Thursday, March 24, 2005

My $0.02 about Terri Shiavo

Like Elian Gonzales before her, Terri Shiavo has become the poster child for opposing interest groups. But no one really know what Ms. Shiavo would have thought about all this, instead of really thinking about the “victim” both parties are making this battle bigger than Ms. Shaivo’s life. I googled “Terri Shiavo” and came up with more that a quarter of a million references.
What would she think about that?

Nobody really seems to care about her. Just like nobody really cared about the welfare of Elian Gonzales. This issue is not about the individual, it’s about the honor of a whole group. I find that distasteful.

A few weeks ago, there was a report on TV about an Afghani girl who was brought to Germany in 1998 for an operation after being wounded by a landmine. Because the treatment would take over a year, through a bureaucratic bungle up, she was forgotten by the German humanitarian organization, and unofficially adopted by a German nurse. And now her parents want her back. Bear in mind this child was 7 when she left her parents, and is now in her teens. She calls her adoptive parents mother and father, and has absolutely no desire to go back to Afghanistan. Her biological parents are hysterical, and have made threats on television that if their daughter isn’t given back to them, they will kidnap a German child if they ever get their hands on one. The Afghani consul here in Berlin also hopes that the German government will force her to return to her family in Afghanistan, saying “The honor of the family is more important than the wish of the individual.” I remember watching that and being thankful that I came from a country where the individual’s rights are more respected than in most countries.

The issue here is about what is a worthwhile life. Everyone has an opinion about it. Some people say: If I couldn’t play basketball, I would want to die; if I couldn’t walk, I would want to kill myself; if I couldn’t see…etc. But some people consider that no one can make judgment about what should be considered worthy of living. Only you, yourself, can decide what is best for you. Some make this decision based on their moral and religious beliefs, others with consideration to their families and loved ones. But these should be personal decisions, and not forced upon others. Although I am pro-choice, I can understand pro-lifers, because they are fighting for those who have no voice. However, I have less understanding for those who are against voluntary euthanasia, they are basically saying that you shouldn’t be trusted to make your own decisions.

If I were Terri, I would surely want to be let go. I would want my parents to be able to say goodbye to me, and hold me in their memory as I once was, and not have to visit me everyday and be pained with the vision of what I have become. I would want my loved ones to be able to go on with their lives. And I really would not want to spend the rest of my life in a hospital bed, with no chances of ever regaining motor skills and my previous mental capacity.

However, I can completely understand the parents. They are clinging to the only hope they have, and they don’t believe that she would have wanted to give up. They are hoping for a miracle, and will never give up. They will spend the rest of their lives caring for Terri. I can understand not wanting to let someone starve to death, which is what removing the feeding tube would in effect do. Terri would slowly after a few days die from thirst. It seems like a cruel way to let someone die.

It angered me when Jeb Bush ordered the feeding tube re-inserted a few weeks back, and it angers me that people are involving Terri in a tug-of-war she never would have wanted.
I find it distasteful that her feeding tube was now ordered to be removed. If the tube isn’t reinserted over the next few days, many will consider it murder.

This was supposed to be a very private decision, where her family would have been able to say goodbye to her, and now it is taking on a life of its own, becoming more traumatic than it otherwise would have been.

I hope that the only result of this case is that everyone will become more aware of their responsibilities to themselves and their families, to leave instructions for how they would like to be treated, if they have a similar fate. No one else should have to make that decision for you, and no one else should be allowed to.


Blogger Dave Rabbit said...

It's pretty simple -- I saw this on and it sums it up perfectly:

Man "finds" Wife unconscious.
Man keeps Wife unconscious.
Man gets malpractice money for Wife.
Man wants Wife's money.
Man wants Wife dead so Man can have money.
Man gets Lawyer.
Lawyer is secret Hospice Chairman.
Lawyer promises Man that Wife will die at Hospice he Chairs...

Nuff said.


1:04 AM  
Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

You forgot the last line:

Lawyer gets all the money.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Gassenfenster said...

Ok, I got a different opinion here. I fear, it might be considered a little extreme. But anyway:
I think everybody should be forced to live. I don´t believe in a right to die. I believe in a moral obligation to live, because there is only one life. People always fear that they might suffer, but suffering is still better than being dead, because there is always a slight chance that your situation might improve, while - when you are dead - this is final. No chance of improvement. For me, it´s as easy as that. And, yes, I think there is a lot of situations in which people don´t take the right choices for themselves. Especially under extreme circumstances, like severe illness. Sometimes people must be protected from themselves...

4:28 PM  
Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

Hmmm....Gassenfenster, yeah, I am surprised. You have an interesting opinion mixture. know what came to mind when I read this? "I, Robot"

I guess, I believe every person owns their own life, and can make those decisions. Similar to taking drugs and life-endangering activities (extreme sports, etc).

But I am intrigued with your position, I am just trying to see where it fits in with your other opinions...very interesting.

9:42 PM  

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