Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Painless Death?

Euthanasia (Greek euthanasi?, a good death :
eu-, eu- + thanatos, death.} ?

Christian Medical Expert Disputes Secular Views in Schiavo Case
(Editors Note: The following report contains a detailed description of death by dehydration that may be unsettling to some readers.)

( - Supporters of both euthanasia and the so-called "right to die" are being criticized for allegedly capitalizing on the case of Teri Schindler Schiavo to benefit their own cause. Schiavo is the disabled Florida woman whose feeding tube was removed under court order Wednesday at the request of her husband and over the objections of her other family members.

While some commentators have dismissed the attempts to save Terri's life, one medical ethics expert said the medical community's decision to participate in the actions meant to end Terri's life is what deserves the criticism.

The CBS Morning News featured medical ethicist Joseph Fins during its report Thursday. He echoed the claims made by Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, his attorneys and doctors that Terri is essentially brain-dead.

"And she is in a chronic and permanent vegetative state," Fins said, "and our science indicates that, that is not a state from which one recovers."

No mention was made in the report of more than a dozen medical experts, including neurologists, who have submitted affidavits on behalf of the Schindler family, including Terri's parents, indicating that the woman is consciously attempting to interact with her environment and is a good candidate for therapy.

Marc Spindelman, an Ohio State University law professor and "expert on death issues," according to the Miami Bureau of the Washington Post, said the case has larger ramifications than just Terri's so-called "right to die."

"This case really raises in a stark form questions about quality of life, that is to say, when a life is and is not worth living anymore," Spindelman said.

Bill Allen, professor of bioethics law at the University of Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel that "the Schindlers were allowed to abuse the legal system in their quest to keep their daughter alive." Allen said the Schindlers' lawyer, who filed successive appeals in every court available, "did a magnificent job of gumming up the works."

The "removal of feeding tubes is a common practice," according to Kenneth Goodman, director of bioethics at the University of Miami School of Medicine and a co-director of the Florida Bioethics Network. He told the Tampa Tribune that there is no pain involved in dying of dehydration and/or starvation.

"Soon after nourishment is denied to the brain, it begins producing chemicals that act as a natural anesthetic," the Tribune paraphrased Goodman as telling a reporter. He directly disputed claims that Terri will suffer as a result of her lack of sustenance.

"She is not going to feel a thing," Goodman said of Terri. "The artificial pain medication that Schiavo will receive is to make sure that if there is [pain], it is adequately handled."

But at least one Christian ethicist disputes much of what these alleged experts have stated.

Dr. David Stevens, a medical doctor who also has a masters degree in bioethics, serves as executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. He began a conversation with Wednesday, addressing the claim that Terri was in a "persistent vegetative state."

"The sad thing about this situation is, she's not in a persistent vegetative state...even though that's [how she's] been labeled and that's the law they're using," Stevens argued.

"Persistent vegetative state says you're totally unable to react with your environment in any way. All you've got to do is see the pictures of her on the Internet to realize she's reacting with her environment," Stevens added. "What we have is a severely disabled woman who, her husband wants her dead. And this will do it, what they're going about right now, unfortunately."

Contrary to Spindleman's claim that the case revolves around "quality of life" issues, Stevens believes the debate over whether a terminally ill person should be allowed to refuse treatment has nothing to do with Terri's situation.

"In this situation, what they're doing is, the intent is to make her dead," said Stevens. "The intent is not to get rid of a burdensome intervention."

Stevens explained that, even when terminally ill patients near death refuse fluids or food, medical practitioners are obliged to at least offer it to the patient.

"If not, it's tantamount to murder. Because what you're trying to do is kill her, you're not trying to relieve her of a burdensome treatment," Stevens said. "Giving her fluids and nutrition by mouth is not a burdensome treatment. It never has been defined in medical care and never will be, I hope, defined that way except, perhaps, by this judge."

The hospice and its staff who participate in Terri's dehydration and starvation could face civil or criminal liability, in Stevens' opinion.

"There's complicity here in taking someone's life, if you believe in the principle of 'do no harm' and beneficence. In no way or stretch of the imagination can you say this is beneficent," Stevens said. "Drinking and eating by mouth is not a burdensome intervention. That is just humanity. It's just unbelievable that they've gone that far.

