Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Wesley J. Smith: Case of Rom Houben Should Prompt Renewed Look at Terri Schiavo's Death
Life News ^ | 12/24/09 | Wesley J. Smith

Posted on 12/26/2009 6:22:59 PM PST by wagglebee Note: Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His most recent book is the Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World. This opinion column originally appeared in the Church Report.

Terri Schiavo continues to prick our collective conscience, our sensitivity to the way she died -- deprived of all food and water, even the balm of ice chips for nearly two weeks -- as raw today as on the day she drew her last breath five years ago next March.

Usually, the trauma remains just beneath the surface. But every once in a while events conspire to bring it all back to the fore. Take, for example, the intense international focus paid to Rom Houben. In 1983, Houben suffered catastrophic head injuries in an automobile accident. He was brought to the hospital unconscious. Doctors eventually concluded that his case was hopeless, that he was in a persistent vegetative state.

The PVS diagnosis meant that on the day Terri died, most bioethicists would have also approved Rom being dehydrated to death. He is no longer a “person,” they might have said., Why prolong a useless life?

Indeed, removing food and water from the profoundly cognitively impaired, has, over the last twenty years, been legalized in all fifty states and declared by bioethicists and judges to be fully ethical, indeed, just a matter of “death with dignity.” This, even though repeated studies have shown that about 40% of PVS diagnoses are mistaken.

One of those misdiagnoses, it turned out, was of Rom Houben.

Unlike Terri, he is alive today and—literally—telling his tale because he didn't have a spouse dedicated to making sure he died, nor a judge refusing his family’s every entreaty to try new brain tests. Indeed, his family eventually prevailed upon internationally renowned physician Dr. Steven Laureys to perform a PET scan of Rom’s brain—not available at the time of the initial diagnosis—which revealed startlingly that his brain activity was near normal.

Further studies revealed that Rom Houbens was actually fully awake and aware but unable to communicate, a condition known as the “locked-in state,”

Therapy commenced and soon Rom was communicating in a rudimentary way by answering yes or no questions with the movement of a foot. Patiently over three years, his abilities improved. Rom now communicates with the help of a speech therapist—who moves his finger over a computer keyboard, allowing him to contract his finger to type each letter.

He is now telling his story of years of terrible frustration and loneliness during the 23 years he was isolated by his inability to communicate—and then great joy of reconnecting with the world, an event he calls his “second birth.”

The news about Rom’s marked improvement has been surprisingly controversial. Some critics have groused that his interactivity is actually a “facilitated communication” scam, in which the actual communicator is the therapist rather than the patient. But that seems unlikely.

Dr. Laureys is internationally renowned, and in an interview in the New Scientist, he denied participating in such a subterfuge. A story in the Associated Press provided details casting doubt on the facilitated communication criticism:

One of the checks Laureys applied to verify Houben was really communicating was to send the speech therapist away before showing his patient different objects. When the aide came back and Houben was asked to say what he saw, that same hand held by the aide punched in the right information, he said.

Meanwhile, as people marveled at Rom’s turn in fortune, Terri Schiavo quickly became the subtext of the story. While no one contended she was also locked-in (her autopsy stated that the condition of her brain was consistent with either PVS or minimal consciousness), activists on both sides of the ethical debate over dehydrating patients weighed in about how to best care (or not care) for such patients.

Noted bioethicist, Art Caplan, who strongly backed Michael Schaivo’s quest to end his wife’s life, assured people that it is proper to remove sustenance from the profoundly impaired whether or not they are actually unconscious.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post’s resident bioethicist, Jacob Appel, argued that patients such as Rom should be considered for euthanasia: “Rather than offering a compelling reason to keep such patients alive,” Appel wrote, “the horrors of enduring such a petrified existence may offer a compelling reason to let them die.”

In contrast, the Calgary Herald spoke just as strongly when it editorialized, “The lesson from Houben's case--and reinforced, sadly, too late by Schiavo's case-- is that if doctors and courts must err, it should always be on the side of life, and on the assumption that despite all outward appearances, the "I" is "indeed there."

