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Thursday, June 16, 2005

What Do You Have To Say Now?

So after two months of waiting the autopsy results that the religious right said would never come out, are out. The verdict simplified; Terri Schiavo's condition was irreversible, if the righties would have had their way she would have been laying in a bed drooling on herself for the next 30 or so years. Thank God for her that science and the law won out over blind ideology and baseless fantasies.

From the AP;

The autopsy results on the 41-year-old woman were made public more than two months after Schiavo died of dehydration on March 31 following the removal of her feeding tube 13 days earlier. The death ended an extraordinary right-to-die battle that engulfed the courts, Congress and the White House.

The autopsy showed that Schiavo's brain had shrunk to about half the normal size for a woman her age and that it bore signs of severe damage.

"This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons," said Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner Dr. Jon Thogmartin, who led the autopsy team. He also said she was blind, because the "vision centers of her brain were dead."

Let this part sink in;

"This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons," said Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner Dr. Jon Thogmartin, who led the autopsy team.

And the reaction from all of those who wished her to be bed ridden for the rest of her life? Well so far there really isn’t one.

The reaction from "Dr. Frist" who said this;

Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a renowned heart surgeon before becoming Senate majority leader, went to the floor late Thursday night for the second time in 12 hours to argue that Florida doctors had erred in saying Terri Schiavo is in a “persistent vegetative state.”

“I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office,” he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. “She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli.”

None, not at least yet. So Doctor, in your professional opinion you are saying she was "responding to visual stimuli"? That is mildly odd, due to the non-consequential, minor detail of the fact that the whole "seeing part" of her brain was gone. Hmm, so was your diagnoses based on medical fact (science) or the need to get your name in the papers and cause your base had their panties all bunched up?

And what of the House Leader who had this to say?

“Right now, murder is being committed against a defenseless American citizen in Florida,” DeLay said.  “Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube should be immediately replaced, and Congress will continue working to explore ways to save her.

“Mrs. Schiavo’s life is not slipping away – it is being violently wrenched from her body in an act of medical terrorism,” DeLay said. “Mr. Schiavo’s attorney’s characterization of the premeditated starvation and dehydration of a helpless woman as ‘her dying process’ is as disturbing as it is unacceptable.  What is happening to her is not compassion – it is homicide.  She doesn’t need to die, and as long as Terri Schiavo can breathe and her supporters can pray, we will not rest.”

Where is his reaction that the autopsy proves this was the most (besides euthanasia) humane thing to do? I doubt if DeLay even remembers who Terri Schiavo was.

What about our dear President, the one who so diligently cut his precious  weekend short so he could come back to Washington and attend to business?

The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues.  Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life.  Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern.  It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected - and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities.

"Disability" Mr. President? Sounds to me as though Terri had a "condition", she was far from simply being "disabled". And yes there is a difference. But of course what place does tricky medical jargon have in the office of the President? So what is his reaction now? Um, none, nada, I am sure he has more important issues to focus on, like catching Osama, oh, wait, never mind.

And the talking heads?

Malkin? Nupe, nothing. Besides for not contributing anything to the discussion besides linking to half wit right wing sites, she now has nothing to say. No apologies from the women who penned In Defense Of Internment.

Right-wing blog Captains Quarters? Well he had this to say a while back;

As I have expressed here before, I find the forced death by dehydration of a disabled, non-terminal patient at the insistence of an estranged spouse with no support except for the hearsay of a couple of offhand comments heard by the husband and his relatives abhorrent.

And what is he saying now? That is right folks, you guessed correctly! Nothing, nada zip zilch! No "Hey guys, we put up a good fight albeit a fight full of misinformation, now we have to admit we are wrong, so here goes; I editor of Captains Quarters was wrong". Nope, don't think we'll be seeing that any day soon.

Good ol' boy James Dobson, then;

“This decision is nothing less than a death sentence for Terri Schiavo, a woman who has been denied every chance of recovery from her brain injury for the past 14 years by her husband.”

Dobson now; that’s right more silence, go figure...

And just what about arch pundit, king of the talking heads Sean Hannity? Well last night he had Terri's siblings on the show who continued to refute the fact that their sister had no hope. Sean actually said that the autopsy proved the Schindler’s story and the right wings earnest grasp of reality. So after spending every night on the story for over two months leading up to Terri Schiavo’s death how much time do you think he spent on the results of the autopsy? Just under 2 minutes.

