March 15, 2005

Why the Rush to Kill Terri Schindler-Schiavo?

An American citizen, Terri Schindler-Schiavo, is scheduled to be starved to death starting this Friday, March 18, by the order of an American judge.

I am deeply saddened that this could happen in America. This is not just an ugly family quarrel, as some suggest. Nor is this just a matter where Terri's family needs to "learn to let go."

No, this is a precedent-setting legal case that will likely have long-standing implications for many Americans in the coming years. As one group noted:

It will open the floodgates to euthanasia in the United States, at all ages, without even a legislative decision.

Three previous postings (here, here, here) have shared the history, fact patterns and ethical issues of this case. There is no need to repeat them here.

In the coming days, I would encourage you to keep track of the latest news at the website and the website. And contact key public officials, encouraging them to intervene on behalf of Terri.

As I reflect on this case, there are 7 categories of major, still unanswered questions that are troubling and warrant answers - especially before an innocent, disabled woman is killed:

Under Florida law, incapacitated persons are entitled to certain rights. Florida law also protects disabled adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Why did Michael frequently not meet numerous required guardianship standards under the law? Why did the judge apparently permit these many violations of the law and still allow Michael to remain as guardian?

Why did Michael have an attorney ready to meet with Terri's parents within 48 hours of the original injury to ask them to sign over medical care decision making to him? Why did he seal Terri's medical records shortly after the injury? Why, at times, did he instruct the medical staff not to brief Terri's family on her condition? Why did he not act to ensure Terri received proper follow-on care when the results of the 1991 bone scan which showed broken bones throughout her entire body? Why is he so eager to have her cremated immediately after her death?

Why did Michael say in a 1992 malpractice award court hearing that he was dedicated to ensuring Terri received rehabilitation therapy but then has allowed zero therapy since then - after winning settlements totaling $1.7 million? Why did the judge tolerate such contradictory behavior? Why did Michael petition the court for permission to place Terri on Medicaid in 2002 when malpractice settlement funds still existed? Why did the judge grant the request? Could there be any Medicaid fraud in these actions?

Isn’t it odd that Michael only began raising Terri’s alleged wish to die in 1998, 8 years after the injury and in the first year after hiring George Felos, the right-to-die enthusiast, as his new attorney? That George Felos then filed his first petition to have Terri’s feeding tube removed in May 1998? That Florida House Bill 2131, which was introduced in April 1999 and became law in October 1999, changed the legal definition of life prolonging medical procedures to include "artificially provided sustenance and hydration" - i.e., to the care which is provided to Terri? That one of the bills co-sponsors and one of the panelists each served on the Suncoast Hospice Board of Directors with George Felos? That Judge Greer presided over the case determining whether Michael could starve/dehydrate Terri only three months later in January 2000? Are these just coincidences?

Why is the judge so disinterested in hearing other depositions which challenge Michael’s hearsay-only claim that Terri would want to die?

Similarly, why was Terri moved to a hospice facility in April 2000 by Michael without the required prior approval by the judge? Was it unusual that this unapproved move took Terri to a place where George Felos served as Chairman of the hospice Board of Directors? When you listen to this radio interview with Carla Iyer, a nurse who took care of Terri in an earlier care setting, doesn’t it create some sense of doubt whether the real story has been told publicly and being at the Felos-influenced hospice will now not allow that story to come out?

Why has the judge denied Florida’s Department of Children and Families request for a 60-day extension to the March 18 feeding tube removal date in order to complete their investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect by Michael?

Ken Connor, Chairman of the Center for a Just Society, has said:

Perhaps even more ironic is the fact that if the most heinous of mass murderers were to receive a sentence of death by starvation or dehydration, the courts would overturn that sentence as a violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Beyond the significant ethical and legal issues lurks one simple question: Why is there such a rush to kill Terri Schindler-Schiavo now?

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

This National Review article provides some additional insights.

Posted by: Donald B. Hawthorne at March 16, 2005 11:55 AM

Fantastic post, contains the major, troubling questions surrounding this case without being overly emotional. I would like a judicial watch committee to take a look at Judge Greer. Boggles the mind that the consitutional rights to due process and discovery are being denied her. Not to mention the right to live.

Posted by: I hope. at March 16, 2005 3:11 PM

"It will open the floodgates to euthanasia in the United States, at all ages, without even a legislative decision"

Nice argument from adverse consequences (or in layman terms, use of scare tactics).

How in the world could you possibly hope to argue that the removal of her feeding tube will in any way lead to euthanasiz at all ages? Utter stupidity here.

This is like saying that we need to prevent homosexual marraige becuase once we allow that beastialty, polygamy and adult--child relationships will not be far behind.

Utter bullfeces.

Posted by: Keith at March 16, 2005 3:47 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Hawthorne. There is far more to this case than has been reported by our "unbiased" media. However, I am not at all surprised that this could happen in the united states of america, after all, we are a nation that has killed scores of unborn children, initiated an illegal war in Iraq in which thousands (the actual number has not been publicized for some time now) of innocent people have been killed. This country is really nothing more than an out of control killing machine--one of which I am certainly ashamed to be part of. I pray that for our own sake and that of the rest of the world that someone comes in and puts a stop to us.

Posted by: Tonya Cuatto at March 22, 2005 4:38 PM

It's ironic that President George Bush and his brethren, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, have done their best to stand in the way of allowing this woman to rest in peace. These men are two of the nation's staunchest advocates of capital punishment and yet they feign concern for Terry's rights and welfare? It seems as though Terry's family members aren't the only ones with an agenda.

Posted by: Ned Fester at March 23, 2005 12:25 PM