"That's like telling a parent that they have the right to decide whether their child is going to get food and water. If you don't want to give it to them, that's fine?" Stevens asked. "We would be screaming our heads off if that was going on, and yet, this woman is more helpless than many children."

Doctor describes process of dehydration

"What will probably kill Terri is dehydration because it's much quicker than starvation," Stevens said. "To starve to death takes eight to 12 weeks. You can die of dehydration in anywhere from three to five days to two weeks."

Stevens said the amount of fluids in Terri's system when her gastrostomy or "feeding tube" was removed and whether she receives any fluids by mouth will determine how long she lives.

Initial effects of the lack of hydration will include:

Extreme thirst;

Nausea and cramping;

Dry skin, becoming wrinkled as fluids are drawn from the skin to hydrate the organs.

"She's likely to become dizzy and begin to have cramping in her arms and legs. That's because her electrolytes, her sodium, potassium and other electrolytes in her blood start getting out of whack because of lack of fluids."

Terri's body will experience other effects due to the forced dehydration that many might not have been considered.

"She'll see decreased secretions. If she tries to cry, she won't be able to make tears very well, if at all," Stevens said. "Her mouth will become dry and saliva thick. You can have cracking of the [mucous membranes] of the mouth and lips as they dry out."

Those external symptoms of dehydration are accompanied by internal effects, as well.

"People often get headaches, then [become] lethargic and finally go into coma," Stevens continued. "It actually can cause seizures.

"As it progressively gets worse, what happens [are] the physical signs. Her blood pressure will drop, her heart rate will pick up. She'll actually, ultimately go into shock," Stevens explained. "You just don't have enough fluid to keep your blood pressure up, and it drops so low, and that sometimes can be a terminal event, or an arrhythmia of her heart.

"Her blood will get thicker," Stevens continued. "Sometimes, people who are severely dehydrated will actually have strokes just because the blood gets so thick that it clots. It's not a pretty picture."

Which of these symptoms Terri experiences and to what degree will depend on whether the hospice staff makes any attempt to hydrate her by mouth and whether she is offered any pain medication.

"If they sedate her, she could be semi-conscious or unconscious while this is going on," Stevens said. "It's not a very pleasant experience, unlike what the Hemlock Society and other groups try to make you believe."

Stevens explained that he had "had a little bit of experience" in this particular field "since I worked in Africa for 11 years with severely dehydrated people, especially kids."

Starvation, Stevens said, is not really an issue for Terri.

"It's a long process that, depending on what condition people are in when it begins, determines how long it's going to take," Stevens said. "But if you're not getting fluids, it's academic interest. Before you starve to death, you'll die of dehydration."

Case has ramifications for pro-life movement

Tony Perkins, the new president of the Family Research Council, issued a statement Thursday citing the significance of Terri's case to the pro-life movement.

"Yesterday was truly a turning point in our battle against judicial tyranny, as Terri Schiavo became the victim of what can only be described as court-mandated euthanasia," Perkins said.

"If Terri is permitted to starve to death simply because a court ordered it to occur, we will have not only allowed this woman to perish, we will have endangered the lives of virtually every American who is deemed to be too great a burden on our society and who cannot speak for themselves," Perkins added.

"In this post-Roe v. Wade culture, the idea of 'choice' has been elevated to the extent that from the unborn to the disabled, there's seemingly always someone who is empowered to 'choose' that another person's life is no longer valuable," Perkins concluded.

( :2004
Is Terri in a Persistent Vegetative State(PVS)?

Dr. William Hammesfahr with Sean Hannity(March 21, 2005)
Jesse Jackson Visits Terri Schiavo's Hospice, Backs Schindlers
Steven Ertelt / Editor / March 29, 2005

Pinellas Park, FL ( -- Longtime civil rights activist and former presidential candidate, Rev. Jesse Jackson, made his first public foray into the debate surrounding Terri Schiavo. He visited Terri's hospice on Tuesday and said he supported Terri's parents' efforts to stop her painful starvation death.

