In 1990, at the age of 26, Terri Schindler Schiavo suffered a mysterious cardio-respiratory arrest for which no cause has ever been determined. She was diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy – neurological injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. Terri was placed on a ventilator, but was soon able to breathe on her own and maintain vital function. She remained in a severely compromised neurological state and was provided a PEG tube to ensure the safe delivery of nourishment and hydration.
The only thing keeping Terri alive was the same thing that keeps every one of us alive – food and water.
On March 31, 2005, Terri Schindler Schiavo died of marked dehydration following more than 13 days without nutrition or hydration under the order of Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer of the Pinellas-Pasco’s Sixth Judicial Court. Terri was 41.
What you can do:
It is important that people understand their state laws as they relate to the withdrawal of ordinary provisions. Many laws have changed or have been amended in recent years and your current advanced directive (or lack of one) might be dangerous under the new laws. It is strongly recommended to all people to carefully read current state laws and to secure legal advice when considering them.
It is encouraged for people to take proactive measures to ensure that their desires for ordinary care be observed. Considering a health care surrogate, a Protective Medical Decisions Directive along with a Will to Live Directive may be an excellent alternative to the traditional living will.
Through the internet, public awareness efforts and advocacy for the disabled and elderly, community involvement has a direct and positive impact. Becoming a volunteer is a good way to start.
© Students for Life of America 2020