Monday, March 21, 2005

GOP Hypocrisy And The Right To Die

First, the law which Bush signed while Governer of Texas in 1999:

If the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient is requesting life-sustaining treatment that the attending physician has decided and the review process has affirmed is inappropriate treatment, the patient shall be given available life-sustaining treatment pending transfer under Subsection (d). The patient is responsible for any costs incurred in transferring the patient to another facility. The physician and the health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment after the 10th day after the written decision required under Subsection (b) is provided to the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient..

And now, the GOP's talking points regarding the Terry Schiavo case:

This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue.

Yeah, you'd think so. But apparently a 6 month old boy can get this treatment without a peep from the GOP.


Blogger Management said...

S. 529., The Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act

* Teri Schiavo is subject to an order that her feeding tubes will be disconnected on March 18, 2005 at 1p.m.

* The Senate needs to act this week before the Budget Act is pending business, or Teri's family will not have a remedy in federal court.

* This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue.

* This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida - has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.

* The bill is very limited and defines custody as "those parties authorized or directed by a court order to withdraw or withhold food, fluids, or medical treatment."

* There is an exemption for proceeding "which no party disputes, and the court finds, that the incapacitated person while having capacity, had executed a written advance directive valid under applicably law that clearly authorized the withholding or withdrawal of food or fluids or medical treatment in the applicable circumstances."

* Incapacitated persons are defined as those "presently incapable of making relevant decisions concerning the provision, withholding or withdrawal of food fluids or medical treatment under applicable state law."

* This legislation ensures that individuals like Teri Schiavo are guaranteed the same legal protections as convicted murderers like Ted Bundy.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Management said...

DeLay Says He's Not Giving Up Schiavo Fight
Republicans Seek to Take Schiavo Battle to Supreme Court; Husband Calls It a 'Mockery'

Mar. 19, 2005 - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said that he and other Republican members of Congress would continue to work through the weekend to come up with a bill to force doctors to reinsert Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.

After a heated legal and political battle, the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube was removed Friday afternoon, despite a last-ditch effort by Congress to prevent it.

On Friday, House Republicans took the extraordinary step of subpoenaing Schiavo to testify before a Congressional committee, but a Florida judge refused that order. Then late Friday, a House committee filed an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking justices to reinsert Schiavo's feeding tube while the committee files appeals.

The Supreme Court denied that appeal without comment, and in a statement issued Saturday, DeLay, R-Texas, called the court's decision a "moral and legal tragedy."

"A death row inmate has more of a process to go through than Terri Schiavo does," DeLay said earlier on ABC News' "Good Morning America" on Saturday. "All we're doing in Congress is giving Terri Schiavo an opportunity to come to the federal courts and review what this judge in Florida has been doing, and he's been trying to kill Terri for 4 1/2 years."

What Would Terri Have Wanted?

Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, who has pushed for removal of the feeding tube, responded to House Republican efforts with disgust, and expressed particular vitriol for DeLay.

"You have Tom DeLay … making absurd statements that Terri said she didn't want to die. How does he know that? He's never met her," Schiavo said on "Good Morning America" on Saturday.

Terri Schiavo, 41, has been kept alive by a feeding tube for over 15 years after suffering from a heart attack and falling into a coma. Her husband, who is Terri's legal guardian, has repeatedly tried to have the tube removed, saying that is what his wife wanted.

Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have fought to keep the tube in place to keep her alive, insisting that their daughter could get better with rehabilitative therapy.

This is the third time a judge has ordered Schiavo to be removed from her feeding tube, and the Schindlers say they won't give up their fight to keep her alive.

"Nobody wants to live in this condition, but the answer is that we don't starve humans to death," said Terri's brother, Bob Schindler, on "Good Morning America."

Family Battle Turns Political

The family's troubles have devolved into a bitter public battle, with some conservative Republicans, including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and right-to-life organizations taking up the Schindlers' cause.

ABC News obtained talking points circulated among Senate Republicans explaining why they should vote to intervene in the Schiavo case. Among them, that it is an important moral issue and the "pro-life base will be excited," and that it is a "great political issue -- this is a tough issue for Democrats."

