The Shiavo Case Raises Tough Questions

If put in Terri Shiavo’s place, is there a single one of you who would want to continue with the feeding tube? For 15 years she’s been like a 6-month-old baby. . . and will likely remain that way. I say take the feeding tube out.

Now, I believe in the sanctity of God-given life; but, medical advances have pushed the issue too far. Just because we “can,” does not mean we should. Most children are taught this early in life, that their ability to do something doesn’t necessarily make it right. While a feeding tube would be an appropriate way to extend life for those who can function or as a temporary measure, should it be used as an indefinitely to sustain a life where no hope exists?

Her family’s plight is tragic. The Schindlers want to believe that their daughter can improve. Sometimes miracles do occur. However, they are not young people and have been aged further by the legal battles over the past eight years. Someday, they will be unable to care for Terri. Someday, Terri will likely become a ward of the state; and, the burden will end up on the taxpayers.

No one really knows why Terri’s heart stopped beating 15 years ago yesterday — producing devastating brain damage. It could have resulted from a chemical imbalance due to her bulimia. Some speculate her husband had a hand in it as he was already having an affair with another woman. Police investigated and reached no conclusion. That’s all irrelevant now.

Unfortunately, Terri Shiavo cannot sustain her own life and will be unlikely to do so. With babies and the aged, their time in this state of incapacity and vulnerability is limited. She’s been this way for 15 years and could continue for another 15. . . or more.

Governor Jeb Bush, the State of Florida and its Department of Children and Families have put a good bit of time and resources into this issue. The media elevated it to “high-profile,” and the public has flocked to watch events unfold. For the second time, the Department of Children and Families intervened by launching an investigation to see if Terri has been mistreated. The first investigation revealed no mistreatment. The Schindlers requested the investigation partially to extend the deadline for the feeding tube removal. This same department has had an abysmal record tracking and caring for the foster children under its care. Where should this department’s resources really be focused?

We must ask ourselves the hard question: Would any one of us want our life artificially extended if the there was little hope we would ever be more, mentally and physically, than a baby?



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3 Responses to “The Shiavo Case Raises Tough Questions”

  1. joekujo says:

    Hey there Surfside, I started reading the site after you posted a trackback here.

    To answer the question at the top of this post, no. I have long said that I don’t want heroic measures to be carried out to save me. No feeding tube, no breathing machine. However, I wonder if you had an opportunity to read how Terri will die over at And Rightly So! I think I’d have a hard time forcing any of my relatives to follow through on my request now that I’ve read that one.

    In some cases, you should be able to go out with a nice huge dose of Sodium Thiopental, Pancuronium Bromide and Potassium Chloride.

  2. Surfside says:

    Thanks for the comment, joekujo. Yes, I’ve read the information concerning how Terri is likely to die. It was my understanding the doctors would have her on a slow IV drip with pain meds on board. I heard it on a news broadcast (FNC’s On the Record) and tried to find a link for you and was unable. So, it could be incorrect info. However, I truly believe the healthcare professionals will make her as comfortable as possible. It was my understanding the pain meds actually hasten the process. I’m not an expert and cannot confirm that.

    While I’ll agree, her death may be uncomfortable — even painful, when is it not? Death humbles even the strongest of us.

    Still, I would rather endure that type of death than live for 15 or 30 years in diapers, dribbling drool down my chin. Life simply is not worth living unless there’s some level of enjoyment — mental, physical or emotional.

    If nothing else, Terri’s case has encouraged conversation regarding the topic of “What to do if . . . .” Everyone should answer the question for themselves.

  3. joekujo says:

    Still, I would rather endure that type of death than live for 15 or 30 years in diapers, dribbling drool down my chin.

    Well I am in 100% agreement with you there.

    If nothing else, Terri’s case has encouraged conversation regarding the topic of “What to do if . . . .” Everyone should answer the question for themselves.

    More importantly, once you have an answer, tell everyone you love how you feel. They might be the ones who have to make your wishes known.