Skip to comments.The Side Effects of Witnessing Murder (Terri Schindler Schiavo) (by Cheryl Ford RN)
Posted on 04/20/2005 11:25:41 PM PDT by FairOpinion
Three weeks will soon have passed since Terri Schindler-Schiavo was forced to die an inhumane and tragic death. Thousands who were against Terri's killing claim they find themselves awake at all hours of the night trying to come to terms with what happened to Terri. Many state they are suffering from overwhelming depression, frustration, and feelings of powerlessness. Others find themselves struggling to understand how America stood by and allowed Terri to be publicly murdered and not receive judicial or police protection.
Only a few short weeks ago, we witnessed thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world rise in protest to the heinous crime involving the murder of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. During the long 14 day period, as Terri laid suffering from starvation and dehydration, members of the US Congress gathered in a weekend forum to vote on a bipartisan bill that would assure Terri's constitutional rights. The bill was aimed at saving her life. The President of the United States who was preparing for Easter with his family, was urgently flown from his vacation ranch home in Texas to the White House to sign a bill that was passed in a 203 to 58 vote. So, why now are we faced with feeling the unsettling side effects of Terri's murder? Why do many seek answers to questions such as: How does a nation justify, publicly watching the death of an innocent disabled woman while no one was capable of stopping her murder?
When trying to find any sense of understanding or acceptance regarding Terri's murder, we must discuss some aspects surrounding the topics of death. Death, as we all know, is defined as: "A permanent cessation of all vital functions." Due to its permanency, we find death very disturbing under any circumstance. Death creates a destabilization of our existence, knowing there is no turning back. Normally, we experience death when it results from illness, unexpected trauma, or old-age. We are seldom, if ever, confronted with the unique emotions associated with murder happening in our family. When we hear about a murder we usually find ourselves gasping at the crime as it makes headline news. The loss of human life is final and emotionally traumatizing on any society. Any way we wish to view it, the intentional infliction of death on a human being, will always be defined as murder. Our country bases its philosophy on the value of "preservation of all life," thus, creating its laws to say, under no circumstances should anyone take the life of an innocent human being. We ask then, why was Terri allowed to be murdered as the world stood by and watched?
Once we are subjected to loss of life, we naturally emerge into what is known as the grieving process. Grief as we know it, has limitless boundaries. Often when we are forced to grieve, we flail aimlessly and timelessly into what appears to be an open abyss. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross describes in her book "Death and Dying," the 5 stages of grief as: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. In order to move through the grieving process, we must at some point encounter the 5 stages of grief. Many will vacillate between the phases of grief for an undetermined period of time.
We also know there are thousands of people who routinely struggle with the controversial issues surrounding the death penalty. It is not unusual, or unreasonable for people to find difficulty digesting the legal liberties that are given to man when they are authorized to inflict the finalities of death upon any human being. Be the death penalty right or wrong, those who struggle with it can often find some sense of rationale and acceptance in knowing that those on death row were convicted and tried for a crime which brought forth their death sentence. However, what happens to the thousands who are reaching for that same sense of understanding and acceptance when grieving for Terri's publicly inhumane murder? Terri, was not a criminal and never hurt anyone. She was not tried, or convicted of any crime. She was not terminally ill, or unhealthy. She was not taken off to the hidden ominous fields where victims are murdered by their unknown killers. Despite all, we had a nation that was forced to watched Terri's tragic and unnecessary death, making it difficult, if not impossible, to transition into the grieving phases of acceptance.
We recognize that Terri was not any more special to her parents, than any other child is to their parents who love them. It is a given that she will be just as missed by her family, as others tend to miss their family members when they die. However, once again, as we seek some rationalization and acceptance in dealing with Terri's death, like we do in the normal grieving process of others, we find ourselves reaching an emotionally unsettling and angry set of emotions to deal with. Perhaps,it is due to the disturbing visions of a Mother publicly pleading for the life of her daughter; a daughter who would not be dead if it weren't for an estranged spouse who intentionally starved and dehydrated her, to her death. These visions leave the sane population very distraught. We again find ourselves asking, how do we move into the acceptance phase of grief after watching an innocent member of our society be murdered and denied the right to receive help? We knew, and will remember Terri as the innocent woman who through her means of natural communications waited patiently each day for her loving and very dedicated family to visit her so she could smile and laugh with them. We knew how her biological family had struggled for years to be capable of providing her with the therapy and help that we all naturally reach for when we are hurting, or injured. We shall always recall the look of love and warmth on the faces of Terri and her Mother as they embraced each other. Was the love and unity of the Schindler family so wrong a bond that we had to remove one of its members?
