When Guardians seek the death penalty

Court appointed guardians have the responsibility to care for their wards. However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the guardians often act in their own interests and not in the interest of one who is incapacitated.

In the past I have blogged about Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Much to my disgust the Florida Guardians association had the temerity to name Schiavo as Guardian of the Year for 2005. If this association was on the level, they should have been denouncing Schiavo for the dishonest way in which he pushed to kill his wife. No, instead of denouncing him for not providing information that was required by law to the Courts, they awarded him, because he succeeded in killing his wife.

The Schiavo case is only the tip of an iceberg. More and more cases are coming to light where the spouse, acting as guardian for the other half of the relationship has pushed to kill either husband or wife, because they do not have sufficient funds to continue the required level of care. This is a shameful situation and it is one that needs attention. It also highlights the fact that the judiciary has been paying court to the culture of death with its many decisions that have brought about the end of the life of someone who is not dying but is brain injured. These people were denied the opportunity to live. One can only say: Shame on the judiciary because of the lack of justice within those decisions. The judges have forgotten to err on the side of life.

One case stands out because it is going the other way, at the moment. It is the case of Scott Thomas. In this case, the spouse is seeking to end her husband's life but she does not have custody of Scott and so she cannot carry out her intention to place him in a nursing home and then order the removal of his feeding tube. Scott's mother has custody and she is ensuring that he has necessary therapy that is assisting his recovery.

On the other hand, the case of Haleigh Poutre stands out for a different reason. Haleigh's case is sad because she was sexually abused at a very young age by her mother's lover. Haleigh ended up in the charge of her now late aunt, and during the time that Holli was caring for Haleigh, the little girl received a number of unexplained injuries. The Boston department of social services investigated the complaints but they believed the aunt and her husband Jason Strickland, until Haleigh turned up in hospital in an unconscious state. The aunt and her husband were charged over the injuries, and the department resumed care for Haleigh. My question concerning the Boston DSS is why was it necessary, after such a short period of time had elapsed, to go to the courts and request that Haleigh be removed from the ventilator and her feeding tube. The medical opinion that was sought seemed to be that it was not in the best interests of the child to remain alive. However, this medical opinion was flawed.

Now Jason Strickland obviously has a vested interest in keeping Haleigh alive, and when the first judge ruled against Jason's request to represent Haleigh, he appealed that decision. The appeal has bought precious time for Haleigh, but the appeal judge ruled against Jason's right to speak on her behalf. The mother of the child wanted the child to die. She has continued to show no real concern for her own daughter. Haleigh remains a ward of the DSS of Boston. The appeal judge had ruled that a DNR order could be placed on the charts and that the life support could be ceased. In other words, the judge was giving Haleigh, an innocent eleven year old, a death sentence.

However, Haleigh will have nothing of that decision. On the same day that this decision was made, the little girl began to respond to the doctors and it seems that she is coming out of the coma. She has now been removed to a rehabilitation hospital, and she is receiving the treatment that she deserves. Even though it appears that the DSS did not care for this child, I have noticed that Denise Monteiro is showing that she does care for the child's welfare. I hope that in the future she is not returned to the care of her mother, because I fear that she would only face more abuse if that should happen.

Should the courts be so lenient in their decisions when a life hangs in the balance? Why should these judges make decisions that are in fact the imposition of a death penalty upon innocent people? What if eleven year old Haleigh had not begun to stir at that moment? Would the department go ahead and seek further opinions? I would hope that Haleigh's case will serve as a reminder that people need to be given a chance to show signs of recovery and those hasty decisions are usually the wrong decisions. Jason Strickland's attorneys did this work pro bono because they wanted to give the little girl a chance to begin to recover. It is a pity that the mother of the child only thought about putting her child to death. I believe that we need to get back to the idea that we must choose life over death. If people knew the real pain of dehydration they might not be so willing to accept this as proper for people who are disabled but are not dying. So it is time for America, England, Australia and Europe to wake up and reverse the evil trend towards the culture of death.