Euthanasia - should it be legal or illegal? (v2.0)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darth Mischievous, Mar 18, 2005.

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  1. Daughterofflame Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2003
    star 4
    Here's a medical fact that hasn't been mentioned. She was NOT brain-dead, nor was she unconscious. A relative of mine ( I shall refrain from giving name or relationship to protect the individual) worked in the hospital where Ms. Shiavo was, and stated that she was conscious and alert, and lacked only the fine-tuned motor skills and speech (as a stroke victim would). They said she was "touch and go, but definitely there".

    This also isn't just an issue of Ms. Shiavo. It's an issue of precendence. One might consider Nazi Germany's origins...
  2. Jansons_Funny_Twin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    The damage was especially severe in the region responsible for vision, making her functionally blind,

    Hmmm, it looks like the all-wise Doctor Frist was wrong about Shaivo responding to visual stimuli. Maybe this will get him to not stick his nose where it doesn't belong, especially if he's going to give bad medical information in the process.



    b4k4^2
  3. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    PPOR.
  4. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    Like I said before, the woman was basically cognitively brain dead. She was also blind.

    Schiavo autopsy shows irreversible brain damage
    Parents who fought feeding tube removalto consider legal options

    The Associated Press
    Updated: 8:02 p.m. ET June 15, 2005


    LARGO, Fla. - An autopsy on Terri Schiavo backed her husband?s contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding that she had massive and irreversible brain damage and was blind, the medical examiner?s office said Wednesday. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused.

    But what caused her collapse 15 years ago remained a mystery.

    The autopsy and post-mortem investigation found no proof that she had an eating disorder, as was suspected at the time, Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin said.

    Autopsy results on the 41-year-old brain-damaged woman were made public Wednesday, more than two months after her death on March 31 ended a right-to-die battle between her husband and parents that engulfed the courts, Congress and the White House and divided the country.

    Schiavo's husband, Michael, said his wife never would have wanted to be kept alive in what court-appointed doctors concluded was a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, doubted she had any such end-of-life wishes and disputed that she was in a vegetative state.

    Schiavo died from dehydration, Thogmartin said. He said she did not appear to have suffered a heart attack and there was no evidence that she was given harmful drugs or other substances prior to her death.

    Schindlers unconvinced
    Regardless of the autopsy findings, the Schindlers continue to believe their daughter was not in a persistent vegetative state, their lawyer, David Gibbs III, said after Thogmartin?s report was issued. He said they plan to discuss the autopsy with other medical experts and may take some unspecified legal action.

    ?We are, at this point, examining every option and no decisions have been made,? Gibbs said.

    George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney, said his client ?was pleased to hear the hard science and evidence of those findings.?

    ?It?s a hard fact, it?s a scientific fact that Terri Schiavo was blind,? Felos said. He said Michael Schiavo plans to release autopsy photographs of her shrunken brain in the near future.


    He said that after her feeding tube was removed, she would not have been able to eat or drink if she had been given food by mouth, as her parents requested.

    ?Removal of her feeding tube would have resulted in her death whether she was fed or hydrated by mouth or not,? Thogmartin told reporters.

    He also said she was blind, because the ?vision centers of her brain were dead,? and that her brain was about half of its expected size when she died 13 days following the feeding tube?s removal.


    President's view unchanged
    In Washington, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said that the autopsy results did not change the president?s position on her case.

    ?Our thoughts and prayers remain with her family and friends,? McClellan said. ?The president was deeply saddened by this case.?

    The medical examiner?s conclusions countered a videotape released by the Schindlers of Terri Schiavo in her hospice bed. The video showed Schiavo appearing to turn toward her mother?s voice and smile, moaning and laughing. Her head moved up and down and she seemed to follow the progress of a brightly colored Mickey Mouse balloon.

    They believed her condition could improve with therapy.

    However, doctors said her reactions were automatic responses and not evidence of thought or consciousness, and Thogmartin?s report went farther.

    ?The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain,? he said. ?This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons.?

    Exhaustive review of condition
    Thogmartin said the autopsy report was b
  5. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    and lacked only the fine-tuned motor skills and speech (as a stroke victim would). They said she was "touch and go, but definitely there".

    She lacked quite a bit more than that. For starters, her body was incapable of sustaining itself. Had she been fed without the tube, she would have aspirated. Not to mention the amount of active brain capacity.

