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Schiavo lawyers challenge 'Terri's Law'
AP | 10/29/03

Posted on 10/29/2003 2:20:27 PM PST by kattracks

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A hastily passed state law that empowered Gov. Jeb Bush to keep a severely brain-damaged woman alive is unconstitutional, attorneys for the woman's husband claimed Wednesday.

In a court filing, attorneys for Michael Schiavo challenged what Florida lawmakers dubbed "Terri's Law," which gave Bush the authority to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube be reinserted Oct. 21. They asked that the law be overturned.

The filing's major contentions are that the law violates Terri Schiavo's right to privacy under the Florida Constitution and the separation of power provisions of the state constitution.

Michael Schiavo has been battling in court for years to carry out what he says is his wife's wish to not be kept alive artificially.

His in-laws, Bob and Mary Schindler, have fought him, saying their daughter had no such wishes and is not in a permanent vegetative state, as a probate judge has declared. They say she is responsive and could improve with therapy.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: righttodeath; righttolife; schiavo; schindler; terri; terrisbill; terrischiavo
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To: ex-Texan
"There was a rumor that Michael was in hiding because of all the death threats he is getting."

Who knows if he is actually getting death threats and is in hiding.

One of the threads said he was seen at an upscale mall shopping while he was 'supposedly' in hiding.

41 posted on 10/29/2003 4:15:10 PM PST by LADY J
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After Terri dead, and (if my guess is true) Michael collects, then he no longer needs his current girlfriend, she cannot collect child support or alimony. Isn't that nice?

No he's still responsible for his children. Whatever scum he may be the children are innocent. They deserve to be financially supported, but not at the expense of Terri.

42 posted on 10/29/2003 4:25:59 PM PST by CajunConservative
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To: stanz
I suppose that is why parents pray that their children will chose Godly spouses.
43 posted on 10/29/2003 4:30:30 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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To: pickyourpoison
Jeepers! didn't know that. Thought he had child with present girlfriend and one on the way. where did you get he was paying child support for one more?
44 posted on 10/29/2003 4:31:45 PM PST by texaslil
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To: spunkets
yeah right.......first, the law is a sham and will be thrown out by the court system. Second, It seem's that Terri's familys "expert" witness is not only a liar, but a fraud...

Get a grip.....Her husband is her legal gaurdian and has the right to honor her wishes by taking out the tube.....
45 posted on 10/29/2003 4:52:25 PM PST by Legerdemain (The GodSquad, The worst of the Thought Police)
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To: Krodg; MizSterious; NYer; bvw; All
I haven't found where I read that Judy was working at an insurance company. I know I read it though.

But, in searching the links, I found some very interesting things for those that insist TERRI IS BRAINDEAD, that TERRI CANT AND NEVER COULD COMMUNICATE HER WISHES. They are totally mistaken.

And Michael is the biggest liar of them all.

HERE IS THE THREAD One of the Terri Threads

Schindler lived in the same St. Petersburg apartment complex as his sister and brother-in-law in 1990. He says Michael Schiavo knew CPR but did not perform it the night Terri collapsed and was deprived of oxygen for 10 minutes. Schindler said his family and their doctors suspect Terri Schiavo was beaten and suffered brain damage.

Caplan pointed out that courts have consistently ruled in favor of Michael Schiavo even though his wife's parents and siblings have alleged he abused her.

"Look at the evidence," he said. "They keep coming back and saying, no, he's not in it for life insurance; he's not in it because he doesn't care for her.

BEFORE ME the undersigned authority personally appeared CARLA SAUER IYER, R.N., who being first duly sworn, deposes and says:

1. My name is Carla Sauer Iyer. I am over the age of eighteen and make this statement of my own personal knowledge.

7. Terri's medical condition was systematically distorted and misrepresented by Michael. When I worked with her, she was alert and oriented. Terri spoke on a regular basis while in my presence, saying such things as "mommy," and "help me." "Help me" was, in fact, one of her most frequent utterances. I heard her say it hundreds of times. Terri would try to say the word "pain" when she was in discomfort, but it came out more like "pay." She didn't say the "n" sound very well. During her menses she would indicate her discomfort by saying "pay" and moving her arms toward her lower abdominal area. Other ways that she would indicate that she was in pain included pursing her lips, grimacing, thrashing in bed, curling her toes or moving her legs around. She would let you know when she had a bowel movement by flipping up the covers and pulling on her diaper and scooted in bed on her bottom.

9. Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused -4- on Terri's death. Michael would say "When is she going to die?," "Has she died yet?" and "When is that bitch gonna die?" These statements were common knowledge at Palm Gardens, as he would make them casually in passing, without regard even for who he was talking to, as long as it was a staff member. Other statements which I recall him making include "Can't anything be done to accelerate her death - won't she ever die?" When she wouldn't die, Michael would be furious.

Michael was also adamant that the family should not be given information. He made numerous statements such as "Make sure the parents aren't contacted." I recorded Michael's statements word for word in Terri's chart, but these entries were also deleted after the end of my shift.

10. Any time Terri would be sick, like with a UTI or fluid buildup in her lungs, colds, or pneumonia, Michael would be visibly excited, thrilled even, hoping that she would die. He would say something like, -5- "Hallelujah! You've made my day!" He would call me, as I was the nurse supervisor on the floor, and ask for every little detail about her temperature, blood pressure, etc., and would call back frequently asking if she was dead yet. He would blurt out "I'm going to be rich!" and would talk about all the things he would buy when Terri died, which included a new car, a new boat, and going to Europe, among other things.


11. When Michael visited Terri, he always came alone and always had the door closed and locked while he was with Terri. He would typically be there about twenty minutes or so. When he left Terri would be trembling, crying hysterically, and would be very pale and have cold sweats. It looked to me like Terri was having a hypoglycemic reaction, so I'd check her blood sugar. The glucometer reading would be so low it was below the range where it would register an actual number reading. I would put dextrose in Terri's mouth to counteract it. This happened about five times on my shift, as I recall. Normally Terri's blood sugar levels were very stable due to the uniformity of her diet through tube feeding. It is medically possible that Michael injected Terri with Regular insulin, which is very fast acting, but I don't have -6- any way of knowing for sure.

THIS is likely why Michael really trained to be a nurse. So he could find out what to use to KILL HIS WIFE, and attempt to escape detection.

46 posted on 10/29/2003 4:54:42 PM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: Saundra Duffy
In the obituary for Michael's mother, Michael's girlfriend was named as his fiancee. Terrie was not mentioned.
47 posted on 10/29/2003 4:57:20 PM PST by ladyjane
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To: Legerdemain
IT would be interesting if you bothered to investigate the truth of this case.

There is sworn testimony to the fact the Michael is an attempted murderer. I know, you only believe the sworn testimony of Michael, His brother and sister-in-law, and anyone that agrees with you.

Anyone else, like the staff at the Hospice, her parents, Qualified and well known doctors who disagree with the QUACK Michael used, who is part of the SUNCOAST HOSPICE KILLEM AND TAKE THEIR MONEY plan, can't be believed. Is that pretty much your attitude?

48 posted on 10/29/2003 4:58:20 PM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: pickyourpoison
Last year, by court order, Hugh Finn - husband, father, son and human being - was starved to death at Annaburg Manor Nursing Home in Manassas.

Hugh suffered brain injury in a 1995 auto accident in Kentucky, where he'd been a TV newsman. Some doctors, not all, said he was in a persistent vegetative state - unable to communicate. Under Virginia law, he was dehydrated to death.

But Hugh wanted to live, and he conveyed that to his parents and their attorney. With no "living will," he needed only food, water and comfort to live. He wasn't on "life support," and there's ample evidence he could communicate and make his wishes known.
Hugh's parents and brothers helped care for him. At least one of them visited him every day. Indeed, that's why he'd been moved here from Kentucky.

And when Hugh's wife, Michele, still living in Kentucky, said she would stop her husband's feeding, his family freed her of any further burden in his case; they'd take all responsibility for his care, costing her nothing in money or time.

Regardless, Hugh's wife ordered his feeding stopped.

With no where to else to turn after losing a court case, Hugh's family - including his parents and brothers in the 13th legislative district and, significantly, Michele Finn's own mother and sister - appealed to Del. Bob Marshall for help.

