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Palin’s Nonsense on Terri Schiavo

Eight years after her body was mercifully pulled from the machines keeping it artificially “alive” long after her brain was done (literally gone, as in turned mostly to liquid), the wingnuts are still bleating about Terri Shiavo. So a group still raising money from her name asked Sarah Palin to spout some utterly meaningless rhetoric on the subject:

“Her plight, her journey, taught Americans who we are and what we can be,” Palin said, speaking about Schiavo. “Her story is certainly not over.”

Palin referred to Schiavo as a beautiful young woman with an unquenchable spirit. She assured the crowd that Terri continues to teach with a spirit that is alive.

The former Republican vice presidential nominee has been on the front lines defending the unborn as well as those in a persistent vegetative state. Terri Schiavo’s case captured the nation’s attention in 2005 when, despite the best efforts of her family, she was allowed to starve to death. Palin contended Terri did not die in vain.

“The fight is not over,” Palin said. “Terri is still teaching us. We’re gaining momentum. Terri’s making a difference.”

Palin said Shciavo “led the way with her determination and declaration that she wanted to live.”

What? Seriously, what? She did not declare that she wanted to be alive. She didn’t declare anything whatsoever. She couldn’t possibly have done that. The autopsy found that her brain was about half the size of a normal brain; the rest of the cranial cavity was filled with blood. She was gone. Long gone. And she wasn’t coming back. It was merciful to let her body die. And yes, her story is over. The story of highly irrational people continuing to use her name to raise money and get attention, unfortunately, is not.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    For those touting Jeb Bush as the GOP candidate in 2016, his behavior in the Schiavo affair should be recalled. He managed to make both sides mad at him. Some of the folks on the let’s keep Terri alive side even suggested that Bush call out the Florida National Guard to remove her from the hospital where she was “living”. Of course, if he had done any such thing and she had died while being removed, he could have been charged with homicide.

  2. Mr Ed says

    Palin referred to Schiavo as a beautiful young woman with an unquenchable spirit. She assured the crowd that Terri continues to teach with a spirit that is alive.

    “Terri Schiavo” was a barely animated body and barely functioning brain stem. Anything that was remotely Terri had long ceased to exist. Keeping her alive was cruel to her parents, husband and her.

  3. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Eight years after her body was mercifully pulled from the machines keeping it artificially “alive” long after her brain was done (literally gone, as in turned mostly to liquid),

    Seriously? How the blazes could that happen?

    The autopsy found that her brain was about half the size of a normal brain; the rest of the cranial cavity was filled with blood.

    Okay. That’s a gruesome detail that I’ll admit has me morbidly curious on how it can happen and what’s going on and why the blood didn’t, y’know, drain or clot or something? its certainly more interesting than any of Sarah Palin’s facile inane blatherings.

    Thinking of Sarah Palin tyhis Aussie wonders – does she have any real relevance these days? Is anyone still really listening to her?

  4. slc1 says

    Hey Brayton, maybe if she would have been kept “alive” long enough, medicine would have figured out how to do a brain transplant! End snark.

  5. Jeremy Shaffer says

    “Her plight, her journey, taught Americans who we are and what we can be,” Palin said, speaking about Schiavo.

    Despite her best efforts, Palin speaks truthfully here. The ordeal certainly taught us that some Americans have far more concern for the human shell than they ever muster for the person. It also taught us that some Americans can be patheticly duplicitious and pandering in their attempts to claim the moral highground as they wallow in a sinkhole.

    Then again, as is Palin’s habit, even when she is being truthful falsehoods leak in. It didn’t really teach us anything because we already knew all that.

  6. raven says

    So a group still raising money from her name

    Affinity group scam.

    Common among right wingnuts and fundie xians.

  7. raven says

    Palin is just stringing words together and making stuff up.

    Nothing she claims is true and she has no way of knowing what Teri S. felt, said, or wanted.

    Sarah Palin is turning into Michele Bachmann here.

  8. macallan says

    The modern Republican Party: fighting to make sure that long-dead corpses retain the semblance of being alive.

    I heard the dead vote overwhelmingly Republican.

  9. raven says

    they’re still raising money in her name? what do they intend to do with it?

    I’m guessing here not bothering to even learn the name of this group (or care).

