Wow! I echo Cait's "but..but..but..."
I've thought a fair amount about this case with the same reaction every time. All I can say is that I'm mighty glad that my family en masse have living wills and everything else that would allow us to make specific medical decisions beyond a simple "do not rescussitate" order. I would not want to live in this state.
I guess they're lucky that there was a substantial settlement, because if you multiply what it probably costs to care for Terri Schaivo for a single year times 13 years, that settlement is probably almost gone.
I had two friends with that kind of brain damage:
The first got into an motorcycle accident between El Centro and Yuma, Arizona (the middle of nowhere) and he wasn't wearing a helmet. He was quite literally a vegetable, but his parents couldn't bring themselves to let him go. Since no one else was involved, there was no settlement, and his parents bankrupted themselves keeping their only child alive. It absolutely broke my heart every time I visited him, and watched those poor people over the years as they literally mortgaged everything they had to keep him alive and cared for. They finally let him go, but by that time they were bankrupt and exhausted physcially and mentally beyond measure.
I had another friend who was injured in a high school football game and had serious brain damage. Unlike this woman, he actually recovered from the injuries to some extent (he regained his speech and movement, both to a limited extent). Unfortunately, although he couldn't *be* the guy who was the high school football star and honor student, he remembered what it was like to be that guy. I can't even begin to imagine the agony he's gone through over the years, knowing what he once was with no hope of ever being that person again (he has the emotions and mental capacities of a 12-year-old).
I sometimes wonder if this isn't an area where modern medical technology is not really doing us any favors. Saving someone who is condemned to never lead even a semblance of a normal life seems an unkindness to me.
And the reason my family all have living wills and the associated documents are due to my great-aunt's long decline. She had organic brain disease, which is a genteel way to describe senility caused by something other than Alzheimer's. She wasin a vegetative state for years in a nursing home, unable to recognize anyone, or to care for herself in any way. And then, when the poor thing got pneumonia (and because this was Texas and they're conservative), they put her on life support and kept her that way for months, even with no hope of recovery. And even though my mother had the "legal" power to end her suffering, the doctors refused to turn off the machines.
So I'm back to the "but...but...but..." again. :pout: