Saturday, March 26, 2005

Starving Terri Schiavo is Illegal Assisted Suicide

Judge Greer's decision is controlled by Florida law, specifically Florida's Health Care Advance Directives, Chapter 365 of Florida Statutes.

The judge may only rule on questions of fact and law relating to these provisions. He may not write new law from the bench.

Judge Greer ruled that Michael Shiavo, Terry Shiavo's husband, was legally entitled to act in place of Terri and carry out her wishes regarding her medical treatment. He ruled that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and would have wished to refuse artificial extension of her life by medical means, such as a gastric feeding tube providing her artificial sustenance and hydration.

But that ends the scope of Michael Shiavo's guardianship and Judge Greer's authority.

Judge Greer, as finder of fact, has determined that Terri would wish to die. By forbidding Terri's father, mother, sister, brother, and other volunteers from attempting to give Terri water or liquid nourishment by mouth -- testing whether she currently has the capability to swallow -- the hospice personnel, Michael Schiavo, and Judge Greer are engaging in an attempt at assisted suicide, which is forbidden by Florida law, and for which the only exemption contemplated by Florida statute is artificial provision of sustenance or hydration. Giving water and liquid nourishment orally, which is being interrupted by Terri's enforced isolation as a patient in the hospice, is not artificial. It is natural. And allowing the giving of swallowing assistance for liquids for sustenance and hydration to an otherwise healthy mentally handicapped woman is not artificial use of medical means to extend Terri Schiavo's life.

For Michael Shiavo to act to end Terry's life beyond what is permitted by Florida law is either homicide, if Terri would not have agreed, or assisted suicide, if she would have agreed. Both are forbidden by Florida law. Judge Greer may not issue a court order, and hospice personnel and police, may not enact or enforce a court order, which is contrary to Florida law. To do so is abuse of power under color of authority, and may be stopped by any law-enforcement or judicial officer in Florida, local, county, or state.

Governor Bush should immediately take custody of Terri Schiavo as the chief law-enforcement officer of the State of Florida, and cause her medical condition to be stabilized. No court order is necessary for any law-enforcement officer to stop a felony in progress.

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist should issue warrants for the arrest of Michael Shiavo and all hospice personnel in charge of Terri who are forbidding her liquid nourishment and water for conspiracy to engage in illegal assisted suicide, and Judge Greer should be arrested for abuse of power under color of authority for issuing directives beyond the scope of his charge.

The cases should be placed before a Grand Jury and prosecuted.

J. Neil Schulman
March 26, 2005


FLORIDA
CHAPTER 765

HEALTH CARE ADVANCE DIRECTIVES

PART I

GENERAL PROVISIONS (ss. 765.101-765.113)

PART III

LIFE-PROLONGING PROCEDURES (ss. 765.301-765.309)

765.101 Definitions.--As used in this chapter:

(10) "Life-prolonging procedure" means any medical procedure, treatment, or intervention, including artificially provided sustenance and hydration, which sustains, restores, or supplants a spontaneous vital function. The term does not include the administration of medication or performance of medical procedure, when such medication or procedure is deemed necessary to provide comfort care or to alleviate pain.

765.309 Mercy killing or euthanasia not authorized; suicide distinguished.--

(1) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.

(2) The withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures from a patient in accordance with any provision of this chapter does not, for any purpose, constitute a suicide.


2 comments:

nphil said...

Thank-you! What a relief to see a legal opinion on this subject. This hasn't been commented on anywhere. I have been screaming in the void with my layman's take and no one replies:

> It may be lawful to pull the tube (per court decision), but it is NOT lawful to NOT feed and hydrate her by NON-artificial means and see if she can take it into her body!!! six days ago or even now!!! What am I missing. Why isn't that obvious. No judge, law, or husband can prevent that -- not then, not now.

> If a ventilator is pulled, a person breathes or they don't. Air is present to be inhaled. If a feed tube is pulled, a patient should be presented water and food via a means to ingest it. In Terri's case, a sponge. Why? Because she did it before.
>
> What is to prevent, even obligate, Jeb Bush to order the arrest of anyone who stands in the way of a nurse hydrating/feeding Terri by non-artificial means and who causes the nurse to be criminally liable of a dereliction of duty. And what if a nurse can't/won't attempt it? Doesn't Bush have clear authority to intervene.
>
> Greer has no authority to prevent her feeding/hydrating by non-artificial means. No one does. That's my point. He can only pull out the "artificial" tube.
>
> And Greer is committing a crime if he is the one preventing her feeding/hydrating.
>
> And the director of the hospice is acting criminally. The tube has been pulled by court order; he has an obligation to see if she can take food/water by non-artificial means.

Isn't this the way out of this madness. No judicial opinion needed to act.

Linda Dorfmont said...

Michael Schiavo would not divorce Terri for the following reasons (among others):

1. He could not marry his current girlfriend in the Catholic Church.

2. He would not inherit Terri's estate when she did die.

3. He might be required to pay spousal support during her lifetime.

Three very good reasons to pull the plug.