    But in general, in affinity group scams, the money goes for high salaries, good benefits, fine wine and drugs, cute teenage girls and boys, yachts, fast cars, tropical vacations. It all depends on who they are and how much loot they can take in.

    The Crouches of Trinity Broadcasting Network have several private jets, something like 12 mansions, and a mobile $100,000 house for the dogs. Which is sort of slimy. If I had their intake, I’d spend a lot more than that on my cats.

  10. says

    What the Schiavo case taught us is they many people would rather cling to their ideology that accept the fact that the internal organs can still continue to operate long after most of the higher brain functions have turned to tapioca. It also showed that conservatives would rather spend millions keeping one meat puppet “alive” than help feed thousands of starving children.

    But, you know, death panels.

  11. says

    “Her plight, her journey, taught Americans who we are and what we can be,” Palin said, speaking about Schiavo.

    We can all turn our brains to mush? That’s her ideal for “Real America?”

    That’s gotta be the dumbest form of American Exceptionalism EVER.

  12. erichoug says

    About 3 years ago, Dad finally died. I say finally because he had been sick for nearly 5 years and in and out of the hospital for about 2.5 years. This was a man who ran marathons right up until he started getting sick around 67yo.

    My brother had often argued with Dad, sometimes heatedly, about Terri Schaivo. Dad was definitely on the husband’s side and my brother was on the “keep them alive at all costs” side. When it finally came down to the end, we certainly could have done more, we could have kept him hooked up to machines in Memorial Herman for months or even years. But in the end, his wife decided to let him go and we were all in agreement with her, even my brother.

    That being said Fuck Sarah Palin! Fuck Jeb Bush! and Fuck every other fuckbrained asshole who thought or still thinks they should have any say in this shit. It fucking sucks enough to have to live through it without fuckwad assholes packed to the gills with ignorance, arrogance and stupidity thinking they get any kind of say in the matter.

  13. No One says

    Someone poured money into keeping her “alive”. If she had no insurance, and no wealth she would have had the plug pulled on her much sooner. Hypocrites, all of them.

  14. says

    No One: they’re not hypocrites, they just sincerely believe that individuals with lots of money should decide who gets medical care, not government.

  15. says

    Got a good cite for all that cranial cavity blood. Blood would point to one helluva hemorrhage from aneurysm or trauma. I would expect cerebrospinal fluid, not blood.

  16. LightningRose says

    What Sarah Sixpack and the rest of the so-called “pro-life” crowd so conveniently forget is that, while Governor of Texas, Dumbya signed the Futile Care Law “that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient’s family’s wishes.”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/03/20/100770/-Does-the-Media-Know-that-Bush-s-Texas-Law-Is-Allowing-Deaths

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_Directives_Act

  17. says

    I am not Dr. Ben Carson, but I think Dr. X is probably correct that the cavity would have been filled with cerebrospinal fluid, not blood. Also, the “half the size” was by weight. Assuming that the density of the brain is constant, this would be half the volume, resulting in a 20% decrease in each linear dimension.

  18. Ben P says

    Someone poured money into keeping her “alive”. If she had no insurance, and no wealth she would have had the plug pulled on her much sooner. Hypocrites, all of them.

    As I recall she had some relatively substantial sums from a medical malpractice settlement of $2 million. The fight really started after all that was exhausted.

    I take the Schiavo case as a warning of how bad things can get if you don’t have some written down indication of your last wishes. Whether or not someone must remain on life saving treatment is a messy decision when there’s a next of kin and no indicated last wishes, it’s even more messy when there is no readily available next of kin.

    If you’re alone and end up in the hospital and in a vegetative state the doctors can’t pull the plug on you. The state government is going to step in, you’ll be placed in the custody of the state and a guardian will be appointed to make those decisions, the guardian him or herself doesn’t have power either to remove life prolonging treatment, but can petition the court for permission to do so.

    I work with the state agency that handles that, among other things, in my state. Many of those proceedings are simple enough because the elderly people simply have no one. But constested ones can get nasty as the schiavo case shows.

  19. cptdoom says

    @5

    Okay. That’s a gruesome detail that I’ll admit has me morbidly curious on how it can happen and what’s going on and why the blood didn’t, y’know, drain or clot or something? its certainly more interesting than any of Sarah Palin’s facile inane blatherings.

