Skip to comments.What's the Rush?
Posted on 07/01/2007 3:27:40 AM PDT by 8mmMauserEdited on 07/02/2007 4:50:59 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
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Hard to watch, and hard not to keep watching, the HBO documentary "Coma" is not actually about coma but about what comes after. (The more accurate "Traumatic Brain Injury" isn't quite as arresting a title.) A state of profound unconsciousness from which a person cannot wake, a coma provides no information; whatever there is to say about it, there is nothing there to see. It is a dark pool. When the eyes open, the coma ends and the questions begin.
The idea here is simple. Director Liz Garbus (the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning "The Farm: Angola, USA") follows four patients at the Center for Head Injuries at the JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J., over the course of a year, during which time two improve and two do not. When we meet them, all have already emerged into either a vegetative state (awake but unaware) or a state of minimal consciousness (in which a patient fitfully exhibits signs of deliberate response). All are young or relatively young; two fell from great heights, two were injured in car accidents.
Garbus gives a little social-historical context through a medley of clips touching on some of the best-known cases, including Karen Ann Quinlan, Sunny von Bülow, Terry Schiavo and Terry Wallis, who in 2004 began to speak after 19 years in a minimally conscious state. (The subject stays in the news: In March, a Colorado woman awoke from six years in a vegetative state, only to slip away again after three days.
While the camera remains dispassionate, the filmmakers clearly have an agenda. Spurred by the Terri Schiavo media spectacle in Florida, they set out to show that it's difficult and sometimes impossible to determine what's going on in the brain, even when a patient seems conscious. One of those being treated here, for example, refuses to cooperate with therapists. Further testing shows that he can read written words but can no longer hear.
Experts say President Bush long ago earned the shameful silk on matters of Iraq, huge tax cuts for the wealthy after 9/11, and the environment, while others believe it was the Terri Schiavo affair that took him over the top and iced the honor. The White House cited scheduling conflicts for the delay in bestowing the family prize, and noted it was wonderful that the Russian -- a man whose very soul the president says he has seen -- could participate.
The Terry Schiavo case brings the fundamentalist's tactics into sharp focus. Congress was called into emergency session over a weekend by DeLay and Frist. Frist, an alleged M.D., even made a diagnosis from the floor of the Senate without bothering to do even the most rudimentary physical examination of the patient. Bush received the legislation he wanted so that he could sign it at warp speed. Fortunately, the courts stepped in to stop the nonsense. How long we can rely on that is problematic as Bush has had many appointments to the federal bench, both confirmed and recess.
How much longer will our sacred tradition of absolute religious freedom continue? Does anyone out there really care?
Boston, MA (LifeNews.com) -- A Massachusetts Institute of Technology stem cell researcher who has been denied tenure has no been locked out of his laboratory. Dr. James L. Sherley, a black associate professor of biological engineering who opposes embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, has said he is a victim of racism.
Sherley has been an outspoken advocate against human cloning -- including the kind of therapeutic cloning his colleagues and other scientists want to use to create and destroy human embryos for their stem cells.
London, England (LifeNews.com) -- A teenager in the UK is facing threats from her school for wearing a t-shirt that has a message opposing abortion. Sarah Scott, a 16 year-old who gave birth just four months ago, says the staff at Banff Academy complained when she wore a shirt with the message "Abortion is Murder printed on it.
Scott attends the Aberdeenshire, Scotland school and wore the shirt on a day when students are permitted to wear casual clothes instead of their normal uniforms.
Ever since Roe v. Wade, over 30 years ago, Planned Parenthood has rallied its forces around the banner of CHOICE. The ultimate insult, by extension, has been anti-choice. If you are an enemy of Planned Parenthood, the banner is hoisted high in the sky and voices rise in shrill chants, "Anti-choice, anti-choice, anti-choice!"
Thus, it is a momentous occasion when Planned Parenthood has adopted the tactics of the enemy. Planned Parenthood is ANTI-CHOICE! Yes, it is. Really!
