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  • Murder in Slow Motion

       April 25, 2006

    In six days, the execution of Andrea Clarke, a woman who demonstrably can communicate, will begin. This is not Terri Schaivo, redux. In the Schaivo case there was a lot of dispute that she was aware of what was going on, or was in a persistent vegetative state. It's certainly legitimate to dispute PVS. It is misdiagnosed 43% of the time in this study, for example. This case is entirely different. Originally posted on DU, picked up by Right Wing News:

    Andrea, until a few days ago, when the physicians decided to increase her pain medication and anesthetize her into unconsciousness, was fully able to make her own medical decisions and had decided that she wanted life saving treatment until she dies naturally. We have learned that this is part of the process, when hospitals decided to declare the "medical futility" of continueing treatment for a patient. But, this is not a Terry Schiavo case; not anything like it. Andrea, when she is not medicated into unconsciousness (and even when she is, and the medication has worn off to some degree) is aware and cognizant. She has suffered no brain damage to the parts of her brain responsible for thought and reason, or speech. She has only suffered loss of some motor control. The reason that the physician gave to medicate her so much is that she is suffering from intractable pain in the sacral region (in other words, she has a bedsore that causes her pain). This is not reason enough, in our books, and we are trying, as we speak, to get Andrea's medication lowered so that she can speak to us.

    It is ironic beyond words that the hospital name is St. Luke, after the physician follower of Jesus who wrote the book in the Bible. Bedsores do hurt, and before I dropped out of nursing school, we thoroughly covered the fact that they are entirely preventable with adequate nursing care. Once they are established, they are notoriously hard to get rid of. This woman has been abused by the hospital which is now attempting to kill her. She went in for heart surgery, developed an infection, and is now on a respirator, dialysis and pain meds for a bed sore. She is not brain dead. There seems to be no dispute that she is aware and functioning, except for the pain meds which would impair anyone.

    From Jerri Ward, the attorney on the case -

    Okay, I can't stand this anymore. First, we have tried facilities offering every conceivable level of care. She is on a respirator and getting dialysis. There are some nursing homes that offer respirator care and no dialysis and vice versa. The long term acute care facilities see that the hospital says she is "futile" and say they can't take her because they are there to rehabilitate and send patients to a lower continuum of care. Other hospitals rely on the "futility" diagnosis. A provider won't take a patient just on the say so of the family--they talk to the hospital. The hospital believes she is futile. It's a catch-22.

    It is outrageous that in a country as wealthy as the United States, with the level of entrepreneurship that we have, we cannot fund a charity or start/upgrade a business to take care of our citizens with medical problems like these. Whether or not the reader agrees that Andrea Clarke has much of a life, she wants to keep it. At least one physician at St. Luke's says she has a chance to recover. Unless we as a society agree that inconvenient people may be killed, this execution must be stopped.

    Posted by Laura Curtis at April 25, 2006 06:30 PM

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    #  April 26th, 2006 9:31 PM      Daddy
    Y' care is so f*cked up in this country, if I even get so much as a mosquito bite, I'm putting a gun in my mouth.  
    #  April 27th, 2006 11:41 AM      Laura
    I read in a comment at DU from her sister that the insurance company is BCBS.

    Please, be polite, but call or email:

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
    901 S. Central Expressway
    Richardson, Texas 75080
    General Information: (972) 766-6900
    TDD: (800) 735-2989 (for the hearing-impaired)
    Houston office: 713-354-7000 or 800-235-0796

    St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital
    6720 Bertner Avenue
    Houston, TX
    Phone: 832-355-1000

    City of Houston
    Mayor Bill White
    P.O. Box 1562
    Houston, TX 77251
    Phone: 713-247-2200
    Fax: 713-247-1067

    Citizens Assistance Office
    Richard Cantu, Director
    900 Bagby, Public Level
    Houston, TX 77002
    Phone: 713-247-2907  
    #  May 5th, 2006 9:02 PM      mbrlr
    On this issue, I'm an out and out socialist. No surprise, huh?  



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