Man gets the "go-ahead" to kill his wife - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 08-12-2003, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/a0027306.cfm

This is such a sad story. A man whose wife became severely disabled wants to have her starved to death, even though her parents want to keep taking care of her. It seems like the husband just wants the money from the malpractice suit. Follow the link at the bottom of the article for more info, if this interests you.
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#2 of 27 Old 08-12-2003, 01:45 PM
 
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I have a tendency to look at the family one has chosen over the family one was given. ie, the husband over the parents. That just doesn't seem like an unbiased article, I get an uneasy feeling. Is there a source of information in addition to her family's website?

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#3 of 27 Old 08-12-2003, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know what you mean Apricot about the article's bias; the only links I know of are the ones available through the family's website...HOWEVER it just really bothers me and strikes me as WRONG for some people to be debating whether or not another person should be allowed to live or not. Even this thread is absurd and I don't even know why I posted it. I mean here we have a conscious woman, and her parents have to convince the courts that her life is worth living??? It just seems so unthinkable.
I also understand what Apricot means about the family one has chosen, but there are laws in place to protect people from being abused and/or killed by their spouses; unfortunately you don't always choose wisely.
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#4 of 27 Old 08-12-2003, 03:54 PM
 
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I did a little more looking, the vast majority of the articles are written by non-news focused organizations, with a few synopsis on news sites. It appears that the parents are suggesting spousal abuse is the cause of her injuries. Obviously, in a case of domestic abuse, I think the decision should go back to someone who didn't harm her. However, this isn't a clear case. The only evidence of abuse in in disupute, it's a bone scan that has no clear diagnosis.
I guess it hits home for me because I'd like to die if I were in her situation. And I'd like to be cremated afterwards. I would hope my husband wouldn't be suspected of doing me in after following my wishes.

I'm glad you posted this topic. It's sometimes hard for me to find someone to talk about things that really hit me hard. I'd like to think this board might be the place to find someone to listen and care.

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#5 of 27 Old 08-12-2003, 04:16 PM
 
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I didnt see it as one sided. although it does seem like hubby vs parents. I wont debate who has what rights, what bothers me is this woman is somewhat responsive. she does smile, she does retract to pain, she is somewhat consious. what cognitive ability, i dont know, and its obvious she has no motor skills at all. but, then again, do we stop feeding adults who cant cut their own meat and chew it? she looks and acts alot like an infant....little head control, cant eat (although babies can nurse or bottle feed, they are dependent on us to give it to them), etc, has a sloppy smile, and she drools.

as a nurse who has pulled the plug too many times to count, and have never had a problem with it, this concerns me. she has sleep wake cycles, she smiles at her mom, she is not on any life saving drugs that i can see (and i meen the big time ones we use in the ICU), she breathes on her own and her heart beats without assistance. so the staff has to turn her and change diapers. is this grounds for discontinuing the feeding tube? we have no idea what goes on in this womans head. the folks i have discontinued life support were never like this...they were dependent on ventilators, drugs/drips and aggressive attempts to avoid the inevitable. alot of them had little if any cerebral perfusion....their hearts just didnt know enough to stop. this woman seems different. I'm not crazy about the husband, but i guess thats the one part i could possibly consider onesided. why cant the husband file for divorce? maybe he wont because, then he looses out on all that $$$$. that would seem logical. divorce her, and move on.
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#6 of 27 Old 08-12-2003, 04:26 PM
 
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Apricot...how i wish she'd have written a living will.

I wouldnt want to live like that either.
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#7 of 27 Old 08-12-2003, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, if there were a living will it would be totaly different. Then HER wishes would be known to all.
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#8 of 27 Old 08-12-2003, 05:36 PM
 
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The trouble is that it is impossible to know the husbands motivation. It may be killing him to know she is stuck in this limbo, particularly if he is convinced she would hate it and would want to be allowed to die. Or he may be mad that all that lovely settlement money is being spent to keep her alive. In the absence of any clear indication from her as to her wishes I don't think we can take his statements at face value. I am troubled by the 3/2 split from the doctors on the question of whether or not this is a permanent vegetative state. There may be questionable motives there also, but I'm not sure what they are/could be.
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#9 of 27 Old 08-13-2003, 02:17 AM
 
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i tried so hard not to comment on this, But I have to say something, I have followed this case for many years,I live in the bay area here in Tampa, So I get to see alot of this story,

First off Terri suffered a heart attack, that left her in a vegitated state, in the beginning, she was cared for at their home, he even had people come in to do her hair and nails, over the course of time, she became worse and ended up in the hospital, the settlement money has always gone to Terri's care, but after 11 plus years in private care, the money is about gone, the video and clips are old, Terri has been declared by many appointed drs from both sides, that there is nothing more left for them to do..

