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Polls distort Terri's life and death
Jewish World Review ^ | April 14, 2005 | Nat Hentoff

Posted on 04/14/2005 7:37:13 AM PDT by SJackson

While Terri Schiavo was still breathing, most media polls assured us that at least 60 percent of Americans felt her feeding tube should be removed according to her wishes, as declared by her husband, Michael.

One of the most widely circulated telephone polls was the ABC News poll. Its interviewers told those who picked up the phone: "Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 16 years. Doctors say she has no consciousness, and her condition is irreversible."

Although Terri was brain-damaged, she was not on a respirator or any other machinery. She was breathing naturally and was fed three times a day through a feeding tube. This was not "life support," as most of us interpret that term.

Furthermore, a considerable number of neurologists claimed that she was conscious and responsive in ways that were more than just reflexes. They and a number of radiologists also noted that her condition was not irreversible and might be improved through new and advanced methods of therapy (which her husband had denied her for years).

Other pollsters flatly said in their calls that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state (PVS), but that, too, was denied by dissenting neurologists whose affidavits are also part of the court record. The definition of PVS in Florida Statute 765.101 is: "The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of any kind, and an inability to communicate or interact purposefully" with other people.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
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To: Narnian

I think yours is a very insightful post.

21 posted on 04/14/2005 9:52:16 PM PDT by shhrubbery! (The 'right to choose' = The right to choose death --for somebody else.)
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To: Arthur McGowan

They both took action to save Terri's life. I do not fault them. I place the blame firmly where it belongs. On Judge Greer's and Michael Schiavo's shoulders.

22 posted on 04/15/2005 3:51:12 AM PDT by Coop (In memory of a true hero - Pat Tillman)
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To: Coop
I place the blame firmly where it belongs. On Judge Greer's and Michael Schiavo's shoulders.

I opine that the civil court system is ill suited for a life/death decision, and that there are systemic issues in the judicial bvenue. I also opine that state legislatures have promulgated model language for living wills that is apt to cause "critical confusion" on the part of the signer. Critical confusion is where the paper means the opposite of what the signer thinks it does. I also opine that federal medicare/medicade law encourages hospice abuse.

As for this specific case, the courts, while uananimous, did contain at least two (dissenting) judges who held that the court system was NOT adhering to Congress's wishes. My cursory analysis agrees with them. The majority (and prevailing) rationales of the Federal District and Federal Circuit courts were bootstrapped or circular in refusing to review the facts in eveindence against the Florida law that defines "clear and convincing."

The Florida appellate courts "asked the wrong question" in order to come up with the answer it wanted. I watched the Florida courts in the election fiasco of 2000, and I think the FLorida courts similarly cherry-picked Florida statute, and also composed the question regarding Terri's wish (to be dehydrated to death) in a way that can not be shown to represent Terri's thought or rationalization process.

I agree that Greer blew it, and that started things. Michael's action is unfortunatly not all that uncommon. See spousal abuse and outright murder.

In the final analysis, the difficult question that faced the trial court was whether Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo, not after a few weeks in a coma, but after ten years in a persistent vegetative state that has robbed her of most of her cerebrum and all but the most instinctive of neurological functions, with no hope of a medical cure but with sufficient money and strength of body to live indefinitely, would choose to continue the constant nursing care and the supporting tubes in hopes that a miracle would somehow recreate her missing brain tissue, or whether she would wish to permit a natural death process to take its course and for her family members and loved ones to be free to continue their lives. After due consideration, we conclude that the trial judge had clear and convincing evidence to answer this question as he did. <-- 780 So 2d 176
(Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2001),%202003/2D02-5394.pdf <-- 2003 Opinion

In my opinion, that question misrepresents several points. First, that it is necessary to have ANY hope for recovery in order to have will to live. The court cynically imposes the expectation of not merely some recovery, but "a miracle would somehow recreate her missing brain tissue." But even then, many people with NO hope of ANY recovery would choose to live.