    Whatever the fluid actually was, and I think cerebrospinal is the likelier candidate her brain was literally atrophying – dying by inches from the damage done years before, after her heart attack. From, of all places, the Catholic News Agency in 2005:

    Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin of Florida’s Pinellas-Pasco County countered her parents’ longheld view in his autopsy report. He said Schiavo’s brain was severely atrophied, weighing 615 grams — about half the size of a normal brain — at the time of her death.

    “No amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons,” Thogmartin said during a televised conference yesterday. He also said she was completely blind.

    Completely blind, yet her parents insisted she could recognize them.

    Of course the mere fact that her brain was slowing dying, cell by cell, the same news agency quoted the usual suspects to find that, not surprisingly, they still held their ground:

    Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said the autopsy does not change “the moral evaluation of what happened to Terri.

    “Her physical injuries and disabilities never made her less of a person,” said Fr. Pavone. “No amount of brain injury ever justifies denying a person proper humane care. That includes food and water. “Terri did not die from an atrophied brain,” he continued. “She died from an atrophy of compassion on the part of her estranged husband and those who helped him to have her deliberately killed.”

    Much better to keep wasting money, time, and the immense pyschological energy of her family to keep caring for her so that she could simply die years later, after the last neurons finally ceased functioning. That truly sounds like hell on earth.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/autopsy_reveals_terri_schiavos_brain_was_atrophied_dehydration_caused_death/

  20. Ben P says

    Got a good cite for all that cranial cavity blood. Blood would point to one helluva hemorrhage from aneurysm or trauma. I would expect cerebrospinal fluid, not blood.

    Wikipedia isn’t a great source but it discusses the matter

  21. erichoug says

    @Dingojack

    I think we could all benefit by spending some time putting together a living will and/or advanced medical directive. It might even be worth it to sit down with an attorney and put something formal together.

  22. Sastra says

    Palin referred to Schiavo as a beautiful young woman with an unquenchable spirit. She assured the crowd that Terri continues to teach with a spirit that is alive.

    “Continues to teach?” Sarah Palin’s rhetoric here reminded me of something and it didn’t take me long to remember it: the sad case of Little Audrey Santo.

    Little Audrey was a toddler who almost drowned and became semi-comatose, living in a near-vegetative state and hooked up to machines for the rest of her life. Her mother was a devout Catholic and was convinced that Audrey had become what’s called a “victim soul,” a sort of saint who willingly suffers and performs miracles, strengthening the faith in God of those who accept her pure sacrifice. Her home was turned into a sort of shrine and pilgrims would visit it so that Audrey could teach them through her spirit. They made paranormal claims. These claims did not seem convincing to Joe Nickell. Surprise.

    Without this way of interpreting Palin’s statements here, it sounds like she must have been talking about someone else, perhaps someone who struggled valiently against cancer or something.

  23. Sastra says

    By the way, my own Living Will is going to have something in it regarding the dread possibility that I am kept alive only by machines and suddenly announce a desire to convert to Catholicism.

  24. Alverant says

    Chances are Teri’s reproductive system was still operating. That makes her alive to the GOP because that’s really the only thing that they see in a woman.

  25. says

    Well, you have to remember that those are the same people who think a brain-dead corpse was the greatest president in our history.

    You missed me, Michael Heath.

  26. Larry says

    One thing this sad episode taught many people is to create and file a Do Not Resuscitate order to keep parasites like the GOP and the god-soaked hordes out of what is a very tough personal decision on the part of the next of kin. We do not need these ghouls winging in from everywhere, telling us how to deal with such things.

  27. says

    raven said:

    Sarah Palin is turning into Michele Bachmann here.

    That’ll never happen. Michele actually serves the entirety of the terms she’s elected to.

  28. caseloweraz says

    Gregory in Seattle: “The modern Republican Party: fighting to make sure that long-dead corpses retain the semblance of being alive.”

    Just like Vladimir Lenin and Chairman Mao.

  29. thumper1990 says

    I was unaware of this, and it’s made me genuinely angry. How dare they use her story to drum up support and funds for their misguided views? And what idiot thinks she should have been kept alive indefinitely with half a brain?! These people are sick!

  30. says

    Chances are Teri’s reproductive system was still operating. That makes her alive to the GOP because that’s really the only thing that they see in a woman.

    The most creepy and disgusting thing about that, is that it’s not that far from the truth. And the recent controversy over Prof. Landsburg’s “harmless rape” bullshit doesn’t exactly help either.

  31. says

    “No amount of brain injury ever justifies denying a person proper humane care.

    This is what happens when your morality is frozen in the Dark Ages. Sometimes, the humane thing is accept that the person who once was is now gone in any meaningful sense and let them go rather than keeping the heart pumping blood to a brain that no longer functions. No amount of wishful thinking on her parents’ part would have changed the outcome. Sooner or later, the remaining bits would have failed. Prolonging the shell without a mind is what’s truly inhumane.

  32. mucklededun says

    One detail I recall from that time was that activists were trying to break in
    to the facility with pieces of bread for Teri Schaivo to eat, oblivious to the
    fact that she had a feeding tube in the first place because she could no
    longer swallow. You can mechanically simulate the action of the diaphragm
    from outside to keep the lungs exchanging air, but once the swallowing reflex
    is lost, heroic surgical intervention is called for.
    These idiots thought they could remove the feeding tube &
    give her a piece of toast & everything would be OK.

  33. Adela Doiron says

    What has always bothered me in this case was they wanted to keep force feeding a woman who had an eating disorder. Her heart attack was caused by destructive self abuse and they go on about her unquenchable spirit? They ramble on about how much she wanted to live when she was committing slow suicide everyday. They wanted to exercise control over someone who had control issues of her own. They are obviously in denial about more than one thing.

  34. Ben P says

    What has always bothered me in this case was they wanted to keep force feeding a woman who had an eating disorder. Her heart attack was caused by destructive self abuse and they go on about her unquenchable spirit? They ramble on about how much she wanted to live when she was committing slow suicide everyday. They wanted to exercise control over someone who had control issues of her own. They are obviously in denial about more than one thing.

    When I was in private practice there was little I found fun about defending wrongful death cases, most were just sad. But one part that was darkly amusing were arguments on the “value of life.” The law in my state was that one of the elements of damages is “the value of the lost life,” and this was defined at least in part as “the value the deceased would have placed on their own life.” Things relevant to this include how the deceased lived his or her life.

    Needless to say the survivors would always testify something like that the deceased had an “unquenchable spirit” and a “joy for life.” This was often contradicted by, say, that the decedent had dropped out of school, worked intermittently at best, abused drugs and alcohol, etc.

  35. arthurski says

    What floors me in the “Teri Schiavo debate”, is that it’s a _Teri Schiavo_ debate.

    If it is important to protect the life of sick Americans who are on life-support devices, and it is
    then the US Congress should pass a f-cking Law about it !

    It would likely receive bi-partisan support, except that Republicans would probably vote against it, since it would cost money to both the US govt and insurance companies.

    What is utterly wrong about this non-debate, is that it is entirely centered around a single individual, let’s call her TS, which happened to be a borderline case (brain-dead, nearest family member had authorized the procedure).
    There are hundreds, maybe thousands of Americans that get unplugged every month, when their money runs out, even if some of them have objectively a much better chance of getting well than TS ever had.

    That’s a scandal right there, of course.
    But the scandal is compounded by the Republicans obsession about TS, while ignoring all other cases,
    and of course there are thousands of other cases of peoples on life support across the US of A.
    for 8 years and counting now.

    If was already incomprehensible to me 8 years ago, and it has not gained any rationality since.

    Sorry for the rant.

  36. says

    Whenever Republicans talk about supporting abortions to protect the life of the women it should be remembered that Terri Schiavo was what Republicans consider a live woman.

  37. paulabryder says

    Charles Pierce wrote a heartbreaking article about Mrs. Schiavo’s death and the circus that surrounded it in his Idiot America. Randy “Media SLut” Terry of Operation Rescue infamy & tax cheat Pavonne of Priests for Life used her tragedy as a money maker & now her failure of a brother is making a living from her corpse. Get an advance directive in place. Store it with your doctor, your family, on your computer and in your freezer. Take no chances. These people (see Palin) have no conscience, intelligence or decency.

  38. says

    I’ve joked, with a local inkster I know, about getting a tattoo. That tatoo would be on my chest and would be:

    “Do Not Open; Burn After Reading.”

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