Thursday, March 31, 2005

Crying Out for Certainty

This whole situation with Terri Schiavo continues to frustrate me. I am firmly allied with those who believe Terri should live (and that she certainly shouldn't be starved and dehydrated) but I just wish I could be talk to all the parties myself, you know? I so desperately want certainty, but it seems to me that there is at least a shadow of a doubt over Terri's condition. That being said, I don't think "a shadow of a doubt" justifies killing anyone in such a case.

Proponents of Terri's death say, "the courts have decided these things over and over" which sounds important until you realize that the "facts" of the case were decided in the original trial and were not open for dispute in any of the appeals. Michael Schiavo had a very good attorney who is well versed in "right to die" issues. The Schindlers had a young attorney working on out of sympathy. It was not until after the trial ended that (at some point) the Schindlers got a better attorney.

Some neurologists claim that Terri is in a PVS, but a leading neurologist, Dr. William Hammesfahr, disagrees. His report on Terri is published on I'm always skeptical of things I just read off of the internet, so I did a quick search on him and he seems to be a real doctor who works in the field of neurology. If you read the report he is convinced that Terri is not in a PVS and is responsive. However, Hammesfahr has been disciplined by the Florida Board of Medicine for false advertizing about his treatment of stroke victims. I read through a bit of the complaint and trial transcript myself, and some neurologists seem to think Hammesfahr's treatments work as advertized, and some don't. The claim that he is a Nobel Prize nominee is apparently false. This doesn't mean that what Dr. Hammesfahr says about Terri is false, but I really wish his record was a bit cleaner. It would be easy to portray him as a doctor who wants notoriety for his controversial method so he claims he can help Terri. For the record, the Schindlers asked him to examine Terri, he did not volunteer himself as I understand it.

People I trust who would know about this sort of thing and are pro-life have seen her CT and say that her brain is really "mush." Where does that leave me? Ugh. I'm confused. Any way you slice it, though, I don't advocate starving and dehydrating Terri.

No comments: