I ate my wafer...

3/22/2005

*Edited for blogger related spell check errors and to throw in a couple more links.

I know, I know, everyone is completely sick of it...But, here's a link to the what's purported to be THE CT scan over which so many comments have been shed in the HBC.

In related news, the Texas futility care law, signed by a certain former govenor in 1999, which allowed a hospital to remove support from a 6 month child last friday against the mother's wishes is a much bigger deal to me than terri shaiavo. Apparently there have been a couple of other kids too. Where is the outrage ? Other than in wildly liberal corners of the internet, and Texas local media it seems to be a complete non-issue. Is it because W. signed off on it, and it doesn't smell like judicial activism? Just to be ornery, what's to stop that from being a slippery slope precedent to requiring mother's to abort if serious birth defects are known? Texas is pretty high (~15th in the nation behind a suprising number of "red" states) on the abortions per capita CDC stats so the before birth, as opposed to waiting at least 10 days after, part shouldn't bother them too much. I would love to hear how this differs ethically from mandating certain abortions? Not to sound like a ranting liberal lunatic, but why the hell didn't "focus on the family", foxnews, World Net Daily, etc jump all over this story? To its credit, The Free Republic has covered it, but otherwise, the silence is deafening.

(Maybe I just live in a news-less hole here in law school and everyone has known about the Texas business for months? If so, my apologies for dragging up old news)

8 Comments:

  • Keep digging and posting.

    By Anonymous Jake Allen, at 3:20 PM  

  • CT Scan

    Howdy Bob.

    By Anonymous Beauchamp, at 8:50 PM  

  • Robert George on the ethics of life and death: The question is, "Are we saying that this life is not worth living?" This may denote a difference in the cases (Sun and Schiavo). In addition, there was no court order mandating that no one could provide oxygen to the baby. The parents were free to buy their own ventilator or ask the public for help, if they wanted. In contrast, people are being arrested for helping Terri. As Pat Boone has pointed out, folks go to jail for not feeding their pets!

    The real problem with Terri Schiavo's case is that her husband is probably not competent to make the decision that the law normally delegates to a spouse. He is violating his marriage promise to remain faithful to her “in sickness and in health . . . till death do they part.” His behavior is questionable, as well as his role as a cause of her sickness. Here, gross injustice requires abrogation of the normal rule. These facts speak to the Robert George statement: He does not have her best interests at heart, he has his own. This is our outrage.

    By Blogger philip, at 1:56 PM  

  • no matter the conclusion, this case will fuck our legal system.

    By Blogger Dave, at 4:11 PM  

  • Beauchamp: Hello, and thanks for another link to it, whether its real or not...I have no idea. I'm not a radiologist so I'm not going to attempt to read it other than to point out that if that is Hydrocephalus, and it hasn't been treated since 1996...that's not good.


    Phil:
    Robert George also has no repect for living wills and advance directives. "it is a mistake to assume that people can make decisions in advance about whether to have themselves starved to death if they eventually find themselves disabled." Do you agree? Hie postion is defensible if you believe that whether Terri had a Living Will or not has no bearing on the case.

    I agree that Michael Schiavo MAY be lying out his ass to protect his pride (now that finacial issues are pretty much out of the running, its about the only selfish motivation he 'd have). Florida probably should change their state law to include a portion that would make an adultery grounds for removal...but they haven't. I have only moderate sympathy for arguments about the bone scan, which as far as I know are about the only evidence that he's really a bastard. It would be wildly unusual for paramedics and ER personel not to have noted such a thing, they typically assume spousal abuse rather readilly. Keep in mind that a bone scan of me would show much, much more trauma, and I haven't been in an abusive relationship. Bone scans are not nearly as conclusive as some people are making it out to be.

    I'm comfortable, or at least I tolerate the fact that tough cases make bad law, and sometimes people die because of it. Sometimes prudent U.S. foreign policy kills off a bunch of people in the Sudan. Certainly, capital punishment kills an innocent person every now and again. Finally, well, "right to die" laws that I like happen to occasionally let a bastard husband kill his wife. Does that make me happy? No. But since I like the underlying law, and cannot articulate, as a conservative, a good "abrogation of the normal rule", I accept that.
    Now onto the more relevant matter of comparing Sun to Terri: from what I can tell the publically availible information is about equal as to the medical necessity of removing support.


    Phil, what exactly do you mean by : "The parents were free to buy their own ventilator or ask the public for help, if they wanted."

    A. The parents did ask, noone listened. Hence my criticism of the conservative media outlooks for totally ignoring the issue. The reason people have been arrested carrying water to terri is publicity, not the level of injustice.

    B. How do you feel about the patient dumping laws and court cases? (Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act) You seem to imply a utilitarian view of hospital finance, and I'm curious as to how far it goes. Check for an insurance card or ability to pay, at the door?

    C. Can you come up with a difference morally between the way the Sun case played out, and merely requiring pregnant women to show financial ability to support infants with birth defects or abort them? Why would it matter morally if the "proove you can support them" part happens neo-natally? Hell, its a lot cheaper than letting the women give birth on the taxpayer's dime and supporting the infant for 10 days or 6 months for the same resualt? Personally, I'd rather make them abort, its less traumatic for everyone.

    By Blogger Bob, at 4:30 PM  

  • Well, as for "abrogating the normal rule," courts can take all sorts of action to prevent gross injustice. They make exceptions all the time, and this is a case for an exception.

    As to Terri and Sun, the court did not mandate that Sun be starved to death of oxygen. It did say that the hospital was no longer under an obligation to provide care. (BTW, I live in Texas and I never heard of Sun’s case, and I can assure you that there are plenty of churches in Austin that would have been willing to help Sun’s parents obtain home care of the type they sought. The article only says that they asked hospitals.) In contrast, it is a violation of court order to even try to give Terri food. If you can't see the difference, then I don't know what to say. It’s fairly simple. Yes, it is sad that Sun died, but the facts are materially different.

    As for living wills in the abstract, they are not all that you make them out to be, mostly because it is difficult to determine what you want to have done when future possible applications are so hard to predict. I think the medical power of attorney is probably a better choice because it designates someone to decide at the time what to do. For the purposes of the law, however, a spouse if entitled to make most healthcare decisions. I just think here, the spouse has constructively rejected that right, and the court ought to give effect to the rejection.

    By Blogger philip, at 1:38 AM  

  • For the sake of brevity I've been lumping living wills/advance directives and medical powers of attorney together, I agree on the medical power of attorney being the most universally helpful, espicially when combined with some living will language. Robert George, from what I can tell is against any and all schemes where one picks anything about refusing support in advance.

    Yes, I see the distinction in the two cases, actually, it is EXACTLY why the lack of mainstream press coverage irritated me. If FoxNews had been covering the texas law for a couple months, there would most likely be a complete network of churches or whatever to provide financial support. I watched a bit of news last friday and got a steady diet of mindless slush about michael jackson and what amounted to filler about Terri. Granted a law that puts the burden on the press to make such cases public is bad to begin with, but the conservative media dropped the ball on this one.


    The underlying law in the Terri case is supposed to be about patients choosing their own medical care, and a right to refuse treatment. The underlying law in Sun is about a hospital's right, with precious little review to remove support over the objections of the parents. Your views on my questions B and C above detirmines whether you can see that as a problem or not.

    At least from what I can tell you're coming across as being quite utilitarian about the texas law= that a couple people slipping through the cracks there is sad, but hey, crap happens. I find that some what unusual in comparion to your position on going to any possible length with Terri.

    By Blogger Bob, at 11:00 AM  

  • By Anonymous Beauchamp, at 3:53 PM  

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