Thursday, March 17, 2005

Join the fight - Don't let them kill Terri...

"How can we speak of right and justice if we take an innocent creature and shed its blood? How can we pray to God for mercy if we ourselves have no mercy?"
- Isaac Bashevis Singer
 Posted by Hello

Tomorrow at 1:00PM EST Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube is scheduled to be removed by court order.

To inflict death on an incapacitated person, someone who is as innocent as she is defenseless, is as wrong as any other type of murder, perhaps even more so. Further, to cause that death by starvation and dehydration is plainly inhumane.

Schiavo is not a terminal patient and is not in any sort of imminent health crisis. She is not in a coma - she is partially paralyzed due to brain dysfunction. She is not on life support but uses a feeding tube (only) at meal times to get sustenance; some doctors have suggested she could probably swallow foods with the consistency of baby food with minor amounts of rehabilitation.

She experiences pain and discomfort just like you and I.

Good evidence exists to suggest that Schiavo is responsive, and is as responsive as many other mentally and physically challenged people in our world. She controls her eye movements and watches people as they move around her. She listens to music, responds to her mother’s love, laughs, makes happy sounds, cries and tries to speak. She follows doctor’s and nurses directions and commands, including moving her limbs slightly.

Watch this video of Schiavo and her father.

Not only does she laugh at a funny story from her childhood, she obviously REMEMBERS it.

She is alive. Her life is valuable, and once ended it can never be given back. No one should have the right to take that away from her.

What does Starving to death look like anyways?

Starved bodies ache all the time as muscles cramp and deteriorate, the mouth dries and bleeds as the tongue cracks, the nosebleeds, teeth become elongated as the gums recede, the heart flutters and beats hard and painfully, blood vessels in the eyes rupture causing blindness, the kidneys and liver are progressively damaged, seizures accompany heaving as the body attempts to vomit, hair falls out, the patient starts to smell with a rotting odour, endures ravenous hunger pains and extreme thirst, hallucinations, confusion, anger and fear, until finally a death like coma silences the final hours (or days) before death.

We know scientifically what the symptoms and results of starvation are, but what does it feel like?

Kate Adamson was totally paralyzed after a double brainstem stroke in 1995. In a state even worse than Schiavo’s, she could both feel and think – and remembers everything that happened to her since the brain injury. Adamson’s feeding tube was removed by doctors for eight days before her husband was able to have it restored through legal intervention. Adamson eventually recovered her PVS like state and is now testifying to members of the Florida Senate about her experiences in the hopes that she can help save Schiavo:

"I was just like Terri... I was alive! I could hear every word - I suffered excruciating misery in silence. When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I thought I was going insane. I was screaming out in my mind, "Don't you know I need to eat?" The fact that I had nothing, the hunger pains overrode every thought I had. The agony of going without food was a constant pain that lasted days. You have to endure the physical pain and on top of that you have to endure the emotional pain. Your whole body cries out, "Feed me. I am alive and a person, don't let me die, for God's Sake! Somebody feed me."

We have voices for a reason, and if we can't (or won't) speak out for those who can't speak for themselves, what is the point? I am not in a position to influence this outcome legally but I know a good number of my readers are american:

Florida Senate
Florida House
US House of Representatives
US Congress

1 comment:

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