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I don't care if you agree with me. - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
estherchaya
estherchaya
I don't care if you agree with me.
I've stayed away from the Schiavo debate. I don't want anything to do with it. I have my own feelings about the specific situation, but the thing I feel most strongly about is that this never should have been the big public debacle that it was. I wish the press could have stepped aside and respected that it wasn't something that should be exploited. There are plenty of people who will disagree with me on that point. I'm not saying any government should have restricted their ability to write/talk about the case, I just wish that they could have exercised some basic courtesy and stepped aside.

I'm sorry to learn that Terri Schiavo died today. I'm sad for her and her family. I think the entire situation was a tragedy, start-to-finish.

Mostly, I'm sorry that this isn't over. The autopsy will happen. Every expert that thinks they can get some face time out of it will be on Dateline and CNN and whatever else saying why they're right and everyone else is wrong. Lawsuits will begin. Debates (very public debates) will continue to take place across the country.

The fact is, this is no longer the time for law suits. This is a time for her family to mourn and to heal. But it won't be.

By the way, anyone who wants to tell me I'm an idiot for thinking the press should have taken a chill pill or whatever... go ahead. But for the first time, I will be deleting (or at least screening) any such comments about my idiocy.

Current Mood: blank blank

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Comments
cahwyguy From: cahwyguy Date: March 31st, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're not an idiot. This is the time for her family to mourn, scientists to learn (in private), and the public to do what they need to do to prevent this happening to them. Lawyers should be spending their time their time helping people draft living wills, not beating (sorry for the phrase) a dead horse.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually think it's more important to have a durable power of attorney, but that's another story.
kressel From: kressel Date: March 31st, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)



I wholeheartedly agree with you on this issue. What a tragedy for her poor parents!

BTW, a Power of Attorney is for financial matters. A living will is for medical. And the Agudah has created a "Halachic Living Will" which states that the person wants Halacha to be obeyed in case of such an emergency, and besides naming two agents to act on the person's behalf, there's a place to name a Rov to be consulted.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are different kinds of powers of attorney, actually.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is excerpted from an article written by my Rabbi, Rav Yitzchok Breitowitz. Medical Ethics and Halacha is one of his specialty areas, I believe, and he's also a law professor. Emphasis mine. He does refer to the Agudah's "Halachic Living Will" but also notes that it is somewhat inaccurately labeled.

Judaism thus attempts to strike a balance between the great mitzva of prolonging life and the recognition that life may become unbearably difficult and painful. The living will, however, which attempts to spell out in advance which treatments should be employed and which should not is too blunt of an instrument to accurately mirror the necessary value judgments. The basis for all of these decisions is the pain and suffering the patient feels at the time of the illness and this can simply not be predicted in advance. Conditions that may seem intolerable to us when we are 35-40 may be quite adequate when we reach 85 and we realize that the alternative would be death. Keep in mind too that many patients such as those with advanced Alzheimer's or in comas may in fact not be suffering though their existence is undoubtedly a hardship to their families. Moreover, it is almost impossible to spell out all contingencies in advance, making living wills incomplete almost by definition.

Far preferable to the living will is the durable power of attorney (often called a health-care proxy) which simply specifies a person-family member, friend, clergyman - empowered to make health care decisions on the patient's behalf in the event he or she is incapacitated. The power may in addition specify that all decisions shall be made in accordance with Jewish law and in consultation with a designated clergyman of the patient's choice. Sample forms - labelled somewhat inaccurately as "Halachic Living Wills" -have been prepared by Agudath Israel of America, a national organization headquartered in New York and are available on www.jlaw.com. This document insures that decisions will be made consistently with the moral and religious beliefs that the patient holds dear. Obviously, one should discuss these delicate matters ahead of time both with family members and spiritual advisers.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
oops. I meant to close that bold tag. Whoops.
From: have_inner_lady Date: March 31st, 2005 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd never thought of approaching it that way. The health-care proxy makes leagues of sense. Thank you for bringing it up.
cellio From: cellio Date: March 31st, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a medical power of attorney to name a decision-maker, and a living will to specify the decisions I want. The living will isn't binding everywhere, but the power of attorney is.

This is different from a financial power of attorney. I'm sure there are other types out there too, for that matter. After all, a power of attorney basically says "so-and-so has the authority to make decisions for me in domain X"; it doesn't matter what X is.
kressel From: kressel Date: March 31st, 2005 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

I stand corrected



Though I must say I'm a bit surprised. I used to work for a frum elder law attorney (a real mentsch, actually). For non-Jews, we prepared the Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters, though yes, one could fill in "X" power to grant the attorney-in-fact, and a Health Care Proxy. For the frum Jewish clients, at least 50% of the practice, we used the Durable Power of Attorney and Halachic Living Will (however incorrectly named.)

May Hashem help us that nobody should ever need these documents.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I stand corrected

For the frum Jewish clients, at least 50% of the practice, we used the Durable Power of Attorney and Halachic Living Will (however incorrectly named.)