For Terri, sadly, the help that we normally would have expected to come her way, never did arrive. Where does this leave the thousands of civilized people who are now in shock, remembering the agonizing expressions on Mary's face as she pleaded for someone, anyone, to help rescue her daughter? How do we as a nation cope with Terri's unnecessary and brutal murder; a murder that we not only heard about over and over again though out every media source, but were also forced to watch as it appeared on national television for 14 long days? How do we justify the murder of a woman who was healthy and did not have to die, yet, we did nothing to stop it? When did America begin denying a family the right to care for one of its members? Who will be next?
I personally refuse to accept the notion that we have become a barbaric society living amongst many others like George Felos, Michael Schiavo, George Greer, and Deborah Bushnell. The four people who comfortably watched Terri slowly have the life sucked out of her, and then later rationalized Terri's death as merciful. Terri's death cannot be defined as anything but cold, callous, inhumane, unnecessary, wrong, and against all the laws that our country was founded upon. Laws that still read, MURDER is illegal! Assuming the majority of our world still believes murder is wrong, we must ask ourselves what can we do to prevent Terri's situation from happening to another individual? How can we seek justice for Terri and see to it that the four people who are responsible for the 14 days of her inhumane killing are brought to legal justice? We must also ask ourselves, is it more reasonable to suggest that the thousands who supported Terri, who were appalled and against her death, the emotionally unstable religious zealots that George Felos suggested they were? Or, is it more reasonable to say that rather it was Terri's estranged spouse, his euthanasia attorneys, and the judge in Pinellas County, who are the emotionally unstable death zealots who need to be convicted for their criminal actions?
More importantly, as a civilized society, we must question, are we going to challenge the inhumane laws that killed Terri, or, are we willing to allow her death to be in vain and chalk it up to becoming the new season preview for Reality Guardianship Murders? I do believe that it is vitally important for every person who grieves Terri's tragic death to have these questions answered, all in an effort to enter into the Acceptance phase of grief.
Terri's death cannot be defined as anything but cold, callous, inhumane, unnecessary, wrong, and against all the laws that our country was founded upon. Laws that still read, MURDER is illegal! Assuming the majority of our world still believes murder is wrong, we must ask ourselves what can we do to prevent Terri's situation from happening to another individual? How can we seek justice for Terri and see to it that the four people who are responsible for the 14 days of her inhumane killing are brought to legal justice? "
We must not forget -- there has to be an investigation, which starts with the circumstances leading up to Terri's collapse in the first place, and examining all of Judge Greer's rulings and his his tangled web of relationships with Felos and euthanesia groups, and to make sure that this will never happen to anyone again.
The complete lack of regard for human life in this situation leaves me speechless.....
... Terri's spirit will always haunt those of us who know it was wrong...
Thanks for posting this article. I am one of the thousands who finds themselves lying awake at night, still thinking about Terri and asking myself how is it possible, how did they get away with murdering a young woman by denying her food and water. I lie there and cannot go back to sleep, and I am an Australian, not an American. I cannot imagine how the US will come to terms with this evil deed.
Just as bad as the lying awake wondering how this could happen is how the media and politicians are already re-writing history to make us believe that it never happened.
Now, they want us to believe that this was all some political game, only the right-wing politicians sided with the wacko religious fanatics to pass an absurd bill to "take away" Terri's "right" to die, etc.
We don't know how to mourn or right an unjustice, because suddenly the MSM and the political opposition tells us one more time that we are wrong or imagining things. You would believe that only a handful of fanatical Congressmen passed the Act, instead of the overwhelming majority that actually did.
That's why we have to come here to see, hear and know that we are not crazy, and that history has not been erased.
Thank you for reminding me that there are many others that have NOT forgotten and are sickened by her murder!
The power of the MSM would appear to be almost total. I have no idea what to suggest, aside from maybe supporting Ron Panzer of the Hospice Patients Alliance. You should find this of interest:
One thing I can say for certain, that were something like this to happen In Australia (which I really cannot imagine) a Royal Commission enquiry would be immediately called for.
I think the whole world was following the Terri tragedy.
Italian Court Rules Woman's Feeding Tube Must Stay
Italy's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a man's appeal to remove a feeding tube keeping his daughter alive, weeks after a bitter row over brain-damaged Terri Schiavo divided the United States.
It said a decision to remove the tube required "valuations of life and death that are rooted in concepts of an ethical or religious nature, which are extrajudicial," and said that the issue was also outside the powers of Englaro's father.
Some of doctors looking after the 35-year-old Englaro at a hospital in Lecco, a lakeside town in Northern Italy, have said she reacts to stimulus. Her father Beppino Englaro believes his daughter would want to die.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that since there was no specific evidence of the woman's views on life and death, it was impossible to say that her father's opinion reflected her own.
"I cannot imagine how the US will come to terms with this evil deed."
It is hard to imagine, how this could have happened here.
