Dehumanizing Death



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Dehumanizing Death

Dehumanizing Death
compiled by Janice Sanford

1. On January 17, 1938, the New York Times reported the official formation of the Euthanasia Society of America.(22) Within a year, the organization was ready to offer a proposal that would legalize "the termination of human life by painless means for the purpose of avoiding unnecessary suffering." According to Charles Nixdorff, the society's treasurer, the measure was limited to voluntary euthanasia because public opinion was not yet ready to accept a broad scope encompassing infants and incompetents. However, the article noted that the society "hoped eventually to legalize the putting to death of non-volunteers beyond the help of medical science."(23) Dr. Foster Kennedy, the euthanasia society's president declared that euthanasia was "needed mainly for defectives." He urged the "legalizing of euthanasia primarily in cases of born defectives who are doomed to remain defective, rather than for normal persons who have become miserable through incurable illness." (24) 

2. The following year, Dr. Kennedy came up with a plan for child euthanasia. In an American Journal of Psychiatry article, he wrote: "I believe when the defective child shall have reached the age of five years — and on the application of his guardians — that the case should be considered under law by a competent medical board…" If careful board examination determined that the child was considered to have "no future or hope of one," he continued, "then I believe it is a merciful and kindly thing to relieve that defective — often tortured and convulsed, grotesque and absurd, useless and foolish, and entirely undesirable — of the agony of living."(26)

3. In 1999, Peter Singer, a former professor at Australia's Monash University, became the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the Princeton University Center for Human Values. At Princeton, Singer is molding and shaping the views of future leaders in medicine, law, education and business.

Singer's appointment was met with shock and dismay by those who were aware of his views. He is an outspoken advocate of infanticide and euthanasia. In a 1983 article, Singer negatively compared the value of a handicapped newborn with that of a pig:

If we compare a severely defective human infant with a nonhuman animal, a dog or a pig, for example, we will often find the nonhuman to have superior capacities, both actual and potential, for rationality, self-consciousness, communication, and anything else that can plausibly be considered morally significant. Only the fact that the defective infant is a member of the species Homo sapiens leads it to be treated differently from the dog or pig. Species alone, however, is not morally relevant.(37)

:I think that's enough to give you an idea of the mindset of those pushing euthanasia and assisted suicide. And everyone who reads this board knows that George Felos is a member of Choice in Dying. Right?
NOTE: Felos was already a member of choice in dying- when he handled the Estelle browning case in 1988..

NOTE: In 1991, the Euthanasia Society of America became known as Choice in Dying.

4. On November 19, 1985, a competent Estelle Browning executed a declaration that provides, in part:

If at any time I should have a terminal condition and if my attending physician has determined that there can be no recovery from such condition and that my death is imminent, I direct that life-prolonging procedures be withheld or withdrawn when the application of such procedures would serve only to prolong artificially the process of dying. At eighty-six years of age, Mrs. Browning suffered a stroke. She was admitted to the hospital on November 9, 1986, where her treating physician diagnosed a massive hemorrhage in the left parietal region of the brain, the portion that controls cognition. Because Mrs. Browning was unable to swallow, she underwent a gastrostomy on November 20 during which a feeding tube was inserted directly into her stomach.

In addition, Mrs. Browning stipulated that she desired not to have "nutrition and hydration (food and water) provided by gastric tube or intravenously." [FN2]

5. Nearly two years after Mrs. Browning suffered her stroke, the guardian filed a petition in circuit court to terminate the nasogastric feeding based upon Mrs. Browning's living will. At the evidentiary hearing, the guardian presented additional evidence of Mrs. Browning's wishes. The evidence reflected that a
predecessor living will, written in 1980, contained the same provisions for rejection of medical treatment at issue as the one presently before the Court.
Believing that the death of a witness to the 1980 will might have rendered the will invalid, she executed the 1985 document. Neighbors also testified that Mrs.Browning had expressed her wishes orally in this regard several times. Mrs. Rose Kings, a close personal friend of Mrs. Browning since 1965, witnessed Mrs. Browning execute the 1985 document. She testified that Mrs. Browning signed the declaration about two days after visiting patients in a nursing home and had said, " 'Oh Lord, I
hope this never happens to me ... thank God I've got this taken care of. I can go in peace when my time comes.' " Mrs. Kings' husband added that Mrs. Browning had a friend in the hospital on life- support and remarked that she " 'never want[ed] to be that way.' "

