February 20, 2005

I read this article in

I read this article in the Orlando Sentinel:
"Come home," her mother implored, and Maylene Dickerson knew. Her daughter Caroline finally had drawn her last breath. Rushing back to her Orlando apartment, Dickerson lifted Caroline off the couch and cradled the child in her arms, whispering and singing. She told the 8-year-old how much she loved her, how special she was, how much joy she had brought. Later, as the undertaker left, Dickerson felt a great sense of relief. Finally, Caroline's body was unshackled and her spirit was free. Almost like an affirmation, Elton John's voice rang from the radio: "You're a butterfly. And butterflies are free to fly. Fly away. High away. Bye bye."
Maylene had the horrific decision to make to remove her 8 year old daughter's feeding tube. The article continues describing the conditions that led to Caroline being in this condition. She had been born with neurological disorders that caused seizures and strokes that each time took a little piece of the girl.
Then, in January 2002, the final insult came when a massive stroke seized Caroline's brain, robbing her of all cognition, all feeling, all awareness. Doctors said there was nothing more they could do and again suggested Caroline go to a nursing home. Again, Dickerson refused, setting up Caroline's hospital bed in the living room of her Orlando apartment. For seven months, Dickerson slept on the floor next to her daughter's bed, turning her, changing her diapers, suctioning her throat and feeding her around the clock. For seven months, she watched Caroline's body grow stronger, her face fuller, her cheeks rosier. For seven months, Dickerson waited and hoped for a sign -- any sign -- that Caroline's brain would catch up. But except for an occasional anguished wail, Caroline remained inert and silent, her labored breathing the only sound from her growing body.
I will not judge this mother and her decision. I may have done things differently, but what an anguished tortured decision she made and no one truly knows until they are in the same place to make such a decision as to what the right thing to do is. I will however judge this article written by Maya Bell at the Orlando Sentinel. Ms. Bell is propagating the same lies about Terri that have been told in the media since this case began. Too bad that this reporter only decided to make the easy story and ignore the real story.

In this article, discussing this agonizing case of Caroline and Maylene, Ms. Bell sends the reader down the path to Terri Schiavo.

Fifteen years after the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the constitutional right to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment, Dickerson's cautious need to share her decision underscores the chasm that still divides the nation about the withdrawal of medically supplied nutrition and hydration. Dickerson has endured more than her share of pain. Her husband was murdered just as their daughter's neurological disorder worsened. But today, as the debate about what opponents equate to starving a patient to death reaches a new crescendo, the restaurant worker remains at peace. She knows firsthand that relatives who decide to withdraw artificial food and water from loved ones can -- and do -- love them as much as relatives who elect to keep them alive no matter how they must live. Her beliefs are diametrically opposed to those held by Bob and Mary Schindler, the Pinellas County couple fighting their son-in-law's quest to carry out what he says were their daughter Terri Schiavo's wishes not to be kept alive artificially.
But Maylene Dickerson's beliefs are not "diametrically opposed" to Bob and Mary Schindler's. As she is says in the same article:
"People need to spend a few weeks with these types of patients and they would realize they are dead," Dickerson said. "If she could smile or move her head or be aware of anything -- anything -- I would have let her be. But she had become an object, and it's not right to keep an object alive because you can't let go."
Terri can smile. She can move her head and she has some awareness. Her caregivers have signed affidavits that she has even tried to speak.

Ms. Bell,according to her mother's words, if Caroline was in the same condition that Terri is in right now -- she would be alive, contrary to what you have tried to report.Every case and every life is different. Please treat it that way.

Update: I revised this post into an email to the editor and to Maya Bell at the Orlando Sentinel. Contact information for both:

Maya Bell can be reached at 305-810-5003 or mbell@orlandosentinel.com.

Or, send a letter to the editor:

To be considered for publication, your letter should be brief and to the point and must include your name, address and daytime and evening telephone numbers. Letters of all lengths will be considered, but letters in the 200-250-word range or shorter are preferred. Letters also will be edited for facts, grammar and length. We do not publish poetry, unsigned letters or letters under pseudonyms.

Send your comments to:
Letters to the Editor
Orlando Sentinel
633 N. Orange Ave.
Orlando, Fla. 32801-1349
or by fax to (407) 420-5286

or by e-mail to insight@orlandosentinel.com.

HT: MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and BlogsforTerri

Posted by Jody at February 20, 2005 01:01 PM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?