Thursday, 16 June 2005

Schiavo autopsy

The 'Reason' blog summarises the result:

We learn from the autopsy:

  • Schiavo's brain was about half the size of a normal brain, damaged beyond any possible hope of recovery.
  • There are no signs that she was abused (by her husband or otherwise) as some had claimed, though it remains unclear what caused her to fall into a vegetative state in the first place.
  • Remember those carfully edited clips that purported to show Schiavo following a balloon with her eyes? Well, turns out she was blind.
Does it matter? Probably not: I expect most people put the whole circus out of their minds long ago, while for the true believers, this is doubtless just further evidence of how elaborate and sinister is the anti-life conspiracy to hide the "truth."


  1. It's clear now. Anyone with half the brain as mine and who is functionally blind can now be started or dehydrated to death. We live in a compassionate society after all.

  2. We do indeed. If you want a religious take on it *man* and his science kept her alive. God wanted her dead 15 years ago or whenever it was. Compassionate enough?

  3. Clear Ruth, warn me next time when you have a problem with an inflamed appendicitis and I make sure man and his science don't get to you. After all, God wants you dead.

  4. Guess the therapy she was given by her parents didn't actually work.

    Love is blind but it can also blind.

    Re ruth's point, I think she was tryng to say, TS was so far gone that intervention was pointless. Was she really a person in that state?

    the appendix comparison was invalid as interventions in such cases can usually turn someone around. Advanced terminal cancer might be a more apt comparison.

  5. Glad to see that insider agrees that the court gets to decide who is a person and who isn't. And based on this, libertarianz seem to think anyone with half the size of my brain and functionally blind isn't.

  6. I'm far from being a Libertarianz, if I read your implication correctly. Sorry to ruin your hypothesis.

    Again you offer a false analogy. I never mentioned the courts deciding anything. Philisophically, the question is, can you be a 'person' if you have no 'personality' due to no brain function in the appropriate places and no hope of a return of that function?

    It wasn't the size of her brain that was at issue - it was its functioning (or lack of). Reduced size was a symptom of lack of function, I'm assuming due to atrophy.

    I suspect if she had been lying comatose with no bodily movements no one would have been concerned about ending feeding (it probably happens relatively regularly) - but because she exhibited some movements that gave the impression of purposeful brain function, she became a cause - yet there was likely little difference in terms of her brain activity with a comatose patient.

    Looks can be deceiving.

  7. If personhood depended on personality, then anyone without a personality would not be a person. Guess that means any high-achieving, introverted software engineers or actuaries aren't people.

    Please. No failure of mind takes away someone's dignity as a person. While no extraordinary means should be employed to keep one alive, since when is water considered extraordinary. The woman died of dehydration, not natural causes. All the cheerleading of her death--and of the release of her autopsy report--is as disgusting as it is unsurprising.

    Total autonomy has a double edge. Be careful whey you're the one others are making medical decisions about.


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