Irreversible condition

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:31 am

Religious activists are determined to maintain a lifeless entity that by any reasonable definition must be considered permanently unconscious and sub-vegetative. Best to remove any supporting apparatus and allow nature to take its course.

UPDATE. Creepy and wrong is the Schiavo case; readers can probably assume my pro-feeding stance from the awkward joke above. I haven’t mentioned this matter earlier. The Corner’s K.J. Lopez explains why:

The worst part about this Schiavo frenzy, besides the obvious impending death of a helpless woman, is that it’s now so much about politics. Republicans blaming Democrats for her starving. Now Democrats and everyone else blaming Republicans for doing anything they’ve done just to get “pro-life” votes. It’s all so crass. This is a woman’s life we’re talking about here. This is a daughter and sister her family just wants to love. But it’s become, too, the stuff of overwrought and rotten editorials and op-eds and punditry. Just seems to make a terrible situation all the most distasteful—as if that is even possible considering the life-and-death level of it all.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/22/2005 at 03:47 AM
    1. Oh-ho, you had me going for a moment there!  Most excellent.

      Posted by Sortelli on 03/22 at 03:54 AM • permalink


    1. tim blair = ‘ice-ist’.

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 03/22 at 04:00 AM • permalink


    1. When I saw the link, at first I thought you were referring to the ABC.

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 03/22 at 04:02 AM • permalink


    1. Can’t they just get Christo to do it? They’d get a lot more attention, and pile of tourism cash besides.

      Posted by Sonetka on 03/22 at 04:44 AM • permalink


    1. Is there no depths to Switzerland’s anti-environment capatatalisam.

      Posted by Gary on 03/22 at 05:18 AM • permalink


    1. But the EU is trying to ban PVC!
      I guess it must be safe for non-profit uses.
      I suggest a free-energy alternative: Build a huge mirror to concentrate Sol’s energy onto that glacier and sell the run-off as bottled water.

      Posted by Observer on 03/22 at 05:29 AM • permalink


    1. Quebec margarine is white and solid at room temperature, good glacier replacement material.

      The trouble with using water is that its melting point is too low.

      Posted by rhhardin on 03/22 at 06:06 AM • permalink


    1. Australian Technology To The Rescue
      We need to cut the Glacier into many numbered pieces and put it into numbered Eskys for safe keeping until temperatures return to a viable level.
      No worse than this idea.

      Posted by blogstrop on 03/22 at 06:21 AM • permalink


    1. I just hope it’s eyes don’t move.

      Posted by blogstrop on 03/22 at 06:22 AM • permalink


    1. Geees, I got suckered in by Timmo.

      Rats, I must subscribe to the Bulletin.
      Rats, I must subscribe to the Bulletin.
      Rats, I must subscribe to the Bulletin.

      Punishment for brain not being engaged, (in between gears).

      Posted by Louis on 03/22 at 06:23 AM • permalink


    1. Sucked in, spray gathered, sanity prevailed.

      You bastard, Blair.

      Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 03/22 at 08:56 AM • permalink


    1. Talking of unusual definitions, you might get a kick out of this

      Posted by durand26 on 03/22 at 09:10 AM • permalink


    1. The Federal Judge has sided with the Florida Court/the husband.

      Posted by Andrew Ian Dodge on 03/22 at 09:18 AM • permalink


    1. Slow as usual and with the last clue by Andrew this has more to do with Terri Schiavo then glaciers.

      Posted by Gary on 03/22 at 09:59 AM • permalink


    1. The “politicization” for BOTH sides appears to have originated with the Left, including the “Republican Memo” “unoficially sent to ONLY Repubs” suggesting to use the case for political purposes…

      Who wrote and distributed this memo?

      Posted by pkok on 03/22 at 11:04 AM • permalink


    1. “Who wrote and distributed this memo?” Beats me; but it just might be the same folks who introduced bills to reinstate the draft, then accused Bush of having a secret plan to start drafting kids.

