wrong his priorities are in this comment. Congress is discussing a matter that, if ignored, will mean a permanent loss to the nation. I’m all for Social Security reform. I’m all for an easier tax burden. When it comes down it, though, victories with financial reforms will mean very little if an innocent women has been allowed to die, her plight ignored. No one thinks that the antebellum Congress would have been discussing unimportant matters while discussing slavery, yet blacks back then were supposed to have nothing to contribute to the “cultured” world.

Yes, her death would be our loss. Letting a woman die like this, with no real representation (do we really wish to trust her husband when he stands to gain so much by her death?) can only mean a regression and an injury to our “culture of life.”

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. So it will, if she dies.

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Petulance and Pride?

According to a recent NYT profile of the presiding judge in the Terri Schiavo case, Judge Greer has such poor vision that he doesn’t drive. Think about that when you read the following excerpts from a Crisis Magazine article:

“Many have seen the now-famous videotape that the Schindlers distributed to the press that the Schindlers distributed to the press in their effort to show the world that Terri is not a vegetable. In this video, Terri gives every appearance of looking directly at those speaking to her, reacting to her mother’s embrace, and following (with her eyes) a balloon around the room. While many who saw the video found it compelling evidence that Terri is in fact conscious, Judge Greer did not.
Although he had to be asked twice to look at his monitor and to put his glasses back on so he could see it clearly, he did not find the video evidence sufficiently “consistent and reproducible.”

A man who cannot see well enough to drive took off his glasses and refused to look at the monitor when confronted with videotaped evidence that contradicted his ruling that Terri was not responsive. Judge Greer has been acting as Terri’s guardian ad litem, a highly questionable state of affairs, ever since he dismissed the first one- when the first one said he did not believe there was enough evidence to rule that Terri’s wishes included being starved to death. The judge has never met with Terri, and he avoided looking at the video tapes.

“Interestingly, Judge Geer and Felos sought to suppress the video, and Judge Greer ordered the Schindlers not to photograph or videotape Terri in the future, under threat of legal sanction.”

I have also read that any pictures that Terri’s parents take of her now automatically become the property of Michael, by order of this judge. Is this because he doesn’t want to risk another embarrassing revelation of Terri’s impudence in daring not to be completely brain dead, in spite of his ruling to the contrary? Is there a good reason for Terri’s parents to be denied the right to take pictures of their daughter?

From this article:

“Other motions by the Schindlers ask that some news reporters be allowed to see Terri Schiavo’s interactions with her parents, since they contend she responds to them; that they be allowed to take pictures with her before she dies and that those photographs not become Michael Schiavo’s property, as a current court order now requires…”

To return to the Crisis Magazine article:, instead of the neutral evidence of a videotaped session with Terri, he prefers to rely on these witnesses:

“…Judge Greer accepted the medical testimony presented by Michael Schiavo that Terri is in a PVS and will not recover. That conclusion becomes even more dubious when you examine Felos’s well-known ties to the euthanasia movement and the background and testimony of Michael Schiavo’s principal medical witness, Dr. Ronald Cranford.
Felos has been a member of the infamous Hemlock Society. Amazon.com, on the Web page for Felos’s book Litigation as Spiritual Practice, describes him as “spearheading a social revolution to enable death with dignity in the state of Florida.” He certainly spearheaded the effort to bring about Estelle Browning’s death, spurred on by his belief that he can spiritually commune with those in a PVS. Although she couldn’t speak, he claimed that he detected her soul crying out to his soul, asking, “Why am I still here?”
In light of Felos’s association with the euthanasia movement, it’s hard to imagine that his choice of Cranford is coincidental, as Cranford is perhaps the leading medical exponent of the pro-death movement.
Cranford jokingly refers to himself as “Dr. Death” and, for a fee, will come to a trial and testify that the person whose life the plaintiff wants to end is in a PVS. He was the leading medical voice calling for the deaths of Paul Brophy, Nancy Jobes, Nancy Cruzan, and Christine Busalucci, all of whom were brain-damaged but not dying. Nonetheless, he advocated death for all by dehydration/starvation, just as he has for Terri.
Nancy Cruzan—one of his “patients”—required no skilled nursing, no care but food and fluids, hygiene, and turning to prevent bedsores. She didn’t even need tube feeding, but Cranford testified that he would even consider spoon-feeding “medical treatment.” Cranford wrote in the summer 1998 issue of Concern for Dying that he foresees “that there may be extreme situations, and in the future increasingly common situations, where physician-assisted suicide may not only be permissible, but encouraged.” In a 1997 op-ed for the Minneapolis–St. Paul Star Tribune, Cranford advocated the starvation of Alzheimer’s patients. “

Why would Judge Greer prefer Cranford’s evidence, to Dr. Hammesfahr, a neurological specialist who has more qualifications that Cranford?