Others in the media also made the Schiavo connection. Time, for example, reported that Schiavo-type “legal fights are likely to become more common as classifications of brain-injury severity are revised.” ABC reported that Terri Schiavo’s family “felt heartbreak and vindication” about the story.

So Terri Schiavo remains very much with us. Polls show that most people believe that her dehydration was just and proper because she was so impaired. But perhaps our inner voice, the part of us that never lies, sees it differently. Perhaps the reason Terri Schiavo comes so quickly to mind whenever we hear stories about “miraculous” awakenings, is that we remain profoundly disturbed by what we did to her, haunted it would seem, by her beautifully smiling face.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: euthanasia; moralabsolutes; prolife; romhouben; terri; terridailies; terrischiavo; whiterose
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 41-6061-8081-100101-112 next last
To: samiam1972; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
My dear FRiend Samiam1972 has posted a reminder of just how important life is.

Vanity! Welcome newest FReeper!

It's only taken me close to a month but I wanted to introduce the newest member of our crew. Matthew joined us on December 10, 2009. He made the doctors run to the room and almost made it here before they did. He was an ounce shy of 10 pounds so I think he almost counts for two. All of his siblings are thrilled to finally have him to cuddle. Photobucket Photobucket

81 posted on 01/09/2010 12:24:11 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 80 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

What a precious baby! Thanks for the pings!

82 posted on 01/09/2010 1:20:10 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 81 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

The affectionate phrase my dearly departed father in law used,
“You’re Dutch!” takes on new meaning.

83 posted on 01/09/2010 10:13:48 PM PST by Lesforlife ("For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb . . ." Psalm 139:13)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 76 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

// 1. The dehydration of Terri Schiavo. The emotionally wrenching tug of war over the life of Terri Schiavo, covered sensationally by the international media and culminating in her slow death, was — hands down — the decade’s most important story in bioethics (as well of one of the most important stories of the early 2000s). Who hasn’t heard her name? Who doesn’t have an opinion about what happened? //

And the fact that it happened in the US. It is a dark blot of shame.

84 posted on 01/15/2010 9:49:02 PM PST by cyn (Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it. ~Mark Twain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 79 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
I understand the appeal of electing a Republican to Kennedy's seat, but EVERY TIME conservatives have sold out our principles it has come back to haunt us.

Great thread by Jim Robinson.

Scott Brown vs the Marxist/mass abortionist B. Hussein Obama

Scott Brown says on his campaign website that the decision on abortion should ultimately be made by a woman in consultation with her doctor. This is wrong. Her doctor is no substitute for God in matters of life and death of an innocent person. The goal of abortion is to end the God-given life of an innocent and helpless person before he is even born into this world.

Our nation was founded on the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are the Rights to Life and Liberty.

Abortion is not a right. In fact it wrongly deprives an innocent person of HIS God-given unalienable RIGHTS to Life and Liberty.

Government sanctioned abortion is an abominable sin and a crime against mankind and against the constitution and against the very bedrock foundational principle establishing our nation under God, i.e., that our unalienable Rights to Life and Liberty are granted by God, not man and not government and neither man nor government can deprive us of same!

I can understand the willingness of conservatives to overlook or downplay Brown's stance on abortion to the larger goal of denying Obama and his murdering Marxist Democrats their 61st senate vote and possibly killing their evil abortionist agenda, but we can't just wash our hands of the issue and walk away any more than we could wash our hands and walk away from any other mass murdering tyrannical government operation.

The unalienable Rights to Life and Liberty MUST be resurrected and reasserted as the fundamental God-given rights to every innocent person in America, beginning with the most innocent of all, the unborn, or NO other of our rights can ever be protected.

They say that the only way we can do this is by changing one heart, one mind at a time. Okay, then I'd say the place to start would be with Scott Brown. If you are going to give him your support, your money or your vote then you should DEMAND that in return he immediately changes his stance on abortion. If he is to represent us as a U.S. Senator he MUST be required to uphold his oath to defend, preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, so help me God!

