Right to Life, but What Life?
Tue Aug 31, 2004 04:42 PM ET
By Michael Peltier
TALLAHASSEE (Reuters) - A bitter legal battle over whether the husband of a brain-damaged woman should be allowed to remove her feeding tube against the wishes of her parents reached the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The court heard arguments over a law that allowed Gov. Jeb Bush to override a court ruling that had given Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo, permission to have her feeding tube removed. It was not known when the court would rule.
Brain damaged since a 1990 heart attack, Schiavo, 40, has been at the center of a long battle between her parents and her husband that has drawn in supporters on both sides of the right to die argument.
Michael Schiavo was granted permission by a court to have the feeding tube removed in October 2003, but Florida lawmakers, at Bush's behest, hastily passed legislation allowing the governor to intervene. The tube was reinserted six days later.
But in May, a Florida circuit court judge struck down the law. [...]
Probably, most of you know the story. The woman had a heart attack, coma ensued, but her body has been kept alive via artificial means ever since. She's been lying in a bed for fourteen years. A legal battle has been going on for six years.
This is a fate most medical professionals dread.
My wife and are in agreement that we do not want such a thing to happen to ourselves. A part of the Schiavo case rests on a previous court finding that there is clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Schiavo did not want this life either, but there is no written record. Yvonne and I do have a written record: it is in a lawyer's vault on Liberty Street in Ann Arbor. But if both of us are seriously injured at the same time, I'm not sure how those documents would come to light.
Both of us have done consultations in nursing homes, often doing them together, and we talked about the subject during those times, and many other occasions. So here it is on the 'net, for all to see, to be archived forever by Google, et. al. This is intended to go beyond clear and convincing evidence, into the realm of beyond a reasonable doubt.
If I end up in a persistent vegetative state, please pull out the feeding tube. By the way, I don't plan to retire in Florida.