Sunday, March 20


Bioethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan on the Terri Schiavo case:

...Michael Schiavo, despite all the hatred that is now directed against him, has the right to decide his wife’s fate. The decision about Terri’s life does not belong to the U.S. Congress, President Bush, Rep. Tom Delay of Texas, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the Florida Legislature, clerics in Rome, self-proclaimed disability activists, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, conservative commentators, bioethicists or Terri’s parents. The decision is Michael’s and Michael’s alone...

Remember the recent debate about gay marriage and the sanctity of the bond between husband and wife? Nearly all of those now trying to push their views forward about what should be done with Terri Schiavo told us that marriage is a sacred trust between a man and a woman. Well, if that is what marriage means then it is very clear who should be making the medical decisions for Terri — her husband.

But, isn’t it true that tough questions have been raised about whether he has her best interests at heart? They have. But, these charges against Michael Schiavo have been heard in court again and again and again. And no court has found them persuasive...

This has got to be the most extensively litigated "right-to-die" case in U.S. history. No one looking at what has gone on in the courts in this case could possibly deny that all parties have had ample opportunity for objective and independent review by earnest and prudent judges of the facts and trial court orders.
So, it is clear that the time has come to let Terri die. Not because everyone who is brain damaged should be allowed to die. Not because her quality of life is too poor for anyone to think it meaningful to go on. Not even because she costs a lot of money to continue to care for. Simply because her husband who loves her and has stuck by her for more than 15 years says she would not want to live the way she is living.
The state courts of this country have the power to review termination of treatment cases and have done so with compassion, skill and wisdom for many years. Those who would change a system that has worked — and worked well for the millions of Americans who face the most difficult of medical decisions — should think very hard about whether Sen. Bill Frist, DeLay, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Bush, Sen. John Kerry or the governor of your state needs to be consulted before you and your doctor can decide that it is time to stop life-prolonging medical care.


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