What Exactly Is the Correct Answer

There has been a great deal of discussion about Terri Schiavo. We know now that she will soon die. All along we have been told that she will not be in pain and will not suffer from starvation and dehydration. I wrote an earlier post where I described the process and the fact that she would indeed be in pain. There have been arguments to the opposite many of them by medical experts making the talk show circuit.

I have a few questions. What is pain medication given for? If someone is not in pain, would that person need pain medication?
This is from

Schindler said he feared the consequences of morphine that has been used to relieve his daughter’s pain.

Hmm, why is it she is getting morphine, a narcotic, to relieve her pain if she will not have any pain from the process of her death sentence?

Another quote from the article:

Hospice spokesman Mike Bell said federal rules kept him from discussing Schiavo specifically, but said “a fundamental part of hospice is that we would do nothing to either hasten or postpone natural death.”

Mr. Bell does not need to worry. He does not have to hasten death, the court system has done that. I would argue the natural part because as far as I know, it is not natural to starve to death or die of dehydration.

The whole story is here.

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13 Responses to “What Exactly Is the Correct Answer”

  1. The same thing struck me when I read the AP article. Why the morphine for pain? Why even worry about alledged pain if there is no one there to feel the pangs of hunger and dehydration?

    I fear that the courts have committed murder

    -Clerk of Doom

  2. Dancar says:

    Are you suggesting that every family who chooses to withdraw life support from a family member to allow that family member to die with dignaty is imposing a “death senetence” upon their family member?

  3. Big Dog says:

    I am suggesting that without clearly written instructions from the patient, the court has used hear say evidence to make a decision. The unfortuante thing is that they chose an irreversable one. If you are going to err then do it on the side of caution.

    I am also suggesting that if all the experts are correct and this will cause her no pain then why are they giving her pain medication.

    BTW, exercising a patient’s clearly defined wishes is not a death sentence. When there is nothing written and there are two sides to the story then the court has imposed a death sentence because clearly, the patient’s wishes are unknown.

  4. Peter says:

    What makes this a death sentence is more than the absence of a written directive, although if there were such a directive we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
    What makes this a death sentence is that, despite the testimony of several caregivers that Mrs. Schiavo can, or once could, take water and nurishment by mouth, the judge has forbidden the attempt to give her food and water.
    Had the judge ordered the feeding tube removed and allowed the attempt at feeding soft food and water and that attempt failled I would be saying, oh, that’s too bad, and going about my business.I suspect that 98% of would have that reaction.
    Instead of that reaction I’m simply appalled. Mrs. Shiavo is not being ‘allowed to die’. She is being killed. We, as a society are not ‘allowing nature to take its course’. Try locking your dog in the backyard and never putting food or water out, instead ‘allowing nature to take its course’. If anyone notices you’ll be arrested. Then in court, try the ‘allowing nature to take its course’ defense. Good luck. You’ll need it. Hope you draw Judge Greer.

  5. Dancar says:

    How about when the patient’s wishes are unknown (or cannot be proven in court) but the family agrees to discinnect life support? Should that be considered murder, or at least illegal?

  6. Big Dog says:

    When families agree ona course of action then they are assuming the health care of the individual.

    In this case there are two sides both saying very different things. Since Terri can not so state, it is reasonable to err on the side of life.

  7. Dancar says:

    Since the courts have rules that it is Micheal Schiavo’s decision, does that mean that if the Schinlders agreed with him, then they would be “sentencing Terri to death” because they wouldn’t be erring on the side of life?

  8. Big Dog says:

    We can play what if games all day. The fact is Terri did not leave written instructions and we have two different people saying she would have wanted something and both stories are different. Since she can not say does it not make sense to go with the reversable decision?

    I have no vested interest. Terri will die and we will have abided by the court’s decision. That does not mean the court was right. It also means that when the courts decide something that is unpopular the libs who are now siding with the courts need to keep their mouths shut.

  9. Schatz says:

    I would just like to chime in regarding “life support.” per se. If someone is BRAIN DEAD which means that they cannot breathe for themselves (an involuntary process normally regulated by the brain) then I would say that removing that artificial source of life support (i.e., a ventilator) is one thing. Denying a person who is BRAIN DAMAGED (there is a difference folks) the basic tenants of life such as food and water goes way beyond this in my humble opinion. Nutrition is not artificial life support. Most people (humane, intelligent ones) would not consider feeding someone as artificial life support. Every day children are born with brain damage (some less and some more severe than Terri) and most people would be horrified if their caregivers, tired of the demands of caring for a challenged child, decided to just stop feeding them (via a feeding tube or otherwise) and allow them to die; in effect, deciding they would be better off dead than handicapped. This is NOT removing them from life support. This is starving them to death. And it most definitely would not be touted as the “humane” thing to do in the above instance.

    Furthermore, I think it was quite telling that her “husband” didn’t even want her to receive communion. Perhaps that one wafer would delay his check another day or so??? I hate to seem like such a suspicious soul, but I wonder if he had more to do with her condition than we are aware. You never know …

  10. Dancar says:


    You are confused about brain dead and brain damage. The automatic body functions such as breathing, heartbeat and blinking, are managed in the brain stem, while cognative functions, such as talking and THINKING, are done in the cerebelum, which is in the upper and forward parts of the brain. This is the part of the brain that is very vulnerable to damage when deprived of oxygen for more than a few minutes as happened to Terri Shciavo 15 years ago.

    According to one report, a CT scan showed that Terri’s celebelum has decomposed, and her cranium is mostly filled with spinal fluid. While she can still breath and perform other bodily functions, what’s left of her brain cannot think or process sensory input.

    While you may speculate Michael Schiavo’s alterior motives, the evidence is that for the first five years or so he cared for his wife and made every effort to find a doctor who could help her recover. But he eventually realized that the personality and soul he loved and married had long departed, even if the biological machine once hosted that soul was still functioning.

  11. Dancar says:


    If Terri were capable of taking food through her mouth, then why was a feeding tube hole cut into her stomach?

    This is an artifical means of life support, and I don’t think that very many people would want to be kept alive indefinately when there is no possibility of recovery.

  12. Big Dog says:

    I appreciate all views on this topic. I would caution that basing our opinions on what we would want is not a logical argument. I have seen many people in a state that I would not want to be in yet they have written instructions that they are to be kept alive by any menas possible until the end comes naturally.

    The decision needs to be made based upon what Terri wanted. Her husband says one thing and her parents say another. Lacking written instructions from her I think we should take the decision that is reversable. Once she is dead, no matter what her wishes turn out to be (if we would ever even know) we can not reverse it.

    The same people who think it is OK to do this are the ones who say we should not have a death penalty because we might make a mistake. In either case, it is better to err on the side that can be fixed if a mistake has been made. This is not to say I am against the death penalty. The maggots that killed those little girls needs to die. In cases where there is not absolute proof (and I do not think there is absolute proof in Scott Peterson’s case) we should go with life without parole. Then if we find out something different happened we can correct it.

  13. Dancar says:

    Absolute proof is an impossible standard, especially in this age of Photoshop and movies like Lord of the Rings where fake pictures and video can look very, very real.

    The legal standard is that 12 jurors are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. DNA technology further reduces the chances of error.

    BTW, I am in favor of the death penalty for the worst murderers. As for Terri Schiavo, it was a decision that, in the absence of living will, ultimately belonged to her husband.