Terri Schaivo: Euthanasia or Mercy Killing?

Topics: Terri Schiavo case, Persistent vegetative state, Michael Schiavo Pages: 3 (791 words) Published: March 16, 2008
The story of Terri Schiavo is definitely a controversial one, both medically and morally. In 1990, at the age of 26, Terri suffered from mysterious cardio-respiratory arrest. Even today, no cause for this arrest has ever been determined. Following her cardio-respiratory attack, Schiavo was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy, which is a neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. Post mortem, Schiavo's brain was discovered to be half the normal weight, thus proving severe neuronal atrophy (Medical Examiner, District 6, Largo, Florida) after her attack, Schiavo was placed on a ventilator. Later, her heart and respiratory systems were able to function normally on their own; however, Schiavo's neurological functions were dangerously limited and she was given a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube to feed and hydrate her, as she was unable to do so on her own. It is speculated that neurological damage from the attack was made worse by a sever potassium deficiency Terri from a poor diet and a prior dramatic weight loss as a teen. In 1990, Michael Schiavo was deemed Terri's plenary guardian by the making him both Terri's legal guardian and giving him charge of her property In 2005, Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, sought to end Terri's medically assisted life, and, on March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo died of dehydration 13 days after Circuit Court Judge, George W. Greer of the Pinellas-Pasco's Sixth Judicial Court, ruled that Terri's husband Michael, and not Terri's parents, who had fought for the choice, had the power to choose whether his wife's life be prolonged by extraordinary medical care or not.

Euthanasia is a practice that can be defined many different ways, depending on who is doing the defining. Some say euthanasia is "the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy" (Miriam-Webster Dictionary), while...
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