The Schiavo Time Factor Being Ignored
by Terry Burkhardt
In all the reporting and commentary I have read regarding the contentious life and death battle which continues to keep the life of Terri Schindler-Schiavo in a state of unresolved indignity, no one has had the courage and decency to point out the fact that Michael Schiavo relinquished his spousal right of waiving medical treatment AT THE TIME OF HER ACTUAL "MEDICAL" TREATMENT!
By allowing an extraordinary series of mechanical interventions to sustain Terri's life in the months which followed her collapse, Michael Schiavo gave tacit approval to overruling any end of life wishes he claims Terri may have previously expressed.
If Michael Schiavo is telling the truth about Terri's wish to not be kept alive under artificial circumstances, than he did a grave injustice to prolong her agonies in 1990. During those initial months, according to the discharge record from attending physicians, Terri was often unstable, subject to seizures, developed pneumonia, was on a ventilator, rejected the initial food tube, had an irregular heart rhythm, had problems with catheterization, and a host of other medical conflicts which made her fight for life an uphill and gruesome battle.
In fact, most of us would have easily supported her husband's decision to stop the heroic means being ventured in face of so many setbacks. But we can't rewrite history. That was then and this is now. We have a new set of parameters. Terri has been living in a state of relative serenity without need of "medical treatment" per se for many years.
Michael Schiavo was supportive of those first invasive measures back in 1990, presumably because Terri was an otherwise healthy 26 year old woman at the time of her inexplicable collapse.
And records show that, at the time of her initial hospital discharge in May of 1990, not only had Terri been stabilized, but she was in a state of improvement. So wrote the presiding doctors in black and white on her record. Terri survived and was, in fact, making positive strides.
Michael then launched a successful malpractice suit and he promised to use the funds for Terri's ongoing care and rehab.
Surely it doesn't cost a million dollars to carry out your wife's 'wish' of being removed from a food tube? So why is it that Michael Schiavo needed a settlement for her ongoing care?
Instead of continuing Terri's progress with enhanced therapy, Michael Schiavo withdrew all rehabilitative efforts; he denied her access to fresh air and mobility; he banned video cameras; and, in a supreme show of audacity, had the nerve to insist that Terri had a death wish all along which he was suddenly committed to carrying out on her behalf.
How ignorant can you be to blow past the obvious conflict of interest in Michael developing a delayed "spousal promise" after monies were awarded, and after he had moved on to a new common-law wife with whom he has children. How can you declare Michael Schiavo to be a viable guardian?
Judge Greer has not acknowledged the blatant problems posed by Michael Schiavo's self-serving timeframe here.
You ask what business Congress has in this case?
Ask yourself first if Terri and The Schindler Family have had an ounce of true judicial equity by way of the Florida courts who haven't deemed it prudent to call for current medical evaluations when deciding a disabled woman's capacity for brain activity. Without knowing her present state, why would any of us be willing to have an opinion about Terri's future?
If Judge Greer is willing to be in Contempt of Congress rather than reconsider his rulings, what hope could Terri have in expecting him to give her a balanced trial?
I applaud the Members of Congress who have faced a cavalcade of criticism for taking unique steps to prevent a unique, slow-motion murder from taking place before our eyes.
It is the dissenting voters in the capitol who have politicized the issue by their willingness to see Terri sacrificed rather than unite with their largely conservative colleagues in crafting responsible legislation which would benefit any and all incapacitated persons whose wishes are unknown at the time of their disability.
Spouse abuse is not a private family issue. Neither is medical malpractice. Neither is judicial injustice.
Why consider the Schindler-Schiavo Case to be a private affair when no one can remember the last time a non-dying person was starved to death under court order?
Maybe it would attract the feminists' ire if Michael Schiavo dared to buy a "real fur" coat for Jody Centonze, the woman he has been living with for the last 9 years and by whom he has had two children (he only lived with Terri for 5 yrs!). Maybe we could have a larger swell of picketers and protesters at that point.
March 19, 2005
Taking Aim at the Tough Issues:
Sex, Abortion, War and Capital Punishment
A lot of people skirt the difficult issues, infact, even now some people will avoid talking about the Terri Schiavo case. In this hard hitting series of two talks, Marcellino D'Ambrosio takes dead aim at the most controversial of moral issues sharing the wisdom of the Catholic tradition in a way that makes eminent sense.
In the first talk entitled "Sex and the Theology of the Body," he lays down some basic principles that provide answers for all the tough sex questions including homosexual marriage and contraception.
In the second talk, "Matters of Life and Death," he shows why there is a great difference between such issues as abortion and euthanasia on the one hand and capital punishment and war on the other.
Often, discussions of these issues generate more heat than light. This series, appropriate for both adults and teens, is refreshingly different. It will help you gain insight on the fight for the life of Terri Schiavo!
Taking Aim CD: $16.00 Taking Aim Audio Tape: $14.00