And this means he MUST be required to fully defend our unalienable Rights to Life and Liberty!

Support him if you must, but make the calls, write the letters, send the faxes, visit his office and make him realize that the unalienable Right to Life IS a constitutional right and abortion is NOT!!

Prayers for our nation and that we are understanding and abiding by God's will.

85 posted on 01/17/2010 10:18:51 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 79 | View Replies]

To: CondoleezzaProtege; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
Currently, more Americans are murdered in the womb than die from cancer, heart disease and strokes COMBINED.

Thread by CondoleezzaProtege.

The Womb: The Most Dangerous Place in the Whole World (download latest issue of "The Advocate")

What a great cover!

News Stories Include:

* Images Make Movements by Lila Rose and Philip Gerard Johnson

* Here's the Blood by Tommy Silva

* Conceived in Rape by Catherine Palmer

* My Three Abortions and the Agonizing Recovery by Susan Swander

* Join the Team

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

86 posted on 01/17/2010 10:22:29 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 85 | View Replies]

To: lightman; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
Perhaps the members of this congregation should reflect on why they embraced an unrepentant murderer.

Thread by lightman.

Wichita ELCA Congregation Prepares for High-Profile Murder Trial

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The congregation of Reformation Lutheran Church, Wichita, Kan., is preparing for next week's start of jury selection in the murder trial of a man accused of fatally shooting one its members, Dr. George Tiller. Tiller was serving as an usher when he was killed inside the church building on May 31, 2009, just as worship services were to begin.

Tiller, a controversial figure, was one of a few physicians in the United States who performed late-term abortions. He was often targeted by anti-abortion protests.

Scott Roeder, 51, Kansas City, Mo., is charged with first-degree murder. Roeder told the Associated Press in November that he shot Tiller to protect unborn children, according to reports from the news organization. Roeder is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening two other ushers.

In the midst of the shooting, the upcoming trial, the media reports, plus the subject of abortion and its strong emotions are the 700 baptized members of Reformation, many of whom whom were caught up in the violence of last May.

Advent and Christmas celebrations seemed to bring "a deeper sense of gravity" to the congregation, said the Rev. Lowell R. Michelson, senior pastor. "I've been speaking of light and darkness, and the love of Jesus breaking through the darkness and coming to us," he said in an interview. "At that time, the trial seemed well off in the distance."

But now members are focused on the coming trial and talking about it. This week, for example, Michelson, the Rev. Kristin M. Neitzel, associate pastor, plus other leaders have been discussing security issues, and had conversations with congregational members, leaders and the Tiller family. Pre-trial motions were to occur at week's end.

Michelson and Neitzel are planning how they will support the Tiller family and Reformation's members during the trial.

Some members have moved on from the shooting, while others have yet to discover the full impact of it on their own lives, both Michelson and Neitzel said. "We have a few people who still struggle with something so violent that happened in this place of peace," Neitzel said.

In addition to listening to members concerns during the trial and all the public attention it will likely draw, Michelson said the pastors will "encourage (members) to reach out in love to each other when they see a need."

"I've been amazed by the strength of this congregation throughout this whole ordeal, and their support for one another and for us," Neitzel said. "The congregation has held together and supported one another."

In worship during the trial period, Michelson said he won't focus on the court proceedings, but realizes it will be on the minds of Reformation's members. "It's my sense we need to name it, but that it not be an 'axis' on which our every moment together spins," he said.

The community has expressed support for the congregation, Neitzel said, adding that youth from the congregation who attended the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Youth Gathering in New Orleans this past July were surprised and pleased to meet fellow Lutherans who said they'd been praying for the congregation in the wake of the tragedy.

Michelson, Neitzel and perhaps as many as 11 other parishioners -- including Tiller's wife Jeanne -- may be called as witnesses for the prosecution at the trial. They are among more than 200 people named as potential witnesses by the district attorney. The pastors are also aware Reformation may be the site of anti-abortion protests, particularly on Sundays during the course of the trial. . .

