Million Dollar Schiavo
Crushing piece in the Harvard Crimson today about Terri Schiavo and Americans' disdain for people with disabilities. After Million Dollar Baby came out, we opined that "better dead than disabled" has stealthily become a part of the American mental landscape, so stealthily that most Americans don't even notice that fetid lagoon in the back of their minds. This article says everything we said, but much more poignantly and intelligently. It's worth the click. Here's a moving excerpt:
"Besides being disabled, Schiavo and I have something important in common, that is, someone attempted to terminate my life by removing my endotracheal tube during resuscitation in my first hour of life. This was a quality-of-life decision: I was simply taking too long to breathe on my own, and the person who pulled the tube believed I would be severely disabled if I lived, since lack of oxygen causes cerebral palsy. (I was saved by my family doctor inserting another tube as quickly as possible.) The point of this is not that I ended up at Harvard and Schiavo did not, as some people would undoubtedly conclude. The point is that society already believes to some degree that it is acceptable to murder disabled people."