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1Final Project II: BioethicsWilliam J Pesillo IIINursing, Southern New Hampshire UniversityIHP-420 – Ethical and Legal Considerations John RhodesApril 26, 2020
2Final Project II: BioethicsIntroductionThe case of Terri Schiavo brought forth national attention on the impact of a living will and other end of life ethical dilemmas. On February 25, 1990, Terri Schiavo, a married, twenty-six-year-old woman living in St. Petersburg, Florida was found unconscious at her home. The autopsy revealed her potassium level was found to be abnormally low, which caused unconsciousness, and her brain to be deprived of oxygen long enough to leave her in a persistent vegetative state, which according to Florida statue means, “permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness” in which no recovery was possible (Koch, 2005, p. 376). Terri could breatheon her own but required a feeding tube to stay alive. The stakeholders in this case are Michael Schiavo (Terri Shiavo’s husband) and Robert and Mary Schindler, who are Terri’s parents. The bioethical issue in this case is that Terri Schiavo did not have a living will in place, so her husband, Michael Schiavo, said that Terri would not want to live in this persistent vegetative state and ordered the feeding tube to be removed. Terri’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, refuted Michael’s claim saying that with therapy she will recover and fought to keep Terri’s feeding tube in place. Michael Schiavo sued Terri’s doctors in a medical malpractice lawsuit for failing to properly diagnose her condition, which resulted in a reward for one million dollars to Terri Schiavo, but under Michael Schiavo’s control. The 15-year case between Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers, had devastating effects on Terri Schiavo. After several court appeals and political interventions at state and national levels, Terri Schiavo’s “feeding tube was removed and reinserted three times before the final removal” (Fremgen, 2016, p. 335). Terri passed away on March 31, 2005 just thirteen days after her feeding tube was removed, at forty-one years old. This case revealed moral dilemmas regarding end-of-life care such as the absence of advanced
3directives, vegetative state, brain damage, and death by withholding treatment. This case presentshealthcare professionals with an ethical dilemma because taking Terri’s feeding tube out would essentially kill her which goes against the morality of all healthcare professionals. Nurses and doctors take an oath and follow a strict code of ethics that guide the professionals in helping not

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