Renowned neurosurgeon and presidential candidate Ben Carson has lost support among Republican voters over comments made Friday indicating his support for the 2005 starvation and dehydration death inflicted on Terri Schiavo. Although on his website Carson characterizes himself as “unabashedly and entirely pro-life,” Carson was either under-informed of crucial components of Terri’s case (that she was not receiving any extraordinary life-sustaining treatments during life, for example, and that her death was the direct result of being inhumanely starved and dehydrated over an agonizing thirteen days), or he is in fact more in favor of euthanasia than he would like his supporters to believe. Either way, the facts do not paint a hopeful picture for Carson in terms of maintaining whatever Pro-Life voter base he possessed in the wake of Carson’s earlier off-putting comments regarding human Life.
“We face those kinds of issues all the time,” was Carson’s response to a reporter who asked what he thought of the Terri Schiavo case, “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.” Carson continued: “Your job [as a doctor]is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.” Carson said that the fight for Congressional interference to stay Terri’s death sentence was “much ado about nothing.”
The Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network issued a hard-hitting response to the dangerous attitude underpinning Carson’s remarks, saying that the comments “marginalized” his sister and other patients like her. “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,” said the release. “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.”
Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, condemned Carson’s remarks in no uncertain terms, saying:
As both a Christian and a world renowned neurological surgeon, 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.
The struggle faced by victims of traumatic brain injury is already difficult without the added threat of being starved to death added to their fears. These patients and their loved ones are often engaged in seemingly-futile battles to obtain the rehabilitation care they deserve. Instead, many in the medical community – like Dr. Carson – relegate patients like Terri to a hapless fate. And in the case of patients like Terri, whose surrogates do not respect their Right to Life, America witnessed the toxicity of the combination.
According to Life Site News Carson responded that the comments were “taken out of context and misinterpreted.”