87 posted on 01/17/2010 10:25:53 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 86 | View Replies]

To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
This is a fantastic editorial on euthanasia and the disabled.

Thread by me.

Better Dead than Disabled?

When assisted suicide is legalised most of the people who will die are disabled. And American disability advocates take a very dim view of it. This is the theme of a hard-hitting series of articles in the latest issue of the Disability and Health Journal.

The editor, Suzanne McDermott, of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, writes that she changed her own mind after studying the issue. At first she believed that assisted suicide was solely a personal autonomy issue. But eventually she was persuaded that it is at the heart of the movement for disability rights: "Almost all people at the end of life can be included in the definition of ‘disability’. Thus, the practice of assisted suicide results in death for people with disabilities."

The special issue is a response to a controversial 2008 decision by the American Public Health Association (APHA) to back "aid in dying" (ie, assisted suicide). This slipped almost completely under the media’s radar, but it means that the official policy of the "oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world" – 30,000 of them – is to support assisted suicide to the hilt. Or, as they prefer to call it in Oregon, "patient-directed dying" or "physician aid-in-dying".

Rather than worrying about some ambiguous language in the Obama administration’s health reform legislation or scrutinising the publications of his health advisors for a few indiscreet phrases, the elderly and their relatives ought to be worried about the 30,000 members of the APHA. They are the ones who could be sitting on the "death panels". The authors of the articles in the Disability and Health Journal certainly are worried.

Several themes emerge from the articles.

First, the very existence of legalised assisted suicide leads to an expectation that the disabled, elderly and infirm should shuffle off their mortal coil a bit early to relieve the burden on their carers.

This fear has been ridiculed by supporters, who contend that all they want is choice at the end of life and that a lifelong experience of disability is different from the pain of seeing one’s life ebb away. They think that disability advocates are demonising euthanasia lobby groups and exaggerating their own vulnerability

Nonsense, says Diane Coleman, of the lobby group Not Dead Yet. She points out – quite eloquently -- that pity can be more dangerous than a mad doctor in a nursing home. We are, she says, "more frightened by the doctors who are out to help us but who see our lives as burdensome and who know little about options that make life with disability valuable."

Why should valuable resources be wasted on them, anyway? "Every week, I hear another person with a disability recount a disturbing interaction with a physician, nurse, or other health professional who clearly transmitted the view that life with a disability is inherently burdensome," she writes. "It does not feel safe to have one's life in the hands of someone who views that life as unfortunate, maybe even tragic or unfair."

Second, advocates of assisted suicide and euthanasia ignore the experience of the disabled because they think that a dying 80-year-old is radically different from someone who has spent a lifetime in a wheelchair. Show me the evidence for this, Ms Coleman demands. Anyone, at any age, can learn to cope with disability. "To dismiss these efforts as futile because the individual is near the end of life has no empirical foundation and raises questions about the commitment of assisted suicide proponents to the genuine self-determination of people with terminal illnesses."

What these articles convey strongly is that supporters of assisted suicide simply do not care how much collateral damage their campaign for "dying with dignity" will do to people who have lived with their disability for years. Ms Coleman savagely comments: "Proponents of legalized assisted suicide are willing to treat lives ended through abuses of the practice as ‘acceptable losses’ when balanced against their wish for a pleasant way out and their unwillingness to accept disability, or responsibility for their own suicide."

Third, the danger is not mandated euthanasia, as in Nazi Germany. Rather, it is a subtle and widespread expectation that death is better than disability. "If the legalization of assisted suicide continues, I believe the rank and file will some day see nothing wrong with hastening the deaths of many people," writes Dr Carol J. Gill , director of the Chicago Center for Disability Research. "They will stand by and do nothing to stop it and will endorse the policies and institutions that advance it – not because they are evil people but because it will no longer be evil in our culture to do so. It will be compassionate, respectful, routine."

