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Tom Delay Hypocrisy Watch

March 26, 2005

As the Terri Schiavo tragedy continues, we've learned that most Americans believe that these complex, deeply private end-of-life decisions should be made by families, not the government.
What we've also learned that is that one of the Americans who apparently feels that way is none other than Tom Delay. The Los Angeles Times reports that in 1988, Mr. Delay's own family chose to end life support for their 65 year old father, severely injured in a tragic accident:

"There was no point to even really talking about it," Maxine DeLay, the congressman's 81-year-old mother, recalled in an interview last week. "There was no way he (Charles) wanted to live like that. Tom knew, we all knew, his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way."
Doctors advised that he would "basically be a vegetable," said the congressman's aunt, JoAnne DeLay.
When the man's kidneys failed, the DeLay family decided against connecting him to a dialysis machine. "Extraordinary measures to prolong life were not initiated," said his medical report, citing "agreement with the family's wishes." His bedside chart carried the instruction: "Do Not Resuscitate."
On Dec. 14, 1988, the senior DeLay "expired with his family in attendance."
(Source: LA Times, 3/26/05)

In a further irony for the tort reform crusader Delay, his family filed a product liability lawsuit and later received a $250,000 settlement.
In 1988 and beyond, the Delay family suffered a terrible tragedy, one which should elicit only our sympathy, not our judgment. Surely all Americans can respect their pain, their preferences - and their privacy.

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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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