      Posted by Urbs in Horto on 03/22 at 11:22 AM • permalink


    1. Ah, ecology.

      We must cover the plains with bird-shredding wind turbines and the glaciers with plastic in order to save the world from nuclear energy.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 03/22 at 11:57 AM • permalink


    1. I don’t get it, from the story, “the Gurschen glacier is to be partially covered with 3,000 square metres of PVC foam from the beginning of May.”

      Run those numbers through your head a little.  3,000 square meters is an area about 55 meters square.  Not even one acre in US measurements, less than a third of a hectare in international units.

      That’s a damned small glacier, if you ask me.  How important can it be?

      Posted by roborant on 03/22 at 12:10 PM • permalink


    1. And so much of what is said, and what is written, wholly misses the most important point:

      It’s the judicial system that’s broken down here.  And it is going to cost a woman her life.  Whether the end of her life will be good thing or a bad thing is unknowable, in the final analysis.  But the inability of the judicial system to deal with this difficult case properly, and thoroughly, is all too obvious, at least for those who have the eyes to see it.

      Posted by everyman on 03/22 at 12:10 PM • permalink


    1. Everyman is absolutely correct. Terri’s had no independent legal representation for thirteen years and her guardian is hostile. Her rights to due process have been violated. Just wait ‘til the chickens come home to roost on this one, if I may borrow a phrase from Ward Churchill.

      The best legal evaluation is featured today at the National Review Site. It’s the opinion of O. Carter Snead, the General Counsel of the Bioethics Council. Well worth the read. I’ve an easier to read copy on my web site.

      Posted by ahem on 03/22 at 01:44 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmm.

      The thing that’s so sad is that this woman is going to die because of judicial procedures.  The law Congress just recently passed requires the court to complete review, from scratch, all facts of this case.  That this judge has decided to not do so will not only end up killing this woman, but will multiply the acrimony over judicial appointments by a factor of a million.

      It’s now gone beyond the theoretical and is now the stuff of life and death.  Expect the battles to reach epic proportions on this issue.

      Posted by ed on 03/22 at 06:25 PM • permalink


    1. Despite the fact that “husband” Michael Schiavo won a million-dollar malpractice suit over Terri’s medical care, he has never seen fit to ensure that she receives an MRI or a CAT scan of her brain. I guess he’s been too busy with his new “fiancee” and their two children to bother with such details.


      Posted by Butch on 03/22 at 06:43 PM • permalink


    1. Fuck it, just send the marines in to take over the hospital ward where Terri is.

      Posted by steve68 on 03/22 at 07:36 PM • permalink


    1. Terri’s had no independent legal representation for thirteen years and her guardian is hostile.

      I disagree that she’s had no legal representation.  Her parents have fought the good fight for her, or she would have been dead years ago.

      As for the involvement of Congress and the President, I have deep concerns about that.  My own personal feeling is that the person known as Terri Schiavo is already gone, and there’s nothing left but a body with no more self-awareness than a houseplant.  Whether it’s right or wrong to let her die now is beyond my capacity to judge.  I have a living will so that I won’t ever run the chance of being in that situation.  And I would not want outsiders (including the government) to interfere with that.

      I don’t believe that her husband is keeping her alive for money.  There may be insurance money, and a settlement, but as her husband, he is liable for her expenses, which must be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions by now.  He had the chance to sell her to a do-gooder for a million dollars and he refused.  He could have divorced her and married the mother of his children, but he didn’t.  He could have avoided all of it, and he hasn’t.  I think he’s doing what he’s doing out of the conviction that it’s what Terri would have wanted, because she was his wife and he loved her.

      I feel so sorry for her parents.  They will never give up hope that she can recover, even after fifteen years.  I would not be in their shoes for anything in the world.  And I curse every predatory lawyer and activist who has prowled around them, offering their services and sniffing publicity.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 03/22 at 08:09 PM • permalink


    1. Rebecca:

      I work in health care and I have seen a lot of people like Terri S. and there is no way of knowing just what she does or does not feel. Sometimes you see things you just can not explain.