"Given the gutless legislators in this country. Just exactly how is that going to happen?"
Therein lies the problem
DeLay is the only one with some guts and look at what attacks he has to contend with.
"One thing I can say for certain, that were something like this to happen In Australia (which I really cannot imagine) a Royal Commission enquiry would be immediately called for"
Oh, we had the usual inquiry, but we got the usual answer to all the question: "Nothing to see here folks, let's move it along."
I think about it every day and pray that God has mercy on our nation, because of the faithful still in it.
Re: Your tag line.
"The band Played Waltzing Matilda" - Eric Bogle
Shiavo and Greer were so intent on killing Terri that I don't think a living will would have saved her unless it had very specifically stated that a feeding tube was not to be removed under any circumstance.
There is a big difference between allowing someone to die, and killing someone.
Terri was NOT terminal.
I'm sure about Greer but obviously her husband wanted her dead. Not knowing the man persoanlly I will take him at his word that this is what Terri wanted.
I know that many here believe he did it for the money or that she was in her condition because of something he did. But from all that I have read there is no proof to either one of those accusations.
Maybe Australia's government still works, and the Royal Commission would actually step up and do a real investigation.
Ours should be headed by U.S. Attorney General Gonzales. There have been so many allegations of politcal collusion and an ingrained system in Florida where justice was impossible for Terri to receive. That would give the Federal Government the right to review the case since Florida can't police itself. Gov Bush could ask Florida's Atty General to investigate, but he is part of the web in this case.
Congress has suggested convening a Congressional Committee, but who knows. They are already getting spooked by the Dems pointing fingers and saying the whole thing was a political angle to get the GOP more votes. (Anyway, our Congressional Committees usually end up finding out LESS than what is printed in the MSM and FAR LESS than one can find on blogs.)
We have a few good private justice centers that pursue investigations like this. We have to turn to a private organization to solve our government's inability to function.
Sad, isn't it?
I don't know why they wanted her dead. But that they deliberately desired to starve and dehydrate her to death is the plain truth of the matter.
I don't think anyone denies this truth.
I just came across this Jan 2004 article.
Apparently murder of helpless people has been going on for some time, without public awareness.
A Duty to Die?
EXCERPT -- but read the whole thing. It's enlightening and fightening.
It has led many hospitals to adopt whats known as futile care or futility policies those that determine the circumstances under which patients may be denied costly life-saving or -sustaining treatments.
When someone is deemed to fall into the futile category, family members often find hospitals pressuring them for permission to end the patients life and sometimes taking them to court if they refuse. In other cases, said Nancy Valko, president of Missouri Nurses for Life and one of the trends most vocal critics, nurses are being ordered to remove feeding tubes or withhold antibiotics because the patient is going to die anyway, so it might as well be now.
A poll of 26 California hospitals taken by Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics in 2000 showed that all but two already had adopted futility policies; of those, 19 gave the final decision-making power over a persons life or death to someone other than the patient or a family member.
In November 2002, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania announced that intensive care will no longer be given to patients in persistent vegetative or minimally conscious states; only patients who explicitly request intensive care before receiving a catastrophic brain injury will receive it.
In January 2003, the Cedar Falls Courier chronicled how hospitals in Des Moines, Iowa, had put rules in place to allow medical staff to withdraw treatment over a familys objection.
This makes people with disabilities very nervous. I havent been able to get all the physical therapy that would have been beneficial to me because it wont cure me. And if it doesnt cure you, insurance companies often say you cant have it.
In futile care, theyre taking that a step further, but the message is very familiar to people with disabilities. Its not news to us that health professionals judge our quality of life to be far less than how we judge it ourselves. The view that our lives are futile is frightening, no matter who holds it.
To help understand the magnitude of the abortion slaughter, I converted the 1.5 million/year into equivalent TWA800 tragedies....There would have to be a TWA800 tragedy every 90 minutes around the clock every day of the year!
Exactly! If just ONE MAJOR NEWS outlet would treat that the same way that several treated the killed soldiers in Iraq, the country would be HORRIFIED. (Remember, Nightline and one of the Sunday talk shows read each name slowly at the end of their programs, showed pictures, etc. It made the number of dead seem enormous, although one day of your TWA-type abortion breaking news stories would dwarf that.)
It happens all the time. Nothing uncommon here.
Is it right? That's the question.
I would think most here would say that it is not right. Same as abortion. How we go about changing our culture?
Former President Nixon would have never had needed to resign if Peter Rodino had had the same lack of backbone exhibited by our Congress when Judge Greer, with full contempt of Congress, simply ignored their subpoenas and acted to obstruct their legitimate investigative function.
I don't know how legitimate it was seeing they did nothing about his obstruction.
She could have had her refusal tatooed across her forehead, and it still would not have made a difference.
