Monday, March 21, 2005

the Terry Shiavo case

I am going to be honest here when I state that I don't care whether she lives or dies, but only that her family stops this bitter battle over who gets to decide that right. I am also angered by the local and federal courts getting involved with a case, just 1 single case, where they really have no jurisdiction. Are they going to police all of the families out there who have thought about (or are currently thinking about) euthenasia? What about the Dr. Kovorkian's of the world?

This may sound cold, and I am not meaning it to be that way necessarily, but it is not up to me or anyone other than Terry Shiavo and her husband whether she lives or dies. She has been in a constant vegetative state for the past 15 years; if she hasn't recovered by now, she isn't going to. Specialists will tell you that the perfect time for rehabilitation is right after the injury.

One has to wonder if Terry's parents aren't fighting her husband on this because of their selfish need to keep her alive. Perhaps, too, there is always that hope of a miracle that will keep people going. Even in Steel Magnolias, Sally Field's character listened to Julia Robert's husband and "pulled the plug" they say.

But at what point is it enough?

Two courts have said the feeding tube needs to be stopped and it appears that a third (and federal one at that) will be saying the same thing. Maybe the judge will be taking into account the length of time Terry has been in this state of mind or that for the past 10 years, her parents have been dragging her husband in and out of the courts. It is mildly ridiculous.

However, as a parent myself, it's got to be hard to let go and to give up that hope that keeps you going. Maybe if they let Terry die, they themselves will die. It is an unspoken rule that parent's are not supposed to outlive their children so maybe this is what they are feeling, too.

Either way, I think they need to take a long, hard look and figure out just who they are doing this for: themselves or Terry.

Updated my thinking: I had learned about Michael Schiavo's mistress and 2 children yesterday morning (it's when I really listened instead of half-ass listening because, like the Michael Jackson case, it was getting old) then I started thinking harder about it. 10 years he's been trying to have Terri's feeding tube removed and he's been dating this new love for 10 years as well. Terri has been in this constant vegetative state for 15 years - why didn't he try to remove the feeding tube during that first five years? It could be that he was going through personal issues with grieving and the like, but I gotta admit, it does seem a bit odd that he began to fight to let his wife die right around the same time he meets a woman who he would like to get married to. Why didn't he just divorce Terri and move on?

The Schiavo dilemma reminds me of the Sharon Kowalski case; even though Susan Thompson wasn't fighting for the same right as Michael Schiavo is for now (he to let his wife die, she to let her wife live), Susan fought for the basic right of gaurdianship and only because of her lesbian relationship to Karen she was denied that right. Michael may only want the same thing, to be able to decide what is best for his wife. Who knows?