Monday, October 27, 2003

Here's a fine, thoughtful, angry post on the Terry Schiavo case. It's from a Salon blog with a flippant name (World O'Crap), but don't let that fool you.

Cited at WO'C is this article, which originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune. An excerpt:

There is also no good way to determine if a patient in a persistent vegetative state feels pain or suffers.

"In terms of what exactly a patient is aware of you can't quite know what he is thinking," said Dr. Jeffrey Frank, director of neurointensive care at the University of Chicago.

"What you can do is know the extent of the brain injury and understand that if they have any kind of awareness it might be very primitive."

That raises the question of whether a patient suffers more by having some type of minimal awareness of being bedridden, kept alive artificially and unable to connect to his environment, or by being allowed to die.

"Their discomforts may be very primitive and poorly understood by the patient depending on the extent of their brain injury," Frank said. "But patients do suffer. I would say they suffer more by the life-sustaining kind of treatments than they would from just being allowed to die peacefully."  

But sustain-life-at-all-costs absolutists don't seem to care much about suffering, do they?

I should really stop posting on this subject, though -- at least until I've absorbed some more information. The Terry Schiavo Information Page at Abstract Appeal looks like a good place to start.

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