Terri Schiavo redux? Not quite.


In a horrific and heartbreaking case in Massachusetts, an 11-year-old child abuse victim lies comatose in a hospital while medical and social welfare authorities try to decide whether to disconnect her feeding tube. Some conservatives, notably Michelle Malkin, are trying to turn this into a Terri Schiavo II. More links can be found in this Malkin post, along with a chiding of bloggers and others who are exhibiting a "post-Schiavo syndrome" and failing to show concern for Haleigh's fate.

In fact, this case is eminently worthy of attention and concern. The Massachusetts Department of Social Services managed to overlook egregious signs that the girl was being abused by her adoptive mother and stepfather (including multiple and repeated physical injuries), and then, after those lovely people finally beat her into a coma, exhibited a rather unseemly haste in wanting to take her off life support—a mere three weeks after she lapsed into unconsciousness. It now seems that Haleigh may have been misdiagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, and after having being taken off the ventilator she has actually shown signs of improvement. Plans to remove her feeding tube have now been suspended, and certainly public attention to the case is needed to ensure that this child gets every chance she can to live and have some degree of recovery.

However, if Haleigh Poutre is getting less attention than she should as a result of Schiavo fatigue, the fault will rest squarely with the so-called "champions" of Terri Schiavo.

After all the lies and all the hysteria from the "save Terri" brigade, any cause seen as Schiavo redux is going to be seen with a certain degree of cynicism. As far as I'm concerned, those responsible for that macabre circus have squandered all moral authority on this issue. The best thing they can do for Haleigh is keep quiet and leave this case to those who have some credibility.

See more on the subject at my blog, The Y Files.