Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terri Schiavo – Fact vs. fiction…

I have spent a lot of time researching what has happened in this case. I’ve thoroughly reviewed terrisfight.org, abstract.appeal.com and other web resources. I’ve read the court decisions and GAL reports (really, I’ve read them). I’ve participated in a few online discussions on this and have followed others. I’ve watched multiple TV shows dedicated to this subject. I’ve made an honest attempt to discern the facts of the case. And I think it would be fair to say that there is not a single “fact” that has been presented in this case that has not been challenged.

The anti-Michael Schiavo side; “When is that bitch going to die?”, “There’s been no MRI scan done – that’s criminal.”, “He’s only interested in the money.”, “He’s trying to cover up his attempted murder of Terri.”, “We don’t know what she’d want in this situation.”, “She’s not in a Persistent Vegetative State – therapy could help her.”, “The starvation is excruciating to Terri.”. Etc., etc., etc…

The other side; “He’s done everything he can for her.” “There have been 3 scans done recently.”, “He’s formally offered to give up all the money.”, “The doctors at the malpractice hearing said nothing about an attempted murder.”, “She told Michael and his brother and her sister-in-law that she wouldn’t want to live like this.”, “She IS in a Persistent Vegetative State and nothing can be done for her.”, “She won’t know she’s being starved to death.”. Etc., etc., etc…

Who to believe? What to believe? Shouldn’t we, as a society, have a resource that we can access that gives us the FACTS about something? We’re pretty sloppy at this and, at times like this, it shows.

Michael Crichton has talked about the need for “product liability for information”. I think this is a very interesting concept. The devil, of course, is in the details. How do we implement something like this? How do we build a resource that anyone can refer to that gives them FACTS about something (for instance, the Terri Schiavo case)? How do we ensure that what is presented are the FACTS? And, what do we do with people who continue to misrepresent the FACTS?

I don’t have an answer to these questions, but I think that our society needs to begin to address this issue while we still have a society that can do so.

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