Euthanasia Opponents, Terri Schiavo’s Brother React to Eluana Englaro’s Death
by Steven Ertelt
February 9, 2009
Rome, Italy (LifeNews.com) — Leading euthanasia opponents and the brother of Terri Schiavo have both responded to the news that Eluana Englaro has died. Bobby Schindler condemned the revocation of food and water while Alex Schadenberg says Englaro’s death raises more questions than answers.
Englaro is the disabled woman who was partially starved to death for four days and eventually died on Monday as members of the Italian Parliament were debating a resolution to save her life.
"It is very sad that society may find it acceptable to kill someone by intentional dehydration," Schadenberg, the director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said in response.
"To intentionally dehydrate someone to death, who is not otherwise dying, is euthanasia. The intention of the omission is to cause death and the death results from dehydration," he added.
Schadenberg said he is concerned because typically patients, like Terri, die after two weeks of starvation and dehydration and Englaro died after only parts four days. That could mean foul play or something else perhaps caused her death.
"It is interesting that she died of dehydration so quickly. Usually it takes 10 – 14 days to die from dehydration. The question is, what did she actually die from?" he asked.
Wesley J. Smith, the noted American bioethics watchdog also commented on the way Englaro died quicker than similar patients.
"This was too fast to have been caused by dehydration. Perhaps her body just gave out," he said. "I hope the Italian government looks into this issue in depth and with sobriety."
Smith said he can’t imagine Englaro would have wanted to die this way.
"Her father testified she had not wanted to be maintained in such a condition. Even so, I wonder if she specifically mentioned being dehydrated to death, and if she did, whether she knew what that really entails," he said.
"It seems to me that it is wrong to hold people to what may have been casual statements or oral assertions about their desires that were made without all of the details. After all, shouldn’t truly informed consent on such a vital matter be the minimum standard?" Smith continued.
Also, Bobby Schindler told LifeNews.com that his family "wishes to express their grief for Eluana, her family, and all of Italy on this very sad day."
He pointed to the comments of Pope John Paul II, who said that "We must save ourselves from sinking into a ‘culture of death.’"
"Sadly, Eluana’s death again reminds us of the pope’s words. Withholding her food and water – her most basic care – so that she would die, is really about us and how we are going to care for those who need our love and compassion to live," Schindler added.
"The Schindler family urges everyone to keep Eluana’s entire family in their prayers in the wake of this tragedy," he said.
Schadenberg said parliament should move ahead with its plans for legislation to protect disabled and minimally conscious patients like Englaro.
"The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition urges the Italian Senate to continue drafting a bill to prevent further intentional deaths by dehydration," he said.
Smith agreed but urged Italian lawmakers to proceed with caution.
"I hope the Italian government looks into this issue in depth and with sobriety. Removing sustenance based on a patient’s quality of life is too important to be left to rushed legislation pushed forward in a sensationalist media milieu. But I do think that food and fluids needs to be looked at differently than other forms of care," he said.
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