6. Dr. James Barnhill, a neurologist, described Mrs. Browning as noncommunicative and essentially existing only by virtue of fluid and nutrition supplied by the feeding tube. Dr. Barnhill opined that she was in a persistent vegetative state, which he defined as the absence of cognitive behavior and inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.

7. The trial court found that Mrs. Browning could continue to live for an indeterminate time with artificial sustenance but that death would result within four to nine days without it. Construing Florida's "Life-Prolonging Procedure Act," sections 765.01-.15, Florida Statutes (1987), the trial court concluded that
death was not imminent, and it denied the petition.

George's father,James G. Felos, was Mrs. Browning's guardian so I would think he handled this part of Browning.

Where was I? Oh, yes. I was talking about the connection between Felos and choice in dying. And Mary Labyak's hospice originally being named for Elisabeth Kubler-Ross [a proponent of humanizin death-whatever that means]. Has anyone got anything to add, before I continue.........? (smiling)

NOTE: Most of the same main player in the Browning case were involved in the terri schiavo case. Wasn't choice in dying involved in schiavo too

Dr. James Avery
Dr. James Barnhill
George J. Felos
Choice in dying

NOTE: Both, the browning and schiavo cases, just happened to take place in Pinellas county, Florida. just happened duh duh

8. This is an interesting letter written by George felos on March 29, 1991. Gives one a little insight into what happens on down the road a little:

9. State law allows patients to refuse food and water only if they are competent and are terminally ill. Doctors testified that Mrs. Browning was never terminally ill, although they said she could not speak and had difficulty moving. They said removing the feeding tubes would end her life.

10. In March Judge Thomas E. Penick Jr. denied Ms. Herbert's request to disconnect Mrs. Browning's life support. But in April the 2d District Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that Ms. Herbert, as Mrs. Browning's legal guardian, had the right to order the removal of the feeding tubes.

NOTE: Judge Thomas E. Penick Jr. -Another player in the Terri Schiavo case

NOTE: in the Estelle Browning case Choice in Dying was called Society for the Right to Die:

NOTE: Something to remember as you search for the truth behind the cases.....

11. Deciding whether ambiguous signs of wakeful life indicate consciousness
is beyond the power of medicine, at least at this time,
and possibly in principle. Thus, in cases where wakefulness is evident
(as it is for PVS patients), there is good reason to be very
cautious about assuming that conscious life is extinguished.

Notes of interest:

A. "One will need to live with individuals' deciding with consenting others when to end their lives, not because such is good, but because one does not have the authority coercively to stop individuals from acting together in such ways. In a secular, pluralist society one will need to accept euthanasia by default."
"Fashioning an Ethic for Life and Death in a Post-Modern Society," the Hastings Center Report, 1989

B. Jack Kevorkian, MD, a retired pathologist also known as 'Dr. Death' who has aided over 130 people in ending their lives, stated the following in a 1990 interview with Cornerstone magazine:
"I believe there are people who are healthy and mentally competent enough to decide on suicide. People who are not depressed. Everyone has a right for suicide, because a person has a right to determine what will or will not be done to his body. There’s no place for people to turn today who really want to commit suicide. Teenagers, and the elderly especially, have nowhere to turn. But when they come to me, they will obey what I say because they know they’re talking to an honest doctor."

NOTE: These notes are to give the reader an insight into the mindset of those seeking to force death on the disabled and the mentally depressed- at the time Terri Schiavo collapsed.

