Straight Up with Sherri

Saturday, March 26, 2005

"WE LOVE OUR TUBES!" (and no, not the box in your living room!)

Hat tip: Blogs for Terri

Schiavo Case: Disability Rights Issue! Let People With Disabilities be Heard!

Disabled Activists are Demonstrating in Florida.

March 25, 2005 -- Disability activists are returning to Florida to tell the simple truths about tubes: feeding tubes, breathing tubes, peeing tubes and other tubes we need and love. Disabled people in wheelchairs will demonstrate and explain the realities of everyday life with tubes, confronting society's obvious horror and revulsion with our dignity and disability pride.

Terri's feeding tube is the central issue. This is the reason she is being killed. Disability activists must express our ridicule for the pathetic response of the nondisabled majority to these simple pieces of latex rubber. This case hinges on the fact that Terri uses a feeding tube, which to disabled people is no big deal -- it's just another piece of adaptive equipment.

"Right now the case is settled, people are thrown back on their own beliefs, while "experts" continue to present the story as a misbegotten political intervention in a private matter," said John Kelly of Boston Not Dead Yet, "a tragic medical case in which doctors are united in their certain diagnosis that nothing is going on inside her head , and a tragic family matter in which her "husband" really does want the best for her, which is death. And people agree -- and this is absolutely crucial -- because THEY THEMSELVES would rather be dead than like Terri Schiavo.

"We have been trained, over and over again, that if we only concealed our differences, tucked that legbag tube -- for draining urine -- under the pants leg, never talked about incontinence, that we could be (at least partially) accepted," Kelly continued. "But the shame that we are meant to bear keeps us down more effectively than anything that anyone could do to us."

"It's time for the press to talk to the real experts on the Schiavo case - the disability rights movement", declared Diane Coleman, president and founder of Not Dead Yet, leading the disability community's opposition to non-voluntary euthanasia for a decade.

"That's why 26 national disability rights organizations, including groups like Not Dead Yet, independent living centers, DQIA, and others have adopted a position in support of Terri Schiavo's right to continue to receive food and water," affirmed Stephen Drake, research analyst for NDY. "People on the right are killing us slowly with cuts to the budget and Medicaid while the people on the left kill us quickly and call it 'compassion' -- either way we end up dead -- AND WE OBJECT."

Not Dead Yet is a national disability rights organization that leads the disability community's efforts to oppose legalization of assisted suicide, euthanasia and other forms of medical killing.

Oh, and I found this one at Not Dead Yet also:

Disabled Queers In Action (DQIA)

MARCH 23, 2005 4:30 a. m. -- In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled early this morning that Terri has no right to eat, thus no right to live. Although our justice system presumes innocence until proven guilty, Terri has been tried and convicted without any charges against her -- for the capital offense of being disabled. Society and the courts have deemed her "better off dead than disabled". America was built upon presumed checks and balances, yet for people with disabilities like Terri, those balances failed again and again.

Today is one of the darkest hours in disability history for three reasons:

(1) This is a civil rights issue.

Let's answer the following logic puzzles to determine various civil rights.

a. If "B" is an African American, should she be denied food and water because of her race? Yes or No. NO of course not.
b. If "I" is a woman, should she be denied food and water due to her sex? Yes or No. Absolutely NOT.
c. If "A" is an alleged criminal, should he be denied food and water because of his legal status? Yes or No. NO- that is cruel and unusual punishment-he is not yet proven guilty.
d. If "S" is a mother with 2 children, should she be denied food and water because of her being a mother? Yes or No? That is absurd.
e. If "E" is 18 years old and just coming out as gay, should he be denied food and water because of his sexual orientation? Yes or No? Even the most radical antigay person would say no.
f. If "D" is disabled, and thus can not speak, should she be denied food and water? Yes or No? According to the court's illogical rulings, the answer is YES.

Solely based on her perceived disability, she was denied the rights afforded to other classes of people. The court deems her 'non-human' and thus will not feel pain to not eat or drink. Does anyone know with 100% clarity that Terri will not feel anything or even wants to die? Oddly enough for 15 years without any life supports, she continues to live. She deserves food, water, and civil rights.

Research shows that non-disabled people and medical professional devalue the quality of life of disabled people, yet the court took only the word of non-disability experts-those who historically have devalued people like Terri. Those 'experts' the court deemed more reliable are exactly those that research demonstrates devaluing people with disabilities.

(2) There was 'reasonable doubt' on Terri's wishes and conflicting testimony from her husband.

In 1993, he won $750,000 to care for Terri by promising to bring her home and care for her. "She's my life and I wouldn't trade her for the world. I believe in my marriage vows." Yet after he received the money, he started living openly with a fiancee and has fathered two children by her.

After this malpractice award, he refused to allow even the most basic rehabilitation and then requested court authorization to starve her to death.

At the 2000 trial, Schiavo suddenly remembered that Terri would not want "to live like that."

The court-appointed guardian ad litem found that Schiavo had a conflict of interest, since he would inherit the money intended for her care. Upon Schiavo's request, the judge dismissed the guardian and never appointed another! Terri Schiavo has had no representation ever since.

