Terri Schiavo, Now that we have all calmed down

Perhaps it is too soon to start a reasonable discussion about this emotional issue, but let’s try. She died in March. Now that we have all had a chance to reflect upon it, what do we think?

On another (lesser) board, is a poster who is still maintaining that the husband Michael was abusive and wanted to murder his wife (for some reason). Is the charge that he abused his wife factually correct?

Did either side lie, or are there shades of gray in what was said about this case?

I still think MS did the right thing and I don’t think he abused her at all. During the med-mal trial in which he sued doctors for malpractice, I believe the doctors would have certainly brought up any abuse issues at that time had there been any question at all about it. I don’t have a timeline, but I don’t think the word “abuse” was used in her situation until fairly recently. I also think the parents abused the media and court system.

I don’t care if she was abused or not, we as a society cannot make the decision to kill another human being in that state unless we have clear cut evidence the person agreed to such an action beforehand.

As I’m sure was posted before, this site has an excellent timeline and legal information about the case.

Of course it’s pretty tough to prove that he never abused her, but I have seen the stronger claim made that his abuse caused her original injury and brain damage. A problem with this is that he later won a lawsuit against her doctors, on the basis that they had failed to diagnose her bulimia, and that the bulimia was the cause of her injury. As far as I can tell, the possibility of abuse was not even raised by the defense at the trial, and they certainly would have reason to bring it up if they had anything.

We as a society didn’t, her husband, who was responsible for that decision, did so in accordance with what he believed to be her wishes.

Strictly speaking, I don’t think it’s correct to say that Michael made the decision. He petitioned the court to make the determination as to what Terri’s wishes would have been. For example, as I understand it, had he had a change of heart in the days before her death, he would not have had the authority to have her feeding tube reconnected.

The court said that there was no evidence of any kind that Michael Schiavo abused his wife. As far as I know, there is no evidence that he was ever untruthful about anything involved in the case. The Schindlers may have been sincerely deluded or may have been lying but they made a great number of purely fantastic claims about their daughter’s condition and abilities. They were encouraged and supported in this by political activists who exploited this case as a means to further an anti-abortion agenda (a connection which I never quite figured out).

Michael Schiavo did not make the decision to pull the plug. The court did that after hearing tetsimony from multiple witnesses and after deciding there was “clear and concincing evidence” that Terri would not want to kept alive artificially.

This case was never about anything but an individual’s right to refuse medical treatment. Legally, that’s all that happened. The courts protected Terri Schiavo’s right to say no to a feeding tube.

Some time may have passed but I still think that the behavior of some politicians on the far right was a disgusting, circus-like display of pandering, dishonest, disgraceful demagoguery.

You make a pretty big assumption in the OP - namely, that the woman died in March. The argument could be made that Terri Schiavo died some fifteen years ago, and that ceasing to animate her brain stem constituted neither murder, nor euthanasia.

I agree.

How her passing was used as a tool of the Radical Right was and remains appalling.

Great, I know I can count on your support for banning the death penalty.

What I want to know is what did the autopsy show? How much, if any, brain was left? If the autopsy confirmed the xrays that showed the skull contained mostly fluid, then there really wasn’t any essence of person to kill. These are hard decisions, and the husband and the legal system worked well to preserve her rights. The correct outcome was reached. I feel for the parents, but I think they held false hope.

The complete autopsy results are still about a week or two away. And the autopsy won’t be able to confirm or deny the diagnosis of Persistent Vegitative State, which is a clinical diagnosis. In addition, the idiots who think it was a state sanctioned murder will not be swayed regardless of what the autopsy shows. Factual information was never their strong suit in the Schiavo case anyway.

I, too, feel for them, but part of the reason that they held out such false hope was because of the politicians who said that they should. Up to and most assuredly including Senator Frist who made a diagnosis without ever having met the patient.

That aside, I think that the correct decision was reached, and since there has never been anything (short of talk-radio ranting) indicating that Michael abused his wife, then that is a non-starter.


What, you mean there is still doubt about this? I thought this question had been laid to rest. I mean, Bill Frist diagnosed her as not in a PVS. And he even watched a videotape of her. What more proof do you need? :rolleyes:

Let’s see if we can go a little further in the thread before the usual suspects start with the stereotypes, please?

It does worry me that a woman’s wishes can be relayed by a husband over whom allegations of abuse were unresolved and who acquired a mistress and two children without divorcing his wife, but at the same time I think that Terri was gone 15 years ago and she herself was NOT a typical case to hang all these issues on. I have a mother who has epilepsy and head injuries and am quite interested in the rights of the disabled, but from what I saw Terri was effectively dead.

I don’t see how we can decide about this until we see the autopsy anyway.

Unresolved? These allegations were certainly resolved to the satisfaction of the courts, which is all that matters. If the “culture of the living dead” doesn’t accept that, that’s too damn bad, but it is hardly a reason to continue lashing this dead horse.

“Unresolved?” Are you serious? Do you think that any allegation of abuse is “unresolved” unless the accused can somehow prove the negative? Are you seriously suggesting that an allegation alone, with no corroborative evidence, should be sufficient reason to strip a person of his right to make decisions for an incapacitated spouse.

There were no allegations of abuse until years after Terri’s collapse and the schindlers had previously testified in the malpractice suit that Michael was a loving and caring husband. The court investigated later accusations of abuse and found them groundless. So as far as the court was concerned, those allegations were resolved. Furthermore, Michael was not the only witness who testified as to her wishes.

She isn’t a “mistress,” she is, in fact, his SO, not some piece of fluff on the side. It’s also completely irrelevant to the case. The man moved on with his personal life but he did not abandon his responsibilities to Terri’s care or to carrying out her wishes and it 's really specious and cheap to characterize his new family - his FAMILY - as something seamy or untoward.

What do you think the autopsy is going to show you that would undermine the PVS diagnosis? What do you think still has to be “decided?”

It wasn’t just the husband though. Even over in Ireland this story was covered well enough for me to know that her friends also testified as to her feelings about this issue. The court/s found that this evidence and the witnesses were compelling.

From a earlier link in this thread coz it’s the handiest


What would it take to “resolve” said allegations?

Thank you for the link to the very informative site. MY ISP is suffering from vapor lock and I seem to be limited in my browsing until the matter is resolved. Please feel free to talk among yourselves.

I can’t add anything to the South Park conclusion: some people were wrong for the right reasons, and some people were right for the wrong reasons.