What, no speechifying from Tom DeLay? No pidgeon English Corner posts from K-Lo? No video diagnosis from “Dr.” Bill Frist, or late night flights back to Washington for George Bush?
The state of Massachusets wishes to pull the plug on a little girl in a persistent vegetative state. Won’t those who fought a crusade for Teri Schiavo side with the step-father, who helped beat this little girl into her currect condition, and fightto keep her alive? Where are the fundie hospice picketers when you need them?
Eleven-year-old Haleigh Poutre was taken to the hospital three months ago with a terrifying catalog of injuries.
Her teeth were broken, her face was swollen, her chest had old and new burns. She was extremely thin, her abdomen was sunken, she had cuts and sores, and her temperature was 81 degrees.
But the most severe injury was in Haleigh’s brain: her brain stem was partly sheared, doctors said, leaving her in a vegetative state.
The police said Haleigh’s aunt, Holli A. Strickland, who adopted her in 2001, and her husband, Jason D. Strickland, both of Westfield, were responsible for abuse that caused Haleigh’s injuries. Then, the day after Holli Strickland was released on bail, Ms. Strickland and her grandmother were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, leaving Mr. Strickland alone facing criminal charges in Haleigh’s case.
Now, the case has been catapulted to a new stage: a battle over whether to remove the machines keeping Haleigh alive.
The Massachusetts Department of Social Services, which has legal custody of Haleigh, is seeking to remove life support, and a Juvenile Court judge granted its request after a hearing in September. But Mr. Strickland does not want life support removed. On Tuesday, the case will go before the state’s highest court.
Mr. Strickland’s criminal case further complicates things. He is charged with assault and battery, accused of striking Haleigh once with an open hand and once with a plastic toy, and of not stopping Ms. Strickland when she committed more serious assaults, like hitting Haleigh with a baseball bat and kicking her existing bruises.
Some relatives believe Mr. Strickland wants to keep Haleigh alive because he could be charged with murder if she dies. His lawyer, John J. Egan, disagrees.