8 1 Final Project II Bioethics.docx - 1 Milestone Three...

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1Milestone Three: Terry Schiavo Bioethical CaseAnne MurthaInstructor: Beverly Duncan, R.N., MHSA, CPHQIHP-420 Ethical & Legal Considerations8-1 Final Project II: BioethicsIntroductionThe Terri Schiavo case was a right-to-die case that took place over the course of several years, from 1990 to 2005. The national legal case actually took flight in 2003. It all started back in February of 1990 when twenty-six year old Terri Schiavo suffered a cardiac arrest and her brain went several hours without oxygen resulting in a profound brain injury. It was due to the lack of oxygen that left Terri severely brain damaged and in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS), as per The New York Times (April 20, 2014).According to The New York Times (April 20, 2014) “A Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) is a condition where parts of the brain that controls thinking and awareness in humans is either damaged or destroyed and only the brain stem that controls a person’s reflexes for breathing remain intact”. From Quill (2005), we learn that PVS does include periods of wakefulness alternating with sleep and the patient will have some reflexive responses to light and noise with some gag and swallowing responses. However, in a PVS patient they will have no signs of emotion or willful activity or cognition since there is no conscious awareness. Terri’s extreme hypokalemia, a condition that was brought on by an eating disorder that Terri hadbeen battling for years as per Quill (2005). Hypokalemia is where the potassium levels in Terri’s
2Milestone Three: Terry Schiavo Bioethical Caseblood were extremely low, which affected her electrolytes for nerve and muscle cell functioning surrounding Terri’s heart, which caused her cardiac arrest, The Mayo Clinic. To further expand on Terri’s condition after her cardiac arrest according to Quill (2005), in the subsequent months Terri’s conditioned worsened that resulted in a severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a profound brain injury and showed no evidence of any higher cortical function. Quill (2005), Terri’s electroencephalograms were flat meaning her cerebral cortex

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