Second, that the death being sought by the petitioner (Michael) is a natural death in the sense that most people take it. The court had to parse statutory language to reach a conclusion that a starvation and dehydration death is a natural death process.

Third, that Terri would conclude, either prosepctively or contemporaneously, that her death would be better for her family members. No reasonable person would conclude that Terri's blood family wanted Terri to live. Would Terri not consider this in making her own decsion? Some people who want to die, choose to live based on pleading from loved ones. See suicide intervention.

In Westinghouse Elect. Corp., Inc. v. Bay County Energy Systems, Inc., 590 So. 2d 986, 988 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991), the court stated: Clear and convincing evidence requires that the evidence must be found to be credible; the facts to which the witnesses testify must be distinctly remembered; the testimony must be precise and explicit and the witnesses must be lacking in confusion as to the facts in issue. The evidence must be of such weight that it produces in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction, without hesitancy, as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established [Cboldt comment: and therefore also the falsity or inaccuracy of contrary testimony or evidence]. Although this standard of proof may be met where the evidence is in conflict, In re Guardianship of Browning, 543 So. 2d 258, 273 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989), approved, 568 So. 2d 4 (Fla. 1990), it seems to preclude evidence that is ambiguous. Cited in an article relating to a completely different matter <--
An review of the evidence can obviously create a clear and convincing impression on the minds of some, that Terri's past words are an express desire to have her life terminated under the circumstances she was in. A significant number of FR posters agree with Greer's finding of fact.

I don't believe one can objectively reach that conclusion to the standard of clear and convincing. One problem in the legal system is that once a finding of fact is reached, the burden shifts to the other side, and the burden of proof is at least as high to reverse as it was to find in the first place.

23 posted on 04/15/2005 4:52:34 AM PDT by Cboldt
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To: Ohioan from Florida

Thanks for the ping. BTTT

24 posted on 04/15/2005 7:08:03 AM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (You should be TERRIfied that you may someday be SCHIAVOed to death!)
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To: Coop

They both took SOME action. But neither one was willing to take the NECESSARY action. Both of them wanted the permission of judges to save Terri's life. When that permission was not forthcoming, both of them caved in. Both of them deny that they had the authority, as EXECUTIVES, to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment. That is the lie that both of them are persisting in.

25 posted on 04/15/2005 1:27:08 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan
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To: Future Useless Eater

Now THAT was a really "objective" and "unbiased" poll question. What a joke.

26 posted on 04/15/2005 1:31:07 PM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (Public Enemy #1, the RATmedia.)
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To: justshutupandtakeit; Jim Robinson

>>Now THAT was a really "objective" and "unbiased" poll question. What a joke.

What was wrong with the poll question?
it seemed clear enough...

"Was it wrong to kill Terri Schiavo?"

27 posted on 04/15/2005 2:18:40 PM PDT by Future Useless Eater (FreedomLoving_Engineer) (It was wrong to kill her. No other "facts" matter.-JimRobinson)
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To: Future Useless Eater

Because it was not an accurate question about the situation. We complain about biased questions when the RATmedia does it.

28 posted on 04/15/2005 2:21:53 PM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (Public Enemy #1, the RATmedia.)
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To: justshutupandtakeit

you can't deny she was killed. Nothing biased there.

Now if the poll question had used the word "murdered", ok, I might
agree that would be a litle biased. But the question as-is was fine.

And I don't like you implied inclusion of "me" in your "WE".
You sound pretty far left of center,
and although I'm no right-winger,
you seem off the charts by your posts on this subject.

29 posted on 04/15/2005 2:30:32 PM PDT by Future Useless Eater (FreedomLoving_Engineer) (It was wrong to kill her. No other "facts" matter.-JimRobinson)
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To: Future Useless Eater

There are no charts on this question. My opinion is determined by non-political things such as experience with the death of a loved one.

And I do deny she was killed. Left on her own she would have died over a decade ago. All the years since then were artificially obtained out of the jaws of death.

30 posted on 04/16/2005 11:17:11 PM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (Public Enemy #1, the RATmedia.)
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