Terri Schiavo: Case Analysis

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The Terri Schiavo Case: Private Conversations Made Public Individual Case Analysis James Brown Excelsior College HSC312 Professor Senf The Terri Schiavo case is a poignantly tragic story: the result of a private dilemma made public. The resolution that could have been reached through a series multidisciplinary team meetings consisting of the parties most directly involved in this case, was deferred, delayed, and only arrived at after having been emotionally debated ad nauseam in the courtroom, the news media, and in living rooms across the country. Why did this happen, who stands to benefit from this long and drawn out contentious debate, and what are the lessons we’ve all learned, are the topics of this discussion. Terri Schiavo, a 26 year old female collapsed in her home, presumably from a cardiac arrest, and experienced a prolonged period of severe oxygen deprivation. This prolonged period of hypoxia left Terri unconscious, unable to speak or respond to meaningful stimuli, unable to chew or swallow and totally dependent on others to meet her needs. She was kept alive by continuous feedings through a tube percutaneously placed into her stomach. The original insult occurred in February of 1990, and the diagnosis of Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) was rendered later that year. Throughout the 1990’s Terri’s parents and husband championed aggressive attempts at various rehabilitative therapies with the aim of giving Terri a fighting chance at optimal recovery. Nevertheless, near the end of 1990, it was clear to Terri’s husband that neither was Terri going to get better nor would she want to continue existing like that (Perry, 2005). The latter portion of this statement would become the major point of contention in an unrelenting barrage of stratagem as each opposing faction endeavored to win at any and all costs; all of which were

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