The Village Voice has this article Terri Schiavo: Judicial Murder
on the Schiavo case. I'm not a regular reader of his columns but I'm aware of him as a civil libertarian and jazz critic. He makes some disturbing assertions in the column, none of which I can evaluate independently. I need some background to put them into context because he doesn't seem to be commenting from an ignorant or exploitative position...
Mr. Hentoff states that....
1. Ms. Schiavo is not brain-dead and "increasing number of radiologists and neurologists" do not believe she is in a persistent vegetative state.
She is not brain-dead or comatose, and breathes naturally on her own. Although brain-damaged, she is not in a persistent vegetative state, according to an increasing number of radiologists and neurologists.
2. Michael Schiavo's motives are suspect.
Michael Schiavo, who says he loves and continues to be devoted to Terri, has provided no therapy or rehabilitation for his wife (the legal one) since 1993. He did have her tested for a time, but stopped all testing in 1993. He insists she once told him she didn't want to survive by artificial means, but he didn't mention her alleged wishes for years after her brain damage, while saying he would care for her for the rest of his life.
3. She has never had an MRI or PET scan and Bill Frist knows what he is talking about.
Terri Schiavo has never had an MRI or a PET scan, nor a thorough neurological examination. Republican Senate leader Bill Frist, a specialist in heart-lung transplant surgery, has, as The New York Times reported on March 23, "certified [in his practice] that patients were brain dead so that their organs could be transplanted." He is not just "playing doctor" on this case.
4. Disability rights organizations do not support the removal of the feeding tube.
Do you know that nearly every major disability rights organization in the country has filed a legal brief in support of Terri's right to live?
Personally, the fact that it's a feeding tube and not a ventilator makes it her case more disturbing, but I can't see a rationale for prolonging a life like the one she's been living.