    This also isn't just an issue of Ms. Shiavo. It's an issue of precendence. One might consider Nazi Germany's origins...

    I'm sorry to break this to you, Daughter, but the precendent was set long ago. Families have faced and made the choice Michael Schiavo made for years. The only reason you heard about this case was because her parents disputed the husband's right to make such a choice.

    Unless Nazi Germany shaped the laws that gave husbands legal guardianship of their incapacitated spouses, that statement is little more than a knee-jerk flame campaign.

  6. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Che, I believe the knee-jerk reactionary statement was actually an example of Godwining up a thread in place of an intelligent argument. :)

    E_S
  7. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
  8. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Yeah, that was part of the reason I PPORed instead of reiterating everything else from this thread.
  9. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I'd say Michael Schaivo would be well within his rights to go after the Schindlers for slander, given their repeated public statements about alleged abuse, but not much point in prolonging things.
  10. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    omg there naem is Schindler they must be nazis omg !!11! ![face_flag]

    Wow, so that's how it feels to be reactionary!

    E_S
  11. DarthUncle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2005
    star 5
    I have left this thread a long time ago when it seemed, to me, to get stuck in squibling about who was right, the Schindlers et.al or Michael Schiavo and the treating doctors, without resolution. If you don't agree with that characterisation, sorry, it is just my reason for taking myself out of the discussion, and not something to dwell over. Upon reading about the autopsy report I came back here because I am interested in the issue of euthanasia, and am in hopes that we can now progress beyond the particulars of this one case and continue with arguments for or against allowing euthanasia and/or not prolonging treatment (which I think should be treated seperate, in principle). In order to progress, I would like to ask of anyone, but in particular those who disagree with what happened to ms. Schiavo as they seem to have most problems with this, to not come back to the medical facts discussion and respect what the report says: the medical arguments against removing the feeding tube were unfounded. Further discussion of those facts seems to come down to the laymans opinion: do I trust the medical world, or not.

    Now that I said that, let me try and get back to discussing the topic of the thread itself. An essential part in understanding my point of view on this is that my opinion on euthanasia, and stopping treatments, and thus my view of what this thread is ultimately about, is stronlgy linked with ones right to (... hm, here my non-native English speakership limits me, so what I mean: "zelfbeschikking" in Dutch.) decide on ones own faith.
    In this view the other case mentioned on the previous page, that of a 16 year old who refused a blood-transfusion but was court-ordered to accept one, is, while not really one of euthanasia, very relevant to the discussion, as it falls under my "stopping treatment" defenition, and seems all about his right to decide his own faith.

    I believe that people ultimately do have that right to decide their own faith, as long as that doesn't conflicts with the faith and wellbeing of others. This a liberal standpoint I guess, but it is also one that is strongly represented in the Dutch laws as I see them, and I think also in those of the USA. My own interpretation of the main opposition against euthanasia etc. is that ultimately religious concerns may override this right. To me this is an interesting conflict between two different worldviews. In my view others have a right to their concerns and opinions, as long as this doesn't impact on my rights, which in this discussion is exactly the cause of the heated disagreements, as that is what a principal no to euthanasia or stopping treatment would cause to happen. Note that above I have mentioned religious concerns, but clearly, in the case of the 16 year old, that is not what stops him getting his own wishes granted, which makes the case al the more worrying.

    Feel free to disagree and point out where I go wrong, or otherwise clarify the discussion and correct my views.

    Sincerily,

    DU.
  12. doc4converse Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2005
    star 4
    Before I give you my answer on euthanasia, I think I should at least mention where I stood with Mrs. Schiavo?s case. I disagreed with what happened to her long before this case came to the world limelight. She should have never had her feeding tube placed in her once they all knew she was brain-dead; however, decisions like this are not easy when it does not involve your family.

    Now on the original issue of euthanasia, should it be legal or not? I believe it should not be legal because of the potential of an evil person to murder someone under the guise of euthanasia. Sort of the reason, why I believe suicide should continue to be illegal because it provides a cover-up to murder.

    I think the reason why religious issues become involved in whether euthanasia should be legal or not or to refuse treatment stems from one?s own definition of LIFE.

