Brain damaged is entirely different from "a persistent vegetative state," which is defined in 2003->Ch0744->Section 3215">Florida Statute 744.3215 as:
"She is not in a coma. Although there are a range of opinions, neurologists who have examined her insist today that she is not in a persistent vegetative state. She breathes on her own – like you on me. She is not on a respirator. She is not on life support of any type. She does not have a terminal condition."
Watch the videos of Terri Schiavo and ask yourself if you can say "yes" to both a) and b) above. If that doesn't do it for you, listen to this audio of Terri the last time they removed her feeding tube. (I have personal experience with developmentally disabled adults who are about as responsive as Terri is in these videos. Should their parents or caregivers be able to withhold food or hydration if they become a financial burden?)
"Persistent vegetative state means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:
"(a) The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of ANY kind.
"(b) An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment."
Think Michael Schiavo has her best interests at heart? Try reading this, then talk to me about how much he has Terri's best interests at heart.
It's a painless death, right?
It's just one woman, right? Consider "Disability Activists Call for Moratorium on Starvation and Dehydration." (Scroll down.)
"The call for a moratorium is a reaction to the newly-published report indicating high levels of brain activity in people thought to be in "minimally conscious state (MCS)." The study, published in the February issue of Neurology, discovered evidence that these individuals may hear and understand much of what is going on around them, but are unable to respond.This could be your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your spouse... or you. Politics, schmolitics. This is about simple human decency... or the extreme lack thereof. Terri Schiavo just happens to be its very visible poster girl.
"The study drew a distinction between MCS and Persistent Vegetative State (PVS), but the distinction is not a reliable one. In a New York Times article, Dr. Joseph Fins mentioned research indicating a 30% misdiagnosis rate of PVS, indicating that nearly a third of persons diagnosed in PVS are actually in "minimally conscious state." Fins is chief of the medical ethics division of New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
"With the exception of oblique references to Terri Schiavo, current coverage of the study and its implications dance around the most important issues regarding this study. Namely, thousands of people around this country with labels of both MCS and PVS are being starved and dehydrated, often without an advance directive indicating their wishes, or a durable power of attorney appointing a substitute decision-maker they chose for themselves."