Eight members of Hugh's immediate family (not including spouses) wanted him to live; to have a chance to recover.

They sought help from Bob Marshall, and later from Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, to save Hugh from court- authorized removal of his food and water. And to live is what Hugh, himself, wanted.

"After his wife announced she was going to terminate him," Tom Finn, Hugh's father, said, "I sat and told him that she was going to put him to death. He pinched his face up and brought both arms up and shivered, then both legs picked up, and he moaned very load."

Last summer, Bob Diamond, the Finn's attorney, whose wife is a doctor, saw Hugh at Annaburg Manor with Hugh's parents, a brother and Michele Finn's sister.

"I explained to Hugh that I was there to try to stop Michele from withdrawing the feeding tube from him," Diamond said. "I then asked Hugh if he wanted me to fight to keep his feeding tube, and he nodded his head 'yes'.... It appeared to me that Hugh was not in a persistent vegetative state."

Virginia law forbids "any deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying." [Virginia Code 54.1-2990] Yet, a Prince William County judge permitted Hugh's fatal starvation. Withdrawal of food and water, may be challenged "on petition of any person to the circuit court." [Virginia Code 54.1-2986].

Gov. Gilmore went to court on Hugh's behalf because Virginia law mandates "the Governor may institute a law suit to protect ... citizens ... where he shall have determined that existing legal procedures fail to adequately protect existing legal rights and interests of such citizens."

Bob Marshall told Virginia's Health Secretary, a shunt draining fluid from Hugh's brain hadn't been checked; that a 1996 examination showed it might be blocked. But last year, Hugh's wife refused to let a doctor examine the shunt.

A doctor's failure to fix a blocked shunt can be medical malpractice. Dr. Paul Byrne, an expert Virginia court witness, said a blocked shunt could've prevented Hugh from communicating.

Dr. Byrne, asked by Virginia Attorney General Mark Early's office to examine Hugh's medical records, said Hugh wasn't "vegetative." He found Other News

documented instances of Hugh communicating with gestures and actually talking.

In early 1996, when Hugh was brought to Manassas, he was considered a "good" rehabilitation candidate. He talked occasionally and completed songs his dad sang. He responded to nurses. Medical records and health workers verified his ability to communicate.

Last fall, Hugh's wife claimed on ABC's Good Morning America her husband hadn't communicated at all since his 1995 accident. Yet seven Important Phone Numbers...

weeks after that accident, she told a Louisville news conference her husband was awake and talking!

A Virginia state nurse examined Hugh at Annaburg Manor just before his death.

"I then went around the bed and faced Mr. Finn," she testified under oath in court. "I said, 'Hi.' And he immediately responded with 'Hi.' ...[He] did not look the same as other chronic vegetative patients... It was in his care plan up until [June 1998] that there was a system for saying 'yes' or 'no' by putting his hand to his forehead."

The judge denied Hugh's parents access to their son's medical records. He refused to let them present testimony by their own medical experts; or to take Michele's deposition under oath; or to get a "second opinion" on Hugh's condition.

Instead, the judge accepted the claims of three doctors hired by Michele Finn that Hugh was in a persistent vegetative state.

One of Michele's doctors could not recall if Hugh felt pain during tests, and he had nothing in writing about whether Hugh's responsiveness changed during the tests.

Michele's second doctor said he saw Hugh twice in 12 months, but de didn't review Finn's medical records for the court hearing, nor could he tell what drug dosages Hugh received.

Michele's third doctor, with 150+ nursing-home patients and more than 1000 patient files in her office, didn't bring Hugh's medical records to the hearing, and she had difficulty with questions about Hugh's medical history. She was unsure if Hugh was on communication-aiding medication; nor was she aware some patients actually recover even after years in such condition; nor had she examined Hugh on a regular basis.

So Hugh Finn died - not from injury, but by court-authorized starvation - and his parents were fined $17,452 for his wife's and guardian's legal fees. This is justice in Virginia?
49 posted on 10/29/2003 4:59:28 PM PST by GeekDejure (<H3> Searching For The Meaning Of "Huge" Fonts !!!</H3>)
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To: Saundra Duffy
An evil money-grubbing monster is not supposed to be appointed as a legal guardian for a vulnerable disabled person. Furthermore, it's against the law to starve and withhold water from farm animals. By the way, Michael Schiavo is living with another woman and has impregnated her twice (apparently). He's not her husband anymore in the real sense.

