Marlowe's Shade

Monday, February 28, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: A Portrait of George Felos

Terri's parents have documented the bias of the St Petersburg Times against their daughter pretty extensively. Here is a piece they wrote on George Felos back in 2001.

If he had his druthers, Felos and his Birkenstocks would be at a West Virginia monastery, where he'd sit cross-legged and meditate for hours at a time, as he did on vacation last year. Or maybe he'd be doing yoga and centering his chi.

Instead, in a controversial case, he is here to argue that 37-year-old Terri Schiavo should be allowed to die. Felos represents Schiavo's husband Michael Schiavo, who has been waging an intense and public fight to have her taken off life support after 11 years in a vegetative state.

Felos, 49, has taken on about 10 right-to-die cases in the last decade. He balances his quest for spiritual growth with his lawyerly duty to fight.

"Many people find the litigation process to be aggressive, to be combative, to be harsh," he says. "And the question is: How do you work within that type of system and not become hardened . . . and maintain a spiritual center? How do you litigate without becoming a combatant?

The article goes on to describe the case that started his "right to die" crusade:

Felos' spiritual and professional lives intersected in a public way 12 years ago, in the case of Estelle Browning. The case gained him a reputation as the person to see when you want to let someone die.

Browning, of Dunedin, had written a living will in 1985, saying she did not want to be kept alive by artificial means if she ever became ill. A year later, she had a stroke. But the nursing home refused to stop feeding her because she was not technically brain dead. Her cousin and former roommate, Doris Herbert, asked Felos to take the case.

He wanted to see Browning for himself. She could not speak, but Felos says his spiritual side picked up on something. He says her soul cried out to his soul and asked, "Why am I still here?"

In case you missed it, the article makes the point again:

Who is George Felos?

"Well, what we are in essence can't be described by words," he says. "The mind is finite, and what we are is infinite. We know what we're not. We're not the body. We're not the mind. We're not our thoughts. We're not our emotions.

"In essence," he says, "we're spiritual beings."

Felos was a spiritual being first and a laywer second. He was in law school at Boston University when a friend asked if he wanted to try yoga as a stress-reliever.

Felos learned how to meditate, to "notice" his reactions to his thoughts. He says he learned the events in his life were only as important as he thought they were.

And he learned about other cultures and Eastern religions. Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Greek Orthodox worship -- all may have a point, Felos says.

"I believe that Christ was God incarnate and was resurrected. But, by the same token, I believe that there were other incarnations of God as well," he says. "All the great religions in their essence express the same fundamental truths."

Felos is apparently so spiritual, that no one religion can contain him. And now we understand that his involvement with the Suncoast Hospice isn't a conflict of interest. See, George Felos, despite being a lawyer, isn't into confict at all. It's, like, a "convergence of interests".

There's much more to unpack in this portrait of George Felos. If you are inclined to read the whole thing I'm sure you will find it as "enlightening" as I did.

Update- Further reading on euthanasia in hospices
papijoe 8:01 AM