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Tuesday 22 March 2005

The Florida Woman with the Feeding Tube

Ok, so all over the news is a story of a woman in a permanent vegetative state who has a feeding tube. Her parents believe she can get better. Her husband wants closure, as they say. He says she wouldn't want to go on like this. A court ruled that she would have wanted to be unplugged and so she was. A few times. And then re-plugged in. A few people have asked me what I think about this.

I saw Dr. Dobson (of Focus on the Family) on Hannity and Colmes. Sean Hannity was saying that he couldn't imagine a more painful way to die than lack of food and water. "Arg! Turn it off!" I screamed. FYI, people who die of wasting diseases like cancer or AIDS often do not take food or water for the last several days or even a week or two. Hospice workers assure family members that this is not painful. They point to people who have survived extreme dehydration. Those people claim that becoming dehydrated is not uncomfortable. They don't experience pain until they re-hydrate. Let me tell you that watching someone you love stop taking food or water is incredibly painful. For Hannity to blather on TV and say ignorant stupid, unresearched opinions is just going to freak people out. I dunno, I watched a lot of TV when my mom was dying. I could imagine some of my family members seeing that and freaking out demanding a feeding tube, which just would have been even more awful. And what's painful is not the removal of the feeding tube, but this constant taking it out and putting it back in. Why do her parents keep doing this to her? Denial is so strong sometimes. Anyway, before Hannity annoyed me, but now I hate him for stupidly raining down such pain on his audience without even thinking about it. What a fucking asshat

Ok, so the parents have hired Randall Terry as their spokes person. If that name rings a bell, it's because he's the former head of Operation Rescue, a semi-violent anti-choice organization. after that fell apart, he dabbled briefly in homophobia. It looks like now he's back in the "pro-life" movement. He's got a doctor he's working with who says he can treat the woman. I hate to say this, but there are people on the fringes of the medical profession who will say that no matter what the case. (they take cash only.) My uncle showed up once with somebody who said he could cure my mom's cancer. A quarter of her brain was removed. Her tumor was growing faster than a zucchini in july. this guy claimed that if we gave her protein and vitamin C in massive (kidney stopping) quantities, her tumor would go into remission and then she could have therapy that would cause her to regain all of her lost motor and thinking skills. Randall Terry's friend claims that therapy will bring back all of this woman's motor and thinking skills. Therapy is magic. Also, you'd think if it worked, he would have published a paper and gone for the fame and the money connected to such a tremendous discovery. Again, what a fucking asshat.

Ok, so why is Dr. Dobson and Randall Terry involved? Because it's part of the pro-life movement! They're against the rights of women to make their own health decisions in all cases!

And then congress had an emergency meeting and pres bush flew back to "save" the life of this woman by changing court jurisdictions so she could sue in federal court. Bloggers have been all over this, upset about separation of powers, about politicians cravenly using this family's pain to play to pro-lifers, of how a precedent might be used to legislative overrule other court decisions, etc. All of these things are issues, but what the fuck is going on in Iraq right now where all of our attention is being diverted to this one thing? It's the most terrible thing for the family, a horrible personal drama. One that is played out over and over again, every day as families have to make horrible, gut-wrenching decisions about people they love. Usually, the president doesn't get involved (but he did in the state of Texas, where as governor he signed a law saying doctors could just pull the plug on you if they didn't want to treat you anymore.) This is, however, a diversion. something must be up for them to stage a diversion so big. Look! Over Here! Over Here!


1 comment:

Crin said...

I gave a speech today in my Toastmasters club expounding upon how all the miracles attributed to Vit C are erronious. It doesn't stave off colds. It doesn't reduce the frequency of colds. It most certainly doesn't prevent cancer, much less regrow brain tissue. Above 250mg, Vit C is toxic. For my talk I brought in a demo bottle of the poison, with each dose being 500mg.

I'm not going to comment on the merits of the Shiavo case. It's too dispicable for words what our Congress has done. As yesyouam noted, it's a big distraction ploy. Distract the US populace the opposition party while the Rethugs gut Social Security, the filibuster, and the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. Is anyone out there not cynical enough to believe that the Congress actually has the best interests of this woman at heart???

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