Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Dead skunk in the middle of the road

The MSM seems to have awakened from its long sleep, and found something to examine in the Schiavo mess, specifically, some ever so slightly conflicting opinions.

File this under "National Health Care":

At least three physicians in Congress - Sen. Bill Frist, and Reps. Dave Weldon and Phil Gingrey, Republicans from Tennessee, Florida and Georgia - disputed whether there was sufficient medical evidence to pull the feeding tube from Schiavo, allowing her to die.

By stepping into that discussion, some experts say, the physicians raise concerns in the medical community and potentially cross a hazy ethical line.

"It's disturbing that doctors who would never venture a comment about the health of anybody from a homemade video are sitting on the floor of Congress making declarations," said Art Caplan, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine. "My own impression, from a distance, is that they've subverted what they know to be good medicine for the aim of achieving a political goal."

Then file this under "Both Sides Now":

The federal law President Bush signed to prolong Terri Schiavo's life in Florida appears to conflict with a Texas law he signed as governor, attorneys familiar with the legislation said Monday.

The 1999 Advance Directives Act in Texas allows for a patient's surrogate to make end-of-life decisions and spells out how to proceed if a hospital or other health provider disagrees with a decision to maintain or halt life-sustaining treatment.

If a doctor refuses to honor a decision, the case goes before a medical committee. If the committee agrees with the doctor, the guardian or surrogate has 10 days to agree or seek treatment elsewhere.

Thomas Mayo, an associate law professor at Southern Methodist University who helped draft the Texas law, said that if the Schiavo case had happened in Texas, her husband would have been her surrogate decision-maker. Because both he and her doctors were in agreement, life support would have been discontinued.

That bump the Republicans just felt under their tires was any positive opinion the American people held about the GOP. In an amazing display of blind partisan zeal, they have clearly jumped the shark. Now let's see them land safely.