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The Right to Die and Who Controls It

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Scenario:

    A woman who has been on a feeding machine for 13 years. She is, according to most doctors, in vegetative state. While she does random smiles and other show of emotion they are just that, random--according to many doctors.

    In the Red Corner: Her husband who has won the case in court to pull the feeding tube in which his wife would eventually die because she can't sustain living without feeding help.

    His argument: She mentioned to him that she would rather die than be a vegetable. He has tried for a long time to get research the help she needed, he hoped her condition would improve but then just gave up on it and thinks that this is best for her and everyone else.

    In the Blue Corner: Her parents. Who do not want the husband to pull the plug. They want her to come home with them and she will be taken care of there.

    Their argument: She moans when the mother addresses her and they contend that she is thinking deep inside. They are so bitter towards the husband that they believe that the reason Terri is now like this is not because her heart stopped for a few moments (blood to the brain is vital) but that he, the husband, tried to strangle her.

    Red Herring? In the middle of all this is that Terri was awarded close to a million for malpractice suit and the Husband is contending that this is the only reason the parents want Terri to be alive and to live with them. Basically, the caretaker is the owner of the funds.

    What's happening with the case? The issue in Florida is that the feeding tube was turned off yesterday based on the court's decision and testimonies from many court appearances, appeals, and everything else that this case could have put forth.

    This case got so popular that people who support Terri, the one on life support feeding system, made a website that includes videos, letters, and everything else they can fit on the site.

    Where's my debate factors? Well, I was a bit surprised by a few things.

    First of all, I am surprised that a spouse had a bigger say in the life of a human being than her parents. I guess once you are married the de facto beneficiary, or the Grim Reaper, is the spouse. A good lesson to those that are not sure about whether they should marry that guy/gal. ;)

    Secondly, I was accustomed to cases where the patient is in excruciating pain and wants to die. In this case, we do not know what Terri wanted prior or currently.

    Did the court do the right thing here? Should Jeb Bush intervene and throw a monkey wrench in to the court system?
     
  2. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    I should think an MRI would be able to determine if there is a genuine brain response to stimulii. If there is, then husband loses...if there isn't, husband wins.
     
  3. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives to hit it!

    I think it all comes down to quality of life. If you are compleatly paralyzed or in a vegetative state, would you want to live? Not I. This is something that will eventually come into play with my mother. With her MS, she will eventually be fully paralyzed, her muscles tighten untill she is as stiff as a board. The government be damned to hell, I will NOT allow her to suffer the 2,5, or 10 years of paralyses untill she finally passes. If the medical community won't do it, I will, without a second thought.
     
  4. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Damn Frodo, bless your heart and I would not want to be in the shoes of that decision no matter how cut and dry--although I probably would do the same as you.

    Let it be known, if I am ever in any accident and you people learn of me in some coma, for the record, PULL the plug. Please.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    There is a legal document you can prepare and sign -- living will? -- in which you can express your preferences about such matters and designate the person authorized to make the decision. I believe the courts have held them to be binding on docs and hospitals, at least in some states. (Any of our lawyers feel free to jump in here with real knowledge,) If you worry about this sort of thing, recommend having one. Just make sure you name someone you trust. :)
     
  6. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I do not want to live even if not brain dead it I am totally paralyzed and dependent on breathing apparatus to live.

    Slightly OT, but my grandmother was dying of heart failure. The cardiologist asked if she wanted heroic measures taken to save her life. She said, "No, but please pinch me one time to be sure I am gone." She was a great woman.
     
  7. Fiona

    Fiona Veteran Member

    AHHH you make it sound so easy... in a coma for how long Leon? Your wife and I could live very well in Tahiti... :p

    A few comments:"people who support Terri," I assume you mean people that want her to live (but you dont know if this is what Terri wants!)
    "I am surprised that a spouse had a bigger say in the life of a human being than her parents." Darn tootin' !!! Heck I dare say most of us threaten to haunt our spouses if they let our parents have their way with our bodies... and yes, this means you'd better be pretty darned sure about your spouse ;)
    and furthermore, what Frodo says..!
    I had a cousin who was victim of drive by shooting- paralyzed for 9 years... needing respirator, she eventually died... her life was of a quality she was okay with. Many argued she should have been unplugged in the beginning. She fought adamantly against the movements to allow dr. assisted suicide.
    I personally believe that anything is possible and would want to hold out for a good long time. BUT! if it were me... I would say if I am not responsive, if I am a total vegetable and the scans say healing is highly unlikely... give it a couple more weeks and then PULL IT!
    and yes Frodo I will be in that place too... and I will pull it :) Copz and BDD can come visit us in the bighouse :love::love::love:
     
  8. Fiona

    Fiona Veteran Member

    Oh and if you have strong feelings on this subject... MAKE A LIVING WILL! :love:
     
  9. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    I believe Bob is correct.

    I find it odd that the husband is saying the parents are only doing this for the $1 million. The money is hers, so if she is alive he can choose to spend it on her care as well as her parents if they are caring for her. Should she die, he would get it all, I assume. Now who's being greedy here?
     
  10. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    We spoke about this case a long time ago. I thought it was over quite some time ago but I guess it just got decided now.
    I know what I would want for myself and luckily I can trust my husband to make the right decision. I can't see why you would think a married woman's parents should have more say than her husband... that seems strange to me.
    I believe in this case the problems started after the parents starting thinking that the husband had done something to her. Originally they didn't think that. It got really ugly. How hurtful for all of them.
     
  11. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Well, the parents gave birth to you, I would just think it's more natural for them to decide life or death?
     
  12. Aria

    Aria All shall love me&despair

    My mom is an RN in a nursing home. She's told me of so many cases like this that she's had where the patient has been a vegetable but the children refuse to pull the plug. It breaks her heart but there's nothing she can do.
    She and my father both have living wills and my brothers and I are all aware of their wishes. They have no desire to be vegetables and I have no intention to leave them that way.
     
  13. Fiona

    Fiona Veteran Member

    sorryhun, that ain't practical (nor modern) thinkin... so your wife isn't your closest human contact? you would trust your parents to make decisions for you over her? If so, :eek:

    That should never be the case IMO until you are divorced and can't remember why you liked her... :p
     
  14. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Sorry Cyd and Fi, there's definite reasons of parents not to trust the actions of a child's spouse. I've been there, trust me on this one.
     
  15. Fiona

    Fiona Veteran Member

    oh I'd agree InsAgt... but in general... your spouse is the person you trust and who knows the most about you. But of course somewhere along the line this changes... I had to rewrite everything and pass beneficiary status and confidential info onto my sister when hubby started what biker refers to as cranius stuffus rectus;)
     
  16. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    I'm quite sure there are numerous people that are married to someone that can't be trusted. A shame they stay in the marriage. But, I believe when a person gets married the spouse has all of the rights regarding their welfare and rights. It can only be challenged through court proceedings, no?
    Me, I'm married to someone I trust completely to do the right thing. lol...as a matter of fact, I expect he would have me hanging on longer than I would want for myself. But at that point I would want him to do what is best for himself, if you know what I mean.
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    But on a woman's wedding day her father gives away the bride. You do not retain control after giving something away.
     
  18. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Whoa, before people think I can not trust my wife... hold on there. :)

    It seemed logical that parents would have a say, is all. Apparently, I was wrong and the courts rule mostly by the spouse.
     
  19. Fiona

    Fiona Veteran Member

    (your so cute) rofl ... I wasn't implying you can't trust YOUR wife...
    (i was joking about it though ;) )
     
  20. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Yeah, we were more worried about her trusting you!
     

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