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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:I don't know how many of you have been following the Terri Schiavo case here in the U.S. but she is a woman who lived in a vegitative state for 15 years. Her feeding tube was pulled 13 days ago and she finally died.
It has been an enormous battle between her parents, who maintained hope that she would wake up, and her husband who wanted to honour her spoke, but unwritten, desire to not be held on life support in such a way.

For the full story... http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=st...amaged_woman_94
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Now, I really don't want this to be a huge debate over religious reasonings.

However, this is a pretty powerful thing. The husband had rights over the parents...and I agree with that.
I also think the parents were being wrong in believing she would be fine after 15 years like that. No way.
Could you imagine being caught like that? Did she dream? Was there nothing? Did her soul/spirit move on long ago?

And there are still lawsuits. The parents are accusing her husband of being abusive to her...over 15 years ago! And that he has no right to have her cremated and buried with his family in Pennsylvania. Now...keep in mind, he lives with another woman and has two kids with her. He had to move on at some point, but kept fighting for his wife out of honour for her wishes and because he did love her.

It also brings to light the purpose of a written will. We don't think of that much but she only told her husband what she wanted, and 15 years she was kept in no-kind-of living life.

Do you think that the courts should have kept intervening as they did? Jeb Bush (yes, you guessed it, related to idiot Pres. Bush) even rushed a "Terri Bill/Law/something" through to attempt to protect her.
But was it really protecting her?
Do you think her parents were being selfish and/or cruel to keep her like that?
There was also a battle between the husband and the parents over a malpractice lawsuit that is nuts.

I don't know. There is *alot* wrong with all of this.

Should a person simply have the right to die without it turning into an inter/national affair?

Would you want to be kept on support in that state? And if so, for how long before you wish people to move on?


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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pricklyleaf
pricklyleaf

with added berries
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 7th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1365
Posted:It's a very difficult issue. It's one that affects me quite closley as my mum is disabled with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) although shes ok at the moment, she can do very little for herself, there was a period when she was really ill, we thought that she might not make it. This illness does not turn the person into a vegetable, the sufferers mind remains in tact whilst their body closes down, I think this is worse than being a vegetable.



A lot of things concern me about this case. How do you know when someones a complete vegetable? in the news footage I saw, Terri was smiling and responding to stimulus, you see programmes about many disabled children who are born in a similar state and every effort is made to provide stimulus and to keep the child alive, what is the difference? if in no pain, and still responding like this, is the person still getting enjoyment out of life?, it is a different kind of enjoyment but does that make it any less valid? I don't think the greatest philospher could work this one out.



No one can know what Terri wanted, however often people in that sort of situation do wish to be allowed to die. Like the post above says, quality should be chosen over suffering. This also highlights the question of wether this is any of our buisness anyway. I do think its important that the issue of euthenasea is brought up, its illegal in England, I think this is maybe wrong, especially after seeing some of the suffering in hospital.



I don't know many of the deatails of the case so I reserve my judgement but another issue to consider are the motives of all those concerened. As well as the well being of the individual everyone has selfish wishes in many different forms. Caring for a severly disabled person is incredably hard, expensive (lots of equiptment is needed and wages for carers) and emotionally very difficult. Watching somebody suffer, somebody you love suffer, is the hardest thing of all.



One thing I am incredibly against however is the way in which they 'allowed her' to die. Although she can't feel pain as such, hunger and thirst is such a primal need and urge (the area asscoiciated with your brain stem) that I'm sure she would have felt that. What does it say when criminals are given a kinder death (by injection) than the most vunerable of society. That really shocks me.


Live like there is no tomorrow,
dance like nobody is watching
and hula hoop like wiggling will save the world.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Gnarly Cranium
Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco
Member Since: 16th Feb 2005
Total posts: 186
Posted:Written by: pricklyleaf
A lot of things concern me about this case. How do you know when someones a complete vegetable? in the news footage I saw, Terri was smiling and responding to stimulus


In a 'persistent vegetative state', a person DOES NOT respond to stimulus. Terri wouldn't have been labeled as such if she was responding. She was examined many times and all the doctors concluded she was vegetative. Yes she blinks and stuff like that, her reflexes and such were running-- basically the lizard brain-- but that was it. Tests can also be done to check if there is any activity in the the regions of the brain where awareness happens. (hers was largely disintegrated) So yeah, it can be determined. More or less. There's still some scary gray areas, but not as much as you might think.

