Boinkie's Blog


Thursday, March 31, 2005

I am sewing and having leisure time.
The press is full of nonsense about the Schiavo case, from PC ex Jesuits claiming the pope is wrong to Christopher Hitchens claiming she is a non person...
Oh well...ironically, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader are true to their civil rights roots in opposing this travesty. Peggy Noonan says:

Everyone is upset about Terri Schiavo. Everyone should be. Even Republicans who say Congress and the White House should have no role in this case are uncomfortable with what has been wrought, as are many, many Democrats. A great nation does not like to see an innocent woman put to death. Everyone seems aware: It is not like us. Her death, if it comes to that, will be a big loss. We will ponder what happened here for years to come. The fight for life has many fronts, and the war will not be over in our lifetimes.

For now, may those who fought for life be honored. May Jesse Jackson be honored, and all who fought the fight in Florida.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I said elsewhere that none of the American bishops had the guts to complain or correct about the Schiavo murder. I was wrong...the usual suspects are on record opposing her starvation.

Now, if we could just get some bioethicists on board....

Friday, March 25, 2005

Scrappleface is on a roll for those who like black humor...

Years ago, ethicist Arthur Caplan moved to Pennsylvania, and when he asked that his new driver's license be checked for an organ donor, the anonymous clerk warned him: Don't do it...if you do they might let you die...

Caplan's warning is echoed by an urban legend about a nurse who held off doctors trying to take a brain injured son to "harvest" his organs after the donor woke up unexpectedly...a tale I've been told three times, and the people all claim they heard the story from a nurse who had met that nurse...

Well, although the Schiavo case is expected to increase living wills, it just might lead to a decrease in organ donation and increase suspicion about getting adequate care if you don't have money or if your relatives want the money, etc...

has this comment

Right now, I'm leaning toward the approach taken by Lucy Gwin of Topeka, Kansas. In a letter castigating Harper's Magazine for doing a "Death with Dignity" piece, a letter the magazine published in its April 2005 issue, Ms Gwin reveals her own intentions:

I intended to make a living will myself, since I'd rather be dead than brain-damaged, but a drunk driver nailed me first. Neurologists classified my brain damage as severe. For a time I was ... "plugged into a wall like a Mr. Coffee machine." Today my living will, engraved on a dog tag, says, "Spare no expense. Keep me alive." Reading it, one hospital clerk actually gasped, "But that's so selfish!"

The right to die is not about pain or your family's stress; it's about what economists call "a downward pressure on rising costs."
Actually, The Living will I like is here...

If you want me to die before I’m good and ready, fuck you.

If I am brain-dead, if my cerebral cortex has turned to liquid, yet all my other organs are functioning properly, you’re going to keep me alive indefinitely. If it’s inconvenient to you, fuck you. If it costs you every penny you have, and the government every penny it has, and if every other human being on earth has to be made a slave to keeping me alive, fuck you.

I want heroic measures, and I want them precisely because I know you don’t want to have to do them. By choosing death as your default preferred option, you’ve pissed me off, and to the extent I have any say in the matter, fuck you.

The only chance you have of getting your way is by twisting the concept of the “living will” yet again so that you can ignore it entirely and kill anyone you want to, anytime you want to, for any excuse you can pull out of your ass.

And I know that you don’t want to take it that far because you want to still be able to delude yourself that you’re not sanctioning murder. And I also know that you will go that far if it comes to that, because when you strip aside all of the flowery rhetoric about “death with dignity” and “respecting your loved one’s wishes,” you’re all about the killing.

Which makes my living will a futile act of defiance that will only serve to emphasize that the “living will” has always been pure fiction designed to normalize the killing of innocent people.

So fuck you. See you in hell, fuckers.

Just joking. Actually, like a lot of medical people I have "Do Not resusitate and "no ventillator" tatooed on my chest. (It's a medical joke) But saying I have to starve to death if I become disabled, nope. But I trust my relatives more than the I have this

Ah, but what is the problem with the living will?


