Recently, a New York Times article titled, First Rise in U.S. Death Rate in Years Surprises Experts, reported that the 2015 death rate in the United States rose for the first time in a decade.
March 31st will mark the eleven year anniversary of my sister Terri Schiavo’s mandated court ordered death by starvation and dehydration. Her death took nearly two weeks. The inhumanity of what happened to her will never be forgotten.
Imagine lying in a hospital bed and being asked: “Do you want to live?” Now imagine this: your answer doesn't matter.
Speaking to reporters at a Florida Republican Party conference recently, Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and candidate for the Republican nomination for President responded to a reporter’s question on whether he believed my sister Terri Schiavo deserved Congress’s intervention to stop her court-ordered 13-day death by starvation and dehydration. Dr. Carson’s response? “I think it was much ado about nothing.”
Since my family established the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network in response to my sister Terri’s March 2005 death, we have been involved in several high profile cases. Each one of these situations was tragic for its own reasons, even gaining international publicity – the case in Canada regarding Baby Joseph, Eluana Englaro in Italy, and in the United States, Jahi McMath to name a few. We’ve also been involved in hundreds of similar cases that did not receive the same kind of attention, but similarly, families were in desperate need to get help for their loved ones.
Last week, Caitlyn Jenner received the ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage (an award presented by ESPN). Many including myself believe Lauren Hill, a freshman basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University who bravely fought brain cancer and passed away in April, should have been the recipient of the award. Lauren showed true courage throughout her illness, even raising over a million dollars for cancer research before she died.
Now that former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, has officially announced his candidacy for president, many of the same people and groups who maligned him for trying to protect my sister, Terri Schiavo, from being starved and dehydrated to death, are once again doing the same.
WARNING: This article from Terri Schiavo's brother Bobby Schindler contains a graphic image, below, that may be unsettling for readers.
Last week, in the fight for people with severe medical and other disabilities, indeed, in the fight against the culture of death, we have lost a lion who devoted his life to protecting the weakest and most defenseless among us.