Over $500,000 of the money intended for Terri's care has been spent on lawyer fees trying to have her killed. $400,000 has gone to the traveling "better dead than disabled" lawyer.

(3) She has never been judged by a jury of her peers -- which would be people with disabilities.

The courts in essence used Jim Crow methods -- non-disabled people to judge, assess, and condemn her.

Not Dead Yet's briefs with more than 26 disability groups fell upon 'deaf' judicial ears.

Today is the 6th anniversary of my mother's death. She too was declared 'in a vegetative state" like Terri. Yet for the three months in the hospital with this diagnosis, the medical staff nagged us daily to 'pull the plug'. However my mom made clear her wishes and kicked out her abusive husband without any of our family there -- the nursing staff called us to inform us how my mom cussed him out and told him to never visit again. Then she went back to "sleep". When we saw her that day, she smiled, spoke about her kicking him out, then back to "sleep". She hung on, in various ways, until she decided to die -- after everyone in our family visited her and told her she was loved, and we respect her decisions, whatever they were.

No one knows exactly what Terri is thinking or feeling, but it's clear -- she has an amazing power to hang on to life without any 'life supports'. She is not terminally ill except for the court's ruling. Why can't we give her the benefit of the doubt, and follow the logic that she should not be killed for the crime of being disabled?


  • Sherri, thank you so much for bringing this to everyone's attention. My sister is a paraplegic. Assistive devices are what makes her life more normal.

    My sister has the same swallowing difficulties as Terri. The minute I heard nurses had successfully fed Terri pudding by spoon, I knew she was ABLE to eat by mouth, and the feeding tube is a convenience for the hospice staff.

    If a patient is on a ventilator, and its turned off and he keeps breathing on his own, no one puts a pillow over his face to kill him. Greer has ruled Terri may not receive food by mouth either! So this goes beyond removing "artificial life support", its is an order to STARVE a disabled woman to death, BECAUSE she is disabled.

    By Anonymous FloridaHeat, at 4:58 PM  

  • Being an innocent victim, and not an indicted criminal, Terri was not entitled to a jury of her peers. Additionally, she was not represented by counsel, but rather by her Guardian Ad Litem, Judge George Greer at the time.
    This is why I claim the issue should have been court misconduct.
    Can you imagine if an alleged felon, subject to the death penalty, was represented by the Court Judge, and not an independent attorney. Then, the judge adjudicates solely, without a jury (required by the Supreme Court for all death sentences!), finds the defendent guilty on the basis of testimony that only the judge admits into evidence, and then sentences him/her to death.
    Something is rotten in Denmark, er.. I mean Pinellas County!

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 4:58 PM  

  • The DQIA statement says She has never been judged by a jury of her peers -- which would be people with disabilities.

    What? Does anyone here agree with that? Are those with disabilities in a different social class or something? That seems absurd.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:01 PM  

  • I forgot to add: Judge Greer also acts as Warden in orchestrating the exact means of death, who may or may not be involved in the execution, selection of witnesses, disposal of the corpse, etc.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 5:02 PM  

  • Anonymous is correct. Her peers are not the disabled. That is a disgusting thought. Great point!

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 5:03 PM  

  • FL considers a feeding tube in the same category as life support, right? If so, is that from a statute or from a court ruling?

    Are the disabilities advocates attempting to change that categorization? Or are they just venting aimlessly?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:03 PM  

  • Judge Greer Again

    Florida's Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer has ruled that under general welfare regulations the state cannot take Schiavo into custody, nor provide her food or water. However, the firm judicial ruling was specifically addressed to an effort by the state's Department of Children and Families to civilly rescue the brain-injured woman by physically removing her.

    At the time of Greer's ruling there was no ongoing criminal investigation – as, indeed, there is none today.

    they need to open a criminal investigation NOW
    thats how they can go in and rescue her

    By Blogger keeka, at 5:23 PM  

  • WOAH!!!

    Hold on there folks!

    I think the point was that when you have those that look at the disabled and say- I wouldn't want to live that way- THEY have NO BUSINESS being considered peers!

    The POINT is GREAT!

    The doctors used were NOT those familiar with the "DISABLED"

    It is like a professor of History testifying about the procedures and policy of the military in war. For that- You should talk to someone in the military...

    at least that is what I GOT OUT OF IT!

    If you were black- would you want KKK members testifying about your right to life or quality of life?

    These people look at the disabled as not being worthy of life....

    Would you want to be a JEW in a death camp on the 1940's? NO! but does that mean you kill them? NO!

    there is a difference between looking at the Jews and not wanting their life in a death camp and not wanting to live that way-- and being a doctor that advocates that those in PVS or brain damaged have no quality of life...

    two different things--

    The doctors used actually have disdain for people like Terri.

    Jury of peers would be those NOT BIASED!

    The jury process is well known for kicking people off. No - I don't think all blacks need all black juries, etc... there is a difference...

    I hope that made sense!

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 5:25 PM  

  • Howard Simon of the FL ACLU just said on FNC that in 2003, Jeb "wrote to Judge Greer saying that these kinds of delicate matters are entrusted to the judgement of the courts and we all have to respect that process."

