Thursday, March 31, 2005

How Will Terri Schiavo be Remembered?

How will the woman whose brain was severely damaged in 1990 be remembered in a year, 5 years, and 10 years from now? Will she be remembered as a woman who struggled to live for more than 300 hours without food and water? Or as an organism whose "real life" was already gone? Will she be remembered as the woman whose tragic death convinced large portions of America to get some form of advanced directive? Or as a blimp on the radar screen of those that think they could never end up in a condition similar to Terri's? Will she be remembered by those who took no time to learn the facts of the case as a brain dead vegetable who was thankfully allowed to die? Or will people investigate and learn how the mainstream media was hardly forthcoming with numerous findings and plainly dishonest with others? Will she be remembered as the woman whose case awakened America to the inordinate amount of power that is given to men and women in robes? Or will our country continue to allow the bad rulings to allow innocent women to starve for almost 2 weeks?

Will she be remembered as a living human being whose life was tragically taken from her by the faulty rulings of a judge based on the hearsay testimony of an unfaithful husband or as a thing, a broken music box as described by Anna Quindlen, that was no longer valuable because it lacked its former ability or dignity?

What will her autopsy reveal? Abuse? Neglect? Only the best medical care? That her brain was the consistency of "Jell-o" as columnist Ellen Goodman described it? Or just having severe atrophy similar to a "75 year old female who was somewhat senile but fully functional" asdescribed by the medical blog CodeBlueBlog?

And these are not all questions of the "we'll wait and see" variety. Many of them are questions of how well we can educate the public about Terri and her tragic death. The way in which many of these questions will be answered reflects on how persistent and strong our voices can be. Will we tell our friends and family the truth of Terri's death? Our co-workers and acquaintaces? Or will we let the Anna Quindlens and Ellen Goodmans of this world have the upper hand? We all play a role in deciding how Terri will be remembered and don't you forget it.

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