Weighing in

I have not been following the Terri Schiavo case very closely, and
don’t actually have really strong opinions about the “right to
die.” I think it’s often a lot more complicated than any of the
people who have been most outspoken want to you believe. I think
that like most things in this country, the actual facts and ethical
dilemmas get distorted for political gain.

But in a conversation this morning, I learned that Ms. Schiavo is in the position she is in because of an eating disorder. Which just makes this whole situation terribly ironic, because eating disorders are all about
control. Ms. Schaivo spent much of her conscious life fighting to
have some control by starving herself, and now she’s in the position of ultimate lack of control.

I found this quote to be most revealing:

Indeed the civil judgment that has paid for Terri’s medical care was based on the failure of her doctors to diagnose her bulimia, despite what should have been obvious symptoms.”

(Paul Campos, Rocky Mountain News, 3/22/05)

Whatever Ms. Schiavo would have wanted in this situation, it is
probably not for her husband, her parents, or the U.S. government to
have the authority to make the decision. If the hospital had
correctly diagnosed her eating disorder in the first place (and there
are signs of severe bulimia that are obvious to any competant medical
professional, such as a goiter-like neck) then she could have received
treatment, been warned of the risks, and filled out a medical proxy form
or a living will.

I also find this commentary, from the same source, particularly disturbing:

More than 200 articles have commented on Terri’s beauty. Almost none of these mention her eating disorder.”


~ by realsupergirl on March 22, 2005.

7 Responses to “Weighing in”

  1. It’s also been pointed out that the Bush administration is campaigning to eliminate the very malpractice suit system that pays for her care.

  2. oh yes, there is much hypocrisy and irony in this whole situation…

  3. Wow, I was not following the case on principle. (Not because I don’t care about the issues, I do. Rather, I am appalled at how politicians are using someone’s life for their own political gain and don’t want to participate in that.) So, I had no clue about the eating disorder or the malpractice suit thing.

    I have been needing to ignore the news more and more for a while for my own sanity, and this just validates that decision. This makes me feel like my head is going to explode.

    Ok….back to my regularly scheduled life of tulips, bike riding, Angel on DVD, and domestic violence (work.) I think that is enough for one person.

  4. Yeah, that’s pretty much the reason I hadn’t been paying much attention to the story until this morning.

  5. As if I really needed to get any more worked up over this whole mess …

    I had not heard even a hint of the root cause of her illness. I’ve been so wrapped up in the issues surrounding end-of-life care that I completely missed it.

    How many more layers are there to this terrible onion?

  6. That’s pretty disturbing – that someone who has been following the story actively could still be not fully informed. I don’t think this is your fault – I think it speaks to how distorted the coverage of the story has become – and how quickly people react before becoming fully informed themselves.

  7. I have seen Schiavo’s eating disorder mentioned on almost every article that mentions the genesis of Schiavo’s brain damage. The New York Times, Yahoo’s news services, etc. The ones where it’s not mentioned don’t talk about how Terri’s troubles began. I’m okay with that, since the current circus and the issues involved would be about the same whether her brain damage were caused by bulimia, a drunk driver, a falling sattelite, or anything else.


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