March 20, 2005

Jesus Fucking Christ, People!

Congress Announces Deal in Schiavo Case

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - As a deal in Congress was worked out to have federal courts decide Terri Schiavo's fate, emotions swelled outside the brain-damaged woman's hospice room Saturday, with protesters arrested after they symbolically tried to smuggle in bread and water on her second day without a feeding tube.

President Bush changed his schedule to return to Washington from his Texas ranch on Sunday to be on hand to sign the legislation.

Yeah.

You know, I'm not the Surgeon General or anything, but from what I know about the nervous system, when your brain has mostly liquefied, you're dead. By the way, since the federal government has stepped in on this, did they even ASK the fucking Surgeon General? Did they stop by his office with a copy of the CT scan* and ask what he thought before they pulled this shit? Does he think she's ever gonna wake up again?

Because I don't. Her autonomic nervous system still functions, which means her cerebellum is still intact enough to work, but everything that makes you a functioning human being, instead of just a functioning biological machine, lives in the cerebral cortex, which in her case has been dying off over the last decade and a half and being replaced by spinal fluid. So what you have is a shrunken little brain inside of a big thing of fluid inside the skull. Does that sound alive to you?

I'm just as sad as anybody else, with the obvious exception of her family [they knew her and were close to her, and I didn't and wasn't], about this whole sorry mess: the heart attack, the coma, the argument over the feeding tube removal, all of it. And it's hard to let go of anything--whether it's a relationship or a dying relative--if you think there's some hope that you can get it back. But there is no going back here. We passed the Rubicon on this at some unknown date in the past, whenever it was that her brain decayed to the point of being unfit for sustaining human consciousness.

Her heart still beats, and she still breathes, because her cerebellum is still functioning enough to be in control of her autonomic nervous system and tell her heart to beat. Her cerebellum is not doing this because she's alive. Her cerebellum is doing this because that's its job, and it will continue to do this as long as it is nourished and does not suffer trauma. Basically, it's functioning as an iron lung. It does not understand anything except making the body continue running. And we know, from medical science and from extensive legal precedent, that this is not the same thing as life.

Frankly, other than the emotions of the parents, and the blatant stupidity of everybody else involved [such as Congress], I really don't see why there's even an argument over this. You don't take dead people out of the morgue and stick them on life support because their families insist they didn't want to be dead. This woman is, for all purposes of what we define as human life, as dead as if she were on the slab. She's not coming back.

Gods.

same bitch time, same bitch channel...
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*This is a CT image of Terri Schiavo's brain. According to the Schiavo links page at the University of Miami site, it shows "extensive cortical regions filled with spinal fluid." I'm guessing that's the blue part, and the black part in the middle with the white spot in it is her actual brain. Many thanks to Ampersand for the links, and he has a post on this, with a comparison to a healthy brain, here.

Posted by Frida Peeple at March 20, 2005 03:27 AM