I mean no disrepect, but the husband Micheal has been thru hell, protrayed in the media as a evil man, and out for money, he could of left her many years ago, instead he has fought for Terri, and the time has come for her to go and finally be in peace, I feel her parents pain, but his seems to go unnoticed, Please excuse me if I have offended anyone, I normally keep quiet, but I just couldnt this time...
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#10 of 27 Old 08-13-2003, 02:25 AM
 
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How awful for everyone.

Makes me want to hug my dh and hold him close.

I hope she finds peace.
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#11 of 27 Old 08-13-2003, 12:05 PM
 
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It's good to hear the other side of the story, I have a hard time believing a 'news report' from Focus on The Family. :

I hope they all find peace.

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#12 of 27 Old 08-13-2003, 06:28 PM
 
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According to the Associated Press, a 1992 medical malpractice lawsuit granted $700,000 for Terri’s medical care. Yet, according to her physicians, Schiavo has refused to allow his wife any rehabilitation therapy procedures that could improve her condition. He has denied aggressive medical treatment and prohibited caretakers from giving her medication for life-threatening infections. WorldNetDaily reported that since her debilitation, Terri has never had a mammogram, and her husband has not allowed doctors to clean her teeth since 1995.
It goes on to say that her husband is using her medical fund to pay for his defense fees (defense for her death). Also that he has another fiancee. This does not sound good to me.

I don't see how they got the authority to do this, especially since she is obviously not a vegetable and not on life support. Hospitals should not have the right to let people die just because they cannot pay for care. Something tells me this may be all about money.

I don't believe in letting people die just for being "useless." My sister was one of those people - when she was born she was given almost no chance of survival and they said if she did survive she would be horribly brain damaged. She stayed in the hospital for 3 months and is now a perfectly healthy 14-year-old. So much for "expert medical opinions."
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#13 of 27 Old 08-13-2003, 09:51 PM
 
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It ios one thing to end life support and lat anature take its course. But starving a liveing breathing person while they die a slow and horrible death is just awful. If her parents want to take care o her then why doesn't he just let them. :

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#14 of 27 Old 08-14-2003, 02:46 PM
 
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Dehydration is one of the worst ways to die. So the hospital staff is going to kill someone in one of the most painful ways possible - doesn't this violate the Hippocratic oath, "Do no harm"?

I don't see how this man has the authority to decide this. Don't the doctors have an obligation to keep her alive?

If we could kill people just because they were un-productive or financial drains, a lot of people would die each day, including some great American political leaders.
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#15 of 27 Old 08-17-2003, 08:46 AM
 
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Contrary to popular belief, the Hippocratic Oath does not include the phrase, "do no harm." Furthermore, not all new dr's take this oath.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_modern.html
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#16 of 27 Old 08-17-2003, 09:46 AM
 
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This case hits close to home because my BIL suffered a severe brain injury 5 years ago. He was in a coma for 3 months and in a vegetative state for months afterwards. The doctors begged my MIL/FIL to end his life but our family does not believe in that. My in-laws stood firm! A nurse at the hospital even tried to overdose BIL with drugs to kill him and put him out of his misery (the case was settled out of court because the hospital did such a good cover-up job to protect themselves and their employee).

Anyway, through intense therapy over the past 5 years Bil has made such gains. He is now 22 and will always need care. He is not "normal" and can't walk or talk very well but his mind is active. He started college this summer!

I feel that if this woman had had access the good treatment for brain injuried people then she might me in a better state today.

It is all about the $$$. The husband is horrible - not even getting her teeth cleaned!!!!!! I guess he would say my BIL should be starved too because he has to be showered, dressed, and taken to the bathroom everyday!

Life is life and we should not judge the "quality" of it based our our own idea of normal reality!

Super Pickle: Your respect for life on this board humbles me and blows me away! You are one of my heros! Thanks for bringing this case to my attention. If it wasn't all about the money then the husband would just divorce his wife and marry his live-in. The parents should be given controll over their daughter's health care!
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#17 of 27 Old 08-17-2003, 05:47 PM
 
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I "googled" Terri to get some "perspective" on this..

I think it is about money and death in this case.. Quoted from one of the articles
Quote:
Michael is currently living with another woman with whom he has had a child, though he is still legally married to Terri
:Puke

What kind of woman stays with a man who has a WIFE who is in a "vegetative" (although that is in question) state and has a child with him.. This man wants to KILL his current wife instead of divorcing her.. Now come on here... What kind of greif is his child going to go through when that comes out in school.. And anyone who thinks that the other kids parents aren't going to say anything are kidding themselves.. That's movie of the week drama right there...

Sickening..

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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#18 of 27 Old 08-17-2003, 07:58 PM
 
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I bet there are some doctors at this hospital that won't agree with the decision to let a patient starve to death and will sneak in and feed her.
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#19 of 27 Old 08-17-2003, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Greaseball,
I hope you are right. you probably are.