Also for the record, nobody really knows what consciousness is and nobody can tell for certain, from the outside, what's going on inside the brain. If there are no signals or responses, they say, well, this patient isn't conscious. But they don't know in any scientific way.
I think whatever our physical condition, God has a channel to communicate with us.
The media made THEIR diagnoses of Terri without examinations. Also without knowing the first thing about medicine.
Ah, but they are the media so they don’t have to know anything about medicine or even reporting. They give themselves a pass.
Meanwhile, our topic continues apace.
WASHINGTON (BP)New studies demonstrate that doctors should be extremely cautious about diagnosing patients as being in a vegetative state and in limiting their expectations of improvement.
Research teams from Belgium reported about 40 percent of patients they studied were misdiagnosed as in a vegetative state, when they actually should have been diagnosed as in a minimally conscious state, according to a June 20 report on News-Medical.Net, an online medical news service. Another Belgian team found about 25 percent of patients diagnosed in an acute vegetative state when they enter a hospital had a good opportunity to regain a considerable percentage of their faculties and as much as half would reacquire some level of consciousness.
A comparison with past studies demonstrated the incidence of misdiagnosis has not fallen in the last 15 years, News-Medical.Net reported.
The reports followed by two years the death of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who died of complications from dehydration. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, in a legal battle with Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, gained a ruling from a Florida court to have her feeding tube disconnected. She had been diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state and had been receiving nutrition and hydration through a tube since 1990, when she collapsed and suffered a brain injury.
Pro-life bioethics specialist Wesley Smith addresses issues of life support, doctor-family communication and medical directives on the bioethics.com weblog. He is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and an attorney for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.
There are evidently not enough raving ideologues (yet) in the lower reaches of the judiciary, for the Libby case is not the first time Republican appointees have found against Republicans in court. The Florida judge who found that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube could be removed, was a Republican appointee. So, for that matter, was the Federal judge who found the creationist school board of Dover, Pennsylvania, guilty of breathtaking inanity.
So, for that matter, was U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who prosecuted Libby.
It would have been one thing if the Libby commutation had been an aberration. But here is a man who as governor of Texas openly mocked a woman whom he had just put to death by pursing his lips and squeaking please dont kill me after she had appealed to him for clemency. Who did not intervene in a single one of the over 150 death sentences carried out on his watch although there were reasons to do so in at least several of them. Who as president did intervene against the wishes of Terri Schiavos husband. Who did not intervene when it became widely known that Tom Foley was preying on congressional pages or condemn his aberrance when he slunk off to a drunk tank. Who twice intervened to block expansion of federal funding of promising stem cell research.
They seem to have all the power. We seem to have none of it. We're supposed to live in a democracy. This is so frustrating to so many people. The politicians have misjudged the mood of the country again. This is another Terri Schiavo like moment. People are pissed and they want to take their government back. They want to be equal under the law again. It's not too much to ask for.
Lou Engle, founder of The Call, has spent much of the last few years in Washington, D.C., where he has presided over a group of ministries, including the Justice House of Prayer (JHOP). At JHOP, worshippers pray for the Supreme Court and political leaders 24 hours a day. Engle also started The Cause, a group of protesters who convey their dismay with abortion by covering their mouths with tape that has the word life printed on it. This group was also active at the Terri Schiavo brouhaha in Florida.
But now theyre here. Nashville is, Engle says, a great place to believe that God can change history. The Tennessee General Assembly apparently agrees, as the body passed a resolution honoring Engle and The Call, saying Engle epitomizes the spirit and commitment that are characteristic of a true Tennessean.
Anyone watch Coma on HBO last night?
Minneapolis, MN (LifeNews.com) -- After years of declining abortion totals, Minnesota saw its abortion figures jump five percent in 2006 compared with the 2005 numbers. Pro-life groups say Planned Parenthood is to blame because they are opening more facilities, but a representative of the abortion business calls that notion ridiculous.
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