TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Obituary: Schiavo Dies After Feeding Tube Removed

Re: Obituary: Schiavo Dies After Feeding Tube Removed
1 Apr 2005 07:30:05 -0800

Lisa Minter wrote:

> By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer

From a communication point of view, the facts of this story were
terribly distorted. The parents' point of view and their videos got
very widespread airing on TV, but the dry boring medical assessments
got much less airing. As a result, many viewers got the impression
the girl was in better shape than she was. Further, the Internet was
used to transmit all sorts of false malicious gossip about her
husband; he was doing far more to take care of her than generally

For those who read all the way to the back of the newspaper or watched
the late night cable news, the full facts were shown. But most people
don't or can't do that.

I'm sensitive to this issue because I went through it with a family
member. When someone is that sick -- as I've seen in nursing
homes -- they don't look or act as nicely as the parents' videos showed.

> "And so his heartless cruelty continues until this very last moment,"
> said the Rev. Frank Pavone, a Roman Catholic priest. He added: "This
> is not only a death, with all the sadness that brings, but this is a
> killing, and for that we not only grieve that Terri has passed but we
> grieve that our nation has allowed such an atrocity as this and we
> pray that it will never happen again."

This kind of thinking is really disturbing. The intimates are
certainly entitled to their point of view. However, other familes
simply do not share those religious attitudes about medical care. A
feeding tube is not lifting a glass of water, it is surgical
procedure. Like any medical procedure, there is a choice of
proceeding or not, and that must be weighed upon the expected the

This situation has shown there are some people who believe that every
medical procedure possible must be applied or it is a "killing" as the
priest above says. But other people do not see it that way. I'm
afraid their views will be imposed on the rest of us.

> ... with many arrested as they tried to bring her food and water.

That illustrated the lack of understanding in this case. They
could've brought her all the food and water they wanted and it would
not have done a damn bit of good.

> Court-appointed doctors ruled she was in a
> persistent vegetative state, with no real consciousness or chance of
> recovery.

What is sad is that many people refused to accept this medical fact.
It was reviewed again and again by many doctors. Yet some others --
based only on what they saw on TV -- claimed otherwise.

> [her parents] said she laughed, cried, responded to them
> and tried to talk.

Sadly, there was absolutely no real evidence of that. If any of that
actually occured, there would've been no case or issue because no
doctor would pull the tube given that.

I don't like to criticize the parents in their time of grief, but they
chose to involve the country's legislators and turn this into a
national spectacle. The fact is they were in denial about their
daughter's condition. It is terribly painful for parents to lose a
child and many parents don't handle it well. But that doesn't justify
dragging in the US Congress.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I do not like to criticize the family
or Ms. Shiavo's husband either in this time of grieving for all of
them. But I really suspect that this 'lose-lose' situation for all of
them -- and all of us, really -- is going to continue to backfire on
the various politicians who persisted in sticking their nose into the
mess, for example, the brothers Bush and certain other elements of the
far right, including Terry Randall, all of whom, I suspect are hoping/
wishing that the stench will go away soon. Far too many newspapers and
radio/television outlets have 'changed formats' to one of "All
Schiavo, all the time" recently. PAT]

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