Suz,
Thanks for the encouragement. And thank you for sharing the uplifting story about your brother in law. I hope he continues to progress and get the most out of life!!! I also have a friend that I met in a college course who, 5 years earlier, was in a coma for a looooong time and whose parents were told that he would never be functional again. The thing is, there is always hope, and even if the hopes are never realized, there is still the precious opportunity to love and care for someone despite his/her disabilities. It seems like Terri's parents want to love like that, fully and completely, without expecting anything in return.
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#20 of 27 Old 08-18-2003, 11:02 AM
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T

Quote:
Dehydration is one of the worst ways to die. So the hospital staff is going to kill someone in one of the most painful ways possible - doesn't this violate the Hippocratic oath, "Do no harm"?
A recent study found that death by dehydration and starvation is actually not particularly horrible, contrary to what we'd normally think. The study involved competent, terminally ill individuals who decided on their own volition to end their lives by refusing nutrition and hydration. Dry mouth was the worst commonly reported issue, and it was usually alleviated by sucking on ice chips. I don't presently have a link, but will post one if I find one.

Also, re someone else's comment regarding "do no harm," it is, in fact, a cornerstone of bioethics.

edited to add:

T T T

Super Pickle, thanks so much for your message re my brother. Your PM box is full!
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#21 of 27 Old 08-18-2003, 04:01 PM
 
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Maybe someone should do a study on the murder of helpless hospital patients by such a method and how they felt about it.

I have talked with people who attempted suicide this way and they could not last more than a day. They say they will most definitely do something different next time.

A boy I went to school with was on a feeding tube. He could function normally in most ways; he just could not eat by mouth. It connected into his stomach and he would pour the solution in. It probably cost the taxpayers a lot of money but I'm glad he is still alive.
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#22 of 27 Old 08-18-2003, 05:29 PM
 
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This question of how painful dehydration is or isn't is very interesting to me. It was almost certainly my mothers cause of death. She was exhibiting signs of serious discomfort/ pain to the degree that we had a hospice nurse about to give her IV morphine when she died. Her pain may well have come from a variety of other sources, however.
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#23 of 27 Old 08-18-2003, 05:34 PM
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Oh, for heaven's sakes.

http://www.nhpco.org/i4a/pages/index...&openpage=3840

Quote:
The study, “Nurses’ Experiences with Hospice Patients Who Refuse Food and Fluids to Hasten Death,” surveyed hospice nurses in Oregon regarding patients who made the choice to stop eating and drinking in order to hasten death. In 2001, questionnaires were mailed to nurses employed by all 50 Medicare-certified home hospice programs in the state, as well as two hospices in neighboring states that provide service for patients in Oregon. A total of 429 nurses received the questionnaire. Seventy-two percent of the nurses surveyed responded; among those nurses, 33 percent (102 respondents) reported that in the previous four years they had cared for a patient who elected to forgo food and fluids with the intention of hastening death.

Nurses reported that these patients “chose to stop eating and drinking because they were ready to die, saw continued existence as pointless, and considered their quality of life poor.” Survey results indicate that 85 percent of these patients died within 15 days after stopping food and fluids. The quality of death among these patients, as rated by the responding nurses, was eight on a scale of zero (a very bad death) to nine (a very good death.)
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#24 of 27 Old 08-19-2003, 12:06 AM
 
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I appreciate that Marlena. Thanks.
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#25 of 27 Old 08-19-2003, 12:45 AM
 
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So, the nurses get to decide and report who is having a pleasant death experience and who is not? Why not ask the patients to keep a journal as they die? Studies are meaningless without input from the studied population.

There is a big difference between suicide and murder - in one area you have choices and in one you do not!

There has to be a reason why dehydration and starvation are not among the top ten suicide methods in any population. Could it be because most people would not enjoy it?
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#26 of 27 Old 08-19-2003, 01:45 AM
 
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I think the nurses would be a better judge than a Dr who spend much less time with individual patients.

But if they kept a journal it would be up to the families on whether or not they shared it. Most wouldn't.

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#27 of 27 Old 08-19-2003, 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by Greaseball
So, the nurses get to decide and report who is having a pleasant death experience and who is not? Why not ask the patients to keep a journal as they die? Studies are meaningless without input from the studied population.
I suspect that many of these patients were not in a state to keep a journal. The median age, if I remember correctly, was 80. They may have had impediments to speech, and likely also had arthritis or other issues that would curtail them from holding a writing implement.

Quote:
There is a big difference between suicide and murder - in one area you have choices and in one you do not!
I'm confused - are you implying that the folks in this study were murdered? They weren't. They chose to die this way. They weren't sprightly young suicidal folks who could slash their arms or pull a trigger or something. Or are you referring back to the OP? If so, then I agree - the situation in the OP would indeed be murder, unless the woman was sufficiently alert and with it to indicate her choice herself (whether it were yea or nay).

Quote:
There has to be a reason why dehydration and starvation are not among the top ten suicide methods in any population. Could it be because most people would not enjoy it?
I suspect it's likely because there are much quicker ways to make one's exit, and that most suicidal folks are not inclined to wait the 2+ weeks it takes to die of dehydration and starvation.
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