    I mean, life begin?s the moment an egg and sperm come together to create life (okay so now I brought in my opinion on abortion- I think abortion is wrong but I am pro-choice ? the discussion would have to go to another thread). In simplistic terms, taking one?s own life or someone else?s life is wrong (so now you know I am also against the death penalty ? another thread). Thus, an individual's right to take their own life or someone else is wrong, including abortion. If there were ways to prevent an evil person to use suicide or euthanasia as an excuse for murder than I think I would support it.

    In terms of refusing treatment, I think it actually is different. In a sense you are not taking your own life directly. You are refusing an intervention that was created by man.

    I am re-reading this and feel my responses are rather simplistic.
  13. Daughterofflame Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2003
    star 4
    Actually, it was quite a bit more than that, and I rather resent you saying that. This forum IS to discuss our opinions... However, my post was hasty, so I will apologize for that, and here explain.

    My comment about Germany had little to do with this specific case, but more to do with euthenasia as a whole. It's a fine line to walk, once you get started. I hope that our present world has better balance.

    As for precedent being long-standing (the precedent of this specific case, when Mr. Shiavo ordered a no-further-care), you might consider looking into the the medical codes of ethics, which include (in a vague form, I will admit) a statement about never denying care, even when opposed. There have been several doctors that have been sued over the years for upholding that one vague clause by continuing to provide care even when the families said "enough." In the past, the government has largely ruled in favor of the medical sector. Am I saying that is what should have occurred in this instance? No. I'm merely pointing out a fact. This IS a precedent. Certainly not the first of its kind, but the point is mostly the same.

    I said nothing of Mr. Shiavo's rights as a husband. I do believe that a husband's rights supersede parents', but that wasn't the issue that I was addressing...

    I'm sorry if I offended anyone. That was not my intention. I was merely joining in the discussion with my thoughts. I was not comparing our government to the Nazi regime, nor was I comparing anyone involved in the Shiavo case to anyone of that party. I'm sorry that it seemed that way. I hearby retract any comparison whatsoever. (And if I could still edit the post, I would.)
  14. Guinastasia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 6

    To which I say, CITE? Since WHEN is there a medical rule about never denying care? On the contrary, doctors do it all the time-feeding tubes are removed from people like Terri Schiavo every freaking day, all across the country. Unless you're referring to parents denying their MINOR children essential medical care due to religious beliefs (which is a completely different situation), you are wrong. Doctors will stop treatment if there is no point to it-and will advise the family often that sometimes the best thing to do is allow nature to take its course. Doctors do not and CANNOT force treatment on someone who doesn't want it, unless, again, you're referring to very young children.

    What the hell do you think a DNR is?

    You are entitled to your own opinions-you are NOT entitled to your own set of facts.



  15. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Actually, it was quite a bit more than that, and I rather resent you saying that. This forum IS to discuss our opinions... However, my post was hasty, so I will apologize for that, and here explain.

    True, and know you have my opinion.

    My comment about Germany had little to do with this specific case, but more to do with euthenasia as a whole. It's a fine line to walk, once you get started. I hope that our present world has better balance.

    Did you ever stop to think that paying taxes is a fine line to walk between maintaining a stable infrastructure and... say... socialism? See, there is always a line that a society won't cross. In this case, that fine line of putting to death anyone not "normal" is so far away, it's a dot.

    As for precedent being long-standing (the precedent of this specific case, when Mr. Shiavo ordered a no-further-care), you might consider looking into the the medical codes of ethics, which include (in a vague form, I will admit) a statement about never denying care, even when opposed.

    A few things:
    a) PPOR
    b) as counterpoint, read about DNR orders;
    c) as counterpoint, discuss medical clinics turning patients away for lack of insurance,
    d) as counterpoint, discuss religious groups who refuse medical treatment outright, despite the pleas from family.

    No. I'm merely pointing out a fact. This IS a precedent. Certainly not the first of its kind, but the point is mostly the same.

    What this all boils down to is that Michael Schiavo--based on previous precedent, made the legal choice to discontinue medical treatment for his wife, understanding that this would lead to her death. In turn, the patient's parents disagreed with this course of action and sought to usurp legal guardianship of their daughter from her husband. They failed, and Michael's decision came to fruition, depsite the attempted intervention of lawmakers choosing to ignore law and precedent.

    That's it in a nutshell.

    No need to apologize. I don't think anyone was offended. I do believe I am frustrated that such a statement could be made. Thank you, then, for the retraction.