Written by:
One thing I am incredibly against however is the way in which they 'allowed her' to die. Although she can't feel pain as such, hunger and thirst is such a primal need and urge (the area asscoiciated with your brain stem) that I'm sure she would have felt that. What does it say when criminals are given a kinder death (by injection) than the most vunerable of society. That really shocks me.


After a couple of days, the body switches over to its internal reserves, a state known as 'ketosis', and hunger all but fades.

Death by that method, being unable to eat or drink, is a very, very common form of death among our elderly and always has been. It is common in many hospices and it is widely accepted as a pretty kind and painless way to go.


"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:One thing I am incredibly against however is the way in which they 'allowed her' to die. Although she can't feel pain as such, hunger and thirst is such a primal need and urge (the area asscoiciated with your brain stem) that I'm sure she would have felt that. What does it say when criminals are given a kinder death (by injection) than the most vunerable of society. That really shocks me.

I am SURE she got a morphine drip. That kills hunger, among other things.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Spanner
Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere...
Member Since: 27th Feb 2003
Total posts: 2790
Posted:Written by: Gnarly Cranium

This is a very personal, individual situation. It's nobody's business but her friends and family, whether it turns into a big debate or not. There is NO way for anyone else to possibly determine how things should go.




Whether or not it should be a very personal, individual situation, it's not, because the law has been involved. And the law binds all those who live the country it has been passed in, whether it becomes relevant for them in the present or future. So I think it's important to debate it in that general sense.

As for whether Terri wanted her own business debated: we'll never know, so I'm not about to make an assumption either way shrug


"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

:R"

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Written by: Gnarly Cranium

In a 'persistent vegetative state', a person DOES NOT respond to stimulus. Terri wouldn't have been labeled as such if she was responding. She was examined many times and all the doctors concluded she was vegetative. Yes she blinks and stuff like that, her reflexes and such were running-- basically the lizard brain-- but that was it. Tests can also be done to check if there is any activity in the the regions of the brain where awareness happens. (hers was largely disintegrated) So yeah, it can be determined. More or less. There's still some scary gray areas, but not as much as you might think.



This is not true. Not all of the doctors did agree at all. There is a HUGE issue with her not receiving proper rehabilitative care. There have been stoke victims, with their progress video recorded, who have started off worse that Terri, who got "better". That is to where they could move some and even speak some. Terri was not given this chance. Apparently, she had not received the best rehabilition possible for *years*. Her family asked for one year longer with full blown rehab and then they would have let her go if no progress was made after that.
Several doctors, including the nations top rehabilitative specialist, testified to this.

Why was this case so publicized? Because a couple years ago the family of Terri released video footage to the media along with their story *against* court orders not to.

This case was not about pulling a plug. It would have been much more cut and dry if she had have been on respirators and machines. She wasn't. She had a food tube hooked up 3 times a day. That's it. Otherwise, she was "self-sustained". That makes it very controversial and not something that happens "everyday".

It was also big because money was being fought over, and that was a big part of this case..the absolutely disgusting battle for money.
For example, of the malpractice lawsuit filed, her husband received over $1 mil. Part of that was legally seperated to go to her care. A portion of it was to go to him specifically, as punitive damages for his "loss of spouse". The parents sued him for a portion of it. When they didn't get some of his money, they sued him for a portion of the money allotted to her.
He didn't divorce her, even though he has a woman and two children. Know why? Upon her death he becomes the beneficiary of her $3 million dollar trust fund, which I do believe the family should fight. Several years ago a book and movie deal for her story was brought into the court. He turned it down (because he did not want to be made into the villian) but the family went after it, until the court put the ban on all of that. There will be one now I am sure.
The high profile nature of this came because the family instigated it to get the attention of political figures and was kept there because of the sheer amount of money involved in the dispute.