      I don’t know what her husband’s motives are, but in all the years I have done this work I have never seen a healthy disabled woman starved to death. We are not talking about turning off a respirator and ten minutes later the suffering person is free of the bonds of earth or whatever…we are talking about denying food and water. They can not even swab her mouth. I would quit before I would be a part of that. First do no harm.

      BTW there are tens of thusands of people like Terri Shaivo in the US, why is it a crime to kill them but a crime to not kill her?

      I don’t know the legalities of what the Congress did. I have heard legal scholars on both sides of the issue discuss whether or not they should have convened to debate this and I have to admit I was surprised at the respectful nature of much of the debate on the floor.

      But we need to make sure that all Americans have due process of law and even disabled Americans like Terri deserve to be treated like people.

      Posted by terryelee on 03/22 at 10:04 PM • permalink


    1. Jesus Christ, Rebecca. A houseplant?


      I have such a fucking headache.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 03/22 at 10:07 PM • permalink


    1. I had a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting once and as the doctors were working to prevent me from joining the ‘choir invisible’, a nurse sidled up and asked me if I wanted to sign a ‘Do Not Resuscitate Order’.

      I told her if I wanted a DNR, I wouldn’t have bothered coming in to the hospital, would I?

      In truth, had I ended up like the unfortunate Mrs. Schiavo, I would’ve wanted that DNR but she didn’t sign one and it’s created a lot of anguish for those directly concerned, not to mention opportunism for those not directly concerned.

      Posted by JDB on 03/22 at 10:10 PM • permalink


    1. RebeccaH, this person recognises her parents and carers, attempts to articulate, smiles, and shows signs of distress when her husband attends on her.

      Michael Schiavo succeeded in obtaining a “permanent vegitative state” ruling in 1993 from memory, which was wrong from the start.

      You will be pleased to know that the standing instructions are to take this “houseplant” directly to the nearest crematorium as soon as it starves to death.

      Note too that this “houseplant” has parents who are only too willing to feed and nurture it.

      This is an humanitarian disgrace.

      Posted by Kaboom on 03/22 at 10:49 PM • permalink


    1. I think people are confused about what heroic measures are.

      People with swallowing disorders can have a feeding tube.

      Even if she is brain damaged, she is not any worse off than a lot of other people young and old all over the country. A living will says you will not be kept alive by artificial means….well what if she could be fed? I have seen people who stare into space all day long but they can swallow. I have seen people who can not swallow because of a stroke but who are very much aware of the world. Which one dies and which one lives?

      Posted by terryelee on 03/22 at 10:57 PM • permalink


    1. It is unfortunate that we conservatives get saddled with the religious right just as the left have their union moonbats.

      Fact is no-one, and I mean no-one, has any goddamn right to influence or take any part in the outcome of this issue but: The lady in question, and as she is incapacitated, her husband and doctor.

      You may think it wrong, evil, sinful, but too damn bad, it is non of your business.

      I feel for the parents, but she is an adult. She got married so, frankly, they have no business. If I were in a similar position the only person who I would want to speak for me is my wife.

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 03/22 at 11:43 PM • permalink


    1. Dean:

      I am not a fundamentalist Christian. I take care of people like this. In fact one of my clients was a young man who had been in a bike wreck. His mother took care of him after his wife ran off with his brother.

      Do you think she should have been making the calls?

      Terri S’s husband moved on a long time ago. That does not make him a bad man, but this is not an Arab culture and the woman is not his property to dispose of.

      Posted by terryelee on 03/22 at 11:56 PM • permalink


    1. People, this woman is not on life-support.

      She is
      not brain dead.

      Food and water is not medication.

      Fuck’s sake, if this “houseplant” were a dog or harp seal, P.E.T.A. would be all over it.

      Posted by Kaboom on 03/23 at 01:03 AM • permalink


    1. Kaboom:

      Thank you. I have been trying to make people understand this.

      If Terri had said years ago: “Honey I would hate to be a burden so if the day comes that I can’t take care of myself, just let me starve to death”.

      That would not make it ok or normal or the way things are usually done.

