Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fighting for Dear Life - The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo



This story is engrossing, touching and absolutely heart breaking. The reader is about to be taken to the incredible ride of this insurmountable mountain moving acts over life and death helping Terri to stay alive. The saddest is that in the end Terri Schiavo was removed of her feeding tube on March 18, 2005 by the order of Florida Court despite the frenzied and exhausted efforts of her attorney, she was left starving and dehydrating to death, and died twelve days later as we all have remembered.

David Gibbs, her attorney took us into the midst of ugly and unforgiving legal battle, the outcome of it could potentially affect all of us when we will someday approach vulnerable advancing age. A book that once you get started, you will not want to put down until you finish reading it. The author, David Gibbs not only compassionately defended Terri's life every step of the way, he also painstakingly give us thorough analysis of this court decision from legal standpoint, and also from the viewpoint and framework of social, medical and moral implication.

The most beneficial part of the book for the readers is the section giving readers some
suggestions of how to protect ourselves in time of crisis. Giving the complexity of modern living, these advice are quite educational and absolutely priceless.

The issue of a person's worth living or not because of medical diagnosis of becoming "PVS" (Persistent Vegetative State) is controversial to say the least. I firmly believe that even if a person is temporary in PVS state, it does not mean a person is completely without consciousness. They hear and they understand, it just that they can not cognitively express or control their motor function, therefore for the naked eye, it seems they are unresponsive. We should not judge a person's state of being purely based on our observation through five physical senses.

Human or any living thing are like tip of an iceberg, we don't truly know a person's state of being solely by their outward expression. We are more than meets the eye. You will see in the book, the author has compiled many miraculous living proof cases throughout the US. to demonstrate that human brain is remarkably resilient, it is far beyond present day scientific or medical community's comprehension.

Anyone who is interested in an insightful good read, will find this book profoundly challenging of our belief system to the core. A woman was starved and dehydrated to death at the hand of our own justice system only because she was disabled! Can you believe this actually happened in the United States of America where the nation's founding principle of beliefs are liberty and justice for all? !

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:44 PM

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  2. Hello Anonymous,

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  3. Ming, BEAUTIFUL REVIEW!!! Here's mine...

    Fighting for Dear Life
    The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo

    Written by David Gibbs III, with Bob DeMoss.

    Book review by Guy Adams
    25 Oct. 2006

    When David Gibbs asked me to review his new book Fighting For Dear Life, The Untold Story Of Terri Schiavo, I was glad to do it. His first book One Nation Under God was excellent and I knew of his involvement as the lead lawyer defending Terri Schiavo, so it was an honor to review his book

    It took me a week to get through the first 30 pages or so of Fighting for Dear Life by David Gibbs III, because it was that moving. Besides being a moral conservative activist, I’m also a cop and supposed to be tough yet many times I had tears in my eyes. During the year or so that Terri was in the news, I was never quite sure if the media was telling us the whole truth and apparently not only were they not presenting the whole truth, they were actively engaged in hiding it, and in many cases, telling us outright lies.

    How could we have fallen so far in America that despite the pleas of Congress, the Governor of the state that Terri lived and died in, the President of the United States and the overwhelming majority of the American people, that we as a nation forced an innocent young lady to be starved and in effect, tortured to death? David Gibbs’ book does not have all the answers, but Mr. Gibbs lays out the whole story for you to consider. But keep in mind that once you read this book, you will never be the same.

    The book opens with a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “The first duty of Government is the protection of life, not its destruction. The chief purpose of government is to protect life. Abandon that and you have abandoned all.”

    As an eyewitness to the last year of Terri’s life, and as lead counsel for the Schiavo family, Mr. Gibbs had a unique view into all that was happening, legally, medically, and emotionally. And unfortunately now, historically, as Terri has passed into eternity and legacy. He points out that once we cross this boundary, where will it end? Will we kill the handicapped, the elderly or the very sick? You might say “It can’t happen here!” but it happened in Nazi Germany and it’s beginning to happen in the more liberal European countries. With the death of Terri Schiavo, it has begun to happen here. Will we stop it or will we allow more of the helpless to be put to death? Fighting for Dear Life offers some suggestions and also some practical advice on living wills as well.

    One of the more probing points throughout the book is the question of whether or not Terri was in a “persistent vegetative state” (PVS) or what doctors call “minimally conscious”. Mr. Gibbs describes how Terri would react differently when various people would come into her room at the hospice, and how she’d display a “lemon face” whenever her dad, with his scratchy beard, would kiss her. He describes how Terri would squeal with delight whenever her mother would enter the room. As David Gibbs talked to Terri and walked around the room, Terri’s eyes would follow him. There are many, many more such examples in the book, but does that sound like a young lady who deserved to be starved into a prolonged and torturous death?

    Mr. Gibbs goes on to describe how they would ask Terri to pronounce certain words and she did it. So, here we have a young lady who the media tells us is beyond recovery and yet Mr. Gibbs watched her obey verbal instructions. When Terri’s mother would leave, tears would begin to flow down her face. When I read that, tears were flowing down my face. Big tough cop, right? But the truth has the ability to pierce the heart, and thank God that David Gibbs has found the appropriate vehicle to tell us the truth with his book.