Fourth, several authors argue forcefully that Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, which is the model for assisted suicide in the US, is deeply flawed. After about 15 years, several intractable problems have emerged. The authors claim that there is very little patient control; that statistics are incomplete; that oversight is minimal and secretive; that safeguards are easily circumvented; and that negligent doctors cannot be prosecuted. Allegations that in Oregon and in the neighbouring state of Washington, which has also legalised assisted suicide, the circumstances of deaths are routinely falsified are especially disturbing. In fact, Washington actually requires that doctors falsify the death certificate by listing the terminal disease as the cause of death rather than the lethal dose of barbiturates.

Nearly always the debate over assisted suicide focuses on disabled people who want to choose death. Why not ask disabled people who want to choose life? They are the biggest stakeholders. Like most academic publications, the Disability and Health Journal normally offers obscure and specialised reading. But this month’s issue is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of "death with dignity".

88 posted on 01/17/2010 10:28:46 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 87 | View Replies]

To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
A great piece by Judie Brown on the danger of the culture of death.

Thread by me.

Judie Brown: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - Murder or Guilt-Free Medical Practice?

America's growing fascination with what constitutes a living, breathing human being is a constant amazement to me. This idea was brought up again in the New York Times last month. Entitled "When does death start?," the article by Darshak Sanghavi provides a lesson in how easy it has become for man to dismiss acts of terror as simple practices involving medical decisions to end a human being’s life.

Using the real-life experiences that followed a tragic accident rendering a fifteen-year-old girl named Amanda nearly dead, Sanghavi involves the reader in the emotions this young girl’s mother was experiencing. Having hooked the reader into sympathizing with the mother, he carefully turns the corner and addresses different ways of donating organs once a patient is subjectively defined as nearly dead.

In Amanda’s case, there was a challenge to the treating physician. Upon examination of the child, whose own reflexes indicated that her brainstem was still working, Dr. Monica Kleinman decided that she could not pronounce the child brain dead. Clearly, the organs could not be taken from a patient who did not meet the brain death criteria. But there were other ways of getting those organs and the doctor understood what they were:

To diagnose brain death, doctors typically go through a checklist of about a dozen items, including assessing reflexes like blinking, coughing and breathing, which are all controlled by the brainstem. The criteria are extremely strict, and only a tiny fraction of severely brain-injured people meet them. Kleinman realized that Amanda, despite her severe brain damage, was not one of them. There was, Kleinman told Beaulieu, another option — one that was still controversial and had never been pursued successfully at Children’s Hospital. The procedure was called donation after cardiac death, or D.C.D., and it would exploit the other way the law defines death: as the “irreversible cessation” of the heartbeat.

Before delving into this matter, that involves the desire among some physicians, ethicists and others with a vested interest to redefine death in such a way as to provide the most bang for the buck in the organ donation business, one thing must be made perfectly clear. Amanda was severely brain damaged, she was not terminally ill, she was not at death’s door, she was inconveniently clinging to life as far as the organ vultures were concerned.

Once a decision is made to get the organs, the alternatives are readily at hand. To further justify the taking Amanda’s organs, and the possibility of countless others in similar condition, Sanghavi reports,

With modern technology like respirators and tube feedings with synthetic formulas, [Amanda’s mother] Beaulieu might have kept her unconscious, brain-damaged child alive indefinitely. But as she sipped coffee in her apartment from a mug reading “#1 Mom,” Beaulieu told me that if Amanda had lived, she could “never bike, rollerblade or go out with friends, and she'd never want that.” If people with no hope for meaningful recovery can be kept alive artificially, shouldn't they also be permitted to die artificially?

And therein lies the rub. The subjective judgment of an agonizing mother reinforced by a medical team was all that was required. Once everyone was in agreement, taking the organs commenced without a hitch.

If one studies the entire history of man’s efforts to redefine what it means to be dead, starting with the Harvard Criteria of 1968, it is all too clear that medical ethicists, bioethicists and clinicians have been attempting to serve the growing needs of the organ transplant advocates for years. They continue to do all they can to expand the definition of death in a way that, one assumes, will relieve the anguish of a family whose loved one is in a bad situation while helping someone else to live longer. It is perceived to be a very noble idea, but it is anything but.