      Posted by terryelee on 03/23 at 01:13 AM • permalink


    1. Don’t worry, Dean, soon she’ll be dead, and then you won’t have to be all bummed out that people are interfering in a man’s disposal of his property! See, I’m all about looking on the bright side of life.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 03/23 at 02:11 AM • permalink


    1. Whatever the merits of Terry Schiavo’s case, Dean, your comment is completely false.  Our society regulates the care of patients to a great degree.  Abuse of patients is a crime.  Wrongful killing of people is a crime, regardless of whether or not the perpetrator is a family member.  So our society does both the power and the right to influence the outcome of this matter.

      And regardless of how someone feels about the merits of Terry Schiavo herself, that is how it should be.

      Posted by Roberts on 03/23 at 02:16 AM • permalink


    1. terryelee,

      I don’t doubt your views, and that of others, are sincerely held with the interest of the dear lady at heart.

      I do not think she is her husband’s property. I am certainly not my wife’s property but for better or worse we are each others.

      Regardless of circumstances, including the example you mention, no matter painful to you, it is simply not your business!

      You have no right to make judgement on whether a spouse is abrogating their duties in a marriage.

      My views on the situation are not relevant to couple in question for the reasons stated above but here they are;

      By contemplating myself in both husband and wife’s position I cannot contemplate any circumstance where the lot of both would not be improved by active euthanasia.

      I think all agree it is unlikely she will recover anytime soon, if at all. If she is completely brain dead then let the agony for the survivor, her husband end. If she is not brain dead, and is conscious of her surroundings, then her experince for the past 14 years is too horrible to contemplate, and should be ended as soon as practically possible. That active euthanasia is not permitted means the inhumane method at work is the only alternative. And I reiterate; the only person charged with that responsibility is her next of kin, in this case her husband.

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 03/23 at 02:18 AM • permalink


    1. Dean, I can imagine the frustration of not being able to say “Michael did this” for the last 14 years.

      Let’s all help this inconvenient witness being put out of her “misery”.


      Posted by Kaboom on 03/23 at 02:27 AM • permalink


    1. I’m afraid we have a fundemental difference of opinion here. I simply cannot understand how people, or governments, feel it is their right to interfere in such matters.

      We had a similar situation in Australia a few years ago, when a conservative Prime Minister and government, of which I am an active and enthusiastic supporter, urgently passed a federal law overturning a new Northern Territory law permitting euthenasia, causing immense suffering to many terminally ill people and their families who had travelled there to end their lives.

      They (Federal Government) were able to do so by a techinicality. That is NT is not yet technically a state despite self government. This was done despite national public opinion measured at the time to be strongly in support of the NT laws.

      I thought it cynical and incomprehensible that wise men could behave in such a way. Their justification contained all the usual indefensible homilies but what it came down to was a parliament where the majority of memebers felt it reasonable to impose their spriritual beliefs on others.

      There is obviously some principle at work here that I, after decades of consideration, simply don’t get. And, as any polling of opinion shows, apparently the vast majority of my fellow countrymen don’t get it either.

      I also note hearing on the midday news that recent polls in the US show approximately 60% support for the husband’s position.

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 03/23 at 02:58 AM • permalink


    1. Dean,

      There are some matters in which Governments should take the lead even though it may not be in accordance with majority opinion – as measured by polls. It is hardly any secret that polls are easily manipulated based on the question asked. Would you apply the same argument to our troop deployment in Iraq?

      I suspect that you are falling into the trap of assuming that moral positions taken by conservatives are necessarily faith based. It is possible to take a principled stand against euthanasia based on secular arguments.

      Posted by Adam B on 03/23 at 04:07 AM • permalink


    1. Dean,

      Here is an interview with “Robert P. George, the McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, about the Terri Schiavo case and the broader issue of assisted suicide.”

      It should help you understand the “principle at work here”.

      And here is a news report that quotes “William Hammesfahr, a neurologist who has examined Schiavo” and who was “nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1999 for his work in brain injury and stroke”.  Among other things he says that “[t]hey are truly withholding food from a person who is awake, alert, and can eat and swallow”.

