Schiavo Controversy

The “DaySide” e-mail account is blowing its circuits! Oceans of messages are flooding in from you all about the Terri Schiavo (search) case. As I write this, Terri's feeding tube has now been removed. Unless there's some court action to reinsert it, we all are on a slow vigil to watch this woman die. We will likely be covering this case again on Monday, so with that in mind, here are some of your e-mails to provoke discussion.

As you heard from the doctor on the show Friday, the court accepts as evidence the statement from Michael Schiavo (search) that Terri once told him she wouldn't want to kept alive in the condition in which she now finds herself. Clearly, this troubles many of you:

E-mail No. 1:

If her husband can use an alleged statement prior to her illness to support trying to refuse her basic feedings, then what keeps any husband, child, family member from refusing basic feeding of a disabled person simply by stating that person verbally told them 'they wouldn't want to live that way'?
—Gail Grauer, Florida

E-mail No. 2:

These people [on your show today] have not seen anyone die of starvation!!! It is horrible both for the patient and the ones having to watch it. My son-in-law had cancer and died of starvation... it was horrible!
—Dee Munoz, Jacksonville, Florida

E-mail No. 3:

That [doctor on your show] is an idiot!!!...He's a liar [for saying Terri's death would be painless]... I as a nurse have presided at the bedside of a person who starved/dehydrated. It is painful and it takes quite a long time.
—Barbara Puszert, Retired Nurse

E-mail No. 4:

So, the courts have determined that if Terri Schiavo could recite the alphabet, then she's a viable life and the feeding tube could remain? Where in the Constitution does it say the criteria of mental capacity are the decided factor on who is allowed to live?
—Outraged in Texas

Now, the other side of the argument: A number of you say you're troubled by Congress intervening to keep Terri from dying:

E-mail No. 5:

It is a shame that our Federal Government has taken steps to prolong the suffering of Terri Schiavo... They are making a freak show of the poor woman... Let the poor woman pass on peacefully into Heaven.. Do all of these right to life advocates not know that death is part of the naural order of things?
—Robby Panick, Vidalia, Georgia

E-mail No. 6:

I personally doe not want to see Terri die... however the precedent set by today's actions by lawmakers in Washington clearly sets up some Orwellian consequences.
—Ben E. Brady, Dinuba, California

Friends, I have very mixed feelings about aspects of this case, but all I can say is — this is a lesson to all of us to make sure our wishes are clearly written on paper. It doesn't take long to get a living will or durable power of attorney — and it's worth it to save your family agony in case something terrible happens to you.

Think it over, and see you Monday.


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