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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Thoughts shallow and deep

There is a young Marine lieutenant in the office. He is tall and redheaded and in a dark blue uniform, and I keep sneaking looks at him. Especially when he left to make a cellphone call...



1. The Federal government has absolutely no place in this, and no one should make political hay out of a family's tragedy.

2. To my husband and others: If I am *ever* (God forbid!) in such a position, do not do anything to hasten my death. Do not starve me to death or deny me essential care. Maybe do not do anything prolong life other than essential care and whatever is needed for comfort, and please consult our rabbi at every turn, but do not hasten it.

Comments

starving someone to death doesn't strike me as a good thing. Ever.

It seems to me that it's the best of several awful choices.

Shall we stipulate that, based on the evidence, there's no there there, as far as Terry Schiavo is concerned? (Here I refer to the CAT scans indicating that her cerebral cortex has degenerated and been replaced by spinal fluid. If there's no cortex, there's no thought, no person.)

Assuming so, then the choices boil down to maintaining an insensate, unaware hulk; permitting that body to expire; or assisting its expiration.

I know what I'd do, but apparently society won't let Old Yeller be human. Even when she no longer is.

The problem with that analogy is that Old Yaller was *rabid*. He was shot not to end (or rather, to prevent) his misery. He was shot because a rabid dog was a deadly danger to others.

Whatever else is going on (and she seems to be breathing on her own, so this doesn't seem likely anyway), she's not a danger to others.

True, she's no danger to others. In that regard, a poor analogy. I was thinking more of whether a quick death is preferable to a slow one, and what it takes to bring each about.

I have a question for you, of a serious information-seeking nature: what constitutes a definition of death under Orthodox Law? Does it differ significantly from a definition under mundane law? Does it overlap, and if so, where?

The reason I ask is, I think, obvious -- is this body alive or dead? Is the person whose body this is/was, alive or dead? If the latter, what should we do with the body? Keep it alive, like the chicken heart tissue maintained for 32 years by Dr. Alexis Carrel?

My answer to the last question is that it must be a personal decision. If Terry Schiavo's expressed desire was not to be maintained by artificial means, then the tube should go. Several competent courts have found that this is the case, and that's my basis for supporting the withdrawal.

Had the courts found that she had NOT expressed such a desire, I would be advocating for her body to be placed in the care of her parents. But they seem not to be capable of reason, nor acceptance of the medical facts. (The advocates they have chosen, starting with Randall Terry and moving to radical Catholics, reinforces this view.)

I ask, is there a good solution? I only see three, and the one currently being followed seems the least hurtful and most respectful of them. But I'm open to the idea that I've overlooked something.

I did some research into both halachic living wills and halachic organ donation today. According to the latter, there are two differing opinions as to what constitutes death. One is breathing, and the other is a beating heart.

She passes in both cases from the Orthodox perspective - that is, she's alive.

Whether she passes from the Catholic perspective, I can't say.

If she has made statements to that effect, then that's something else.

*nod* She certainly does pass those tests. Thank you for the information; it makes intelligent discussion possible with folks who hold by them.

I don't know the Catholic perspective (though I suspect that it's similar to the Orthodox one; in at least a few cases, not even cynically so). But Rivka makes a good point about religion -- specifically, that many individuals (especially US citizens, and doubly especially US Catholics) disagree with their church's doctrines, and assuming agreement is dangerous, at best.

I wish there were a way to end this less painfully. And I certainly wish the hypocrites in the White House and Congress hadn't set up a case in which they can make excuses to tear apart and slam the judicial system in a further power grab towards feudalism. Politics has no place in a matter like this, and it's a shame to expose all those folks' pain to the world.