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BIOETHICS: TERRI SCHIAVO CASE1BioethicsTerri Schiavo CaseMelissa CooperThis paper is prepared for IHP-420 Ethics and Legal Considerations taught by Mrs. Johnson-Price, RMA, MSA
BIOETHICS: TERRI SCHIAVO CASE2IntroductionThe Terri Schiavo Case is a very publicized bioethics case that became a battle as family members fought in court over Terri’s right-to-life vs. her right-to-die. On February 25, 1990, Terri Schiavo, a married twenty-seven-year-old female, suffered a cardiac arrest, triggered by extreme hypokalemia (low potassium) brought on by an eating disorder, at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, found Terri unresponsive on the floor and called 9-1-1. Despite being successfully resuscitated by emergencypersonnel, Terri had unfortunately had several minutes with lack of oxygen after her cardiac arrest. Dr. Timothy Quill reports that as a result, severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy developed, and during the subsequent months, she exhibited no evidence of higher cortical function. Computed tomographic scans of her brain eventually showed severe atrophy of her cerebral hemispheres, and her electroencephalograms were flat, indicating no functional activity of the cerebral cortex. Her neurologic examinations were indicative of a persistent vegetative state (PVS), which includes periods of wakefulness alternating with sleep, some reflexive responses to light and noise, and some basic gag and swallowing responses, but no signs of emotion, willful activity, or cognition (Quill, 2005). PVS occurs after a coma when a patient is only able to perform involuntary actions on his or her own because the patient loses cognition and has no level of higher consciousness (BASC, 2018). Michael Schiavo was made her legal guardian under Florida law, which designates the spouse as the decision maker above other family members if a patient becomes irreversibly incapacitated and has not designated a health care proxy. After three years of trying traditional and experimental therapies, Mr. Schiavo accepted the neurologists' diagnosis of an irreversible
BIOETHICS: TERRI SCHIAVO CASE3persistent vegetative state. He believed that his wife would not want to be kept alive in her condition, recalling prior statements that she had made, such as “I don't want to be kept alive on a machine.” The Schindler family, however, did not accept the diagnosis of a persistent

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