And king browbeater Bill O'Reilly? Well, in summation, he doesn't contest the validity of the autopsy, bravo Bill! Bill even said that we need to just move on, hear, hear.

So what does all of this mean in the grand scheme of things? The far right wing (read Frist, DeLay, Dobson, Robertson, Falwell, etc...) which has hijacked my beloved real Republicans have no shame simply lying day in and day out to fit their narrow minded religious agenda. Political opportunist such as Frist and DeLay don’t mind playing on the gullible minds of the religious right.  It begs the question that if they don’t mind playing with the facts or completely disregarding them in this case what will they do when it comes to Social Security? What about Homeland Security? What about the war in
Iraq. The truth does not matter to these people or for the people who put their trust in them by voting for them. Trust and truth are central tenants of a Democracy, they must be adhered to.

What does it say about the pundits? They’ll do anything for a buck…


Keith Olbermann was on last night with an excellent clip of all the hoorah. Crooks and Liars has the video.

Also it would appear that Malkin and Captain’s Quarters have decided to weigh in after trying to figure out exactly what their talking points were going to be…

Too bad it took them over a day to figure it all out.

Posted by Chris Oates at 12:01 AM in Current Affairs, Politics, Religion, Science | Permalink


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I agree for the most part. I have seen a clip on tv where she seemed to react to being talked to, but it was a very vague reaction, not like she really knew what was going on. And even if she had a vague awareness, that doesn't mean she would want to live like that. I don't think anyone would. I know I wouldn't. That case reminded me of the song "One" by Metallica, a song that always sends shivers down my spine. Being kept alive in absolute helplessness, permanent solitary confinement and abject misery and pain, when all you want to do is die...that's awful. I hope when I am ready to die I will be allowed to. I do, though, wish they had found a better way to do it than starvation and dehydration. Even the worst criminals get instant death instead of cruel lingering deaths. She deserved that, I think.

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 16, 2005 2:25:24 AM

I doubt we're going to hear much now from public figures in the far right, regarding Terri Schiavo. The grandstanding we saw in March had already served its purpose: the news media quickly lost interest in the massive, negative public reaction to Social Security privatization.

Posted by: Joe Snitty | Jun 16, 2005 7:59:19 AM

Really great post. It's funny how you can find better analysis on a blog right now that you can find via the mainstream media, staffed with "professionally trained" people.

I'm tired hearing the word "terrorism" used whenever there's a perceived attack on someone or something. When I get cut off in traffic, I don't call the other driver a "motor terrorist;" I call him an asshole. I'm looking forward to the day when the pendulum swings and politicians (on both sides of the aisle) engage in thoughtful, civilized discussions. But given our current political and cultural climate, I'm not sure that will happen.

Posted by: Editrix | Jun 16, 2005 10:59:48 AM

It's hard to feel stupid whrn you value life. For me it is an issue of life, not of politics. Spin it all you want because in your narrow mind this is a "Victory". A win over the right... too bad you can't seem to do that at the ballot box.

Posted by: Vulture 6 | Jun 16, 2005 12:14:54 PM

The results of this autopsy do not change the fact that this woman was alive (without machines, mind you) *until* the decision to withhold nutrition was made.

Posted by: mo | Jun 16, 2005 12:19:04 PM

The results of this autopsy do not change the fact that this woman was alive (without machines, mind you) *until* the decision to withhold nutrition was made.

Posted by: mo | Jun 16, 2005 12:19:05 PM

mo - this woman indicated her disinterest to be kept alive in such a state to her husband, her legal guardian. In the absence of such wishes being written down in legal form, it is left to the next of kin to make the decision about what to do based on what they believe are her wishes. Next of kin = husband. Whether you like it or not, her husband made the decision based on her wishes. He got educated as a nurse to help take care of her, there were many doctors that examined her, and when it became clear that she was going to be in that state for the rest of her life, he acted as her legal guardian. Fate forbid you should ever be in his position, but then YOU will be allowed to leave your loved one in such a state for as long as you like and no one will have a right to come in and tell you what to do.

Posted by: MoxieGrrrl | Jun 16, 2005 12:52:43 PM

Oh, and don't worry vulture - what goes around comes around.