    Given Simon's background, I'd be interested in knowing the entire context in which Jeb wrote that. Does anyone know more about this?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:28 PM  

  • Sherri
    My agreement with Anonymous is based on the definition of peers by a Constitutional standard for trials. Why does Mikey Jackson get a bunch of Rich White People to try him? Because that's who lives in his county, the venue of his alleged crimes! It is up to proper counsel to explain the condition of being disabled to a jury that is sworn to be impartial. To stack such a jury with the disabled would provide the appearance of bias for sure.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 5:32 PM  

  • Additionally, she was not represented by counsel, but rather by her Guardian Ad Litem, Judge George Greer at the time. This is why I claim the issue should have been court misconduct.

    Do you know if any of the past appelate rulings (before this month) addressed this issue? Was it never raised by the Schindlers attorneys in all these years? If I understand you correctly, that is exactly the type of thing appeals courts are allowed to act on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:36 PM  

  • RWNJ


    technicalities, my dear! LOL!!

    Call me stubborn- still think it was a good point....

    Under Florida Law-- it seems Terri does not get an attorney- just talked about it on FOX News!

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 5:41 PM  

  • Anonymous,
    As I understand it (I could be wrong), the appeals have been based on asking Appeals Courts to re-examine the evidence, both admitted and rejected by George Greer. The petitions have never addressed the issue of Misconduct. I'm not sure that the Appeals Courts would indict one of their own by accepting such an appeal. These are not good-willed, honest, fair people - they are Judges who have moved up in the judicial system. How does one really move up in any bureaucratic system (corporate, political, judicial, etc.) ... just different tentacles on the same octopus!

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 5:53 PM  

  • Sherri, you got it right. Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, is a truly frighteningly psycho. Go to Amazon and read the reviews for his book, "Litigation As Spiritual Practice" That tells you all you need to know.

    Felos brings in euthanasia expert Dr Ronald Cranford. You may want to consult Sgt. David Mack about Dr Cranford. "Mack was shot in the line of duty as a policeman, and Cranford diagnosed him as " a persistent vegetative state...never [to] regain cognitive, sapient functioning...never [to] be aware of his condition." Twenty months after the shooting Mack woke up, and eventually regained nearly all his mental ability. When asked by a reporter how he felt, he spelled out on his letterboard, "Speechless!"'

    "In the cases of Paul Brophy, Nancy Jobes, Nancy Cruzan, and Christine [Busalacchi], Cranford was the doctor behind the efforts to end their lives. Each of these people was brain-damaged but not dying; nonetheless, he advocated death for all, by dehydration and starvation. Nancy Cruzan did not even require a feeding tube: She could be spoon-fed. But Cranford advocated denying even that, saying that even spoon-feeding constituted "medical treatment" that could be licitly withdrawn."

    "While Nancy Cruzan was dying, the staff at Missouri Rehabilitation Center continued to insist that she was no vegetable. They had seen her smile at funny stories, cry when a visitor left, and indicate pain with her menstrual periods. She was not living on machines: a feeding tube had been inserted years before only to replace spoon feeding and make her care easier. An activist present during those days of dying commented, "It was like one of those horror movies where everybody in the town knows something, but nobody can get word out to the outside world." Information about Nancy's true condition was persistently blacked out while the staff endured the nightmare of watching her die."

    And now the world sees what he has been doing, as we watch Terri Schiavo lay starving in Florida.

    Look at these other connections:

    - Felos, a "right-to-die" lawyer who has delusions people beg him to help them die, was on the Board of Directors of Woodside Hospice.

    - Woodside Hospice was fined $14 million for Medicaid fraud related to providing care to non-terminal patients while Felos was on the Board.

    - Terri admitted to Woodside when Felos was on the Board.

    - Greer had to approve Terri's bills being submitted to Medicaid in 2002.
    What happened to the money given to Michael to take care of her until age 51? How did Terri qualify for Medicaid while still the legal wife of an employed man?

    - Felos contributes to Greer's campaign fund after he ruled against Terri's Law.

    Terri is a disabled woman railroaded right to her death by people who have a morbid fascination with killing disabled people.

    Jury of her peers? This is like the SS deciding the fate of Auschwitz prisoners!

    Terri needs a new hearing, with people who LIVE with feeding tubes, and have BEEN in persistant vegitative states, testifying to a judge who will make an unprejudiced opinion.

    By Anonymous FloridaHeat, at 6:05 PM  

  • Florida Heat
    - Woodside Hospice was fined $14 million for Medicaid fraud related to providing care to non-terminal patients while Felos was on the Board.

    The 14.8 million is not a fine! It is payments that Medicaid paid to Suncoast (Woodside) for people who were later determined not terminally ill. Woodside's sole purpose is to effect the death of those who enter.
    Medicaid just wants their money back! It is a fraud condition that Medicaid claims took place under Felos' watch!

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 6:12 PM  

  • Sorry RWNJ, I was (foolishly) following an MSM story for that tidbit. Thanks for the fact checking. :)

    By Anonymous FloridaHeat, at 6:26 PM  

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