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Old 04-04-2005, 07:51 PM   #1
Ilkidarios
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Just what the title said, with the recent death of Terry Schiavo I was curious with what my fellow MUDders felt when all the controversy was going on.
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Old 04-04-2005, 11:07 PM   #2
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There really wasn't any controversy.  The matter was clear-cut.  She was a vegetable, had been a vegetable for over a decade, and would remain a vegetable for the rest of her life.  Heck, not even "her life" since Terri Shiavo was long-dead and gone.  What remained was just a blob of cells and organs functioning at the most basic levels.  There was no reason to keep them functioning any further (hadn't been for years) and the law supported the eventual results.  The only "controversy" was that caused by individuals and groups who, claiming "morals" and "values" (when in fact they're really emphasizing mythology over morality), refuse to acknowledge scientific principles and attempted use this situation to oppose reason and intelligent thought in favor of superstition.

So, I'm satisfied that the Constitution, reason, and common sense prevailed against the latest attempts by the ignorant conservative hypocrites.  Long live the United States:  secular and free.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 04-05-2005, 02:50 PM   #3
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Well said, prof. Summed it up nicely.

-WP
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:23 PM   #4
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The controversy was about the laws around the right to death. Since she didn't have a living will, it is the hospital's responsibility to keep her alive no matter what anybody says. It doesn't matter what scientists say. As a matter of fact, I never heard a scientist say anything about this. Scientists didn't care. It was about how the law functions. When you go into a coma, and there is no living will, it is the governments responsibility to keep you alive. They should have divorced the guy from his wife and let him run off with his girlfriend. That was the real reason he wanted her off the support, he couldn't divorce her in a coma and he wanted to get married to someone else and move on. Killing someone just to divorce them is not acceptable in any other situation, the only reason people took his side is because the crazy conservatives and right-wing people took Terry's side and made the whole thing a big mess. They should have let the guy leave his wife, go off and marry his girlfriend, give custody of the woman to her parents, and everything turns out hunky dory. The end.
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Old 04-05-2005, 11:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ April 05 2005,22:23)
The controversy was about the laws around the right to death. Since she didn't have a living will, it is the hospital's responsibility to keep her alive no matter what anybody says.
The hospital was doing nothing but feeding a collection of organs that had once belong to a person. That person was most certainly dead, even if the person's body was not.

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Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ April 05 2005,22:23)
When you go into a coma, and there is no living will, it is the governments responsibility to keep you alive.
She was not in a coma, and she did not have any chance whatsoever of recovery like coma patients do.

The money spent here could have been much better spent on feeding the thousands whose deaths may actually be prevented. This case is extremely clear cut.
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Old 04-06-2005, 08:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ April 05 2005,22:23)
The controversy was about the laws around the right to death. Since she didn't have a living will, it is the hospital's responsibility to keep her alive no matter what anybody says. It doesn't matter what scientists say. As a matter of fact, I never heard a scientist say anything about this. Scientists didn't care. It was about how the law functions. When you go into a coma, and there is no living will, it is the governments responsibility to keep you alive. They should have divorced the guy from his wife and let him run off with his girlfriend. That was the real reason he wanted her off the support, he couldn't divorce her in a coma and he wanted to get married to someone else and move on. Killing someone just to divorce them is not acceptable in any other situation, the only reason people took his side is because the crazy conservatives and right-wing people took Terry's side and made the whole thing a big mess. They should have let the guy leave his wife, go off and marry his girlfriend, give custody of the woman to her parents, and everything turns out hunky dory. The end.
1) Doctors are scientists. Many doctors (including some hired by the Shindler family, but not all) agreed that Terri was in a vegetative state with no hope for recovery.

2) Terri was not in a coma. There isn't a single article I read, or TV show I watched, that even suggested that she was in a coma.

3) Michael most certainly COULD have divorced his wife if that was his wish. He chose not to, and instead spent fifteen years legally married to a living corpse, to make sure that he had exhausted EVERY possible avenue to help his wife recover.

4) Her parents *did* have custody of Terri, in their home, for a period of time. They rejected the custody and gave her back because they couldn't afford to maintain her anymore. The burden for supporting Terri financially fell on Michael, whatever insurance they had before it ran out, and Medicare (tax dollars).