12. Terri Schiavo collapsed 24 or 25[both dates can be found on different Schiavo case documents] of February 1990.

NOTE: She lived in various nursing home, as a disabled woman who was not terminal. Whose only care needs were the same as other brain injured patients who are unable to care for themselves.

13. Ronald Cranford is a featured speaker at the 1992 national conference of the Hemlock Society. The group recently changed its name to End of Life Choices. Cranford is a member of the board of directors of the Choice in Dying Society, which promotes doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Here we see Ronald Cranford and George Felos had something in common. They both have/had ties to to Choice in Dying.

NOTE: I say "had" because Ronald Cranford, like Jim King died from cancer.

14. We have for review In re Guardianship of Browning, 543 So.2d 258 (Fla. 2d DCA
1989), in which the district court certified the following question as one of great
public importance:

Whether the guardian of a patient who is incompetent but not in a permanent
vegetative state and who suffers from an incurable, but not terminal condition, may
exercise the patient's right of self-determination to forego sustenance provided
artificially by a nasogastric tube?

15. Mrs. Estelle Browning died naturally before Felos appealed the lower court's decision.....(am I right so far George?)...with her feeding tube still in place.

16. We have previously held that competent and incompetent persons have the right
to determine for themselves the course of their medical treatment. Today we hold
that, without prior judicial approval, a surrogate or proxy, as provided here, may
exercise the constitutional right of privacy for one who has become incompetent and
who, while competent, expressed his or her wishes orally or in writing. We also
determine that there is no legal distinction between gastrostomy or nasogastric
feeding and any other means of life support. This case resolves a question of an
individual's constitutional right of self- determination. We are hopeful that this
decision will encourage those who want their wishes to be followed to express their
wishes clearly and completely.

NOTE: It is apparent, at this point, who should get the credit for feeding tubes getting on the life-support list: George James Felos.

NOTE: It should also be apparent that felos needed a "test" case. He needed an incompetent person, not terminal, who depended on a feeding tube for food and water..... It took a few find just the right test case but, around 1995.... he found just the case. right George?

13 A I did not wait. I met you in the

14 beginning of 1996, I believe. I was talking to

15 another attorney.

16 Q Well, okay. I have to caution you not

17 to testify as to any communication you might have

18 with your attorney because of attorney/client

19 privilege. Let me ask it this way. Did you seek

20 to put into motion your decision to remove the

21 feeding tube before the petition was filed in May

22 of 1988 (sic)?

Direct testimony of mike by felos

[note: Nana posted this on my forum on Nov 30, 2006. Thanks Nana]

NOTE: As you can see, Felos' adrenalin is really working over time-he is so excited he use browning case year, as year mike filed to have Terri's feeding tube remove.........

NOTE: Wasn't it Deborah Bushnell [that's not married name, I don't think] who introduced mike to George felos?

23 THE COURT: You keep saying '88.

24 MR. FELOS:'98. Thank you.

25 Your Honor.
1 Q (By Mr. Felos) When did you make the

2 decision and start putting it in motion?

3 A In 1995. End of 1995.

19. February 13, 1997 - Mary Labyak, The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, Inc., files Annual Report, replacing Rev. Barry R. Howe with George J. Felos.

20. March 5, 1997 - Michael hires George Felos, a Florida right-to-die attorney. Michael signs giving Felos the authority "to represent him in connection with the withdrawal and/or refusal of medical treatments. "One of the first things Felos did was have the finances sealed. [Mark Fuhrman, Silent Witness, page 135]

21. May 06, 1997 - Letter from Deborah A. Bushnell, attorney for Michael Schiavo, to Judge Shames, Re: Guardianship of Theresa Marie Schiavo

22. May 11, 1998 - Michael Schiavo filed a petition to discontinue Terri's feeding tube.

23. The petition proceeded under the constitutional guidelines enunciated in In re Guardianship of Browing, 568 So.2d 4 (Fla. 1990). App.1, Page 5.

