March 23rd, 2005

me at star

One particularly depressing part of the Schiavo fiasco

A three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Terri Schiavo's parents' request for a temporary restraining order requiring the reinsertion of a feeding tube. Not a huge surprise, perhaps, and certainly not much cause for celebration. However, one of the three judges (Judge Wilson) dissented from the decision, and made the following statement in his dissent:

I am aware of no injury more irreparable than death. Clearly, the threatened injury of death outweighs any harm the proposed injunction may cause, i.e. reinserting the feeding tube. In fact, I fail to see any harm in reinstating the feeding tube. On the other hand, a denial of the request for injunction will result in the death of Theresa Schiavo.
(emphasis added)

I find it very depressing that a Federal appeals court judge could "fail to see any harm" in forcing an invasive surgical procedure on a human being. I find it especially depressing since:
  • Ms. Schiavo is currently not competent to express her wishes directly; and
  • the Florida courts have consistently held that there is "clear and convincing evidence" that she would not want to spend decades hooked up to machines.


The full Eleventh Circuit opinion is online here (192Kb PDF).