As Paul Byrne, M.D. points out:

In medicine we protect, preserve, and prolong life and postpone death . . . Our goal is to keep body and soul united. When a vital organ ceases to function, death can result. On the other hand, medical intervention can sometimes restore the function of the damaged organ, or medical devices (such as pacemakers and heart-lung machines) can preserve life. The observation of a cessation of functioning of the brain or some other organ of the body does not in itself indicate destruction of even that organ, much less death of the person.

But the slippery slope keeps sliding, paying little to no heed to Byrnes and others like him who understand that a human being is alive until he dies, not until someone hastens his death by whatever means appears to be appropriate.

Practicing nurse and medical ethics writer Nancy Valko has had a great deal of experience with patients like Amanda and with the subject of non-heart-beating organ donation, or NHBD. She writes,

In cases of severe head injuries, strokes or other critical conditions that can qualify a patient for NHBD, it is virtually impossible at the beginning to accurately predict whether the patient will die or what level of recovery he or she may eventually attain. As a nurse for 34 years, I have personally seen many such patients, who initially needed a ventilator and who were even expected to die, go on to completely recover.

However, for those who advocate the subjective art of deciding who should live and who should die based on a sliding scale of what it means to be a human being, the redefinition necessary to excuse some people from living is not a problem. And if enough concur in such a view, and a consensus is created, then no one need feel guilty about the matter.

Sadly, in addition to cases like Amanda, we have another focus of attention, as Wesley J. Smith pointed out recently regarding the subject of “palliative sedation” (a nice set of words for early imposed death):

A hospice nurse correctly points out that PS [palliative sedation] is a rarely needed last resort:

Too often, palliative sedation is used as a first-line therapy rather than a therapy of last resort. In some units, palliative sedation is used on one-third to one-half of patients. That is far too often. Most expert providers will use palliative sedation extremely rarely in a 20- to 25-year career. Further, expert providers do not use palliative sedation lightly. They consult with colleagues to make sure that all other means of symptom management have been tried.

But when cost cutting is high on the agenda, and there are too few beds in a critical care unit, a consensus can provide the protection needed to intentionally sedate a patient to death. And who’s going to ask questions, call for an inquiry or otherwise discuss the possibility that a crime might have been committed?

Clearly, health care doesn't always mean what we think it means. That’s the bottomline when discussing what it means to die in America today.

The most disturbing aspect of all this recent reporting on brain death, non-heart-beating death, palliative sedation and terminal sedation is not that it is happening, but that those who are its staunchest advocates apparently have no pangs of conscience about what they are literally imposing on the vulnerable. It is as if any thought of sinful acts simply isn't entering the minds of such people.

That is the core problem with pro-death advocacy. There is no guilt experienced for having committed a wrong because in their world there is no right or wrong, only opinions that sometimes are in disagreement. Sadly, the idea of feeling guilt for having done something as horrendous as killing another person or arguing in favor of doing so is not even a consideration.

But wait! The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.”

And Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, expanded on this teaching in a speech entitled “Conscience and Truth.” Quoting psychologist Albert Gorres, he reminds us:

Whoever is no longer capable of perceiving guilt is spiritually ill, a "living corpse, a dramatic character's mask," as Gorres says. "Monsters, among other brutes, are the ones without guilt feelings. Perhaps Hitler did not have any, or Himmler, or Stalin. Maybe Mafia bosses do not have any guilt feelings either, or maybe their remains are just well hidden in the cellar. Even aborted guilt feelings ... All men need guilt feelings."

If there is an antidote to the escalating trend to kill those perceived to be inconvenient, unwanted or otherwise expendable, it is guilt because without it, man can perpetrate any horror you can think of and the acts committed will soon become commonplace practice. Clearly, terrorism comes in many forms—not the least of which is direct killing of the vulnerable.

89 posted on 01/17/2010 10:32:00 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 88 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Thanks for the ping!

