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Jason Holliston
Monday, March 21, 2005  
Thoughts on Terry Schiavo

As my friends, family, and regular readers know, I'm not only a Catholic, but subscribe to the Church's teaching on moral issues pretty much exclusively (we may disagree what constitutes a moral issue versus a political issue, but that's another post altogether). In respect to Terry Schiavo's case, I agree with the Vatican here, as well. They should leave the feeding tube in, and let her live out her natural life, at the very least. A tube bringing nourishment and water does not, in my book, constitute extreme measures, and doesn't fall under the umbrella term "artificial life support".

Put all that aside, though, as it's been covered on about 250,000 blogs -- just in the past week. There's an angle that I haven't seen covered in this debate: huge leaps forward in medical technology. Let me say something over the top, just to make my point especially crystal clear: unless her brain has been disintegrated by some alien death ray, any doctor that states that she will never recover is a fool. They are the same type of fool that said that cancer victims will never be cured, that polio will never be stopped, or that high infant death figures were "natural". Bunk, pure and simple.

Terry Schiavo has plenty of life left in her. Other than her brain, she's pretty healthy. Is anyone really going to look me in the eye and tell me that there's no reasonable chance that 40 years from now science will have figured out a way to heal her? I've heard of plenty of doctors that say that today they have treatments that could help, if only they'd be tried. 40 years from now, basically, anything is possible.

Instead, we have the normal rants of people that should know better, promising that this particular problem is unsolvable, and that we might as well give up. Pull the plug: she'll be like this forever. Science has reached that wall that we'll never break through!


Personally, I'm extremely confident that someday, very likely sooner than almost any of us think, addressing problems like Terry Schiavo's will be commonplace. Let me put this question to those of you that think that her tube should be yanked: if medical researchers do find a way of addressing problems such as hers 10 years from now, are you going to remember these days? Would you look back and still believe that you made the right choice?

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