After reading the article “Terri Schiavo Has Died,” answer the following questions:
- Do you agree with the court’s decision? Why or why not?
- Should parents or a spouse have the final say in an incapacitated patient’s life decisions? Why or why not?
- Should we legally honor a dying patient’s wishes in ending his or her life?
Review the posts of your fellow learners and respond to at least two. In your response posts, you must do one or more of the following:
- Ask an analytical question.
- Offer a suggestion.
- Elaborate on a particular point.
- Provide an alternative opinion supported with research.
Be sure to support your initial post and follow-up posts with scholarly examples from the module readings and additional literature where appropriate. You must cite all references according to APA style.
Peer post one
This story of Terry Schiavo brings about a very controversial topic. In this specific case, I do agree with the court’s decision to allow the feeding tube to be removed from Terry Schiavo. I feel this way for a couple of different reasons. #1 Schiavo had been in a vegetative, brain dead state for over 10 years with a feeding tube being the only thing keeping her “alive”. #2 In this vegetative state Schiavo was unable to move or communicate in any fashion. She just laid there, and to me that is not a life that I think anyone wants to live. #3 Terry’s husband made the decision to have the feeding tube removed, and being that he was married to her, he is considered to guardian and closest of kin. I am sure this was not a decision he made lightly. He stood by her for 10 years before making this decision. Lastly, three doctors testified that “Terry Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery” (CNN). This is not an easy decision to be made, but given the severity of her state and the length of time in which she has been in that state with no positive progress, I believe that the right decision was made.
I believe that a spouse should have the final say in an incapacitated patient’s life decisions. I believe this because when two people become legally married, they become each other’s main support systems. So when major medical emergencies happen, the significant other is the first person to be contacted. They are giving each other their lives, which means that their lives are in each other’s hands. If single, then the parents would definitely be given this responsibility, but if married, it is the spouse that makes these life decisions.
I do not think that we LEGALLY should have to honor a dying patient’s wishes in ending his or her life, but I do think that if a patient is terminally ill and suffering physically, mentally, emotionally or all three, that we should be allowed to relieve them of that suffering if that is their wish. Who are we to deny someone an end to their suffering, especially when we know their death is inevitable? I believe there should be a system in place for people who have been diagnosed with a life ending disease, that if they are truly suffering, and they wish to end their life so as to make the pain go away, then they should be assisted in doing so. That is my opinion.
Peer post two
In the case of Terri Schiavo, I agree completely with the court’s decision to remove her feeding tube. Even though Schiavo did not have a living will to make her wishes known, I feel that her husband knew what her wishes were in her condition. Schiavo had zero quality of life, with zero chance of improvement; her parents were trying to delay the inevitable. Without the assistance of the medical equipment, Schiavo would have been gone years prior. While I do believe that it was a difficult ruling to make, it was necessary. I can’t imagine many people who would want to live in a persistent vegetative state.
I believe that a spouse should have the final say in an incapacitated adult’s life decisions. Once two people enter into a marriage, they become legally bound to one another. Normally, it is this person who knows your thoughts and wishes in instances such as this one. However, I do also think that once you become an adult, married or not, it is a wise decision to have a living will. Even though you trust your spouse, parents, adult children, etc. to make decisions for you, it would be best to have your final wishes in writing to help ease the burden of having to make such a difficult decision.
I’m very much on the fence when it comes to the right to die decision. I completely understand both sides of the argument. I believe it comes down to the individual’s mental capacity for making decisions. In Schiavo’s case, she had no way to communicate her wishes in her current state, therefore making her husband the sole decision maker. I agree with legally honoring a patient’s wishes in circumstances such as this. However, in instances where the patient is of sound mind and body, and is suffering with an illness, I don’t agree with legally honoring their wishes to end their lives. In this type of situation there are many arguments against ending the lives of patients, such as medical mistakes, violation of physician oath, demeaning the value of human life and last but not least, the religious aspect. I agree with living wills, life ending decisions for incapacitated adults, but I don’t agree with choosing the right to die.