90 posted on 01/17/2010 11:27:46 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 89 | View Replies]

To: Steely Tom

we don’t have the ability to be worried about both?

91 posted on 01/17/2010 11:30:19 AM PST by Scotswife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Can we hear a loud Amen and Hallelujah from the true
patriots in this land?

Thank you, Jim Robinson for bringing the necessary focus to the matter
at hand!

92 posted on 01/17/2010 2:38:46 PM PST by Lesforlife ("For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb . . ." Psalm 139:13)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 85 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Beautiful baby boy!!

93 posted on 01/17/2010 2:40:11 PM PST by Lesforlife ("For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb . . ." Psalm 139:13)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 81 | View Replies]

To: Lesforlife

I think what worries me the most is that come November we will be hearing, “see, if we nominate more people like Scott Brown we can win more seats.”

We’ve been hearing “no more RINOs” for a year and now that same group is pimping for a RINO.

94 posted on 01/17/2010 2:47:24 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 92 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
Terri Foundation concert in Indianapolis coming soon. Visit

Further, abc news confirmed that there is an Ethics Panel in Haiti and they are deciding who lives and who dies. Triplets: one lived but the status of the two dead was not delved into but it sound like they were euthanized.

Ethics Panels are death panels and I bet you Felos or friends are down there to do what they did to Terri only with morphine or people are being neglected until they expire.

Any stories about Haiti's Ethics Panel? I'd like to know who's on it... They are probably pals of George Soros who hates the U.S. but loves the power it brought to him via his front man BHO.

95 posted on 01/20/2010 8:27:59 AM PST by floriduh voter (Thanks, Massachusetts! Crist,don't try to ride Brown's coattails.You're still a bad guv.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 89 | View Replies]

To: Lesforlife

Terri was murdered. Let’s just remind the folks whenever possible.

96 posted on 01/20/2010 8:29:26 AM PST by floriduh voter (Thanks, Massachusetts! Crist,don't try to ride Brown's coattails.You're still a bad guv.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 52 | View Replies]

To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
There is a critical case in Canada! Please contact as many people as possible.

Thread by me.

Young Canadian Parents Fighting Hospital to Save Their Baby's Life

EDMONTON, Alberta, January 19, 2010 ( - The parents of a critically-ill three-month-old boy have found themselves in a legal fight for his life, after being informed by the hospital that staff will be removing his ventilation because they have deemed that he cannot recover from brain damage he suffered during birth.

On October 24th, after a long, 40-hour labour, Isaac and Rebecka May and their son Isaiah James had to be airlifted to Edmonton's Stollery Children's Hospital because Isaiah's umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck, resulting in severe oxygen deprivation.

While the hospital declared Isaiah “brain dead” shortly thereafter, Isaac and Rebecka have since joyfully watched him defy doctors' prognoses.  In a court affidavit, Rebecka explained that doctors had predicted Isaiah would only live a few days, that he would not grow, move, or urinate independently.  However, she says he has grown to almost eleven pounds, urinates on his own, dilates his pupils, and opens his eyes on a daily basis.

"Isaiah has moved his hands, arms and feet with increasing frequency and has arched his back," she wrote.  "He has brought his knees to his abdomen and has lifted his ankles up off the bed without touch or stimulation.”

Considering his progress, the Mays were shocked last Wednesday when they received a letter from the hospital informing them that Isaiah was not improving and that the hospital intended to remove his ventilator by this Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.

"The diagnosis is unchanged,” wrote Neonatal Intensive Care Unit clinical director Dr. Ernest Z. Phillipos.  “There is no hope of recovery for Isaiah."

"This mechanical ventilation may keep him in his present condition for some time but will not provide any benefit to him whatsoever because his severe brain injuries are irreversible,” he said further.  "We must put the interests of your son foremost and it is in his best interests to discontinue mechanical ventilation support."

The young parents took the hospital and Alberta Health Services to court today, seeking a 90-day injunction against the order.  They are also demanding access to Isaiah's medical records, which have been withheld.  Justice Michelle Crighton decided that she would await judgment until January 27th.