      Posted by Janice on 03/23 at 05:47 AM • permalink


    1. Dean:

      If I were aware of a situation in which a family member were starving a disabled adult to death and did not report it I would be guily of a felony. That is the law. The fact that the family member means well by allowing that person to slowly die is not the issue.

      I think what people are failing to realize is this woman is not brain dead, she is brain damaged. If she were brain dead she would not be breathing without help in which case this would have been over years ago. She is not a lot different right now that Granny with Alzheimers.

      But she has rights and when her entire family, that being all of her siblings and her parents are the ones making the issue here I really don’t see what business it is of yours to interfere with them. They think they are standing up for her civil rights as a human being. Who are you to question her mother?

      Posted by terryelee on 03/23 at 07:01 AM • permalink


    1. He’s one of the Psychic Friends of Terri, that’s what he is. He knows what she thinks (well) and feels better than she or her relatives do! And he worships at the altar of the might god Poll. Don’t question him!

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 03/23 at 08:07 AM • permalink


    1. My remark about “houseplant” was not meant to be heartless, but perhaps it was a clumsy term to describe my feelings on the matter.  As I said, I don’t know whether it’s right or wrong to let Terri Schiavo die, I only know my own feelings.  And since I can see this discussion degenerating into anger, I’m going to withdraw from it.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 03/23 at 11:25 AM • permalink


    1. I agree with Tim.  It’s creepy.

      I have three daughters.  I could only imagine the agony I would go through if I had to stand there and watch my daughter die from lack of food and water and not allowed to help her.  All on the word of a person who has another woman with children.  Who has moved on.

      I’ve learned one fundamental lesson from this:  PUT YOUR WISHES IN WRITING.  PERIOD.

      Imperial Keeper

      Posted by Elizabeth Imperial Keeper on 03/23 at 12:23 PM • permalink


    1. Sorry folks, am back. Was distracted by actual work. What a nuisance.


      Am not angry. As a strident conservative I’m usually in the minority with my fellow conservatives on these types of issues (euthanasia, abortion or death penalty.) This is nothing compared to the arguments I’ve had in person when surrounded by lefty moonbats at a pro-choice rally. The Left always seem to turn any cause into an anti-right, anti-everything issue. I like to think my side of the political spectrum a little more sophisticated.

      The next comment is not a troll. I think President Bush, next to RR, probably the greatest President since WWII. I do not understand how he can reconcile interferring in this matter by claiming it is necessary to “err on the side of life” with his practical support of the death penalty.


      Can’t make your links work (help.)

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 03/23 at 12:30 PM • permalink


    1. Had a long discussion (one of many over the years) with my wife about these issues at dinner this evening. We both confirmed that we would not allow the other to go on like that. We consider it would be worse if there was some consciousness there.

      We would go further. If it were not for our children the survivor would probably end up in gaol because we would not allow anybody else to keep the other alive, and there’s no way we would let the other die of thirst. That’s the barbaric part, that there is no other option permitted by law.

      We were the only people at that dinner table, although most of my family and friends know my views. We are adults. I would hope that my wife would have the strength to stand up to my extended family, and anybody else with the hide to appoint themselves my surrogate guardians, the way this lady’s husband has.

      It is simply nobody else’s business.

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 03/23 at 12:42 PM • permalink


    1. Dean, when Terry Schiavo is convicted of a capital crime, then you can claim that President Bush is being inconsistent.

      Until then, your attempt fails.

      Posted by Roberts on 03/23 at 04:05 PM • permalink


    1. Roberts: but Terri did commit a capital crime. She lived. Don’t you know that a woman who is no longer sexy or at least entertaining (or, for that matter, a man) is not considered fit to live?

      Perhaps older, crueller societies were actually right when they used mentally-handicapped people as figures of fun. At least that made some people think they were worth keeping around.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 03/23 at 07:19 PM • permalink


    1. Dean,

      Copy and paste these into your brower.

      That’s the link to the interview with Robert George.

      That’s the other one.

      Posted by Janice on 03/23 at 09:46 PM • permalink


  1. The science is at —

    Tech Central Station

    Posted by walterplinge on 03/24 at 09:00 PM • permalink