"I feel so passionate about this injustice being done, how unnecessary it is to deny her a feeding tube, water, not even ice to be used for her parched lips," Jackson said. "This is a moral issue and it transcends politics and family disputes."

"While the law is important, the law must be tempered with mercy to have justice. We ask for justice today," he said.

Jackson called what is happening to Terri a "violent" execution and a "great moral and ethical crisis that we should address."

"This woman's being starved and dehydrated to death," he complained. "Eleven days -- no food and no water. This is not right."

"She is not brain dead," Jackson noted. "She is brain impaired. All her vital signs are working."

"And to cut off her food and water his heartless," he explained.

Jackson's remarks drew praise from pro-life groups backing the Schindlers.

"There is nothing for Jesse Jackson to gain here except respect for having done the right thing," said Reverend Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council.

"This is a rare expression of moral courage from a partisan and we applaud him heartily for it. We pray that it is taken seriously and acted upon urgently by all those with the power to save Terri's life," Schenck added.

This is the second time Jackson has commented on the controversial situation.

"I think the feeding tube should be reinstated," he previously said. "It's not right to starve her to death. That's not right ethically."

Talking about Terri's medical condition, Jackson commented, "But you know she is brain impaired, she is not brain-dead. And right now they're starving her to death. They're dehydrating her to death, and that raises profound ethical questions."

Bob and Mary Schindler invited Jackson, president of the RainbowPUSH Coalition, to talk and pray with them outside of Woodside Hospice, where Terri lives.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Day 12 of Terri Shiavo's court-ordered starvation and dehydration:

"I feel so passionate about this injustice being done, how unnecessary it is to deny her a feeding tube, water, not even ice to be used for her parched lips," Jackson said. "This is a moral issue and it transcends politics and family disputes." Jackson had issued a statement calling for those calling for the tube's reinsertion to use "this same passion" to combat hunger and starvation worldwide. "
Rev. Jesse Jackson, after visiting with Terri at the Hospice

Monday, March 28, 2005

An urgent prayer request from Keenan Fitzgerald:

The article below is about a man who attends our church. He has been
declared brain-dead and they are removing him from life-support today.
Please pray for His wife and 5 kids.

March 28, 2005

Firefighter collapses at drill

Volunteer hospitalized in critical condition

By Dave Richardson
Times Herald-Record

Montgomery - A volunteer firefighter is fighting for his life after
apparently suffering a catastrophic brain injury during a training
exercise Saturday.

Bob Brooks, 42, of Montgomery, a married father of five who moved to
Montgomery from Long Island in the past year, collapsed during the final
phase of basic firefighter training at the Orange County Fire Training

"This one really hit home, because he's a fairly new firefighter,"
Montgomery fire Chief Jim Ferguson said. "This guy has real heart and
real enthusiasm for the job. He loves his family, the community and his
firefighter family."

Brooks was with other firefighters, in full protective gear, as they
prepared to complete a live-burn exercise - extinguishing a fire
deliberately set in a training building - when he collapsed.

Witnesses and firefighters said it appeared Brooks suffered a grave
brain injury, although medical details were unclear. Brooks was rushed
by ambulance to the Horton campus of Orange Regional Medical Center,
where he remains in critical condition.

Ferguson said Brooks' family and the fire department are devastated.
"It was my worst nightmare come true when I got paged for this,"
Ferguson said.

Ferguson said he heard initial calls about the incident on his police
scanner and raced to the training center to find a frantic scene. There,
firefighters and training-center staff were working desperately to save
Brooks' life.

Brooks has been a volunteer firefighter with the Montgomery Fire
Department since September, Ferguson said.

Montgomery firefighters made Easter baskets Saturday for Brooks'
children - one girl and four boys ranging in age from 3 to 12. They also
cooked an Easter dinner for the family yesterday.

The department was already saddened by the loss of former department
President John W. Matthews, 78, who died Monday at Horton.

About a dozen members of the Montgomery Fire Department turned up in
uniform at the hospital yesterday, offering comfort to Brooks'

Ferguson said his department was deciding what steps to take to help
support Brooks' family as they struggle to cope with the tragedy. He
said the incident would be considered a "line-of-duty" accident,
qualifying Brooks and his family for certain state benefits.