    Mr. Gibbs quotes Dr. Laura Schlessinger who says: “The measure of a civilization is how we treat the weak, the dependant, the helpless, and the ill.”

    Fighting for Dear Life presents the testimony of many doctors, including one who says: “…she has demonstrated behaviors that are context-specific, sustained, and indicative of cerebral cortical processing that, upon careful neurological consideration, would not be expected in a persistent vegetative state… As I looked at Terri, and she gazed directly back at me, I asked myself whether, if I were her attending physician, I could in good conscience withdraw her feeding and hydration. No, I could not… I could not withhold life-sustaining nutrition and hydration from this beautiful lady whose face brightens in the presence of others.”

    Almost all of the doctors who actually visited Terri came to similar conclusions, including those who felt that she could have benefited from rehabilitation.

    It is stunning and practically beyond belief that the very judge, Judge Greer, who repeatedly ordered her feeding tube to be removed never went to see Terri for himself. I find that utterly remarkable. Even condemned criminals get hearing after hearing in the presence of those to whom their fate is entrusted. Mr. Gibbs makes the point that criminals sentenced to death get more due process than Terri did, and are more humanely put to death. In essence, Judge Greer sentenced an innocent young lady, one that medical science said could be treated, to execution by starvation and dehydration.

    The book also makes the point that medical science, and specifically neurology, make such great advances year after year, that who knows if Terri could not have been rehabilitated to a great degree in the near future? Keep in mind that a few short years ago AIDS was a death sentence. Nevertheless, she did not deserve to be killed. She had a right to life, and that was taken away from her most unfairly.

    The difference between the motives of the Schiavo family and David Gibbs and the lawyer for Michael Schiavo, George Felos and Judge Greer, is like night and day. One side believed that Terri, like all humans, have a fundamental right to life, and the other side believed that the State has a fundamental right to take it away despite the overwhelming evidence and testimony showing that Terri was minimally conscious and could improve with the care and love of her family. Fighting for Dear Life points out that Terri’s parents would have given anything to save their daughter’s life. They offered everything to Michael Schiavo if he would just allow them to take care of their daughter, yet he refused time and again, even though he was living with another woman. It exposes the real motives for Michael wanting Terri to die.

    All was not as it seemed.

    The media told us that Terri told Michael she would want to die and would want her sustenance removed rather than unnecessarily prolong her life if she were ever on life support. Yet there was nothing on paper to that effect and Michael apparently only remembered that after a decade or so.

    The book also lays bare the lie that the end would be peaceful – it was far from that. I believe we were lied to by Michael Schiavo, his attorney and most of the media. Terri died a horrible, painful and protracted death over the course of two agonizing weeks. Try going without water for a few days and see how you feel. Certainly Terri felt that way too, and worse as time went on. Remember, this is the same woman who made the “lemon face” when her father’s scratchy beard brushed against her cheeks. Something is just not right with the story you were told, is it?

    The efforts of Terri Schiavo’s legal team were noble and heroic in that everything that could be done was done. In contrast, everything was done that could be done except for Judge Greer going to see Terri for himself; except for Michael Schiavo’s insistence that she die; except for his lawyer (in my opinion) putting pocketbook over principle; and except that we as a nation have allowed our country to slip into such moral and spiritual decline that we would ever have even arrived at such a place.

    Where do we go from here?

    The book addresses that too. Fighting for Dear Life paints such a vivid picture that at the end you will ask “What’s wrong with the picture the media showed me?” It accurately tell the story of a helpless, yet deeply loved, young woman unjustly deprived of her life and the possibility that she could have been helped by therapy and advances in medical science. She was not defenseless, however, for her legal team provided by the Gibbs Law Firm, did all that could be legally done to save her. For reasons known but to God and possibly to Michael Schiavo, George Felos and Judge Greer, Terri has left this earth. But her story lives on.

    Every day’s a gift, and in this book David Gibbs has given us the gift of truth. Terri Schiavo gave her family gift after gift, even when she was beyond the ability to do so physically. She has also left us with a gift -- it is the gift of example. It is the gift of persistence. It is the gift of questioning, because after reading this book, you will question all that transpired and furthermore, you will question yourself.

    Guy Adams

    www.GuyRandallAdams.com

    Publisher: Bethany House (August 1, 2006)
    ISBN: 076420243X

    You can see videos of Terri interacting at http://www.ejumpcut.org/currentissue/SchaivoPreston/index.html and http://www.TerrisFight.org/

    This review can also be found online at http://www.GuyRandallAdams.com/terri.html and a number of other sites.

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  4. Dr. Mr. Adams,

    Thank you for stopping by my blogsite.

    Your observation and analysis is truly exceptional. I agree with you that it is absolutely inhuman and appalling how a civilized society like ours can engage in such an act of barbarism.

    It is profoundly devastating that one man's (Michael Schiavo) hideous motive can be a base from which an unjust decision was made in our supposedly glorious court system.

    It is sad that our justice system isn't about serving truth and justice, it is about all-out manipulation and deception to serve the only primary goal of winning the case.

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