Look what happened to Mae Magouirk. She COULD communicate. Her living will said do NOT take away a feeding tube. But she was old so her life didn't matter anymore, until her brother and sister got involved, and online news sources and bloggers started making noise.
It's the tragedy of someone's LIFE, as well as the injustice and the feeling of helplessness.
Doctors are routinely ending the lives of babies now in the Netherlands, rather than waiting to see if they can pull through. (Because, of course, the doctors are true psychic geniuses and truly know what will happen in the future. That is why all doctors in Terri's case ALL AGREED on every diagnosis.) [/sarcasm off]
What would have happened 10 years ago if doctors had decided that AIDS patients would die anyway, so you might as well not waste medicine, pain killers and hospital beds on them? Would everyone have agreed that that was fine?
If you can remove life support or a feeding tube, what about one moment before that? or one minute before that minute? So, you don't give them the initial life support hook-up if you decide that they will be too disabled? or if they will take too long to recover? or if it will cost too much?
I fear the truth is, that we have changed as a nation, and are so selfish and self centered, we won't respond to our neighbors in trouble. It's too easy to just let it happen, and too hard to change anything. I still only have 1 vote, and my whole family, friends, and church, votes the same as me, and it won't seem to change. We have 90% of America as red states, red counties, red cities, but still no changes. I'm reminded how bad it would be if we turned blue, but I want to take ground, not just hold what we have. Something has to change for the better or what they say is true, "There isn't a dimes worth of difference".
The ability of Michael Schiavo to proceed through this with no scrutiny was appalling! Why was there never any investigation into her innjuries, especially when the reports indicated 'healing bone' injuries? 26 yr. old women don't have healing bone injuries from a fall to the floor, even if she did have a mild heart attack, which was ruled out, if you recall. It seesm that the husband really wanted the diagnosis of heart attack to prevent further examination...and when it was ruled out, why did no one proceed to examine further? This is an outrage!
Get over it. You'll die one day too, hopefully more quickly than Terri.
You have hit on an important issue. If life is not considered a supreme value and the ultimate reference point of the medical profession, we have essentially undermined the entire reason for being of medicine. Why bother to cure or seek cures for any serious disease or injury? Death is cheaper, speedier, and more certain; the patient may not always live when medical efforts are made to help him, but he will certainly die when the medical profession decides that this is the preferred course of "treatment." And think of all the money that has been saved.
I heard many medical professionals call into the talk shows during the Terri Schiavo ordeal who were for her being dehydrated to death.
Ouch. That's about the level of understanding a good percentage of the American public has for this issue.
I know. It's very frightening, because the Schiavo case let many of them feel free to reveal their true thoughts (and possibly even practices).
What is wrong with the politicians in this country that they are impotent in the face of tin-horn, backwater judges and courts (that includes most of them in my book) when one of these judges blatantly exhibits CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS AND THE CONTEMPT AND DEFIANCE OF BOTH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND CONGRESS? The intent of both were crystal clear, but the tin-horn Greer was above them all. Why?
It appears to even the casual observer that Greer seemed to always rule in favor of Mikey. If so, why so?
I think she couldn't communicate. She was incapacititated. But she was not in a coma and she was not in a PVS. Mae's living will recites that if she is in a coma or PVS, that food and water are to be withheld. I think that is NOT what Mae wanted however. The "form" Living Will that Mae signed is confusing, and many people who tick off the "including food and water" selection believe that the are asking to have food and water if they are comatose or PVS. But ticking off "including food and water" has the legal effect, when reading the entire document, of withholding food and water.
One error of the LaGrange hospital and hospice was based on the fact that Mae was not comatose or PVS. Another error was accepting Gaddy's representation that she had medical power of attorney. But there was no error associated with the Living Will because its terms don't become operable until Mae is in a coma, or is PVS.
Thanks for the post. Great article. It's the same battle that has been going on for thousands of years...the innocent vs. the criminal, the individual vs. the collective.
I had an extremely unsettling dream last night. I had been invited to a party. In the midst of the gathering was Terri Schiavo...not well, but recouperarting. She could speak haltingly and said she was so grateful for the chance to begin to get better and how very much she was looking forward to her future, given that she was still so young. Would this constitute a nightmare?
When you "get over" what the Nazis did during World War II and can brush that under the carpet with a shrug and an impatient wave, we'll get over the cold blooded brutal murder of Terri Schindler...deal?
Not to mention all the police who protected them, and the governor who respected them.
No doubt. Medical professionals aren't immune to the siren songs of the culture of death. Once they get a taste for killing, they find it difficult to stop. Just look at what is happening now in the Netherlands.
There needs to be some measure passed in this country that allows doctors to be healers but not killers. Being both leads down a dangerous path.
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