Posted by: MoxieGrrrl | Jun 16, 2005 12:53:58 PM


Technically, you're right. Technically. Yes, a feeding tube is not a machine. However, feeding tubes are not as simple as some would like to believe.

First of all, the type of feeding tube Terri had was a PEG tube (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy). It would be attached to a machine that would control the drip for her food. A single feeding would take over an hour. It's possible, though, that Terri was on continuous feeding which would have to be done with the aid of a machine.

PEG tubes (also known as g-tubes) must be replaced about every 6 months.

Sticking a feeding tube in someone is not something that is done once and you forget about it. Nor is it something that is completely machine free. Believing that it is, is simply a way to buy into the pipe dream that a feeding tube is not an artificial way of maintaining life.

Posted by: mulligan | Jun 16, 2005 1:38:39 PM

I think it's interesting to note that Cao, author and propriator of Cao's Blog, has yet to make a post about the matter of Schiavo's autopsy. She was one of the most outspoken pundits for Schiavo. Now that it turns out there wasn't a Schiavo (meaning Terri was long gone), it appears that our friend Cao is oblivious and is instead trumping up attacks against those in the reality sphere. Gotta love it! I think this does more to ruin the credibility of the radical righters than the best laid scheme of any reality-based pundit or leader.

Posted by: Joseph (OK Democrat) | Jun 16, 2005 1:50:58 PM

Its over, may she rest in peace.

Posted by: Billion Year Old Carbon | Jun 16, 2005 2:36:45 PM

But I thought good 'ol Dr. Frist examined Terri via videotape and said she responded to visual stimuli. Oh yeah, he's the same doctor who said you could contract AIDS from sweat and tears.

Posted by: Agitprop | Jun 16, 2005 5:00:40 PM

"A culture of life". Yeah, right.
Funny how deeply Bush cares about life when it comes to frozen embryos, unborn babies and comatose white women. Funny how little he seems to care about genocide in Africa,deadly childhood illnesses in most of the Third World and AIDS here and abroad...................

Posted by: Library Lady | Jun 16, 2005 5:58:11 PM

It is no suprise that the numerous blogs dedicated to "save Terri" have been quiet since the autopsy was released. Most of the points that they believed have been proven false...

Posted by: sally | Jun 16, 2005 7:23:46 PM

Ok... Let me get this straight, you all feel some sort of vindication for Terri's autopsy being in "your" favor? Well, hey, it's about time you liberal cry babies won something. Wow, look what ya won? You got to "justifiably" pull the plug on someone.
Shame you feel the same way about abortion, just a way to get rid of a "problem".

Now that's something to be very, very happy for.

Posted by: steve | Jun 16, 2005 10:47:24 PM

Getting rid of the problem is impeaching Bush.

It's a shame your side is so anti-cure between your objections to stem cell research and your belief that you have a right to interject your religious beliefs into other peoples lives.

Yes, I said religious beliefs, it's your belief that a person does not have a right to die and it is your belief that an embryo is a living human being.

Give me some proof other than a quote from the bible or James Dobson and I might sway my opinion into your corner. Until then just put your head back in the sand.

Posted by: The Bastard | Jun 16, 2005 11:19:09 PM

No Steve we're not gloating. This was very sad.

We want this type of situation not to happen to other people. Do you understand compassion?

The compassionate thing would have been for her to been taken off the feeding tube when Michael, her husband, was given the right to. Over a decade later he was still trying.

As to your comment about abortion, I have written extensively on that in Bring It On! as I have on Terri; Cranky has written about abortion.

If you read rather than place a comment with random targets you would have known that we feel
abortion is a very last place decision.

I used to care what people like you thought. Now all I can say is screw you; you represent the closed minded bigotry we are fighting.

Posted by: pia | Jun 16, 2005 11:19:21 PM

When a liberal loses an argument to a conservative he calls him a bigot.

What a crock you socialist.

Posted by: steve | Jun 16, 2005 11:36:22 PM

Steve, how did WE lose the argument? All the people who INSISTED they were right and Terri was capable of recovering and stating that repeatedly are all silent now...

Posted by: sally | Jun 16, 2005 11:42:29 PM

To suggest that liberals are somehow celebrating the release of the Schiavo autopsy or that we're feeling "vindicated" is asinine and dishonest.

