Santorum Vows to Save Terri Schiavo


News Max | March 16, 2005

A top GOP senator is vowing to save a disabled Florida woman from a court-ordered starvation-execution this week, with the new legislation reportedly winning the backing of key leaders in the U.S. Senate.

Commenting on plans to remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube this Friday, Sen. Rick Santorum told The Hill newspaper on Wednesday, "That's not going to happen on my watch."

Contrary to media claims that Schiavo is comatose or in "a persistent vegetative state," Santorum said, the 41-year-old disabled woman is "close to equivalent of someone with the disease cerebral palsy."

Senate Democrats are expected to resist the proposed legislation, which would give federal courts jurisdiction over Schiavo's case, though experts predict that, unless someone intervenes, her death will be gruesome.

After her feeding tube is removed, she will experience significant pain and psychological distress during the two weeks it is expected to take her to die.

Dehydration will cause Schiavo's skin, tongue and lips to crack. She will likely suffer chronic nosebleeds as mucous membranes dry out, followed by heaving and vomiting as the stomach lining dries out.

Her mouth is expected to develop painful ulcers. As Schiavo's brain is deprived of fluid, she is expected to suffer grand mal seizures.

Because the 41-year-old woman is in good health with a normal body weight of 138 pounds, she could hang on longer than a patient who is already terminally ill.

In a bid to head off the horrific scenario, Florida's Legislature is also swinging into action.

A House bill proposed this week would block doctors from denying food or water to someone in a persistent vegetative state, but would make exceptions for patients who left specific instructions, reports The Associated Press.

The Senate version would block the denial of food and water only in cases where family members disagreed on whether to maintain feeding. Then the patient would be kept alive unless he or she had expressed different wishes in writing.

Both bills were expected to be voted on by Thursday.

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