Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Quality of life

I read today that ABC News anchor Peter Jennings has lung cancer. I wonder how that will affect the quality of his life. Will he be in constant pain? Will he need medication, chemo-therapy, a ventilator, a feeding tube? Will he spend his children's inheritance on treatment? Will those who are close to him spent much of their time caring for him, neglecting their own lives? The probability is that all of the above will happen at some point. Since it's obvious his illness will affect his judgement as he makes the many "life or death" decisions he faces, perhaps he needs someone to make those decisions for him. Then, as soon as the "quality" of Mr. Jennings' life drops to a level where his guardian (appointed by some heartless fool in a black robe) can see that it's better for him to be dead, he should be put in a room, surrounded by policeman (sworn to protect the life of all people), and denied food and water until he dies. Why should Mr. Jennings be a burden to himself and others? Perhaps he should even die now, and not be put through the trauma of an agonizingly slow death.

I hope it's obvious to all that my "tongue in cheek" introductory paragraph is a slam at the logic used to kill Terri Schiavo. In case it was not obvious, I DID NOT MEAN A WORD OF IT!!!

Sunday Powerline reported on a Zogby poll which asked the appropriate question about Terri's situation. While most polls were busy asking........Should the plug be pulled on Ms. Schiavo, who is a vegetable and is suffering and told her husband she did not want to be kept alive under such circumstances?. Zogby presented the facts of the situation...........If a person is NOT DYING, not on life support, has plenty of loving relatives willing to provide care, has expressed to friends a wish to "live", and has not put in writing any instructions about "extreme measures", should that person be denied food and water? The overwhelming response was NO!!! 79% said no, and only 9% said yes. Throughout the execution of Terri I believed that people must not know what is going on. I don't think any sane person would think it's ok for a Judge to order the starvation/dehydration death of another human being?

But I am wondering who are the 12% who could not make up their minds. Could they be the "independents" who are so proud of their ability to straddle the center of any issue? I would describe them with slightly less mercy, as those who have not the backbone to stand for anything until a poll tells them how everyone else stands. The 9% is a no brainer......the "right to die" crowd figured the quesiton was about Terri Schiavo so they lied to the pollster. There probably are a million or two Americans who are so calloused that they think they should be allowed to decide who lives or dies, but not 30 million. But the 12% who had no opinion is scary. That amounts to 42 million people in America who don't have the ability to understand what the "right to life" means.

I just hope the 79% holds and the 12% does not grow, and the 9% suffer as much as Terri Schiavo and her loving family did for the last two weeks of her life.


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