Straight Up with Sherri

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Florida Congressman Drafting Bill in Wake of Schiavo Case

Florida congressman drafting bill in wake of Schiavo case


The Orlando Sentinel

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - Spurred by the recent Terri Schiavo drama, U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon is writing a bill that would require doctors and hospitals to provide food and fluids to incapacitated patients unless they have living wills or there is no doubt that they are dying.

The Indialantic Republican said Tuesday that his legislation would apply to all patients on Medicare or Medicaid.

Last month, Weldon sponsored an extraordinary piece of legislation aimed at keeping the severely brain damaged woman alive.

His most recent effort grew out of that fight, which ended when Schiavo's feeding tube was pulled under a court order. She died on March 31.

Weldon said his proposal would apply to the elderly, poor and disabled who are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, but might be adopted by the private sector as well.

Weldon said Schiavo's case highlights a trend toward doctors withholding care for people they deem to have a low quality of life. Without a federal standard, "you're going to see more and more people who are less and less disabled" being denied care.....


  • I have a problem with further entrenching in law
    the notion that it is ever legal/proper to starve
    and dehydrate anyone - even if they say they
    want that with a living will.

    According to the article, that is what Dr. Weldon is
    proposing. I'd like to commend his good intentions but he really should know better. Perhaps the
    article is mis-stating his intent.

    By Blogger Leslie, at 10:36 AM  

  • Leslie -- I believe that Jackie Kennedy stopped eating when she was dying of cancer ande so hastened her death. It doesn't make sense to require force-feeding in such an instance (and I know you were not implying otherwise) . I am not sure I see a conceptual difference between not force-feeding and failing to provide food through a tube where a person has a living will. What do you think?

    By Blogger levi from queens, at 11:44 AM  

  • I do understand what Leslie is saying. Living wills are basically the desire to commit suicide, by denying humane care for oneself. That is, when you say that you don't want hydration & food when you're not dying.

    Lorraine in St. Pete

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:20 PM  

  • Levi,

    I could be wrong- but I have few friends in the health care industry. From what they told me- the desire to eat, and loss of appetite is VERY common among cancer patients. It is due to medication and what is happening to their bodies.

    I would also submit that those suffering from annorexia are not aloud to just kill themselves by starvation. We give them all the medical care possible. Not wanting to eat- regardless of the reason- is just not something we, as a society, should embrace as a personal right. IMHO.

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 1:41 PM  

  • emailed him

    By Blogger GOP Christian, at 3:33 PM  

  • Sherri -- I adore eating. It is one of the two great sensual pleasures which make life abundant. I have never been able to understand anorexics.

    It still seems to me that what Jackie did (assuming I am correctly informed) is not something which the government should override by force. This is different than a 14-year-old anorexic girl.

    A typical cancer patient in my experience will fight to eat through the loss of appetite and the nausea from sheer will to live. Without that will, the failure to eat will certainly shorten the time of dying. I am not at all sure that I want the government telling adults that they have to eat. (anymore than I want them to tell me not to walk around in the rain without an umbrella or to wear shoes on a snowy day)

    By Blogger levi from queens, at 8:51 PM  

  • Levi--

    you have a good point there.

    I have no "inside" knowledge on Jackie and her choices. My response was more due to others I have talked with and have tried to argue that cancer patients don't want to eat, when in reality- they don't- but it is not due to a wanting to die, but due to lack of appetite, etc. I just don't want people using the fact that medication that depresses appetite as a way to assume they don't want to live and want to be starved to death. I DO REALIZE that YOU would never try and twist anything like that.

    You will never find me barefoot on a snowy day- but I LOVE RUNNING BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN!!!!!

    My two favorite things to do are eating and sleeping!

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 9:31 PM  

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