Terri Schiavo’s Family Wants Massachusetts Gov Romney to Help Disabled

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 26, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Family Wants Massachusetts Gov Romney to Help Disabled Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 26, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The family of Terri Schiavo wants Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to push for a revision in state law after authorities nearly euthanized a physically disabled girl. The family is concerned about the case of Haleigh Poutre, in which doctors said the 12 year-old girl was comatose and beyond medical help.

After doctors gave up on her, Massachusetts officials tried to win court permission to euthanize her, though now she is responding and eating food on her own.

The Schindler family, which runs the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, wrote a letter to Romney last week making several recommendations.

They suggested opening end-of-life judicial proceedings to the public, increasing the standard of evidence require to remove a patient from life support in some circumstances and to create judicial panels to hear end-of-life cases.

”Haleigh’s shocking story demonstrates that much more needs to be done to protect the sick and disabled from harm, including harm imposed by courts," they said in the letter.

”The common sense reforms outlined herein will help to provide the most vulnerable among us with better protection in the legal system," the letter said. "The Foundation respectfully requests that the Commonwealth immediately address the law to provide Haleigh Poutre and other children like her with greater protections."

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told the Boston Globe that the governor’s office is "happy to review the letter."

After the Poutre case received national attention and the young girl began to response, Romney put together an independent panel to look into the matter. It suggested changes for how the state handles such cases including more closely investigating requests to remove life support.

Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler told the Globe that this is the first case the foundation has gotten involved with to this extent.

”Basically we saw how the case was being handled, and we’re very concerned with some of the things that were happening in her case," he said.

”This kind of goes at what we’ve been saying: Doctors are oftentimes wrong with these diagnoses that they are making, and it becomes a death sentence for these people," he added.

Allison Avrett, Poutre’s biological mother lost custody of her and she was put into a foster home where her adoptive parents also abused her. Her adopted mother committed suicide after abusing Poutre so much she had to be hospitalized.

DSS took Poutre into custody and when she appeared to slip into a coma, the agency asked the state Supreme Court for permission to take her life. That’s when Poutre began responding.

Poutre has been receiving physical, speech and occupational therapy since January 26 at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton.

Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation – https://www.terrisfight.org