Sunday, March 20, 2005

Humanity

Before I sign off for the week...I need to share my feelings on Ms. Shiavo's situation.

I know we all have an opinion on this matter. Some of us may agree. Some may disagree. In the end, I think it is important that people talk...regardless of their stance.
There are three sides to this story. His side. Her side. The truth.

I am going to make every attempt to make this short and concise. There is a lot I could say, but bottom line is this -- Terri is a breathing, living, beautiful child of God. She matters.

Is she leading a fulfilling life by society's standards? No. Does she contribute to her community? Not necessarily. Can she tell us how she feels and thinks? Not really.

Is she vegetative? No. Is she void of reaction? No. Is she a nameless face in a hospital? No.

Does she want to live like this day after day? I don't know. None of us really know. She didn't leave a living will.

Currently, law states that a living will is necessary for medical decisions to be made in cases such as Terri's. Since there is no living will - it is puzzling to me how this case progressed over 15 years. Terri did not legally state her wishes. Therefore, caution should be used - as well as a good dose of conscious to determine the value of her life.

Many specialists have stated that Terri could have learned to speak again, as well as swallow (which is a very complex skill) with intense therapy. When Mr. Shiavo was awarded 1 million dollars in malpractice money -- instead of providing that therapy to his wife, he put her in a hospice type center. Her refused further care for her. He made these choices for Terri -- claiming over and over that she would have wanted this. Maybe she did, but can he prove it? No.

Meanwhile, Mr Shiavo has gone on with his life. He has a common law wife (which is odd considering he is still legally married to Terri) and children.
What happened to "until death do us part" and "in sickness and health"? What about being a faithful spouse, even when it is hard and upsetting?

It is for that reason, among others that I have a hard time buying Mr. Shiavo's case. His actions are shady, at best. He has not proven himself to be a man of honor. I mean, I can understand wanting to move forward -- but Terri isn't dead. She is still his wife. Why is he "married" to someone else? He continues to say, "Terri wouldn't want this. I am protecting her. I want what is best for her". Those are just words. Actions speak much louder.

Terri's heart is beating. Her EEG is not flat lined. She has eye sight and movement of body parts. She appears to recognize her parents and on several occasions, made attempts to smile.
She relies on a tube to deliver her nourishment 3x a day. That is now gone. Terri will not die from her disability, she will die from starvation. A cruel and inhumane way to die. Men on death row receive a more compassionate journey into death.

Earlier, I asked if Ms Schiavo contributed to society. Upon further thought -- I think she does contribute. She has people that love her. She challenges us to think about our values. Her experience should teach us one important thing.....GET A LIVING WILL!

It isn't enough to talk about the "what if" with your family -- it needs to be in writing and notarized. Do it this week. Do it for your family. Once the form is processed, make numerous copies. Give one to everyone, including your medical provider.

Right now, congress is hashing this whole situation out in D.C. I wish we didn't have to legislate this very personal ordeal. However, when laws are not followed and questions are left unanswered, someone has to protect the voiceless. That is what we do in America.

Have a blessed Holy week as we prepare for Easter. As a Christian, I am reminded that, "You can't keep a good man down." Praises praises praises.

Hugs to all.

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