March 31st, 2005. A woman in Florida was starved to death by her husband.
Glenn was originally on the wrong side of this battle. Before he moved to Florida, he'd never heard the name of Terri Schiavo. When he learned her story, he didn't put much forth much thought before coming out in favor of the "free Terri Schiavo from her suffering" point of view.
A listener called during Glenn's radio program with a special request.
"Glenn, I want you to really think about these particular things this weekend," the caller said.
After really doing his homework and really thinking about it, Glenn came back on the air the following Monday with a change of heart.
"I'm on the wrong side," Glenn said. "We have to change."
This was in direct conflict with the prevailing notion at the radio station that Glenn should just "shut up" and not say anything about it. Just leave it alone. But the thought if remaining silent kept Glenn awake at night. He felt compelled to tell the truth.
Terri Schaivo's brother, Bobby Schindler, joined Glenn on radio Thursday, discussing memories of the difficult time they shared together.
"We fought alongside with the Schindler family for many years and tried to be a voice nationally after we were picked up nationally for people in Terri's condition. And there's a lot of them. She eventually was starved to death," Glenn said.
"Since that time, I can't tell you the number of people that have been in Terri's exact situation that have revived out of the coma, that for no reason --- doctors don't understand it, and they talk about how they were present and they heard everything in the room."
Despite their own painful experience, the family they took what happened on March 31st, 2005 and became a voice for the voiceless, working to uphold human dignity for those who are medically vulnerable through the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.
Glenn said he thinks this is going to become more and more important as we progress through technology and understanding what life really is.
More from Glenn's interview below.
GLENN: Are you having the Philadelphia dinner tonight?
BOBBY: Yes. We're having a memorial mass as we did last year. This year, we're going to have more of a cocktail-type reception following the mass, rather than a dinner. But we're getting a good turnout. And so we're excited. And obviously it's to, not only to remember Terri, Glenn, but also to remember, as you just said, you know, all the other vulnerable people out there that really are at risk of dying the same way Terri died.
GLENN: Which is a -- which is a horrible, horrible way to die. I mean, starving people to death, not giving them food and water is cruel and unusual. I mean, it is -- it's beyond cruel.
BOBBY: Well, and for our family to have to walk in for two weeks and watch my sister die this way and watch my -- have to the experience, my parents having to watch their daughter die this way is something that I can probably never describe. And I got to tell you, Glenn, and I think I might have mentioned this to you before, but my dad died 2009. And he died really holding himself responsible for not being able to stop this madness, this insanity from happening to my sister.
Recognizing Those Still Fighting
GLENN: Bobby, tell me how many people in the country are going through this right now with their families?
BOBBY: Well, it's hard to know, Glenn, because there's a lot of dynamics involved. They're having a real strong push by those in the medical profession to convince people that the best thing to do, that people who have any types of brain injury -- and even others who are medically vulnerable -- to end their lives.
So we -- we just get calls from the families that are fighting against these types of determinations. And families that know we're out there in a position to help them with the resources we have.
So it's really hard to know, you know, how many families are experiencing this, the pressure to end certain treatment. But we do know this, we do know that with the changes in our health care system over the past ten, 20 years or longer than that, that hospitals are making decisions that are in the best interest of the hospital, rather than the best interest of the patient. And this is all, I believe, I think you would probably agree, that it's all money-driven.
And diagnoses are being made in a relatively short period of time to end life, without giving families and the patient a chance for any type of meaningful recovery. So the system -- I think you mentioned it in the beginning, I don't think people realize just how insidious people behind this issue, how much they are really controlling our health care system today and the medical treatment people will or will not receive.
Fighting For the Defenseless
GLENN: So, Bobby, what does the network do that you've started? What does your -- your charity do?
BOBBY: Well, after Terri's death, our family really recognized the need because of what happened with Terri and her battle. And really the arrogance of the people behind this issue and how relentless they are and the changes that they're making. So we wanted to really be the organization that we couldn't find when we were looking for help trying to defend Terri. And we really have built an enormous amount of resources.
So when families help us -- we've had an incredible amount (inaudible), whatever the situation might be, of stopping whatever it is that the hospital might be trying to do, as far as stopping treatment, we've been able to stop that process and be able to help these patients get the treatment that the families are trying to get for their loved ones.
GLENN: I met last year when I was up in Philadelphia with you, I met a family, a mom and a daughter that you guys had gotten involved with. And they were at the poor end of the scale of life. And the hospital just took over and wanted to kill -- I believe it was the son. Right?
BOBBY: Yeah. In fact, they're still dealing with that case, Glenn, believe it or not.
GLENN: Bobby, I have never seen a family endure what you guys did in the Schindler family. I have watched you over the years, and I've watched your family, and I have such profound respect for your mom and dad and your sister and you. And we just wanted you to know that we're thinking about you today. Today is Terri's Day, in honor of Terri Schiavo.
And if you would like to get involved and you would like to find out more, go to lifeandhope.com/Beck. You can donate there to help. You can get involved. The biggest thing you can do -- if you know somebody that is in this situation, is connect with lifeandhope.com. If you care about this -- this is as important as abortion is, this is as important as the Nazarene Fund is, we don't crucify people for their religious belief, we don't kill babies in the womb, and we certainly don't kill people that we think have an inferior life. We don't let these hospitals and these insurance companies make this kind of decision for people, when the families are there fighting for them.
Featured Image: Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network Facebook page