He is her husband, thus legally her for the rest.....who cares....just because you don't like it does not make it untrue......

50 posted on 10/29/2003 4:59:28 PM PST by Legerdemain (The GodSquad, The worst of the Thought Police)
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To: OpusatFR
Hospice and hospice workers are not angels of death.

I would think twice before letting a loved one go into a hospice in Florida.

51 posted on 10/29/2003 4:59:42 PM PST by ladyjane
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To: kattracks
The filing's major contentions are that the law violates Terri Schiavo's right to privacy under the Florida Constitution and the separation of power provisions of the state constitution.

Claims based on the Florida Constitution, which can be amended away. See Article XII of the Florida Constitution for the methods of amendment it allows. Turns out, it's not that hard to amend.

52 posted on 10/29/2003 5:00:15 PM PST by aristeides
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To: nothingnew
I know a great deal about the laws...and the constitutional arguements involved.BTW, Been on FR for many years, just liked this handle better...
53 posted on 10/29/2003 5:01:54 PM PST by Legerdemain (The GodSquad, The worst of the Thought Police)
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To: pickyourpoison
Targeting the Vulnerable
by PJ King, RN

Not long ago I arrived at work to hear that one of the residents I care for on my night shift had a critically high blood level of sodium. I brushed up on hypernatremia and found that she was more likely to die than to live. I called her doctor to inform him of her sodium level. His initial response was, "I don’t want to bother with her tonight. Let it go till morning." Actually his response was longer than that but I refuse to fill your ears with the language with which he filled mine.
I then called the woman’s son. My position was difficult. I couldn’t cast the doctor in a bad light but I needed to communicate both the doctor’s decision and the urgency of his mother’s condition. I did so carefully and dispassionately. He asked me if there were any alternatives. "She could be given intravenous fluids to correct the sodium level," I said. "My mother has lived a long and full life," he replied, "and I think extraordinary measures would not be appropriate. But I couldn’t live with myself if I failed to urge her doctor to provide basic treatment. I’d like her to have an IV."

And so I called the doctor again. When I told him the son’s decision, he swore. "How old is this woman?" he asked. I told him she was 79. "How long has she been in a nursing home?" I checked and found she’d been there six years. "Any treatment for someone that old and living in a nursing home is extraordinary treatment," he shouted. "I’ll see her in the morning!"

I instructed the two nursing assistants who, with me, made up the team that night, to push fluids at every opportunity. This was not easy, as our patient was all but unconscious as a result of her electrolyte imbalance. The aides seemed not to be very ambitious in following my instruction. I felt the burden of preserving this woman’s life was mine alone for eight hours that night. I probably spent two of those hours with her, dribbling straws-full of water into her mouth and watching that she swallowed without choking. She made it through the night and was still there the next. Over the next two or three weeks she gradually improved.

I could tell you other such stories. But this one should suffice to illustrate the attitudes of many health care personnel toward the infirm elderly today. The sanctity-of-life principle, a heritage from our Christian roots, has largely been replaced by the relativistic quality-of-life standard whereby we judge the merit of continuing existence on the basis of our estimate of what constitutes a good life.

Abortion has been legal for more than twenty years now. Not long after the Roe v Wade decision, Dr. James Dobson predicted that infanticide would follow naturally, and then euthanasia. In 1982 "Baby Doe" was born in Indiana with Down syndrome and a problem of the esophagus easily correctable by surgery. But they elected against surgery and asked the physician to order that their baby not be given food or water. And so the little girl’s lungs were slowly digested by gastric juices while she starved to death. The decision was upheld by the Indiana Supreme Court on the basis of the parents’ right to privacy. Other infants judged doomed to a life not worth living have also been "allowed" to die. Is assisted suicide and euthanasia for adults "burdened" with unworthy life just around the corner?