The woman was dead for fifteen years, with only very limited synapses in her brain running her body organs. She had no cognizant thought at all. She didn't feel starvation or dehydration. She didn't feel anything at all. No discomfort, no pain, no muscle cramps, no sadness or joy, relief or sorrow, nuttin. She was a living corpse. Christians might be familiar with the term Necromancy. It's a sin. That's what they wanted to do with her. Animate a corpse. It's disgusting, and I'm glad Terri was finally allowed to be buried, which is something that should have happened over a decade ago.
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Old 04-06-2005, 04:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Yui Unifex @ April 06 2005,00:12)
The hospital was doing nothing but feeding a collection of organs that had once belong to a person.  That person was most certainly dead, even if the person's body was not.
But, we are all but a collection of organs just floating around in space.  We are never anything more than a bunch of cells functioning together as a whole.  The only thing different in this person than in another person would be tiny electric signals going around in brain cells.  To define us as our conscious brain is a precarious judgement, our brain is a small organ in our head.  We are more than the brain, we are the heart, the lungs, all the cells make us a living thing. On a totally different note, I'm glad we can all have a civil discussion about this instead of arguing like people tend to do in other forums.
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Old 04-06-2005, 04:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ April 06 2005,17:27)
But, we are all but a collection of organs just floating around in space. We are never anything more than a bunch of cells functioning together as a whole. The only thing different in this person than in another person would be tiny electric signals going around in brain cells. To define us as our conscious brain is a precarious judgement, our brain is a small organ in our head. We are more than the brain, we are the heart, the lungs, all the cells make us a living thing. On a totally different note, I'm glad we can all have a civil discussion about this instead of arguing like people tend to do in other forums.
Even if all other organs are replaced with artificial equivalents, you are still "you" if you have your brain. Perhaps this distinction would be less severe when we have the ability to replace brains as well, but the fact remains that without a brain there is even less "person" than that of an unsentient but still conscious animal. Killing in this instance is no more or less moral than the killing of a plant because of this distinction.
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Old 04-07-2005, 03:35 PM   #9
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I think you're right, but the question still remains: What defines human life? And I'm afraid despite what the left and right say, we won't have the answer to that query for a long while.
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Old 04-07-2005, 05:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ April 07 2005,16:35)
I think you're right, but the question still remains: What defines human life?
It's clear that the body was still alive, so it's not necessarily a question of life. It's also clear that the person who once inhabited that body died over a decade ago. Thus I think the question is whether or not it was moral to allow that life to perish.
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Old 04-07-2005, 11:59 PM   #11
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Either she was dead, her soul had moved on, and they were keeping an empty husk warm, which is pointless. Or her soul was trapped in an innert meat-husk and unable to move on, which is unimaginably cruel. (Or there is no such things as souls, which is the same thing as her soul moved on, for practical purposes).

But turning off a respirator is different than removing a feeding tube, because when you remove the respirator there is still air available. A feeding tube may be medical treatment, but food is like air, it should still be available. They should have removed the tube, and then allowed people to try to feed her by hand, so that she isn't being denied the opportunity to eat if she wants to. Yeah, I know, she didn't want anything anymore, but I think it would make a difference. Removing a feeding tube isn't necessarily the same as being denied food, if she hadn't been denied access to food then there would have been less controversy. The parents may have been deluded themselves if they thought she was getting better, giving her the opportunity to eat and having her not eat might have shown that she had no voluntary movements.


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Old 04-08-2005, 08:22 PM   #12
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Hmm...well, I thought I'd throw in my opinion (and I didn't vote by the way, because I don't think its as clear cut as that.)

It seems to me that we really haven't enough information to judge whether or not she was conscious and capable of thinking and whatever (we do know however that her brain was operating enough to control her breathing and her heart's beating and whatnot.) However, I did see on a tv show several scenes in which you can see her eyes moving, and even her laughing at one point; I'm sure someone will refute this anyway, but its not my main point. My point is, if we know not for sure whether or not she could feel pain, then it is possible that she suffered 7 days of thirst and starvation; and worse yet, her family had to sit there and watch their daughter fade slowly into death, unable to help her at all. The obvious solution to end the life of a vegetable is to literally kill the person humanely and quickly...of course doing so would muddle up a lot of things and its not exactly legal...but its a pretty stupid legal loophole that people are allowed to kill others by starvation and thirst and not with a lethal injection.

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Even if all other organs are replaced with artificial equivalents, you are still "you" if you have your brain.  Perhaps this distinction would be less severe when we have the ability to replace brains as well, but the fact remains that without a brain there is even less "person" than that of an unsentient but still conscious animal.  Killing in this instance is no more or less moral than the killing of a plant because of this distinction.
Hmm...if I understand correctly, she still does have a brain...without one she could not breathe or anything like that, right?

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The burden for supporting Terri financially fell on Michael, whatever insurance they had before it ran out, and Medicare (tax dollars).
If I remember right, Michael Shiavo earned somewhere around a million dollars from suing Terri's doctor for not recognizing her potassium deficiency,(which, interestingly enough, he stood to inherit upon her death) so I don't think it was really anything of a 'burden' for him.
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Old 04-08-2005, 08:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by (Jaregarde @ foo)
It seems to me that we really haven't enough information to judge whether or not she was conscious and capable of thinking and whatever (we do know however that her brain was operating enough to control her breathing and her heart's beating and whatnot.)
We do have this information. She had no consciousness whatsoever, let alone the capacity to think. Basic functions such as respiration and heartbeat are controlled by lower-level sections of the brain. Unconsciousness is not fatal.

The EEGs were flat. There was no cortical activity because her cerebral cortex was gone and replaced with spinal fluid.

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My point is, if we know not for sure whether or not she could feel pain, then it is possible that she suffered 7 days of thirst and starvation
We certainly know for sure that she could not feel pain. She could not respond to stimuli at all. All of the responses you saw on TV were random.

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Originally Posted by (Jaregarde @ baz)
If I remember right, Michael Shiavo earned somewhere around a million dollars from suing Terri's doctor for not recognizing her potassium deficiency,(which, interestingly enough, he stood to inherit upon her death) so I don't think it was really anything of a 'burden' for him.
He did win a lot of money, but nearly all of that went into medical support for his wife. In 2003, Michael's lawyers said there was $50k left. A businessman offered Michael $1 million to turn over his guardianship, but he refused.

Please read this article, a great source where I found much of this information. This case really is crystal clear.
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Old 04-08-2005, 09:25 PM   #14
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Ah, well, I don't really feel like reading it, I've had about enough of this story...but I suppose you are probably right...in any case, I'm glad that all of us are on the same side. While there is disagreement about how her condition was, we all wished for the best.

Humbly yours,
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Old 04-10-2005, 01:02 AM   #15
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Yeah, I guess what I meant was what defines the conscious living state. As in, say, awareness of one's existence. I think trees are aware, but I don't know for sure having never been a tree. That's the question I was meaning.
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