"The important thing is to do the right thing for him and for his
family," Ferguson said. "We are all a family, and we always do right by
each other."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Terri Schiavo �should matter to us,�

By Pastor William E. Rice

Her name is Sharon. You don�t know her, but God does. She matters to God, she matters to me, and how she is treated should matter to you. She will never engage in stimulating conversation or ponder political debates. She will never read a book or write a paragraph. She will never marry or raise children or even earn her own keep. But she matters.

Sharon is my handicapped sister, she is mentally impaired, severely so, and has been from birth. My brother and I watched our parents care for her and somehow we learned an intuitive almost unspoken lesson. Her life is valuable, as valuable as that of her two brothers, both active in ministry. Whatever difference exists between her IQ and mine, imagine the gap between mine and God�s! Yet he loved me and valued me so much that He would send the jewel of heaven to buy me back. He made me and redeemed me and that is the heart of our conviction about human life�everyone matters to God. Which brings us to Terri Schiavo.

The facts of the case are well known and few have done as admirable a job of reporting them as has the Florida Baptist Witness. It is a matter of record that the judge in the case, Judge Greer, is an inactive member of Calvary Baptist Church, where I have pastored for 5 months. Though I have been Calvary�s pastor for only a short time I have loved this church for nearly 30 years, since I spent my teenage years growing in this community of faith. Some have wondered about the commitment of our church to the Sanctity of Human Life. There is no need to wonder. Our convictions have been clear and consistent. In this cultural battleground our church arrived early, has fought hard and stayed faithful. For over 30 years Calvary has sounded a clear trumpet about the sanctity of human life. Our beloved former pastor Dr. Bill Anderson was an early champion in the cause and his frequent prophetic appeals to oppose abortion and stand for life will never be forgotten by those of us fortunate enough to have grown under his pastoral care. Our church was instrumental in the founding of the Bay Area Crisis Pregnancy Center that for over 20 years has served to help women in difficult circumstances choose life.

Like many of you we have tried to articulate and uphold an ethic of life consistent with a Christian worldview. We have tried to speak the truth in love to a culture bent of selfishness and hedonistic pursuits. Like our Florida Baptist family, and our larger Southern Baptist family, we have taken our stand for life. That stand articulated in many ways, one of which is our enthusiastic support of this publication, has become one of the reasons that Judge Greer has disassociated himself from Calvary and has publicly criticized us in the St. Petersburg Times.

Like evangelicals across the world we are horrified at the thought that a handicapped woman could be in effect starved to death before a watching world. Like many pastors I am not an expert in the law. I cannot debate the variances of custody rights, or even debate the medical analysis of a Persistent Vegetative State versus a Minimally Conscious State. But I know right from wrong. I know what God thinks about human life. I know there is only one way to describe the prospect of starving a woman to death because she cannot feed herself. It is wrong.

Clearly this is a tortuous case. But it is precisely such moments when morality and truth must serve as our guide. Terri Schaivo is not on life support. She is not dying. Good evidence exists to suggest that she is responsive. All she receives is food and water, the same as you and me. Are we to conclude that she is less than human because she cannot feed herself? Can a month old child feed himself? Is an elderly patient stricken with some debilitating disease and not unable to feed themself suddenly less human? Do we now use an IQ test to determine if someone possesses the right to live? Isn�t that God�s choice? Only God can give life, and only He should take it away.

Tread carefully if you think this is simply about a dying woman being allowed to die peacefully. Remember when were told that Roe versus Wade was simply about helping women who had been raped or whose lives were imminently threatened? Today few abortions fall into that category, but millions of human lives have been sacrificed upon the altars of selfishness. And the slide down the slippery slope continues.

This case seems complex but it is as simple as four words: Thou shalt not kill. If you need a compass for this complex case, you�ll find it there. If I were the nurse in that hospice center and the directive were given to me to discontinue feeding a living human being and watch as they starved to death, I couldn�t do it. I�d rather get fired, resign, or do something else. This isn�t about letting someone die; this is about causing someone�s death. There is a huge difference.

