Case Analysis-Terri Schiavo
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Terri Schiavo was a legal case in the United States of America that involved the parents of Teresa Marie Schiavo and her legal guardians. Teresa Schiavo was commonly referred to as Terri. Terri was the main subject of this legal case. In 1990, she collapsed at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida due to cardiac arrest. Her brain was damaged due to ineffective supply of oxygen, and she remained in a coma for two months. Her condition was elevated to vegetative state. Doctors tried to restore Terry to the state of awareness through physical and experimental therapy. In 1998, her husband felt that her feeding tube be eliminated, and he filed an appeal in line with the Florida Statutes contained in section 765.401. Terri’s parents who claimed that she was in her conscious state objected this. The issue reached the level where the only solution could be found from the court. The court held that Terri did not wish to continue with the life prolonging measures. Her feeding tube was thus removed, but it was later reinserted after the court gave an injunction to stop the removal of the feeding tube.
In 2005, a court in Penillas County ordered that her feeding tube is removed. This led to numerous appeals in courts concerning the issue. The most significant appeal was the one signed by the then US president George W. Bush, to keep her alive. The appeals in the federal courts come and passed, but the origin decision of removing her feeding tube was up held. The tube was removed on 18 March 2005, and; unfortunately, she passed on just a few days prior to the removal. An individual is obliged to turn down medical care if one feels he is all right. For instance, the court asserted that Terri did not wish to continue with the life pro-longing measures. This meant she did not wish to continue with the medical care in the long- run. This was her right and no one could object to it. Her wish against medical care was to be adequately addressed because there was a feeling that she was self supportive.
The case brings out both moral and ethical issues. The moral issue drawn from the case is greed. It is perceived that Terri’s husband takes the decision to have the feeding tube disconnected just because of his greed to posses Terri’s estates after her demise. Greed is the worst part of life that makes individuals decide anything malicious against others. For instance, Terri’s husband was aware that the removal of the tune could result in the ultimate death of his wife, but he did not care. This was against her parents’ wishes. The husband was also aware that Terri was going to die intestate. This meant he could be the ultimate owner of the vast estates left behind. In this case, I would prefer that Terri be cared for in the life prolonging medical care to keep her for a longer time. This is just the human position to take because each one of us has a right to live until the right time for death comes. In addition, no one is supposed to terminate the life of another individual due to the greed of acquiring the remaining estates and property.
The theory of human life and how best to live would be vital in explaining this ethical issue. All humans have a right to life and their lives are valuable. Life should thus be treated as a vital gift to humans that cannot be compared to matters such as property. Human beings must keep in mind that all other individuals have a right to existence and achievement of their dreams whichever even if their condition is unpredictable.
Terri would ultimately die. This is because the tube that supports her life would be eliminated thus exposing her to death. She would not be able to survive any longer, as there are no support systems for her feeding mechanisms. Her husband would enrich himself. This is because it is in his best of interest that Terry dies and leaves behind the estates. He would thus gain from the death of Terri due to his greedy behavior. The doctors would be defeated to make a choice between supporting life or killing. The doctor’s duty is to facilitate the healing of an individual and not to kill. The elimination of the tube would be a way of killing Terri; this would leave them in a dilemma regarding what to do. The taxpayers would have to have to pay more to support the life of Terri if the tube is not eliminated. The parents would end up losing their beloved daughter due to the elimination of the tube. Terri’s parents would have supported my ethical position to have Terri continue living because she is their daughter and they still cherish her. On the other hand, her husband would be against this because he needs Terri’s estates after her demise.
The health policy consideration in this case is that an individual is attended to according to his wish. The law asserts that an individual can choose the kind of attention he needs. If one feels that his condition is too critical and could not survive any longer, he has a right to call off medical care for self-support. In addition, the health policy provides that an individual would be cared for according to his wish. For instance, Terri’s husband claims that she did not wish to continue with the prolonged medical care and her wishes were ultimately addressed.
The health issues relating to individuals are vital and should be treated with the utmost care. Tong (2000) asserts that matters relating to the lives of other people should be put into consideration before making any decision relating to their further treatment. Due care should be the guiding principle to ensure that all other individuals have a right to life. Human beings should not give up even if they are in a critical state that is perceived so complicated. For instance, everyone should have supported the issue that Terri stays with the tube for a longer period in order to ensure she continues living.
The ethical issue arising from the case could have been avoided. For instance, if a will had been earlier drafted the husband could not have pushed for the removal of the tube. He would have known his position in the will in advance and thus the greed to own Terri’s estates would be eliminated. These issues would not have arisen. In addition, it could be avoided by mutual agreement on the course of action needed. If the parents and the husband had talked about the issue, there could be no conflict of interest. They could have decided on one course of action, and they would have pursued. They would have probably settled on the course of action that is beneficial to both of them. This would assist in saving the life of Terri. This basic issue could have been solved in an easier manner if each party was told of the benefits of saving Terri’s life.
In conclusion, the Terry Schiavo’s case spanned across many years and various questions abound regarding the validity of the decision argued by different parties concerning whether she should be allowed to live via life support, or her life be terminated. Thus, the case arises different ethical issues.
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