“In contrast to the twelve hours Hammesfahr spent examining Terri, Cranford spent approximately 45 minutes. Rus Cooper-Dowda, who has endured neurologic exams himself, upon seeing the videotape of Cranford’s exam described it as “physically brutal.” He said that Cranford “clumsily poked, prodded, thumped, shoved, and pinched her.” Although Cranford admitted that Terri pulled away from him when he approached her, he did not deem that a voluntary response. When Terri moaned after he “thunked her hard between the eyebrows,” Cranford told the court that it wasn’t a response to pain.
Cranford prides himself on the fact that he was very influential in the development of the criteria used in diagnosing PVS. But in 1996, Dr. Keith Andrews, the medical director of the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London, along with several other staff members, published an article titled “Misdiagnosis of the Vegetative State” in the British Medical Journal. In that article, they revealed that 43 percent of patients sent to that hospital with the diagnosis of PVS—some of whom had been presumed to be in a PVS for more than a year—were not in a vegetative state at all. They found that the misdiagnosed patients had severe communication problems as a result of their disabilities, but with the proper clinical measures, “nearly all were able to communicate…some to a high level.” They concluded that:
The vegetative state needs considerable skill to diagnose, requiring assessment over a period of time; diagnosis cannot be made, even by the most experienced clinician, from a bedside assessment [emphasis mine]…. Recognition of awareness is essential…to avoid inappropriate approaches to the courts for a declaration for withdrawal of tube feeding.
The growing awareness of the difficulty in diagnosing PVS, and the widespread errors in making the diagnosis, have led many leading hospitals, such as the Northwestern University Rehabilitation Institute, to routinely reassess patients referred to them as PVS.
Cranford has testified that patients in a PVS have “no hope of recovery,” but this is simply untrue. A number of people found to be “unrecoverable” have, in fact, recovered. Cranford himself diagnosed Sergeant Richard Mack, a police officer shot in the line of duty, as “definitely…in a persistent vegetative state…never to regain cognitive, sapient functioning.” Almost two years later, Mack “woke up.” He eventually regained almost all his mental abilities.
Kate Adamson, who appeared on Fox News’s O’Reilly Factor on November 6, recounted her own chilling story. She had also been diagnosed as in a PVS, and doctors removed her feeding tube.
I could see and hear everything going on around me, and I had no way…of communicating with anyone…. I was completely paralyzed…. When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I was—thought I was—going insane. I was screaming out [in her mind], “Don’t you know I need to eat?” …Michael [Schiavo] on national TV had mentioned last week that it’s a pretty painless thing to have the feeding tube removed. It is the exact opposite. It was sheer torture…”

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Here’s a surprising bit of news: Judge Greer used to be a member of a local Baptist church. See more about that here:
Judge in Terri Schiavo Case Quits Baptist Church He Attended

William Rice, pastor of the church,

“…said he received a letter from Greer Thursday confirming he has rescinded his long-standing membership after the church. The Greer letter came days after Rice made public comments in news reports disagreeing with Greer’s decisions related to Terri.

Rice said the two exchanged letters about the nature of Greer’s church affiliation after the judge commented publicly about his religious views.

The pastor told Baptist Press he had offered to meet with Greer and received the letter as a response.

According to a St. Petersburg Times news report, Greer, earlier this month, said he told a church deacon, “If I don’t like what the St. Pete Times writes about me, my only recourse is to cancel my subscription.” He told the deacon he would no longer make donations to the church.”

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Holy God, We Praise Your Name

The Whole earth is full of His glory; Isaiah 6:3

Holy God, we praise your name; Lord of all, we bow before you;
all on earth your scepter claim, all in heav’n above adore you.
Infinite your vast domain, everlasting is your reign.

Hark, the loud celestial hymn angel choirs above are raising;
cherubim and seraphim in unceasing chorus praising,
fill the heav’ns with sweet accord: “Holy, holy, holy Lord.”

Lo! the apostolic train join your sacred name to hallow;
prophets swell the glad refrain, and the white-robed martyrs follow;
and from morn to set of sun, through the church the song goes on.

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit, Three we name you;
while in essence only One, undivided God we claim you,
and adoring bend the knee, while we sing this mystery.

Words by Ignaz Franz, w. in 1774; translated by Clarence A Walworth in 1853
Music: Katholischches Gesangbuch, Vienna, wr. 1774

Midi File

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Collected Quotes, Quote 2

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”
Thomas Jefferson

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