Her name is Terri. She can open her eyes. She watches a balloon as it crosses the room. She listens to music. She responds to her mother�s loving attention. She has something very precious, she has life, something only God can give. Her name is Terri and she matters to God. She should matter to us.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Frank Amodeo, husband of Elizabeth volunteer, Barbara Amodeo, writes,

hi, everyone. i don't usually do this, but i'm asking if you can pray for
my dad. he's had a condition for a while now that made him weak, but he's
been battling cancer since last year. he's been in intensive care for over a
week now and the prognosis is not good. he may be dying at this point. my mom
is a wreck already. i have told him to look to the lord and pray, and when i
told him that again on tuesday last week, he turned his head away from
me. i believe he's mad at God. i don't have that peace about knowing if he's
given his heart to the lord yet and hope he will before it's all over. (i'm
realizing how small my faith is) thank you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Great News from Joan concerning Geoff!

I was happy to be able to visit with Geoff this past Sunday at the
Harwyck Nursing Home in Edison where he has been for the past several months receiving therapy and miraculously improving every day. When I went in to the cafeteria where there was given to him a 50th Surprise Birthday Party (March 21st was his 50th Birthday)

I immediately focused my eye on Geoff who was sitting at a table with a plate of food. before him..He was feeding himself and very well
I must say ... what a blessed joy to see Geoff independently feeding
himself and I must say enjoying every morsal. I understand that he has lost one hundred pounds of weight and his once diagnosed diabetes has ceased to exist. All this to the glory of God...

I was able to testify of God's goodness and the love of God that Geoff has always expressed - we were able to witness that love as Geoff volutneered
at GatewayElizabeth ministering to the men prior to his surgery back in
May 2004. He also was our minute man. You could call Geoff and let him know there were donations of baby items to be picked up and he was there for you in a minute... he loved to serve God at Gateway.

Our prayers are continually for him to fully recover and come home. He and his girlfriend Sylvia are planning on marrying in the very near future.
Joan Vitale
Virginia Parker update!

Virginia is now at: Parkway Manor Health Center
480 N Walnut St East Orange, NJ 07017 (973) 674-2700

Please keep her in prayer.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Please continue to pray for Virginia Parker

Virginia is still at Columbus Hospital in Newark.

She's had 7 units of blood given to her during this time
She is, in her own words "resting in the Lord"
No surgery has been scheduled and tests are still be conducted
to find out the reason for her hemorrhaging.

Cards may be sent to: Mrs. Virginia Parker
570 North Maple Avenue,
East Orange, New Jersey 07017
I have some great news concerning a feeding tube being removed.... Geoff Jones feeding tube has been removed Praise the Lord... and he can eat manually

Praise God... and its his birthday exactly what day I am not
exactly sure but he is turning the big 50.... so...

This is one story where a feeding tube being removed is good...Love, Joan

Monday, March 14, 2005

Photos from Iglesia Mission Christiana (Maplewood, NJ)
Saturday seminar: March 12, 2005

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Video from Immanuel Love Fellowship, Newark
Sunday, February 27, 2005

Abortion and Planned Parenthood, racism, Margaret Sanger:
The challenge: 'God will bless when we do what is right'

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Tyamba came home on February 15th. She and her mom, Ingrid Haywood, met us two days later at Gateway in Irvington. Since then, Tee has come to us simply to talk! {Tyamba came to Christ at age 9, but had drifted away. Her mom came to gateway in 1994 and subsequently came to Christ and married.}
Praise God for this answer to prayer. Details in our next newsletter.
Praise the Lord! Tyamba is home!!

Check out the brief video!

Monday, March 7, 2005

Irvington Herald article

Virginia Parker
Dear friends,

One of Gateways volunteer counselors, Virginia Parker, is in Columbus Hospital (ICU) with pneumonia, diverticulosis and hemorraging. She may need to undergo a colon removal.

Please keep her in prayer.

Her home address, should you wish to send a note:

Virginia Parker
570 North Maple Avenue,
East Orange, New Jersey 07017

Banquet 2023 ALL DETAILS

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