FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 16, 2015 / -- Dr. Ben Carson owes pro-life and medically vulnerable Americans an apology. Similarly, any pro-lifer supporting his campaign should take another look at the candidate’s values.
Speaking to reporters at a Florida Republican Party conference on Friday, November 13, Dr. Carson marginalized Terri Schiavo and other struggling and medically vulnerable patients.
Terri Schiavo, who died on March 31, 2005 from starvation and dehydration, was brain injured but otherwise healthy woman who was not reliant on life support. Michael Schiavo, her estranged husband and guardian, had led a national court case to remove her feeding tube—a means of nourishment which millions of patients rely on every day—in order to end her life almost a decade after warehousing her in a nursing home and suspending rehabilitative care.
When asked by a reporter whether he believed Terri Schiavo deserved Congress’s attempt to halt her court-ordered 13-day death by starvation and dehydration, Dr. Carson blithely responded, “I don't think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing."
Dr. Carson continued: “We face those kinds of issues all the time, and while I don't believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out,” explaining that “your job [as a doctor] is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.
The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network condemns Dr. Ben Carson for these callous remarks that serve to marginalize an already underserved community of patients. Whether Dr. Carson understands that Terri Schiavo was not a terminal patient is unclear, but it is certainly clear that Dr. Carson’s advice to doctors “not to treat” brain injured patients is precisely the form of euthanasia that led to the suspension of Schiavo’s rehabilitation and ultimately her court-ordered death.
Bobby Schindler, president of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network and brother of Terri Schiavo, issued these remarks:
“Every pro-life advocate knows how hard it is to argue for the Constitutional right-to-life from natural birth to natural death. Terri was denied a natural death from men who shared Dr. Carson’s hopeless views on the value of a life in need of love and extensive rehabilitation.”
“As both a Christian and a world renowned neurological surgeon,” Schindler continued, “Dr. Carson owes every pro-life advocate an apology. At best, he spoke from a perspective of personal prejudice and ignorance. At worst, he truly shares the perspective of so many euthanasia activists. Terri was denied the protections Congress attempted to afford her, which were the same due process rights that every death row prisoner in this country possesses. But for the brain injured, which include everyone from professional athletes to everyday Americans, their cases are often hopeless because of the attitudes Dr. Carson professes.
“If we get a President Carson, conservatives won't need to fear Obamacare’s so-called death panels,” continued Schindler, “because Dr. Carson would himself represent a one-man death panel, content to ration care and decide who deserves a chance at life based on a warped sense of the ethics of medicine and humane law.”
According to Tom Shakely, executive director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network: “Traumatically brain injured patients need intensive rehabilitative care, period. Every day, shocked Americans learn they will have to fight their own doctors and medical providers just to afford their loved ones a shot at recovery in the face of a system increasingly driven by cost-minded MBAs rather than caring MDs. For Dr. Carson to align himself with the bureaucrats is devastating.”
“This isn't about politics, concluded Shakely. “Dr. Carson’s remarks raise serious questions about the moral character of his allegedly pro-life candidacy. Pro-lifers can't afford any more part time believers."
The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was established by the family members of Terri Schiavo to defend the rights of the medically vulnerable. These rights include the protection from the removal of food and water (via a feeding tube) which has been redefined as medical treatment instead of basic and ordinary care. The Life & Hope Network has communicated with and supported more than 1,000 families, and has been involved in hundreds of cases since Terri’s Death. To learn more about the work of the Life & Hope Network, please visit lifeandhope.com.
Tom Shakely, Executive Director — firstname.lastname@example.org