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Johnny Jones, 5 December 2003

I am trying to remember to keep a candle burning in my window. It's a Christmas candle, but the candle is not only for Christmas. It's to remind me to pray for Terri Schiavo, whose life is at stake.

"In 1990, Terri Schiavo's heart suddenly stopped. Before she could be revived, her brain was damaged and she slipped into a comalike state," was the way Ragged Edge Magazine put it (November 18, 2002).

The controversy is about a legal fight between Terri's husband and her parents. Her parents and family have been fighting in court to save Terri's life, and for rehabilitation and care. The State of Florida has supported them with a special bill, signed by Governor Jeb Bush, which is now under legal challenge.

Terri's husband, Michael, (up until recently, her guardian) won a big jury award over ten years ago (over a million dollars in all), by telling the court he wanted to take care of Terri, to bring her home.

Testifying in the 1992 Malpractice trial, Michael Schiavo said, "I believe in the vows I took with my wife, through sickness, in health, for richer or poor. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that."

However, "Terri's husband lives in a house with Jodi Centonze. He openly admits that he has been engaged to this women for over seven years...and has announced plans to marry her when Terri is no longer alive." They have children together.

"Since receiving the award money in 1993, her husband has ceased and prohibited any new or aggressive treatment for Terri.... He has totally ignored or denied rehabilitation therapy that could possibly assist Terri's recovery."

That's a long way from bringing Terri home, or nursing her himself. I thought Marilyn Hamilton put it succinctly in a letter to the editor of World magazine (11/19/03): "(Michael Schiavo) shows by his adulterous lifestyle that he is no longer her devoted husband....It is chilling that the judicial system and the popular media have aligned themselves with the fallacious argument that this is about Terri's `right to die.'" reported on 10/25/03, "Doctors and other medical professionals confirmed what Terri Schiavo's family has known all along -- she is not in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) and has the ability to recover with proper rehabilitative and medical care." A friend of ours, a doctor, saw Terri on television and commented, "That woman is not in a coma."  A recognized national expert on PVS (and a Nobel prize nominee), a neurologist who has examined Terri, believes she is not in a coma, but disabled

That's why more than a dozen disability groups have argued on behalf of Terri's parents and against her husband.

However, the sympathy for Terri in the media seems to be in favor of "allowing" her to die.

But what if that's not really the issue? What if the issue is allowing someone to live and be rehabilitated instead of "allowing" her to die? In fact, there is evidence to that effect. "Terri left no advanced directive indicating her preference for medical treatment. Michael claimed years after Terri's collapse that he vaguely remembered Terri saying she didn't want to be kept alive artificially. However, a longtime friend of Terri vividly remembers a conversation they had concerning a woman who had been in a coma for six years. Terri's friend told a crude joke. It upset Terri and she responded by saying, `Where there's life, there's hope.'"

The media has made this into an issue. But it's really about a life. 

The court ordered removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube March 18 2005; she died Marcdh 31 the same year.

Quotes from and 11/26 and 10/25.

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