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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Terri Schiavo Timeline
Schiavo Resources: Timeline

This timeline comes from the University of Miami Ethics Programs, and appears to be both comprehensive, and without obvious agenda. Note also the multitude of links to court filings, including some medical findings.

My first question is why it takes Michael Schiavo 8 years to sue to have Terri's feeding tube removed. Did it take him that long to remember Terri's wishes?

Also, what impact, if any, did his engagement to Jodi Centzone in 1995, and their bearing of two children have on his 1998 change of heart? Why does Michael refuse to dissolve his marriage to Terri, in light of his nearly 10 year engagement and for-all-intents-and-purposes marriage to Jodi Centzone? How was he able to maintain status as Terri's guardian 3 years after getting engaged to another woman, in order to sue to have Terri's feeding tube removed? Is there not an obvious conflict of interest here?

Updated: The attorney who filed this court document offers a favorable interpretation of the timing of Michael Schiavo's decision to allow Terri to "die naturally", which he apparently first did in 1994, shortly after the decision in his malpractice suit, when he signed a DNR and refused treatment on Terri's behalf for a urinary infection.

According to the attorney,

"It had taken Michael more than three years to accommodate this reality and he was beginning to accept the idea of allowing Theresa to die naturally rather than remain in the non-cognitive, vegitative state. It took Michael a long time to consider the prospect of getting on with his life."

While this reads as plausible, I continue to have issues with it. The timing of the decision coming so close on the heels of the malpractice suit decision seems conspicuous, despite the attorney's claim that "there is no evidence in the record of the trust administration documents of any mismanagement of Theresa's estate, and the records on this matter are excellently maintained."

With 3/4 of a million dollars designated for Terri's care, I can't help but wonder (I don't know) where that money would be destined to go in the eventuality of a cessation in the need for Terri's care.

What also strikes me is that the decision-making (at least according to this sympathetic attorney's account of it) seems to be centered on Michael's ability to get on with his own life, and not on a willful seeing-out of Terri's final wishes. According to Rev. Robert Johansen's NRO article, the expert doctor testifying on Michael Shiavo's behalf was able to come to his conclusion of a PVS diagnosis during less than a day's contact with the patient. So, if Michael were truly following out Terri's last wishes in the manner of the loving husband, would he not have been obligated (on her behalf) to come to a decision more rapidly than the 4 to 8 years that it seems to have taken him.

Update 2: I'm feeling the need to add that it isn't my intention to smear Michael Schiavo... although I'm sure it might read like that. I don't know the man, I know that what he's gone through has to have been hell, and I have no idea how he's come to the decisions and actions he has.

Still, I feel it is entirely legitimate to raise questions about his motivations. Michael Schiavo is aggressively pursuing his wife's death. He is doing so against the most desperate pleas of the man and woman who created her. He's telling us that we must accept his word (at the exclusion of her parents', and dissenting opinions from doctors) as to Terri's last wishes and medical condition, despite his own lengthy delay in seeking to carry those alleged wishes out, and despite an apparent lack of thoroughness in the diagnostic process.

As a society, I think we're entitled to... even obligated to pursue the truth to the best of our society's ability in cases of life and death such as this; certainly where potential conflicts of interest seem to exist. Mr. Schiavo may be acting out of sincere devotion to Terri's wishes, and it is entirely possible that his delay in seeking the removal of her feeding tube was the result of understandable grief and confusion. If this is the case, I hope he understands why people like me feel motivated to doubt, and that he forgives me those doubts.
Comment received by email from a friend:

"Hint: If it takes 8 years, a new live-in, and 2 kids with that new live-in for your spouse to suddenly remember your wishes, something is wrong."
For the sake of defragmenting the conversation about the Schiavo case, please make all further comments on this thread. Thank you.

Move along. Nothing to see here.
Michael Schiavo definately has/had his own agenda when it came to Terri. On MSNBC the other night..they interviwed Terri's close friend, she stated they were NOT getting along and Terri wanted a divorce. When Michael was asked that by Paula Zahn..he hedged all over and just stated him and Terri wanted children. I agree, it sure took Michael a long time to recall Terri's wishes, so why NOW..probably many reasons, but I think a good bet would be * J-O-D-I*
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