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Saturday, March 19

SUVs, managed care are necessities

"ROYSE CITY - A woman who couldn't afford to bury her ex-husband last month drew criticism from neighbors and questions from police after she stored his embalmed body in the back of a sport utility vehicle in the family's driveway for two days."

Her neighbors were very upset with the woman, but I am unaware if any of these righteous folks loaned or donated any money to help her with her problem.

People, he was dead. He didn't know where he was, nor did he care. Funerals and various arrangements are for the living, not the dead. Why were people so worried about him. He was embalmed. His ex-wife was alive and dealing with a corpse she couldn't afford to bury.

Which brings me to Terry Schiavo.

She is in a vegetative state. She does not have any notion of where she is or that she is alive. There is a ridiculous assertion floating in the blogosphere that she said, "I want to live" when the tube was removed. Why did she pick that moment to speak? Was everything fine until then? This is nonsense.

Congressional lawyers appealed [Judge] Greer's decision before the Florida Supreme Court, which rejected it. Later Friday, the House Committee on Government Reform made an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to have Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted, but that application was denied.

House and Senate Republican leaders vowed to work through the weekend on new legislation to keep Schiavo alive.

House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay called removing the feeding tube "an act of barbarism" and said it was a moral obligation to protect her from the "fate premeditated by the Florida courts."

But Michael Schiavo, who said he spent Friday with his wife and planned to go back to her side on Saturday, said members of Congress were "stepping into my personal life and they're getting in the middle of something they know nothing about."

"It's sad what this government's doing. And if they do it to me they'll do it to everybody in this country. If they don't like the decisions, they're going to step right in."

Tom DeLay and the Bush Boys are using this woman's body to score points with the right to lifers. Have any of those people stepped up to pay for Schiavo's continuing care, change her diapers, wipe her face?

There are thousands of families in this same predicament that Congress isn't helping. Why this particular case? This particular woman? Is Congress really interested in doing this on a case by case basis? This isn't part of their constitutional authority, it isn't in Article I. They know they don't have the authority to do any of this, but the right to lifers don't know it and think that the Gawdly GOP has come to save us from death and give us eternal life support.

In Houston, there are recent cases rather similar to this in which the GOP has no interest. An African-American infant was born with a defect that prevented his lungs from growing. He required a respirator. Texas Children's Hospital told the mother of the boy that he was terminal and they were ceasing care. Pulling the plug. No doubt his Medicaid had been depleted and paying health care consumers had the hospital's attention. Everyone went to the courthouse.

In Texas the law is once a hospital says that they will cease care, the family has ten days to find another facility before the hospital ceases care. In 1999 then Governor Bush signed a law which allowed hospitals to withdraw life support from patients, over the objections of the family, if they consider the treatment to be nonbeneficial. No one stepped up, the care was terminated and the infant died.

Another situation has arisen, where a family got the word that the hospital decided to terminate care and a care facility was found to take the patient.

These matters should not be decided by hospitals or the courts. And certainly not Congress. People should have so called "living wills" or directives that simply state, "I don't want to live with the aid of artificial devices such as feeding tubes and respirators." Grief counselors should be provided for families to help them end their suffering and doubt. When it is a malformed infant, doctors and psychologist should tell the parents the truth, we cannot afford, you cannot afford to keep this infant on life support. It isn't going to live without that support. You must go on with your life. We must go on making money from children we can save.

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