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Terri Shiavo

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Health Law and Ethics | The Ethical Case of Terri Schiavo | [Type the document subtitle] |

The end of life is to be expected. For many it is understood what an individual’s final wishes are. Living wills provide any issues in question with answers. What if an individual does not have a living will? Who would be in charge in making final decisions for someone who cannot physically make those decisions? The story of Terri Schiavo brings about many questions that represent moral, ethical, and legal issues.
On February 25th 1990, Terri Schiavo suffers cardiac arrest, apparently caused by potassium imbalance and leading to brain damage due to lack of oxygen. The cerebral cortex had been completely destroyed and replaced by cerebrospinal fluid. Her upper brain was estimated to be about 80 percent destroyed. However her brainstem, which is responsible for breathing and heartbeat, was still functioning properly. This allowed Schiavo to survive with the assistance of a feeding tube. Terri Schiavo was diagnosed to be in a Persistent Vegetative State (P.V.S). The time frame that Terri Schiavo collapsed she was married to Michael Schiavo. Terri and Michael Schiavo married in 1984 which made Michael the spouse and through the appointment of the court, legal guardian of Terri Schivao.
Husband Michael Schiavo believed that his wife would never want to be in a vegetative state. “Michael had been engaged in a court battle with Terri’s parents since 1998, seeking court sanction for the removal of the feeding tube that would end her life. She had become brain injured following mysterious circumstances in 1990 at home alone with Michael Schiavo. After her husband was successful in winning a medical malpractice suit with the award designated for Terri’s rehabilitation and therapy, instead her husband used the money to hire attorneys to end Terri’s life by removing the life sustaining feeding tube.” He and the court maintained there was no chance for recovery, a position challenged by many medical experts as well as her parents, Mary and Robert Schindler Sr. Terri left no living will and Michael maintained that she would not want to be kept alive by assisted feeding, also disputed by her parents who said that removal of the feeding tube would be against her religious beliefs.
Bob and Mary Schindler had been battling with Michael Schiavo for over 10 years. They did not believe that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and provided video evidence to back them up. They also claimed that Terri was a devoted Roman Catholic who would not violate the Church’s teachings on euthanasia. They also claim that Terri never shared the idea not being kept alive to anyone in her family. The story of Terri Schiavo was an extremely difficult moment for Schiavo family and the Schindler family. The ethical question is to keep Terri alive or allow her to die? Her death was preceded by the removal of artificially administered hydration and nutrition through a feeding tube. Prior to her death, Terri's saga was the focus of intense medical, ethical, and legal debates in the United States and elsewhere. These debates were characterized by confusion about the facts, ethical principles, and laws relevant to the case. Much of the confusion revolved around a number of ethical and legal questions including: Is it ethically and legally permissible to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments from patients who do not want the treatments? Is withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments the same as physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia? Is artificially administered hydration and nutrition a medical treatment or mandatory care akin to bathing? What were Terri's values, preferences, and goals regarding life-sustaining treatments?
Reading more into the Schiavo trial, I don’t feel that ethical to starve a person who is unable to feed themselves. The case with Terri Schiavo should been left into the hands of the people who wanted to care for her, her parents. You an never know a individuals true intentions when you- the patient become helpless. If an individual is unable to make the firm decision of tem wanting to keep their life or ending it then the best one is to try and help tem. You would want a family member assuming you wanted to die because you wouldn’t move or talk. Terri was unable to make decisions for herself and regardless of her having a previous conversation with her husband, you never know how you really want things until it’s your life tat as changed so drastically.

References http://www.terrisfight.org/ http://www.miami.edu/index.php/ethics/projects/schiavo/schiavo_timeline/ http://www.wnd.com/2005/03/29516/ http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2005/jun/09/the-case-of-theresa-schiavo/?pagination=false

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