I don't know. There are points where I agree with her family and there are points where I agree with her husband. I think both are villians for using her like a pawn, and if I were her I would haunt my family for putting me in the spotlight like that, as that was beyond wrong.

Here in the US on A&E there was a great show about the entire ordeal, though it obviously gave no answers, because there are none.


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Mike I read that entire thing, and all I can say is that I do not envy your choice to be a pediatric dr., but I do absolutely admire your strength in being one. I couldn't.
I agree with your appreciation on the way "Casey's" family handled things (so similar to how you handled your father), and I want to add my disgust with "Sadie's" parents. As a parent I refuse to even imagine what I would do in such a situation, because I do not want to believe such a situation could occur, though I know rationally it could.

I also must back up your plee of being an organ donor with, put that into writing, do not rely on checking the boxes on the back your license to hold up. All to often that is overlooked.
I also hope that before making decisions people will really think. I have seen people not want to be kept alive if they were to be a quadroplegic, however, scientific advances have been created to allow even people in such situations to have a mobile and fruitful life. There are soooo many contingencies that all of them can not be accounted for but there are also too many possibilities to simply make blanket statements. Does that make sense?

Thanks for sharing Mike. I really appreciate it. hug


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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ImmortalAngel
Scientist!
Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Member Since: 19th Jan 2004
Total posts: 578
Posted:ditto to Pele's response on Mike's thread.

Muchos hugs to Mike for sharing some painful memories hug hug hug
Your strength astounds me bud, Drs must be some sort of super breed of humans :O

And I agree with becoming an organ donor. I just heard a story on the news the other day whilst driving to a friend's house about a nurse who became so attached to one of her patients she gave one of her own kidneys to save his life :O Talk about true selflessness!

Please talk with loved ones and make your wishes known in the public and in writing so everyone can know.
Car accidents happen, and i just spent the past week helping my best friend who's father died in a car accident. Hopefully it won't take something so close to home for you to start thinking about this stuff.


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> STAY SAFE! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hug.gif" alt="" />

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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:Mike, I read all of your post and strongly relate to what you are saying. I worked in palliative care for 6 years and it was a blessing to be in community care, where simple and honest decisions could be made in the home, without the compulsion that the availablity of high tech interventions creates. Just because we can doesn't mean we should.

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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SpitFire
Mand's Girl....and The Not So Shy One
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2002
Total posts: 2723
Posted:Written by: Pele


Do you think that the courts should have kept intervening as they did? Jeb Bush (yes, you guessed it, related to idiot Pres. Bush) even rushed a "Terri Bill/Law/something" through to attempt to protect her.
But was it really protecting her?
Do you think her parents were being selfish and/or cruel to keep her like that?
There was also a battle between the husband and the parents over a malpractice lawsuit that is nuts.




I don't mean to be a stickler here, but the courts sided with the husband.....it was the politicians that stuck their noses into something that wasn't really any of their business.

Congress and Governor Bush, along with the Florida legislature went too far, I think.

I think that it's hard to say what you would do in a situation like this. Both sides needed to let go, that much is obvious, but sometimes, letting go can be really hard. Some folks just can't do it.

I know that I would not wanted to have lived like Terri. If something ever happened to me that put me in a persistent vegetative state, I'd want a very large morphine drip, and be allowed to die with dignity.


Solitude sometimes speaks to you, and you should listen.

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munkypunks
munkypunks

enthusiast, but not enthusiastic
Location: Los Angeles, California
Member Since: 21st Jan 2005
Total posts: 367
Posted:Mike, you need to take yourself out of the mad doctor training program - unless you mean mad as in angry. I just about cried reading your post. We need more caring, observant doctors like you. I thought they taught you in about 2d or 3d yr med school how to distance yourself. You apparently didn't do well in that course, and your patients are the better for it.

I've had three relatives in the situation of needing a decision made, and they were all senior citizens with either cancer or simple old age. That's a much easier decision to make than a child. My heart goes out for those people, and big time respect for Casey's family.

