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Euthanasia and Terri Schiavo

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Terri Schiavo was a 41-year-old disabled woman in Florida whose plight galvanized public opinion in North America. She was severely disabled for over 15 years, and been diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (by many physicians appointed by various courts) or a minimally conscious state (as diagnosed by some conservative Christian physicians).

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, wanted to carry out what he believed to be his wife's stated wish: to be allowed to die if she became disabled in this way. Her parents wanted to keep their daughter alive and hoped that she could have received therapy and partly overcome her disability.

Terri's feeding tube was removed on the afternoon of 2005-MAR-18. Her physical condition slowly degenerated due to dehydration. She probably passed the point of no return; (i.e. the time when she might not have been able to survive even if nutrition were resumed) about Easter Sunday, 2005-MAR-27.

She died at 9:05AM, ET, on MAR-31.

An autopsy found:

bullet No evidence that her collapse in 1990 and subsequent brain damage was caused by abuse, as some commentators had asserted.

bullet That she was blind and thus could not have responded to visual stimulation.

bullet That she died of dehydration.

Governor Jeb Bush (R) asked a Florida prosecutor to investigate whether there were any criminal acts performed in 1990 when Terri collapsed. He concluded that there was no wrongdoing.

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Topics covered in this section:

bullet Overview
bullet Opinions of Terri's husband, parents, physicians, the Roman Catholic Church, etc.
bullet Opinions of the American public
bullet What did Terri experience during death by dehydration?
bullet Activities by the Florida government, Congress, etc.
bullet The public's response
bullet The autopsy: results and reaction; follow-up and afterthoughts
bullet Books about Terri's death
bullet About living wills (a.k.a. advanced directives)

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Site navigation: Home page > "Hot" topics > Euthanasia > here

or: Home page > "Hot" topics  > Suicide menu > Euthanasia > here

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Copyright © 2005 & 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2005-MAR-21
Latest update: 2006-MAR-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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