When asked about these talking points on "Good Morning America," DeLay said, "I don't know where those talking points come from, and I think they're disgusting."

In this case, the Republican's political wrangling in the Schiavo case does not seem to reflect the majority of American's opinions.

According to an ABC News poll released earlier this week, 87 percent of those surveyed said they would not want to be kept alive if in Schiavo's condition, and 65 percent said a spouse should have the final say in what happens to a patient, as opposed to parents.

Michael Schiavo is adamant that politics have no place in what he says is a personal situation, and has called the Republican's actions a "mockery."

"These people in Congress are walking all over my personal and private life," he said. "I'm telling you, the United States citizens, you better start speaking up, because these people are going to trample into your personal, private affairs."

Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

3:09 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Baby dies after hospital removes breathing tube
Case is the first in which a judge allowed a hospital to discontinue care

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

The baby wore a cute blue outfit with a teddy bear covering his bottom. The 17-pound, nearly 6-month-old boy wiggled with eyes open, his mother said, and smacked his lips.

Then at 2 p.m. Tuesday, a medical staffer at Texas Children's Hospital gently removed the breathing tube that had kept Sun Hudson alive since his birth Sept. 25. Cradled by his mother, he took a few breaths, and died.

"I talked to him, I told him that I loved him. Inside of me, my son is still alive," Wanda Hudson told reporters afterward. "This hospital was considered a miracle hospital. When it came to my son, they gave up in six months. ... They made a terrible mistake."

Sun's death marks the first time a U.S. judge has allowed a hospital to discontinue an infant's life-sustaining care against a parent's wishes, according to bioethical experts. A similar case involving a 68-year-old man in a vegetative state at another Houston hospital is before a court now.

"It's sad this thing dragged on for so long. We all feel it's unfair, that a child doesn't have a chance to develop and thrive," said William Winslade, a bioethicist and lawyer who is a professor at the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Paraphrasing the late Catholic theologian and ethicist Richard McCormick, Winslade added, "This isn't murder. It's mercy, and it's appropriate to be merciful in that way. It's not killing, it's stopping pointless treatment."

The hospital's description of Sun — that he was motionless and sedated for comfort — has differed sharply from the mother's. Since February, the hospital has blocked the media from Hudson's invitation to see the baby, citing privacy concerns.

"I wanted y'all to see my son for yourself," Hudson told reporters. "So you could see he was actually moving around. He was conscious."

On Feb. 16, Harris County Probate Court Judge William C. McCulloch made the landmark decision to lift restrictions preventing Texas Children's from discontinuing care. However, an appeal by Hudson's attorney, Mario Caballero, and a procedural error on McCulloch's part prevented the hospital from acting for four weeks.

Texas law allows hospitals to discontinue life-sustaining care, even if a patient's family members disagree. A doctor's recommendation must be approved by a hospital's ethics committee, and the family must be given 10 days from written notice of the decision to try and locate another facility for the patient.

Texas Children's said it contacted 40 facilities with newborn intensive care units, but none would accept Sun. Without legal delays, Sun's care would have ended Nov. 28.

Sun was born with a fatal form of dwarfism characterized by short arms, short legs and lungs too tiny, doctors said. Nearly all babies born with the incurable condition, often diagnosed in utero, die shortly after birth, genetic counselors say.

Sun was delivered full term at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, but Hudson, 33, said she had no prenatal care during which his condition might have been discovered.

He was put on a ventilator while doctors figured out what was wrong with him, and Hudson refused when doctors recommended withdrawing treatment.

Texas Children's contended that continuing care for Sun was medically inappropriate, prolonged suffering and violated physician ethics. Hudson argued her son just needed more time to grow and be weaned from the ventilator.

Another case involving a patient on life support — a 68-year-old man in a chronic vegetative state whose family wants to stop St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital from turning off his ventilator — was scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the Houston-based 1st Court of Appeals. But the case was transferred to the 14th Court of Appeals, which promptly issued a temporary injunction ordering St. Luke's not to remove the man's life support. No hearing date has been set.

Chronicle reporter Todd Ackerman contributed to this report.

9:07 AM  

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