Everyone~ Perhaps the Terri Schiavo controversy and the Pope's death have brought out certain feelings/thoughts/reactions in a lot of people. I am pretty new to HoP, and I want to acknowledge how thoughtful and caring so many of you are. Even those I disagree with, I can feel that you're taking that particular position out of empathy. I am even more amazed and honoured to be part of this community.


You can't fall off the floor, but sometimes you need a chair to reach the cookie jar.

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munkypunks
munkypunks

enthusiast, but not enthusiastic
Location: Los Angeles, California
Member Since: 21st Jan 2005
Total posts: 367
Posted:Posted by Catalyst:

yeah...well, the fact of the matter, is that things like this happen every day...the only reason that we have heard about it is because the parents and the ex were fighting aout it...there are so many factors to consider....the husband's judgement to not have any rehabilitative therapy for the entire time that terri was in the hospital...would that have made a difference??

Although I just said that I respect everyone's views - and I do - I do think everyone's view's should be formulated with knowledge of the facts. The husband did have therapy for Terri for 7 yrs. When there was no improvement, that's when he requested that the feeding tube be removed. (Full disclosure: I don't know specifically what type of therapy that was.)

Someone else mentioned her own (not her parents') religious beliefs. From what I have read, she was a practicing Catholic, which tends to support the parents' argument. But I have faith (perhaps too much) in the judicial system, that in this many appeals, etc., if her wishes were really ambiguous, some court would have given her a new trial. After all, Geronimo Pratt got out of jail......the system does work sometimes...depends how long you're willing to fight.

And I agree 100% with Spanner. This is a matter of Bush & Co. jumping on a political and publicity goldmine.


You can't fall off the floor, but sometimes you need a chair to reach the cookie jar.

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BurningByron
member
Location: Australia
Member Since: 10th May 2002
Total posts: 340
Posted:Thank you for sharing your story Mike. Pediatrics must be the most emtionally difficult medical specialty to work in. Respect goes out to you from this lowly 2nd year med student. I envy the experiences you are having now, you are seeing life in stronger colours than most people on earth ever will.

I imagine it must be frustrating when you try so hard to help a child and their parents step in and f`ck it up.

As for my opinion on this topic...
I work with disabled adults through a charity here in Perth Western Australia, the people I work with are the lucky ones that have recieved funding... I would hate to imagine what the quality of life is like for unsupported disabled people.

If you are severly disabled there are three senarios

1. Someone in your family commits to caring for you, sacrificing their standard of living for the entire length of your life. Talk to a full time carer who has committed their life to looking after a disabled loved one. I would prefer to die rather than to ruin the life of a family member. Note your quality of life is still really poor anyway.

2. You are lucky enough to get government or charity funding which is extremeIy scarce. Your quality of life is still very poor maybe even worse than if a family member cared for you, maybe a little better. Life still has very little purpose... chronic depression (if you can be aware at all) is almost at 100%. There are exceptions of course.

3. No-one chooses to be your carer, very little government funding or charity comes your way. The quality of life for people in this position is indescribable, for their sake I hope they have the means of ending their own existance.

We all die eventually.
Quality of life not quantity.


HOW TO FLY 101:
step 1. Throw your self at the ground.
step 2. Miss.

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Bumfro
Bumfro

Its a bum with an afro...
Location: Newcastle NSW
Member Since: 11th Apr 2005
Total posts: 223
Posted:hmmm............its a sad thing to think about, its hard to know just who is tellling the truth with these things, sad that i wish we could trust wat we heard

Racism is a weapon of mass destruction

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Written by:
I thought they taught you in about 2d or 3d yr med school how to distance yourself. You apparently didn't do well in that course, and your patients are the better for it.



They don't teach you that and they can't. The fact that we don't know our patients before they become our patients does help us distance ourselves, but we're still humans and we still hurt when our patients hurt. Losing someone else's loved one never hurts as much as losing your own loved one...unless it was your fault, I suppose.

You go into this to help people because you care about people. You can never remove that humanity from someone.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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