And no, I don't have "organ donor" on my driver's license...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Well, enough people wrote and prayed so that maybe Ms Schiavo will live.
The NYTimes has three pro death articles in it.
First is a doctor trained in "palliative care" that says he does similar "withdrawal of care" decisions every day, so no big deal.
Excuse me, but palliative care usually means hospice, i.e. dying patients.
The second cites the heroism of a doctor in the Netherlands who pities childen so kills them...but they seem to overlook the fact that three of the four cases cited were meningomyelocoels, which can be fixed. Yes, they called the cases "severe"...but there is no clinical correlation between hight of the lesion, size of the lesion, or even the amount of hydrocephalus with so called "Quality of life" see, an L2-3 lesion leads to the same leg paralysis and bladder/bowel problems as a large T 7-L4 lesion (T is thorax, i.e. upper back)...
There is no discussion to put this into perspective, nor an interview with a person who had the problem and had it fixed...hello....calling NYT....
Finally, they have an article where a doctor states dehydrating to death is painless.
Well, a lady with cerebral palsy went thru this and said it is very painful..she wrote the article in First THings about ten years ago.
Yes, we often withhold fluid from terminal patients, but these patients can often drink, but are either comatose from their disease, or receiving so much pain medication for their pain that thirst is the least of their problems...
Of course, what he means is she hasn't enough brain to "feel" and recognize pain...because she 's a vegetable. Or does he mean that even though she recognizes her parents and laughs when she sees them, she won't hurt?
The dirty little secret is that when the "experts" decide to withhold fluid and starve someone, they drug the patient out of their mind so they don't feel the pain...
Culture of death, anyone?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I am upset about the Schiavo case, because it is pure murder of a brain damaged woman.
The NYTimes of course has it's propaganda: a doctor with training in "palliative" medicine says he does it all the time...whoa. Palliation is for terminal cases. I have written elsewhere about feeding tubes being useless "treatment" for the dying, who can refuse such treatment, and for the comatose or severely brain damaged, who will aspirate and die.
But Schiavo, like other brain damaged people, has been put on a feeding tube for convenience, and placed in a "hospice" because it was cheaper and for convenience to not treat her for acute illnesses...despite this, she has not died of aspiration pneumonia. So that means she can swallow.
She is alert enough that the judge involved put a gag order on films showing her alertness...
I have written on this elsewhere-- an earlier blog entry was to the Catholic newspaper discussing this.
But we are in the thoes of a culture of death, and I have little hope.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Fred is listening to the computer for his "matt monroe" cd.
I am blogging.
I did little today except finish Tolkien author of the century, by a fellow philologist.
check my other blog for photos of fred's 80th birthday party

culture of death
Paediatricians call for nationwide protocol for the ending of life of unbearably and incureably suffering newborns

10 december 2004 Paediatricians at academic hospitals in the Netherlands have called for the formation of a national committee to draw up a nationwide protocol for life ending treatment for newborns who are so ill and suffering so severely that they have no prospect of a future. The issue expressly relates to exceptional cases, around 600 newborns a year worldwide.

According to A.A.E. Verhagen, who launched the initiative: “It’s time to be honest about the unbearable suffering endured by newborns with no hope of a future. All over the world doctors end lives discretely out of compassion, without any kind of regulation. Worldwide, the US included, many deaths among newborns are based on end of life decisions, after physicians reached the conclusion that there was no quality of life. This is happening more and more frequently.”

The call to set up a national committee has been prompted by the discussions that erupted worldwide after paediatricians from Groningen University Hospital announced that they had drawn up a protocol for such cases in association with the Dutch public prosecutors, called Board of Procurators General.

Verhagen: “A lot of disquiet has arisen around this issue, especially when the Vatican expressed concern. But these children face a life of agonizing pain. For example, we’re talking about newborns with hydrocephalus and no brain. Another example may be a child with spina bifida with a sack of brain fluid attached where all the nerves are floating around. This child is barely able to breathe, and would have to undergo at least sixty operations in the course of a year to temporarily alleviate its problems. These operations would not ease the pain. Moreover, the child would suffer such unbearable pain that it has to be constantly anaesthetised. The parents watch this in tears and beg the doctor to bring an end to such suffering.”

Studies have shown that paediatricians worldwide are, in exceptional cases like this, in favour of deliberate ending of life. In France 74% believe that it should be acceptable in certain circumstances. The figure for the Netherlands is 72%.

The Groningen Protocol has five criteria: the suffering must be so severe that the newborn has no prospects of a future; there is no possibility of a cure or alleviation with medication or surgery; the parents must always give their consent; a second opinion must be provided by an independent doctor who has not been involved with the child’s treatment; and the deliberate ending of life must be meticulously carried out with the emphasis on aftercare.

Verhagen: “This is a subject that nobody likes to acknowledge, let alone discuss. But it is in the interest of newborns who have to endure unbearable suffering that we draw up a nationwide protocol that allows each paediatrician to treat this delicate question with due care, knowing that he followed the criteria.”

Contactpersoon: Mrs J. Kruse

Saturday, March 05, 2005

I was reading the catholic catechism, and found a quote saying that everything good comes from God, and so other religions have echoes of that good. But that doesn't mean we can't explain what is the entire truth, merely that we can build on what is good, not condemn the other's beliefs entirely...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Oh now I am busy studying Tagalog...I have been spending a little time in the past listening to tapes, but they go in one ear out the other.
Usually when one learns a language, one finds "linkage" to remember the word. So pulmones means lung, linking word pulmonary. Boca means mouth, think bigmouth (B)
But it takes much longer with non Indo European languages. First, the grammar is not the same, second, the words don't exactly correspond.
In Shona, we had 8 tenses and agglutinized past and presnt tenses, but it was still subject/predicate object--except for word descriptions, the closest thing would be "he went pfft" where pfft meant he ran away. And adding here to the end (her eh) changed things to a question.
And you had tones, of course, but that was picked up by tapes.
But in Tagalog, you have linking words, and the sentence is verb link noun or phrase.
Of course, thinking "backward" from english isn't too hard, since German also does this. But the "phrase -link-phrase" is confusing.
However, after I listen to tapes for another three months, I know from experience suddenly it will start clicking into place and I'll start understanding and talking.
It's just the first three months of drill that is boring boring.