The disgusting behavior was from the right-wing. How sad it must have been for Mary and Bob Schindler to have so many people suggesting that their daughter might someday recover, giving them the false hope that it would be so. And the right-wing politicians who injected themselves into the lives of Mary and Bob Schindler, instilling the false hope that the actions of Frist, DeLay and George W. Bush would save their daughter.

It was the right-wing who attacked Michael Schiavo, accusing him of abusing his wife or worse, somehow causing her accident to happen in the first place. The state of Florida investigated Michael Schiavo and found no evidence he abused Terri Schiavo. But that didn't stop the right-wing from levelling baseless accusations at Michael Schiavo.

Bottom line, if you didn't know Terri and Michael Schiavo, you had no idea what their relationship was like before 1990, what their hopes were, what dreams they had, and certainly were not an audience to any conversations the two had regarding what to do in the event one of them became ill and had to be kept alive artifically.

Conservatives may care about life, but they care about it subjectively.

Posted by: Scott C. Smith | Jun 16, 2005 11:58:28 PM

You lost when you called me a bigot because you really had no defense to what I said. Admit it, you feel vindicated. You feel like you won something making the right, in your mind, completely wrong on everything we stand for. It's obvious the left is against faith in something spiritual. Faith transcends science. I am not saying we have no need for science with that statement. But c'mon, I believe this country's great, but if I sat here and read your blog, I'd probably feel shitty and move to France because it is made up of entirely of your opinions against the right, period. And another thing, this is not a random comment when you opened the discussion for everyone by getting random visitors from Blog Explosion.
True, Terri was most likely blind. What does blind mean anyway? Is it 100% blind? Could she shawdows? Could she hear voices? Did the doctors actually know what her quality of life was? Are we right to judge that? You only know what the doctors say to be true with the facts they have and not one commented on her quality of life. You don't know what she was capable of. I mean, c'mon, for Christ's sake, Kim Peek, the guy who inspired the movie Rain Man should be dead with the brain he has but he is a sponge for the knowledge and complete memory of everything he reads. With your facts, we shouldn't have faith in Kim Peek but, the scientific community deems him a "once in a life time" scientific wonder. How did he learn to even read?

This latest post also goes to comment on Bush looking for Osama. What the hell does that have to do with Terri Schiavo? In one instance this blog was happy for her "right to die" yet Bush can't go avenge the deaths of 3500 healthy Americans? Um, am I wrong or did most of the other American's vote for Bush? I sympathize with you in your right to "have a different opinion" but sheesh, give up on the rhetoric.

Posted by: steve | Jun 17, 2005 12:08:40 AM

You sound like a brat kid screaming Nah, nah, na, na, na. May YOU never be in her situation. There are more questions now than there were before!

Posted by: OTTMAN | Jun 17, 2005 2:00:24 AM

Steve and Ottman, now here are two people who supposedly place a high value on human life. What do you two think about the 1,700 American soldiers and the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in the Iraqi war?

(Caution: None of the above-mentioned dead people were unborn fetuses or full-grown vegetables. This could be a trap. You might be painting yourselves into a corner by answering. Answer at your own risk.)

Posted by: Tom Harper | Jun 17, 2005 4:28:11 AM

you said we feel the same about Terri as we do about abortion--without knowing how we feel about abortion. That's bigoted behavior

Depths of blindness? The autopsy plainly said she was blinf--as in blind.

Posted by: pia | Jun 17, 2005 5:45:12 AM

Sorry that was a typo. Meant to say the "autopsy plainly said she was blind--as in blind." Even if she could have seen shadows which she couldn't how would that have enhanced the quality of her life?

People who can see only shadows, usually can't see the outline of a person let alone their face
How do I know this? Happened to my mother.

Don't understand any of you who talk so strongly about preserving life. Preserving life would mean allowing stem cell research.

A repubcon is only one as long as he and his entire family is healthy; then they start screaming for stem cell research.

And Steve, I clearly said "random comment" in context of older posts in Bring it On! Don't frigging assume that people feel a certain way just because it fits your agenda.

i meant that you were shooting bullets randomly and not at a particular target. Because no person ever thinks of abortion as a first or middle choice.

But go on posting comments in liberal blogs talking about how we think that abortion is an easy immediate answer.

Posted by: pia | Jun 17, 2005 8:56:42 AM

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