May 042005

Reuters reports that doctors on Tuesday sought to understand why a brain-damaged firefighter snapped to attention after nearly a decade of sitting silently in a wheelchair and watching television at his nursing home. Firefighter Donald Herbert, 43, abruptly turned talkative and lucid to the delight of family and friends who visited him on Saturday after he asked staff at the facility where his wife, Linda, was.

Its important to note that this guy’s condition was not the same as Terri Shaivo’s. He was aware, just non-responsive. However, expect to see the right wingnuts latch onto this.

BUT, I want to know where Tom Delay, W, and Randall Terry are with what’s going on in Texas. They are terminating children down there over the objections of their parent’s on an almost monthly basis using a Texas law that says, if you’re probably terminal and can’t afford the treatment, the facility can lend life support on its own decision.

For now the White House, Rep. Tom DeLay and Sen. Bill Frist are remaining silent, but officials at a Texas hospital are preparing to take a sick newborn baby off life support, and are doing it over the parents’ strong objections. The hospital’s actions are legal, thanks to this state law signed into existence by then Gov. George W. Bush (you know…our "all life is valuable" president).

According to the Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Hermann Hospital has decided to remove from life support a 6-month-old girl whose leukemia has spread to her brain. The case is the third in Houston this spring to publicly test a 1999 state law that allows hospitals to discontinue treatment in futile cases 10 days after notifying loved ones of their intentions. The others involved a 6-month-old boy with a fatal form of dwarfism and a 68-year-old man in a persistent vegetative state."

After the newborn, Knya Dismuke-Howard, experienced a relapse in her leukemia, as well as other serious complications, "Memorial Hermann’s ethics committee met Thursday and decided further care would be futile. They plan to discontinue treatment except for pain relief May 8."

"If you saw our daughter, you’d know why we have hope," the girl’s mother told the Chronicle. "She’s fully aware — she opens her eyes when we enter the room and makes facial expressions, like moving her eyebrows or pouting. She’s a trouper."

The paper reports, "The families delayed both [of the earlier] cases by appealing them to the courts, and in that time the wife of the man found a San Antonio nursing home to take him. The boy died after Texas Children’s Hospital unplugged his respirator."

Sound familiar? Of course, it was Bush, DeLay and Frist who sprang into action during the Terri Schiavo controversy, passing midnight legislation in order to make sure every possible action was done to keep Schiavo alive, and to do it over the strident objections of her husband. Apparently scared off by the polling data that showed the GOP’s right-to-life stand to be a loser, and reluctant to embarrass Bush in his own backyard of Texas, conservative right-to-life proponents are going to ignore these happenings in the Lone Star State.

Let’s see, not okay to let a woman in persistent vegatative state die even when court after court had heard testimony this was her desire, but okay to hasten death for terminally ill children because their parents’ can’t afford to pay? That’s good ‘ole down-home, right-to-life, Republican family values.

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