The Terry Schiavo Case essay
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As of the 25 day of February, 2005 there was an order given by the district circuit court in a county in Florida. The county's name was Pinellas and the order maintained that the supply of nutrition and basic essentials to a patient named Theresa Schiavo be stopped at a date given as march the 18th of the same year. An attempt give an emergency motion to delay the procedure flopped and the guardian, ordered to oversee the termination of the sources of nutrition and hydration to the patient. This is according to an application by Robert and Mary Schiavo (2005) on behalf of their daughter.
How did this case reach the point one may ask, and the explanation is quite intriguing. The patient, Theresa Schiavo married Michael Schiavo in 1984 and they had six years of a normal marriage. Then in 1990, Theresa had a heart attack at the age of twenty-seven because of a potassium imbalance. She never regained consciousness until the present day because of her condition. She suffered a vegetative state all the while until her guardian decided to remove her status and euthanize her, causing her death. This is the point at which he differed with her parents, three years after her death.
They literarily stopped talking altogether because of his stand in the matter. In response, Michael put the matter in the hands of the court. A trial took place, at which sides, the parents, and the husband presented their cases. Thereafter, the court authorized the termination of the life supporting services that served Theresa. The court gathered the evidence and surmised that there was little hope that Theresa would come out of her state. It also stated that Theresa herself would suggest the termination of these services if she had been conscious at the time.
The severity of her condition assessed by the district court damned her chances to get a stay in the motion. According to Senate amendment (2003), she was in a permanent state of vegetative sleep. She could not wake up and her brain had almost lost all function. Since the heart attack, it had been steadily deteriorating due to lack of oxygen. The cerebral cortex sustained so much damage that at some points, spinal fluid replaced it in big quantities. This condition was incurable by human medicine, at least not yet. It would take divine intervention to change the situation in her favor, Guardianship of Schiavo, appeal statement, (2001).
Despite all of this, the courts received petitions for experimental treatments for the ward that the patient inhabited at the time. The experimental treatment featured introduction of new treatment procedure but the motion received denial from the courts on February 15 of the same year (Circuit Court Order, 2005). The case elicited wide response from the media and even attention from the Supreme Court and congress. Everybody became interested in the case that sparked a new debate on the value of human life (Committee on Government Reform Report, 2005).
The litigation by the Schindlers' continued and they continued to file motions and suits for the stay of the order. The situation became quite desperate for them in their quest for relief of some sort. They received some relief for their struggle as the US president at the time George Bush signed a bill that would enable them to get another chance at fighting for their daughter's life (Washington times 2005). It allowed them to petition a federal judge to look over their case.
The moral and personal obligation of maintaining her health kept her parents going but for a long time her health budget was a secret. It was only when Barbara Weller who was a lawyer for the Schindler parents brought it in the open. She stated that Theresa's hospice contrary to popular belief was cheap. The feeding tube was disconnected and literally, no rehabilitation was there. Her doctor gave her minimal visits and she had a Do Not Resuscitate order. Clearly, she needed less maintenance than most believed but received a lot of human care (Los Angeles Times, 2005).
The situation at the political level did not look that good. The governor of the state received pressure from the factions that included the church. He chose not to revoke the order that would bring back Theresa's' feeding tubes. A representative for Governor Bush defended him in a statement saying that the progress made up-to-date in the case was because of the intervention of the governor himself in the issue (New York Times, 2005). The appropriate example of his help in the issue would be the executive order issued as of 2003, which stayed the orders for withholding of treatment from Theresa.
The politics of the situation had the world torn at an interesting angle. The case elicited mixed reaction from various countries around the world and began a debate on use of resources. The third world countries argued that the use of resources on a patient like Schiavo for a period of fifteen years was a disgraceful waste of energy. The Indians argued that use of energy and time in that way killed the family rather than saved the individual. Some hospitals in South Africa exhibited similar reactions, relating the situation to present circumstances that they experienced. The case, although encouraged an increase in support for euthanasia cases throughout Europe (Ford, 2005).
The life of Theresa before the accident did not come into perspective, however, during the case. Her personality was quite adorable according to (The Washington Post, 2005). She was an innocent character that was a nerd as a child. She had a sweet personality was the type that would marry her first love. The article revealed the woman's life in a perspective that others had not. It was quite clear that the world forgot the meaning of her life. The exposure that she got of course drew analysis of whether she was suffering in her state.
The doctor's opinion that she would survive with minimal pain due to dehydration elicited outcry from missionaries who dealt with similar cases in poor countries. According to them, there was nothing peaceful about dying of dehydration (New York Times, 2005). At this point, the situation did not look good for the patient. The parents kept losing the legal disputes all the way to the Supreme Court (Reuters, 2005). In fact, the president stated there was little he could do at the time but he hoped that the federal courts would be sympathetic (New York Times, 2005).
The senate rejected a motion to keep the patient alive on the same day that the president issued his statement of having best wishes for her family. Reality began to set into the parents at this point that it was time to let go and have their daughter die in peace. There were uses of the tragedy for personal political gain. Some republicans for one took the opportunity to agitate for abortion rights and made a big case about the state murdering its own citizens. In this way, it made a bid for 'family values' to look as the heroes in the situation.
There are views that the termination of the patient's life was not ethical in the first place, contrary to popular belief. A certain doctor by the name of Dr Cheshire stated that one should not conclude that the patient is useless in the first place. She had survived with the condition for the past fifteen or so years. She deserved to have a chance at survival, (New York Times, 2005). The perspective echoed in an article by Thomas Sowell, stating that she was not getting special permission to pass on to a better place. She was receiving an execution courtesy of the state, itself (Washington Times, 2005).
There was some blow back in the House of Representatives when an openly gay democrat stood by himself in outrage. He stated that the government should keep its innuendos out of family business as was stated by the makers of the constitution in the first place. The democratic side had kept audibly mum on the agenda (Washington Post, 2005). The claim did not elicit any reaction from the major contenders such as Hillary Clinton and Kerry. It is not hard to understand why because the issue would have carried massive votes.
If any of them appeared on the media, and burned themselves, because of their stand on the issue it would greatly affect the sway of their votes. A wrong move by any of the major players in this stand could affect who becomes president. A doctor examined condition of the patient for a few weeks and ended up giving an opinion contrary to the courts (Los Angeles Times.com, 2005). Therefore, it seems that as the courts and the rest of the world argued on a silly perspective on life of a human being, it seems that the real victim was suffering all the while.