The District Court of Appeals found that there was an apparent conflict of interest between Schiavo and Terri. Nevertheless, the Court did not believe that a guardian ad litem had to be appointed to represent her at trial. It felt that "in essence" the trial court acted as both the guardian ad litem and the surrogate of Terri. The Court further found that while a societal values expert offered little in the way of relevant testimony, the consideration of that testimony was not reversible error. After reviewing the medical evidence as to Terri's condition, it felt that the trial court considered the appropriate standard in reaching its conclusion.

Indeed, the District Court's decision expressly stated that the case was being decided "under the constitutional guidelines enunciated in In re Guardianship of Browning, 568 So.2d 4 (Fla. 1990)."

The District Court's decision was fundamentally different that the position that the Florida Legislature takes when conflicts between wards and guardians are at issue.[744.391, 744.309, 744.446, 744.474, 744.3215, 744.3715 Fla. Stat.(2001)

By accepting the opinion of a societal values expert who never met Terri who testified that Terri wanted to die because of things she might or might not have said in her everyday living, before her collapse, the court encourages other courts to accept hearsay evidence in other cases where the patient has no written directive.

The District Court decision, by asking Judge George Greer to wear multiple hats in the court room, moved away from its own decision in Browning.

Browning envisioned two situations:

One where the guardian first brings the issue to the court and another where a decision to withdraw life support is brought before a court by others.

In both instances, the Greer Court was to act as a traditional fact finder.

The District Court, in the Terri Schiavo case, changed that.

24. April 16, 1999 -(12) "Persistent vegetative state" means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:
(a) The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of any kind.
(b) An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment....
a condition caused by injury, disease, or illness from which there is no reasonable medical probability of recovery and which, without treatment, can be expected to cause death....

In order to ensure that the rights and intentions of a person may be respected even after he or she is no longer able to participate actively in decisions concerning himself or herself, and to encourage communication among such patient, his or her family, and his or her physician, the Legislature declares that the laws of this state recognize the right of a competent adult to make an advance directive instructing his or her physician to provide, withhold, or withdraw life-prolonging procedures, or to designate another to make the treatment decision for him or her in event that such person should become **incapacitated and unable to personally direct his or her medical care....

NOTE: June 18, 1990 - Judge Robert F. Michael signs an order determining that Theresa Schiavo is totally incapacitated, and appoints Michael Schiavo "plenary guardian."

The petition proceeded under the constitutional guidelines enunciated in In re Guardianship of Browning, 568 So.2d 4 (Fla. 1990). App.1, Page 5.

25. February 13, 2000 - Dr. James Avery "accompanied Robert and Mary Schindler. on a visit to Theresa Marie Schiavo, their daughter at the Palm Gardens Nursing Home in Largo, Florida. I observed Mrs. Schiavo interact with her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, for a period of approximately thirty (30) minutes. No physical examination was performed. Mrs. Schiavo seemed to respond to her mother's touch and verbal stimuli. The responses were basically of three(3) distinct types: a turning of the head toward the source, a change in facial expression, and guttural noises.... under the circumstances, a swallowing study or pudding food challenge is warranted...

NOTE: I had to put Dr. Avery's affidavit here...for the mire fact that he was one of the Dr. in the Estelle Browning case .

NOTE: this is felos arguement in browning-note he mis-spells Dr.Avery's last name.I know this is true because it's spelled correctly on other court documents in browing.

See I mis-spelled Browning by accident, in last post. But got it right the first time. That's called a mistake. But George's document never corrects the mistake in the spelling of Avery.

26. January 24, 2000 - Terri's life is on trial in Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer's Courtroom.

27. February 11, 2000 -  Judge George Greer granted Michael's request to remove Terri's feeding tube.

28. March 3, 2000 - Terri is admitted to Woodside Hospice but won't be moved there until later.

29. April 10, 2000 - Michael Schiavo moved Terri from Palm Gardens Nursing Home to the Woodside Hospice Facility. In an emergency hearing, Judge Greer denied a request by Attorney Campbell to return Terri to Palm Gardens Nursing Home.

