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Monday, March 21, 2005

Living Won'ts

Watching Larry King Live tonight, I saw Michael Schiavo on the air again. The lasting message of the Terri Schiavo debacle, according to Michael Schiavo and his attorney, was that everyone should get living wills so that their wishes could be documented during times of illness. And yet, my good friend and recent frantic law student explained to me on the phone, how oftentimes, even when a person has filled out an organ donor's card, a 'do not resucitate' request, or any other form of living will, if they are in a comatose or vegetative state, doctors will still defer to the wishes of the next of kin over the person's own documented desires. Apparently, a fear of litigation from angry family members have prompted doctors to disregard a person's right to choosing their own medical treatment -- the helpless victim is the easy sacrifice when compared to the able-bodied next of kin who could have serious financial consequences on the doctor's bank account. I hate to be a cynic, but given this serious reality, what is the point of a living will if there's no guarantee that it would've done anything to help a case like Terri Schiavo's? Remember, that the parents have said that even had there been a living will, they would still have fought against any decisions to let Terri Schiavo di). It makes you wonder -- did Congress' bill yesterday really chip away everyone's right to their own bodies? Or has the anti-abortion debate, the compassionate conservative culture of governmental gestapo, and a society of over-litigation already brought us to this point?

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