What you may not be aware of, as I was not as recently as a year ago, is that killing life judged unworthy of life is already happening quietly in this country.

A year ago last January, 83-year-old Marjorie Nighbert suffered a stroke. She was left with severe physical disability, including difficulty swallowing, not uncommon in stroke victims. A feeding tube was inserted so that she could receive nourishment.

In 1992 Marjorie had designated that her brother be given power of attorney for health care for her. He directed that the tube feeding be discontinued. The tube was removed.

Marjorie, of course, became hungry. She repeatedly asked those caring for her in the nursing home for food. But the order was clear, and legal. Marjorie was to be starved to death. She would have died unnoticed behind closed doors had it not been for the conscience of one staff member who saw Marjorie touch a nurse’s arm and ask for food. He told a priest, who contacted the local chapter of Right to Life, who reported Marjorie’s situation to Florida’s Health and Rehabilitation Services. The case went to court. Ultimately the judge ruled that Marjorie not be fed on the basis of her not being competent to ask for food. The employee who reported the incident was fired. Marjorie died on April 6, 1995.

This is not an isolated incident. A study published in the March 27, 1996, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Aassociation reports a survey of physicians in the state of Washington. Twelve percent of the respondents had in the previous year been asked by one or more patients for help in ending their lives. Of these, 24% had complied by prescribing a lethal dose of oral medication and 24% had administered a lethal injection on request. Although Washington is the only state in which a formal study of the incidence of assisted suicide and euthanasia has been done thus far, it is not the only state in which these practices are occurring. Bioethicists and other knowledgeable persons on both sides of the issue take it as established fact. Respected journals confirm its existence. Although not yet legal, death for the marginalized is already here.

54 posted on 10/29/2003 5:02:25 PM PST by GeekDejure (<H3> Searching For The Meaning Of "Huge" Fonts !!!</H3>)
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To: george wythe
The Schiavo controversy was anticipated by the framers, who warned of the natural inclination of politicians to intervene in individual cases. James Madison, for instance, criticized state politicians for altering "rights which should have been left to judicial controversy."

SCOTUS did not agree. Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386 (1798).

55 posted on 10/29/2003 5:02:38 PM PST by aristeides
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To: Legerdemain
He is her husband, thus legally her for the rest.....who cares....just because you don't like it does not make it untrue......

And Saddam was IRAQI's BIG DADDY TOO......was that ok also????

56 posted on 10/29/2003 5:02:57 PM PST by pollywog (Psalm 121;1 I Lift mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help.)
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To: GeekDejure
I hope this won't be Terri's fate.
57 posted on 10/29/2003 5:02:57 PM PST by pickyourpoison
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To: OpusatFR
it is the government now trying to "keep this body alive"....
and now wanting to add more medicaid money in the loop...gosh
58 posted on 10/29/2003 5:04:51 PM PST by Legerdemain (The GodSquad, The worst of the Thought Police)
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To: pickyourpoison
The Consequences of Casual Conversations

Michael Schiavo's argument that his wife wants to die stems from an off-hand remark she made while watching a movie. It isn't the first time this has happened.

by Wesley J. Smith
10/27/2003 1:45:00 PM

ONE EVENING, during the second term of President Ronald Reagan, Terri Schiavo and her husband Michael decided to watch a television movie about Karen Ann Quinlan. Quinlan, as most readers know, had a tragic life. After overdosing on a combination of drugs and alcohol, she fell into unconsciousness and never awakened. Her parents won a lawsuit in the New Jersey Supreme Court allowing them to disconnect her ventilator. Karen didn't die immediately--she lived on for 10 more years before finally expiring from pneumonia.

While discussing the movie, Michael claims that Terri stated she would not want to live hooked up to a "machine" (she's not), or be a "burden" (her parents don't consider her a burden and want to care for her). Michael's brother, Scott, backs up his claim, while his sister-in-law, Joan, told the court that Terri had approved of pulling the life support from the dying baby of a mutual friend and said that if she ever wrote a "will" she would say that she didn't want "tubes."

