Terri Schiavo, once again.
Both Jake and Talcott have posted some interesting, and particularly reasonable stuff on the topic recently. In Jake’s case, he points out that the judges involved interpreted the law(s) correctly, and don’t deserve the utter and complete trashing that they’re getting in conservative circles. (I’ve been trying, very poorly to make that point for weeks now.) In my opinion, the big lesson from the whole mess is that, in the future, state legislators would do well to very, very carefully word such statutes.
Talcott raises a number of interesting items, and is definitely worth reading. I am a little disturbed that he said that I’m making strong arguments that Terri is PVS. I’m not a neurologist, and her medical records are quite rightfully sealed, so we *may* have one leaked scan film out a stack of hundreds. (It is worth remembering that most of the doctors commenting on the case haven't seen any medical records either, and there are patient confidentiality concerns that should restrain the ones that have from too much public comment. ) I’d like to think that instead, I’m making strong arguments that from what we do have available; we cannot assume that Greer, and especially the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals made an incorrect determination. The main reason that I’ve argued medical issues at all is because of the tapes, and in responses to issues others have brought up.
Short, and mostly tangential thoughts:
1. There is a split in the conservative blogosphere as to how to interpret the presidential approval rating drop. This is amusing to me, but I have no real opinion yet on the topic. Anyone care to speculate on how the drop relates to the distaste most americans have for the congressional intervention?
2. I’m tired of seeing Dr. William Hammesfahr on TV, and his words parroted without thought. (A good example is the eeg issue that I already brought up, if you can get useful information from an eeg of a patient during a seizure, his claim that Terri was too restless despite the fact that he wasn’t present requires some critical thought). Oh, and lets stop calling him a Nobel Nominee(I've been curious about that for weeks, and just this morning got around to firing up google on the topic.)
3. Why is it that people are so convinced that the courts have erred that they’re doing civil disobedience to bring Terri bread, and threatening to kill Greer, etc, while the other side is content to let Terri live if the courts rule that way? Six months ago, I don’t remember hearing about a bounty for euthanizing Terri, and noone has been arrested with a syringe of whatever sneaking into her room.
4. I think part of the answer to Talcott's concern about how to establish consciousness from a biological standpoint has to be based in eeg or similar measurements, not just in a percentage of brain area(s) left + clinical exam. Although I have the utmost respect of the privacy of medical records, and do not wish this case to become a precedent for trying end of life cases publicly in the press and polls, I wish I had more information on the eeg’s in this case.
5. Jeb Bush and others seem to think that part of the problem with this case is that the trials and appeals were always in front of judges, never a jury. I have reservations about mandating jury trials in this situation. In criminal cases, it is recognized that there are matters so emotional or technical that a defendant would prefer a bench trial. (Not to mention that given the current rules of evidence that some material is too emotional or prejudicial to go in front of a jury.) How the heck do we decide if the incapacitated person would want a jury or bench trial?