The Terri Schiavo Case

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The Terri Schiavo Case
Research Essay

On February 28, 1990, twenty six-year old Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage when her heart stopped for five minutes. Terri's condition was the subject of intense debate and media scrutiny over the subject of euthanasia and guardianship. Given the circumstances of Terri's vegetated condition, and no physical proof of her wishes, the last word on whether or not Terri would stay alive was given to her husband Michael Schiavo, by the state of Florida. Michael's argument was that he was carrying out her wishes to not be kept alive in that state. Terri's family challenged Michael's claims saying she is responsive and in no discomfort, that her condition does not meet the medical definition of "vegetative," and that she would not wish to die. Although she never wrote a living will expressing a wish to refuse nutrition or medical treatment if disabled, her condition and future life span should have been her family's decision rather then her husbands. Despite of Michael's intentions, the method of starvation as a means of relieving her of her pains and suffering can still be seen as down right unethical as it is immoral. Terri suffered a legal and public murder. Though Mr. Michael Schiavo's intention and objective were presented as selfless, the government had failed to look into other mitigating reasons for his choice.

A living will provides written orders and documentation to ensure your wishes are executed. Once a will is made your family and loved ones are spared doubt and guilt, along with emotional pain, and undue legal expenses. The reason people consider signing a living will is that they may not be physically able to communicate their intentions when certain circumstances arise. When someone signs a living will, there should be at least one part of the will which is clearly written concerning how he or she wishes to be cared for if physical situations arise where a medical recovery is not expected. In Terri Schiavo's case, she had not made a will therefore her estranged husband decided to kill her shortly after he filed for divorce. The fact of the matter is that no matter who you think loves you, no one loves you more then your own family. The people who brought Terri into this world should have the decision of when she should be taken out but to medical conditions. The bare essentials of the case was that Mr. Schiavo was not being loyal to his wife when he decided to pull the plug therefore it should have been the family's decision because there was not hidden agenda.

A news release reported that a The National Association of pro-life Nurses [NAPN] says the living will are not the answer. "Unfortunately, recent emphasis on promotion of living wills is not the answer and may indeed contribute to the problem of euthanasia…[W] e nurses believe that any care or treatment can be withdrawn if it is truly futile or excessively burdensome, there are some decisions that are unethical and illegitimate no matter who is making them. Those are decisions that deliberately cause death." A company called Zogby created a poll asked a number of questions involving Terri's case or related issues. A recent Zogby poll with reasonable questions showed that the American nation clearly supporting Terri and her parents and wanting to protect the lives of other disabled patients. "The Zogby poll found that, if a person becomes incapacitated and has not expressed their preference for medical treatment, as in Terri's case, 43 % say "the law presume that the person wants to live, even if the person is receiving food and water through a tube" while just 30 % disagree." From watching news broadcasts and going through newspapers, websites, and articles, its clear that although Terri did not have physical proof of her wishes, she should have been kept alive rather then given the maximum sentence of eternal loss. The method of starvation as a means of relieving her of her pains and suffering...
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