The hospital's decision to cut off Isaiah's ventilator is the culmination of the Mays' three-month struggle to obtain appropriate care for their child, explained Dr. Paul Byrne, a neonatologist with nearly five decades of experience and a former president of the Catholic Medical Association.  In their desperation, the Mays sought out Dr. Byrne's aid, and he said he has been in regular contact with them about their son.

Shortly after the doctors at Stollery declared Isaiah “brain dead,” said Dr. Byrne, “the parents were told that the doctors weren't going to treat the baby anymore.”

“They treat the baby on a ventilator, but they don't do any blood tests, they don't do any blood counts, or anything that needs to be done,” he said.  For example, he said that the normal procedure for anyone needing to be intubated as long as Isaiah is to perform a tracheotomy, due to the risk of damage to the vocal chords.  The parents have requested the procedure, “but [the doctors] won't do it,” he said.

The hospital did agree to conduct a blood test after the parents pleaded, discovering that Isaiah was anemic.  They gave him blood transfusions, which helped.  But, said Dr. Byrne, “the mother tells me that no blood tests have been done since November 15th.”

“This mother and father were not willing to accept that their baby was dead when [the doctors] said that the baby was brain dead,” he observed.  “Of course brain death never was true death and never will be true death.  It was something that was just made up so they could get [organs] for transplantation.”

Dr. Byrne said further that since starting his neonatal intensive care unit in 1963, and working in the field since then, “I've never found a situation where the baby needed to be taken off the ventilator.  I've never done that.”  He described one instance where a baby's brain waves completely flattened out, but he persevered, and the boy eventually achieved straight As in school, ran track, and is now married with three children.

“This is a horrible situation,” said Mary Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition.  “The parents have to beg and plead for help for their child, and when such minimal amount of help was given, the baby responded well to it, and yet the hospital has decided this baby is to die, and they're doing absolutely nothing to help the child.”

“This is a terrible precedent that they're setting for all babies that are born with difficulties,” she said, “and the courts should be aware of this, and stop the hospital from carrying out this action.”

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, has spoken with Rebecka several times, and explains that this situation appears to be an example of “futile care theory.”

“Even though the life-sustaining treatment is beneficial for Isaiah and may in fact lead to his survival,” he wrote on his blog, according to this theory, “he is not deserving of the treatment because even if he does survive, his life is considered futile.”

“The goal for the family is to bring Isaiah home and care for him themselves,” he said.  “The hospital is overstepping its role by unilaterally deciding when to remove life-sustaining treatment from a child that is improving.”

“This baby needs more time,” he continued.  “The family wants to care for their baby and I believe the hospital should be doing their best to allow that to happen.”

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach's office by press time.

Stollery Children's Hospital has issued a statement expressing their sympathy for the Mays, and stating that “It is appropriate to turn now to the courts for direction.”  They have refused to answer questions.

View photos and videos of Isaiah James on the Facebook page “Prayers for Baby Isaiah James.”

Contact Information:

Stollery Children's Hospital
8440 112 Street Northwest
Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7
General Phone Line: (780) 407-8822

Alberta Health Services - Complaints
Mail Slot 57
11111 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0L4
Toll-free: 1-877-753-2170
Telephone: 780-342-8080
Fax: 1-877-871-4340

Dr. Ernest Z. Phillipos
Phone: 780-407-1305
Fax: 780-407-3030

Office of Premier Ed Stelmach
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 - 97th Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427 2251
Fax: (780) 427 1349

"We will not be silent.
We are your bad conscience.
The White Rose will give you no rest."

97 posted on 01/20/2010 3:57:22 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 96 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Thanks for the ping!

98 posted on 01/20/2010 9:53:18 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 97 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Thanks for posting this.

99 posted on 01/21/2010 6:41:28 AM PST by Dante3
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Will do.

100 posted on 01/21/2010 7:52:26 AM PST by Dante3
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 97 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 41-6061-8081-100101-112 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson