Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Terry Schiavo and PVS

The country is clearly divided on the Terry Schiavo case. Regardless of one's position, it is safe to say that if were to be proved that Terry had even limited mental faculties, that the vast majority of Americans would support her parent's desires in this manner. On the other hand, if it could be proven that Terry indeed has no cognitive abilities, many in the pro-life camp would be more supportive of her husband's claims.

With this in mind, it seems that one fact has been ignored in this case: Terry Schiavo is capable of recognizing humor. Dogs, whales, chimps, and even some mentally handicapped humans are incapable of appreciating irony. But if you watch the Terry Schiavo videos, there is a very clear clip where one of her doctors is speaking to her, and Terry responds with laughter. Certainly, it's not a robust laugh, and Terry seems incapable of responding in-kind with any sort of clarity. But the fact remains that she heard her doctor, recognized his words, and understood that he had said something that either pleased her or was unexpected.

Regardless of what the neurologists say about Terry's brain, if she can appreciate humor then there is something going on upstairs. A woman in her condition deserves a far better fate than being starved to death.

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