  16. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I'm sorry to say that your assessment of both the legal history and medical ethics is quite mistaken. Legally, the issue has been informed by thirty years of case law, which has affirmed and reaffirmed patient autonomy in medical decision-making. Two key precedents (as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court) are In re: Quinlan (1976), which establishes that patients (or their proxies) are able to refuse medical treatment and Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health (1990) affirmed that states can set the level of evidence necessary for medical treatment to be forgone (i.e., how much evidence is necessary for a proxy to forgo further treatment on another's behalf). Schiavo should never have become the national spectacle that it did, precisely because of these two paradigm cases. The full legal history is discussed in Alan Meisel's The Right to Die; updated with yearly supplements, and about to enter it's third edition.

    Further, medical ethics repeatedly reaffirms the patient's right to refuse treatment, from religious and secular perspectives. There are exceptions to *specific* treatments in *specific religions*, but the kind of paternalism you suggest hasn't been the paradigm since the 1950s. I'd suggest David Kelly's Critical Care Ethics for a more plain-spoken approach, or Beauchamp and Childress's Principles of Biomedical Ethics, as it is very influential in the present medical ethics community.
  17. Darth_Overlord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    "She died of marked dehydration," he said. "She did not starve to death." As measured by the balance of salt and water in her body fluids, the dehydration was the most severe he had ever seen. This attested to Schiavo's robust underlying health, and in particular the strength of her heart, the pathologist said.

    This is what I take issue with, and have since the beginning. There is simply no excuse for a person to die from a lack of hydration, regardless of what condition the person is in.
  18. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    She was really a shell of a body running on automatic, Darth_Overlord. There was no Terri Schiavo left, as she died a decade earlier.

    She didn't know she was alive, much less dying. She was a body with a dead mind.

    The whole situation was tragic, but it is unethical (IMHO) to keep a brain dead individual alive when there is no hope for recovery, especially after ten years. She would have died naturally long ago were the family not blind in denial.
  19. Dracmus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 4
    well since this is about Terri i just thought you might want to see this article.

    [link] http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/17/schiavo.governor.ap/index.html [/link]

    that just makes me cringe when i read that. gov bush has NO right to get involved like this. none whatsoever...this makes me sick and angry.

    edit: i believe he is doing this for no other reason that a political one. he is pandering to the religious right...nothing more. this is beyond petty and revolting. (i had better stop before i start cursing outloud that is how angry i am)
  20. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    The political grandstanding that occured here was indeed sickening.

    Senator Frist especially should have known better. He just should have.

    Shame on him.

    This is absolute vindication, IMHO, for Mr. Schiavo. As far as the setting of medical precedent, none was set that wasn't already there. These circumstances tend to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and that is how it will likely remain.

    daughterofflame, just a friendly word of advice: you will be far more successful on these boards if you can back up your claims with fact. Opinion is fine, but most of the more longstanding members here will call you on it if they disagree with you.

    Just a thought ;).

    Peace,

    V-03
  21. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    This is what I take issue with, and have since the beginning. There is simply no excuse for a person to die from a lack of hydration, regardless of what condition the person is in.

    Ironically, that is all the law would allow. It is legal to discontinue treatement so as to cause the death of a patient. It is illegal to aid in the death of a terminal patient or a patient who--as in the case with Schiavo--is in a persistent vegetative state, who will never awaken, never be lucid, never again experience human life. In Schiavo's case, although she was conscious, her brain was incapable of recognizing consciousness. Her chance for even the most infinitessimal of recoveries was less than that of a mouse learning to speak Mandarin. It's terribly sad, but that was the state in which she resided.

    This is what throws me. I would think that all those Christian followers would welcome her release to the next plain of existence; release from the physical bond that had imprisoned her for so long in a state that prevented her from experiencing anything about life.

    And.... segue back into "Euthenasia". See how I did that? <pats own back>

  22. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Her parents are scum as far as I'm concerned.
  23. Guinastasia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 6
    It's interesting to note that those who suffer from eating disorders often have parents who are very controlling, domineering, and critical. Her parents seemed to be VERY smothering-they actually moved to Florida from Pennsylvania after Terri did.

    Food for thought.
  24. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Food for thought.

    Very punny.

  25. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Indeed. That's why we love guin. ;)
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