Tom DeLay & the Right-to-Die

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Tom DeLay & the Right-to-Die

If you haven't read this elsewhere already, in 1988 Tom DeLay and his family stopped medical treatment and allowed Charles DeLay, Tom's father, to die after a freak accident that caused him severe brain damage.

The DeLay case and the Schiavo case are not mirror images of one another, but there are plenty of similarities, all of which are especially relevant when considering Tom DeLay's character assassination of Michael Schiavo. Unfortunately, DeLay knows what it is like to be in a painful situation with an incapacitated family member.
In 1988, however, there was no such fiery rhetoric as [Congressman DeLay] quietly joined the sad family consensus to let his father die.

"There was no point to even really talking about it," Maxine DeLay, the congressman's 81-year-old widowed mother, recalled in an interview last week. "There was no way [Charles] wanted to live like that. Tom knew — we all knew — his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way."

Doctors advised that he would "basically be a vegetable," said the congressman's aunt, JoAnne DeLay.
There were also these similarities: Both stricken patients were severely brain-damaged. Both were incapable of surviving without medical assistance. Both were said to have expressed a desire to be spared from being kept alive by artificial means. And neither of them had a living will.
DeLay's family was in agreement so the case was kept a private family matter, as these things should be. However, I do wonder how Tom DeLay would have felt if there had been a serious disagreement within his family over how to pursue his father's treatment, and if that disagreement eventually led to a court battle and congress intervening, with his father's face was plastered all over the national news for over a week. Or if members of congress attacked him personally for simply following what he believed to be his father's wishes? How would he feel about that? Without too much difficulty DeLay could put himself in Michael Schiavo's shoes, at the very least you'd think he'd have a little empathy. Nope, nada, zip. It would get in the way of using Schiavo as a political tool.

Columnist Daniel Ruth in today's Tampa Tribune in response to Tom DeLay's involvement in the Schiavo case.
[This is a] great political issue? Oh really?

Emotionally manipulating a brain-dead woman's tragic plight, lying about her condition, undermining the Constitution - all for a few lousy, stinking votes?

Terri Schiavo being lugged around like a GOP Bible Belt version of ``Weekend At Bernie's'' a winning political issue?

In North Korea, maybe.
Oddly enough, it also recently occured to me that the people protesting outside of Schiavo's hospice are outside of a hospice-- a place where people are sent for end-of-life care, where DNR/DNI orders abound. So why is it only Terri they are concerned about? What about the other 70-something people inside? Why don't they demand that the governor get involved with their care?

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