Wily as a coyote (fourcorners) wrote in thequestionclub,
Wily as a coyote

The Questions of Life

This is a two part question

The latest on Terry Shiavo's drama

I'm sure most of you have heard about the story of Terry Schiavo. She's severely brain damaged, and kept alive solely by a tube. She suffered her brain damage back in 1990, and for the last few years, her husband, Michael, has legally tried to have her tube removed, thus bringing forth her death, by saying that she would not want to live like this. She's been this way for a while, and there's little medical hope for recovery. Even if she does recover from the necessity of using the tube, her brain is so severely damaged she'll never be more than severely mentally handicapped the rest of her life, and will have to undergo extensive therapy to even resume normal motor functions, like walking and talking. Her parents are religious people and feel that there's always hope, and want her tube to stay. Michael wants to move on with his life, and feels no reason to keep her alive. Her parents feel that he wants her to die just so he can make off with insurance checks and property and stuff like that, being the sole beneficiary. Considering that this is taking place in Florida, where Jeb Bush is governor, he's intervened illegally to bar the tube removal. The courts have been back and forth on this issue, and eventually the higher courts are taking a role in this as well. Bush himself has addressed his this issue, supporting the idea to keep her alive. What finally happens to her is undecided as of now. My questions are as follows

1) Who do you feel is right in this case? The husband, or the parents and the Bushes? Does the date of her mental injury play a factor in this case?

2) Suppose you were in Terry's place. What would you want to happen to you?

My answers

I say take the tube out. She's brain damaged to the point where nothing short of a miracle will return her remotely back to the same person she was. She exists only due to a tube, and has been this way for a while. There's been little or no change. Let the husband get closure already. None of this is cheap, this keeping her alive business. Let him get on with his life. Her parents need to let go. Simply breathing on your own is not an indication of self-sufficiency. Her quality of life is pathetic. Living just for the sake of living is not a good enough reason to stay alive. If you have a 95% chance of staying a vegetable forever, and a 5% chance of emerging as a deeply retarded individual, there seems to be no positive result. If she pulls through, then she'll have to be taken care of for the rest of her life by her husband and parents as an invalid. There is no other result expected. And this is a family matter, not a state matter. Jeb has no business butting into the affairs of citizens. Shame on the government for intruding on personal matters, and shame on the courts for intruding on the privacy of this marriage. The state has no authority on how your family conducts its affairs. While this is euthanasia, the subject is considered brain dead, and people like this are taken off of life support often enough, as it's deemed to be too hard a burden on the families. I don't see this as any different

I would NEVER want to wind up like this. Pull the plug. If my choices are brain-dead coma victim for life, or the remote chance of becoming a gibbering brain-damaged mental case, then just send me off this mortal coil. There's nothing left for me. The me that would be left would be NOTHING like the person I am today. If I don't have my mind, my thoughts, my rationale, then I'd just be the equivalent of a pet, just another messy dependent in my loved ones' lives. Screw it. I'm outta here, in that case. I'd rather take my chances with the unknown that be imprisoned for the rest of this life in a body and mind that no longer work. Suffering like that is a fate worse than death. I'd rather be mourned than pitied, I'd rather die sooner with dignity than fade out slowly as a family embarrassment.

What's your take, people? There's no right or wrong answer. I'm just curious where people fall on this issue.
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