Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Disposable Among Us

Terri Schiavo's death will not, it simply cannot, be in vain. It is up to all of us to make sure that it isn't. Her tragedy will have a profound effect on this country. It already has, in fact. And I'm optimistic that some good can come from her passing. It is time to have a serious national debate on how we treat the infirmed, the elderly, the mentally ill, the injured, those paralyzed, the blind, the helpless, the damaged, the "disposable among us."

None of us is perfect. We are all disposable in one sense or another. A decision was made, then carried out, to kill a woman who could not make decisions for herself. Now that we have killed someone for the crime of being brain damaged, how far are we from killing those whose only crime is being clinically depressed? Schizophrenics? Parkinson's sufferers? Alzheimers patients? Those on Prozac should be frightened by Terri's saga. Those who have ever been to a doctor for a serious medical condition should be equally frightened by the possibilities. Those who can't walk or talk should be frightened. Those children on Ritalin (or their parents) should be frightened. Redheads should be frightened. Diabetics. The morbidly obese. Short people. The list is almost endless. It includes all of us.

Something is wrong with her. No one would want to live that way. Their lives have no value. His existence is unworthy. There's no hope for a recovery. It' too expensive to keep her alive.

These are all dangerous and frightening thoughts. Everyone should be outraged, and everyone should be frightened. If Terri Schiavo was disposable, then we are all disposable, for one reason or another.
While still Governeor of Texas, The president passed a law giving hospitals a right to "pull the plug" on any patient who was deemed unsalvagable or whose insurance wouldn't cover the cost of their care. While Ms. Schiavo lay in her comfortable hospice, a young African-American woman was pleading with texas hospital official not to turn off the life support on her newborn. Instead of preaching to the choir maybe you should be writing the preacher.
Right, Diva. Thanks for reminding us that it's all Bush's fault!
maybe you should volunteer at a local brain injury hospital, or long term care facility. you should see first hand what you are supporting, and they would love to have the extra hands.
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