Her Vegetative State Caused Congress, President Bush and Even the Pope to Weigh In
Terri Schiavo’s case started long before the cameras appeared. In February 1990, the 26-year-old suffered cardiac arrest and was left in a persistent vegetative state. Initially, Schiavo’s husband and parents cared for her together, exploring potential treatments and rehabilitation. But over time, Schiavo’s husband and parents became locked in a very public battle over whether or not to remove the feeding tube that sustained her.
Michael Schiavo petitioned to have his wife’s feeding tube removed, saying she had told him she would not want to live in this condition. But Terri Schiavo had no living will, and so it was up to the state courts to decide her fate.
As the legal struggle played out, the case divided the country. Before the 15-year battle was over, the Florida legislature, the Florida governor, the U.S. Congress, the President of the United States and even the Pope were involved.
Terri Schiavo’s case also raised an issue that has long plagued the medical community: how to determine the degree of brain function in a nonresponsive patient. Today, many years after Schiavo’s death, new scientific research is underway to try to answer that question.
More Like This
Space Law: The Next Generation
An international treaty laid out the basics of space law in 1967. But without a lot of case history to go on, lawyers today have looked to maritime law and Arctic exploration as they lay the groundwork for how space will be governed.
Trump, Measles, and a Study That Fueled Fear
President Donald Trump has long been a critic of childhood vaccines -- but recently he changed course, urging parents to vaccinate their children.
Migrant Children in Custody: The Long Battle for Protection
The number of immigrant children held in federally contracted shelters reached record levels last year, leading to lawsuits over the Trump administration’s treatment of minors.
Suicide, Veterans and How a Simple Idea Is Trying to Combat a Crisis
As the nation continues to confront an epidemic of suicide, we explore the promising work of Dr. Jerry Motto, who in the 1960s, pioneered a simple, yet surprisingly successful method of treatment that is being implemented today.