March 7, 2000: Judge Greer denied Petition for Order Authorizing Evaluation, to see if Terri could eat by mouth.

30. 2000- March 24 – Judge George W. Greer ordered and Adjudged as follows:

As to visitation with Theresa Schiavo, any person related by blood or marriage to the Ward are permitted to visit the Ward at Palm Garden of Largo Nursing Home at any time. Any persons on the stipulated visitor’s list are permitted to visit the Ward at Palm Garden of Largo Nursing Home if accompanied by a relative of the Ward. However, no visitation shall ever consist of more than six persons at any given time. These terms shall remain in effect until and unless modified in writing by the Court or by stipulation of the parties.

The Respondents, Robert Schindler Jr. , and Suzanne Carr, are prohibited from photographing, taking videos, or taking any other like pictorial representations of the Ward, or causing same to be taken by other persons, without prior approval of this Court. The Respondents, Robert Schindler, Jr., and Suzanne Carr are further prohibited from causing the Ward to be examined by any physician without prior approval of this Court. The parties have the right to seek Court modification of these terms in the future should they desire to do so.

The Petitioner is hereby granted the authority to hire a security guard for the protection of the Ward in a time and manner of his discretion, so long as the security guard in no way hinders or interferes with visitation between the persons set forth in Paragraph 1 above and Theresa Schiavo. The Petitioner is also granted the authority to hire a security guard for his own person, should he choose to do so. The costs associated with hiring security personnel as set forth herein shall be borne by the Guardianship of Theresa Schiavo.

Please, NOTE:

31. 2000- March 24 – Judge George W. Greer ordered and Adjudged as follows:
As to visitation with Theresa Schiavo, any person related by blood or marriage to the Ward are permitted to visit the Ward at Palm Garden of Largo Nursing Home at any time.

32. But- Terri Schiavo had already been admitted to Woodside Hospice When Judge Greer signed that order.

33. March 3, 2000 - Terri is admitted to Woodside Hospice but won't be moved there until later.




In Browning, we stated:

 In making this difficult decision, a surrogate decision maker should err on the side of life.... In cases of doubt, we must assume that a patient would choose to defend life in exercising his or her right of privacy.In re Guardianship of Browning, 543 So.2d at 273. We reconfirm today that a court's default position must favor life.

 The testimony in this case establishes that Theresa was very young and very healthy when this tragedy struck. Like many young people without children, she had not prepared a will, much less a living will. She had been raised in the Catholic faith, but did not regularly attend mass or have a religious advisor who could assist the court in weighing her religious attitudes about life-support methods. Her statements to her friends and family about the dying process were few and they were oral. Nevertheless, those statements, along with other evidence about Theresa, gave the trial court a sufficient basis to make this decision for her.

 In the final analysis, the difficult question that faced the trial court was whether Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo, not after a few weeks in a coma, but after ten years in a persistent vegetative state that has robbed her of most of her cerebrum and all but the most instinctive of neurological functions, with no hope of a medical cure but with sufficient money and strength of body to live indefinitely, would choose to continue the constant nursing care and the supporting tubes in hopes that a miracle would somehow recreate her missing brain tissue, or whether she would wish to permit a natural death process to take its course and for her family members and loved ones to be free to continue their lives. After due consideration, we conclude that the trial judge had clear and convincing evidence to answer this question as he did.


 PARKER, A.C.J., and BLUE, J., concur.

  NOTE: Judge John  Blue joins Carlton Fields, after retirement. 

NOTE: The author of  is a Carlton Fields shareholder.

 March 29, 2001:  Greer rules Michael Schiavo can remove feeding tube at 1 p.m. April 20.

April 24, 2001:  Terri's feeding tube is clamped off




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