Little did Terri know that these purported statements, uttered under very casual circumstances, would become the justification used by her husband in his six-year drive to remove her feeding tube and end her life. Indeed, based on these casual statements, Judge George Greer of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater, Florida ruled that Michael had established "by clear and convincing evidence"--the highest evidentiary standard in civil law--that Terri would rather dehydrate to death over a period of 10-14 days than live on food and water supplied by a feeding tube.

THIS ASPECT of Terri's case deserves far more attention that it is receiving. Most of us have undoubtedly made similar casual statements in response to the death of a relative or the emotions generated by a movie. But shouldn't much more be required to justify the intentional ending of a human life? At the very least, shouldn't we demand a well thought out, informed, and preferably written statement that not only indicates what is desired, but also shows that reasonable alternatives have been fully considered?

For example, if Terri did say she didn't want tubes, did she know that it would include a feeding tube and that it could mean a dying process that involved seizures, heaving, nose bleeding, cracked lips, parched tongue, and the extremities becoming cold and mottled? If she did, would that have made a difference to her? And would her opinion have changed if she knew that the statements made to her husband and in-laws would be stretched by Judge Greer to refuse her parents' reasonable request that before being dehydrated, she be allowed access to rehabilitation that many medical experts believe might permit her to be weaned from the feeding tube altogether?

And what does the statement, "I don't want tubes," mean anyway? Perhaps Terri was thinking about the stark atmosphere of a neonatal intensive care unit in which babies may be kept alive by battalions of beeping and buzzing medical machines. But she isn't in that condition. Or, if she was thinking of Karen Quinlan's circumstance, she might have conceived of herself spending years on a respirator, which was the treatment at issue in her case. But Terri isn't on a respirator. The only life support she needs is food and water.

MANY DEHYDRATION CASES have involved such casual statements. The most disturbing of these was that of Marjorie Nighbert, which, ironically, also occurred in Florida. Marjorie was a successful Ohio businesswoman who was visiting her family in Alabama when she was felled by a stroke that left her disabled but not terminally ill. After being stabilized, she was moved to a nursing home in Florida where, it was hoped, she could be rehabilitated to relearn how to chew and swallow without danger of aspiration. To ensure she was nourished, she was provided a feeding tube.

This presented an excruciating quandary for her brother Maynard, who had a general power of attorney from Marjorie (not power of attorney for health care), as a consequence of which he became her surrogate medical decision-maker. Marjorie had once told her brother that she didn't want a feeding tube if she were terminally ill. Despite the fact that she was not dying, however, Maynard believed that if she were unable to be weaned off the tube, she would have wanted to die rather than live using the tube for nourishment. When she did not improve, he ordered the tube removed.

As she was slowly dehydrating to death, Marjorie began to ask the staff for food and water. In response to her pleas, members of the nursing staff surreptitiously gave her small amounts. One distraught staffer eventually blew the whistle, leading to a state investigation and a temporary restraining order requiring that Marjorie be nourished

Circuit Court Judge Jere Tolton received the case and appointed attorney William F. Stone to represent Nighbert and to conduct a 24-hour inquiry, the sole issue being whether Marjorie was competent to rescind her power of attorney and make her own decisions. After the rushed investigation, Stone was forced to report to the judge that she was not competent at that time. She had, after all been intentionally malnourished for several weeks. Stone particularly noted that he had been unable to determine whether she was competent when the dehydration commenced.

With Stone's report in hand, the judge ruled that the dehydration should be completed, apparently on the theory that Marjorie did not have the competence to request the medical treatment of food and water. Before an appalled Stone could appeal, Nighbert died on April 6, 1995.

Society's approach to the so-called "right to die" has become far too casual. None of us should be made to die because of statements made in casual conversations or due to misconstrued oral directives. The time has come for the best legal minds in the country to draft model legislation that will tighten existing laws so as to give every reasonable legal benefit of the doubt to life rather than, as too often happens now, to slow death by dehydration.

Author Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and an attorney and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. He is the author of "Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder."

59 posted on 10/29/2003 5:07:17 PM PST by GeekDejure (<H3> Searching For The Meaning Of "Huge" Fonts !!!</H3>)
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To: GeekDejure
killing life judged unworthy of life is already happening quietly in this country.

This is just the beginning.

60 posted on 10/29/2003 5:09:51 PM PST by ladyjane
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