Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Brain Damage(ing) 

Terry Schiavo's handlers better hope that this story doesn't catch on, because whatever beleaguered and deflated argument they had to get them across the finish line goes out the window in light of stuff like this. There was an initial clamor after the accident to try to standardize laws regarding legal power of attorney and right to life, but some fervor seemed to have faded with the passage of time and baseless rhetoric about federalism (See my post on filibusters and Schiavo here). Perhaps stories like this will make people reconsider there positions on the debate.
Ten years after a firefighter was left brain-damaged and mostly mute during a 1995 roof collapse, he did something that shocked his family and doctors: He perked up...
"It's almost unheard of after 10 years," she said, "but sometimes things do happen and people suddenly improve and we don't understand why." (emphasis is mine, of course)

There are, of course, many differences between this man and Terry Schiavo. But with the knowledge that such recoveries are possible, and the reminder that they do happen, how can we be satisfied with a system of laws based on such a shaky and subjective diagnosis as "persistent vegetative?" The moral of the story, despite "progressive" mantras, is that modern medicine is by no means a panacea. While doctors should be expected to do all they reasonably can to diagnose and treat illness, the truth of the matter is that many things remain a mystery. This man's recovery shattered preconceived notions of even experienced staffers, one of whom noted that recoveries usually occur within 2 or 3 years. That has to beg the question: How long is too long to wait? In both cases, the patient was on no form of life support, and was as biologically self sustaining as a young child. Schiavo's only need was to have her food delivered in an acceptable median. She could even pass bowel movements. Supporters of her killing would seem to suggest that those who cannot feed themselves deserve to die, and can be killed if deemed necesary. Knowing that such social Darwinism was once the very enemy of the humanitarian left, I find it hard to believe that the lefties who clamored so adamantly for the "right to die," and claimed that a 13 year old was being "forced to carry a baby to term," would truly advocate such an animalistic and cruel statute.
The only way to avert future atrocities like the one we witnessed in Florida is for lawmakers to make a stand for basic human dignity, and propose legislation to standardize laws relevant to such cases. It took a miracle for this man to recover, a miracle that many families hope for, but like Terry's parents, may never receive.

Amen! Brother...you are "right" on! Mrs. A
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