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Living Wills

So, do you have a living will? Not that you have any guarantees that it will be honored under what legislation may result from the horrorshow of the Schiavo case, but we might not be here if she'd had one. I really have to wonder whether this would have come to pass in the same way had she not lived in the swing state governed by the president's brother.

If there's a good to come out of all this, at least I bet it will prompt a lot of people to seek one out.

For the record, if I'm in a vegetative state with little hope of coming back, let me go.

(Edited to clarify my position after quandry's initial post.)

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
quandry
Mar. 21st, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
Er, I don't want to sound obnoxious, but the entire reason we have such an issue with Schiavo is that she did _not_ have a living will. At least, if you mean living will in the sense of a legal document that establishes what she wants to be done. I agree with you that the Schiavo case has gotten completely out-of-hand, but all this happened because she never left a definitive record of her preference.
pointedview
Mar. 21st, 2005 08:05 pm (UTC)
You don't sound obnoxious at all. In fact, I agree with you. That was my point: this whole problem started because her wishes were not clearly stated in writing, which is why anyone who doesn't want this sort of media parade needs to get an advance directive in order, and why I linked to a resource that includes specific links for each state. :)
quandry
Mar. 21st, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
Well, I guess I thought you meant to say that the state will not abide by the wishes stated in a living will. In fact, we don't have that situation with Schiavo and I don't know of a situation like that.

Personally, I see both sides of this case, and I don't know what the hell I would do if I were a family member. But, I do know that we have The Law to deal with that. This case has gone through the process of the law, and the judges reviewing the case have made their decision. These judges are who we have entrusted with deciding such issues, they are elected by the public, and they should be allowed to do their work. Also, the laws of the country and the states are under the control of the people through the legislatures. If the public does not like the law, then the public can work to change it. But that's not what is happening here: what's happening is that people don't like the outcome of one case when the law was applied. What's that expression, "hard cases make bad law.."?

The Schiavo case is just like any other life-and-death case before a judge. I feel terrible for her parents, and letting her die on the say-so of only her husband does seem a bit shaky, but it is the decision that the judges have made.

What I really can't understand is what makes this case different from any other case where people don't like the outcome. The business of justice is life and death, not fluffy bunnies and rosy cheeks. Sometimes the decision will not go the way you wanted it to go. Sometimes, perfectly good people will get fucked by perfectly good laws interpreted by perfectly good judges. It happens. Justice is never going to be perfect. That doesn't mean we should throw it out the window.

In this case, I haven't seen any serious proposition that the judges misinterpreted or misunderstood the laws governing the situation. Because of that, we should back the hell off and let justice do its work. And, of course, the public has the right to decide to change the law through the legislature if it doesn't like it. That's what makes this a free country. I don't like the idea of Congress meddling with the fate of just one person, especially when her individual case does not affect the nation.

There are also a ton of folks that get truly fucked by the legal system and I wonder why we aren't making more of a fuss about them.

And of course, that leaves us with the question of what we think the law _should_ be, if we don't like what the law currently _is_. And in that case, well... I can see the point of the people who think that the law should not allow someone to die if they have not specifically requested it or specifically left the decision as a judgement call to me made by a designated guardian and done so in a manner that courts and doctors can verify. To me, this is the crux of the "err on the side of life" argument, and it makes sense to me, even though I'm not a Jesus Crispie. I don't mean that people should always be forced to live, but I think it's reasonable to set the 'default' to living if there is no other concrete information about a person's wishes available. The whole Schiavo case legally comes down to whether her husband's opinion or her parents' opinons should hold more sway, in other words, it comes down to the quality of the information we have about what her wish would have been. The judges have ruled that Michael Schiavo has met the legal standard for that information and that he gets to make the call, but really, we have to recognize that we have no way of knowing for certain what her opinion would have been.

Whew! that ended up being waaaaay longer than I thought it would be. Hehehehe, sorry about that. Mumpish and I have been going back and forth on it all week.
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