Terri Schiavo: My Dispute With Prof. Broyde

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9 Responses

  1. MP says:

    By Florida statute, the court (or an appointed guardian) must then use oral declarations to others to form a kind of substituted judgment about what the incapacitated patient would want.

    If Florida statute in fact sets a high bar for terminating medical intervention, the casual, visceral and emotionally charged conversations of years before should not be dispositive.
    Rabbi Adlerstein, do you not see the contradiction?

    Perhaps this phrase is machria:
    I am even more convinced that there are both theoretical and practical areas in which Torah Jews should take umbrage with the approach of the judges – not just the legislators.
    Judges are human beings attempting to make sense of and work with the laws as they are written. Nothing you’ve posted leads me to agree with your overall criticism of their work.

    Thank you for noting the opinion of my good friend (and classmate) MJB (not to be confused with a favorite YU teacher, Dr. MJB). Tangentially, he wrote one phrase with which the facts might disagree:
    I read today that a total of 19 judges have examined this matter
    and not a single one sided with the parents…if not a single dissent was
    written

    Wasn’t there at least one three-judge panel which split 2-1 in deciding against the parents? No great harm to Michael’s point in noting that the judicial decisions haven’t been unanimous – on the contrary, it bolsters his “judges are a pretty diverse group” point.

  2. Sholom Simon says:

    The comment of “19 judges unanimously ruling” was made before the 2-1 panel. So, now the count is 21-1. (The 2-1 split was really a split over the propriety of an injunction, but not on the merits of the case necessarily).

  3. Moshe Schorr says:

    Since I live in Israel, I was not too aware of this case till very recently. Now it is very much on my mind.

    I am not a lawyer not a medical profession so I will perforce talk from the gut.

    Two points.

    1. Since when is a feeding tube considered an “ARTIFICAL Life Support”?
    2. Your comments about what this case will do to the “atmosphere” is very cogent and important. There is a reason that groups of disabled people are very concerned about this case. They are very worried that not too far down the line, _their_ lives will be decided by judges using such laws. That’s frightening.

  4. Sholom Simon says:

    Moshe Schorr asked: “Since when is a feeding tube considered an “ARTIFICAL Life Support”?”

    My answer, without espousing any position here, is that Florida statute includes, as its definition of “life-prolonging procedure”, as “any medical procedure, treatment, or intervention, including artificially provided sustenance and hydration…”

    I can only guess that because this is a tube which actually went through her abdomen directly through a wall in her stomach, it is considered, under statute: “artificially provided sustenance and hydration”

  5. Zev says:

    “I can only guess that because this is a tube which actually went through her abdomen directly through a wall in her stomach, it is considered, under statute: “artificially provided sustenance and hydration”

    And how does that explain the judge’s order that she may not be given food or water by mouth? Are you aware that she is being constantly guarded by police to ensure that her family will not moisten her lips with a bit of water, for fear this might delay her death? Since when is spoon-feeding considered artificial life support?

    The horrifying fact is that the woman is being cruelly murdered by the state before her parents’ eyes, and there’s not a thing anyone can do about it.

  6. Sholom Simon says:

    Zev asks: “Since when is spoon-feeding considered artificial life support?”

    That has nothing to do with the question that I answered that Moshe Schorr asked. Mosche Schorr asked about feeding tubes.

  7. Seth Gordon says:

    Quoth Zev: “how does that explain the judge’s order that she may not be given food or water by mouth?”

    I am not a doctor, but as I understand it, you only put a feeding tube in a patient who is incapable of swallowing, and therefore, anyone putting food or water into her mouth would be hastening her death (by suffocation), not delaying it.

    “Are you aware that she is being constantly guarded by police to ensure that her family will not moisten her lips with a bit of water, for fear this might delay her death?”

    If Mrs. Schaivo would not have wanted her life prolonged in her current state with a feeding tube, then kal vachomer, she would not have wanted her parents moistening her lips.

  8. MP says:

    Sholom noted, “The comment of ’19 judges unanimously ruling’ was made before the 2-1 panel.” Yes, I realized that was probably the case a bit after posting the comment.

    Today, re an unrelated matter, someone brought my attention to

    Patricia Voss says:

    Earlier today, before I knew of the Sciavo outcome, I was pondering how I have had to take a test for certain diseases each time I have been pregnant. My statement that I and my husband are faithful to one another is insufficient in an era of permissiveness. I wonder what changes this new attitude may cause that we cannot now anticipate.

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