Marlowe's Shade

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: Angels Among Us

Hat tip: Zaideh

This fantastic article from Marianne Jennings should be read by every "expert" who has commented on Terri's case:

Our daughter, Claire, has had a feeding tube for 10 years, and my mother is closing in on one year with hers. I am generationally sandwiched between feeding tube patients. Like Terri Schiavo, no one is really sure how much breaks through my daughter's or mother's neurological remnants. Also like Mrs. Schiavo, neither needs a respirator. To the clinical, the three are in a "vegetative state." The inexperienced callously refer to them as clumps of flesh that hover in a puzzling state for inexplicable reasons. "

This is my favorite part, but read the whole thing:

Doctors are almost always wrong. While I have the highest respect for the physicians who have treated our daughter and my mother and will be forever grateful for their selfless efforts and care, I know, and perhaps they do too, that these patients are unique. Doctors are inevitably taken aback at some point by Claire and patients like her who fight for their lives. If I had dug my daughter's grave each time a doctor told me she wouldn't live, I'd be in China by now. Their first death prediction was six months, then it was three years. When Claire turned 10, the good docs called her an outlier and threw in the towel on death predictions. Claire turned 18 two months ago. Doctors read CAT scans, MRIs, and EEGs, and conclude that, clinically, there ain't nothin' there. But doctors are not with these patients 24-7. Our Claire has a perfectly flat EEG. From what I can determine, Terri Schiavo is higher functioning than our Claire. Yet each morning when we touch the bottom of her shirt to prepare for her shower, she closes her eyes in anticipation of that shirt coming over her face. She clinches her teeth if you put a washcloth to her face because washcloths mean a good mouth cleaning and she, like all 3-6-month infants (Claire's developmental age) wants no part of that. She turns her head when you say her name. Claire's smiles come mostly in response to her mother's and her father's voices.

I say a loud amen to her closing statement:

I fear for the clinical callousness of this tube removal. We turn our backs on the closest thing this world has to offer when it comes to angels. This removal is a giant leap backwards as mankind denies its spirituality and harms the helpless. I worry about the precedent for our Claire and my mom, but I fear for us.
papijoe 11:13 AM