Right. You used both. That makes sense. Nothing confusing about that at all.
eyelid From: eyelid Date: March 31st, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Best to have both. Powers of Attorney can be limited.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I didn't say that I should have the PoA to the exclusion of a living will. It happens that I think the POA is more important. I can understand why others feel differently.
eyelid From: eyelid Date: March 31st, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
not attacking you, just saying: why argue about which is better, let's all just get both :)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Getting both in the long run is fine. But it will take me far longer to draw up a living will as I will have to consult not only an attorney, but also my rabbi (though he is an attorney, I would NEVER ask him to draft a living will for me, only to inform me of the relevant halacha and review a draft). A POA is easier to draft quickly.

I wasn't trying to say people shouldn't have both. But a lot of people don't even consider having a POA, which is problemmatic because not every state will honor a living will, but I think that the POA would be binding no matter what state I was in. I suppose for someone who never travels, it'd be different.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
what I was trying to say in the end there, is that you're right. Sorry. :-P
From: lola100 Date: March 31st, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was a little ridiculous how much coverage the whole story got. But I think the family just fed the media. Making statements, going on Larry king......
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I absolutely think the family was wrong for feeding the media.
leahmiriam From: leahmiriam Date: March 31st, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
They were wrong but they were desperate and you know what they say about people in desperate situations, the judgement isn't so great.
mamadeb From: mamadeb Date: March 31st, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hate that this whole thing became so public, but once the courts refused to hear anymore (and I support that even if I don't like the result of that refusal), it was time to let the family have its privacy.
eyelid From: eyelid Date: March 31st, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I definitely think it's disrespectful, all this media around what's essentially one family's story.
cellio From: cellio Date: March 31st, 2005 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's horrible that this became a national spectacle. I feel especially bad for any family members who weren't the ones fanning the flames -- the cousins and aunts and uncles and whatever, who have been deprived of the ability to reach closure privately.
From: have_inner_lady Date: March 31st, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've only heard of her through an astonished extended family member over Bunny Day Dinner. I'd bet I haven't heard a tenth of it, and I don't care to. My general opinion is that when something this personal gets exploited so hideously in the press, it's often a distraction tactic and news-time filler to avoid some other important issue.

Which, I suppose, is why I gave up on national news. They're owned.

From: bodnej Date: March 31st, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Just so you can practice deleting comments...

I don't agree with you.

We needed MORE press on this story! Where was Geraldo? Why didn't any TV stations pay people to break through barricades? Where were the bribed nurses? And the video they had! It was so boring; the same thing over and over. Couldn't anyone sneak a camera in? And if not, why not some recreations or cartoons to simulate what was going on in the hospice?

Now comes the best part: the made for TV movies. Who gets to play Terri? Glenn Close has experience playing someone in a coma at the center of a legal controversy, but I'm thinking this movie calls for a Lindsey Lohan or maybe the delicate touch that can only be provided by one of the Olsen twins. And for the husband, I have two words: Tom Arnold.

From: bodnej Date: March 31st, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

In all seriousness...

Yeah, this has been a mess. But here's the big secret: TV networks show what they think people care about. And this has probably been a ratings bonanza for TV news, both broadcast and cable.

The moral is to have, as you said, a medical power-of-attorney and a living will. The Wife and I had them drawn up last year, along with our wills. And by the by, just to make sure that EVERYONE knows, pull the plug on me. Just give me lots of morphine. And if the doctor happens to give me TOO much morphine, that wouldn't exactly be against my wishes, either.

(Deleted comment)
From: bodnej Date: March 31st, 2005 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: In all seriousness...

Remind me not to fall asleep when you are around.
eyelid From: eyelid Date: March 31st, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: In all seriousness...

mmmmm morphine.

I had that when I was in labor. Yay!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 31st, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: In all seriousness...

but OMG! You're a child abuser for doing that! Don't you know that you reduced your childs IQ by 47.324908%?? Don't you know that you just caused him to not be able to breastfeed? OMG, you didn't have a cesarian section did you??? OMG that was totally unnecessary and makes me so sad!! Only bad mommies use morphine during labor.


;)

(I assume you know I'm kidding...)
eyelid From: eyelid Date: March 31st, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

:)

Don't you know that you reduced your childs IQ by 47.324908%??
So THAT'S why he keeps banging his head on the table! I was wondering.


Don't you know that you just caused him to not be able to breastfeed?
:o whose kid was I breastfeeding?? OMG THEY GAVE ME THE WRONG KID!!!

Eyelid: proud member of badparents. I GET THE BAD MOMMY HAT.
real_bethy From: real_bethy Date: March 31st, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
The person I feel the worst for out of all of this is poor Terry Schiavo. Imagine having all your most intimate details blasted across every form of media that can get its hands on it. Imagine the people you love fighting over your death. It's absolutely heartbreaking.
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