Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Judge Greer Rules Against Schindlers Across the Board:
Seems Intent on Her Death

Corrected and Updated 3/8/05, 1:50 PM EST: Based on a news story from the St. Petersburg Times and a follow-up call to Mary Schindler, I've made a few corrections. Thanks to Media Culpa for the heads-up.

I spoke with Mary Schindler on the phone last evening, and she gave me some discouraging news on yesterday's hearings in front of Judge Greer.

Firstly, Judge Greer is holding true to his stated intention to entertain motions only pertaining to Terri's "death process" and her final disposition:

Judge Greer denied, without hearing arguments or evidence, the Schindlers' motion to compel Michael Schiavo's deposition.

Judge Greer denied, without hearing arguments or evidence, the Schindlers' motion for a divorce of Terri from Michael.

Judge Greer denied, without hearing arguments or evidence, the Schindlers' motion to remove Michael as guardian.

Judge Greer heard, but did not rule on, arguments that Terri should be fed by mouth once the feeding tube is removed March 18.

Judge Greer denied, without hearing arguments or evidence, the Schindlers' request that Terri be allowed to receive Viaticum (Holy Communion for the dying) by mouth. Judge Greer ruled that if Terri is to be given Communion, it must be done via her feeding tube.

Judge Greer denied the Schindlers' motion to allow their daughter to die at their home, noting the parents can visit the Pinellas Park hospice where she lives.

Judge Greer denied the Schindlers request to have Terri's intact body interred: He confirmed Michael's order that Terri is to be cremated upon her death.

He denied the Schindlers motion to allow Terri to be buried in Florida. Michael intends to inter her cremated remains in Pennsylvania.

Judge Greer's rulings against the Schindlers on the matter of feeding by mouth and viaticum seem to me most indicative of his frame of mind: By precluding attempts, as a "last ditch" measure, to feed her by mouth, the Judge shows that his object is not merely to stop what he might argue (erroneously) is an "extraordinary" means of support, but to see to it that she dies. One might make an analogy to someone on a respirator: frequently respirators are removed from patients, but sometimes they continue to breathe on their own without support. It is as though a judge were to order not only that a respirator be removed, but that the patient's mouth and nose be sealed with duct tape, just to make sure he can't get any air by any means.

Judge Greer's order makes him an active accomplice in directly intending Terri's death. It becomes harder and harder to see how this can be described as anything but judicially ordered homicide.

And by confirming the order to have Terri cremated, thus precluding an autopsy, he certainly give the appearance of cooperating in an effort to make sure that the full truth of Terri's condition is never ascertained.

The order regarding Viaticum, besides being cruel and bizarre (only the tiniest fraction of the Host or the tiniest drop of the Precious Blood need be placed on her tongue), serves to preserve Michael Schiavo and George Felos' contention that Terri cannot receive anything by mouth. Of course, they have never permitted a swallowing test, so we just have to take their word for it. The last thing they want is the spectacle of Terri taking anything by mouth, as that might cause people to start wondering if Terri might just be able to eat.

From George Felos' standpoint, though, that should hardly make a difference: In Terri's '98 hearings, Felos infamously advocated what he called the "spoon test". The test of whether one is a person with a full right to life, he said, is whether he/she can raise a spoon to his lips unaided. If you have a relative who is paralyzed or otherwise unable to feed himself, watch out: In George Felos' world, they're fair game for his tender advocacy of their "right" to die.

If George Felos and Judge Greer get their way, Florida will be a very, very bad place in which to be unlucky enough to get sick, have a stroke, or become incompetent. Someone will be standing by, ready to relieve you of the burden of your existence.