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Theresa Schiavo Law Case Study - Research Paper Example

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Case Study – Theresa Schiavo (Add (Add (Add Date) Case Study – Theresa Schiavo The plight of Terri (Theresa) Schiavo gives a tragic valuable case study. The conflicts and misunderstandings enveloped within Terri have been well discussed by several personalities in the fields of medicine, law, and ethics…
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Theresa Schiavo Law Case Study
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Case Study – Theresa Schiavo (Add (Add (Add Case Study – Theresa Schiavo The plight of Terri (Theresa) Schiavo gives a tragic valuable case study. The conflicts and misunderstandings enveloped within Terri have been well discussed by several personalities in the fields of medicine, law, and ethics. In the midst of media saturation and higher public interest, large amount of confusion hang back about the diagnosis of unrelenting vegetative state of the case, and the judicial process and ethical framework related to Terri’s care. Several issues are associated with the Terri Schiavo case, such as ethical, psychological, medical, religious, legal, and philosophical. Researchers, on the Terri Schiavo case have analyzed what would happen when a patient lacks advance directives, or when one is not able to express one’s own wants due to cognitive loss or being in Persistent Vegetative State (PVS). The lack of legalized documentation, at last brought in an ethical situation. Stopping nourishment for patients who happen to be in a constant vegetative stage is undoubtedly an exposition of ethical dilemma. Issues regarding ethical values directly pose questions about quality of life, standards of living, responsibilities, and choices of the family members. The Terri Schiavo case is associated with a young woman, spending approximately 15 years of her life in a vegetative state. It is also concerned about the conflicts and issues occurred between Terri’s parents and her husband. The central issue of the case was about who must decide her fate. As described in Schiavo Case Resources (2006), in 1990, Terri collapsed from cardiac arrest, stopped breathing and suffered from severe brain damage. She was lying for 15 years, the period which the doctors diagnosed as a vegetative state. She was sustained by a feeding tube, which later became a much argued issue in the court battle between her husband and her parents. She was affected by a heart attack at the age of 27 as a result f electrolyte imbalance secondary to a suspected struggle with bulimia (Schiavo Case Resources, 2006). Terri’s parents wanted to keep the feeding tube for sustaining her life. On the other hand, her husband wanted to get the feeding tube removed. The Schiavo case seems to be very complex with many points to consider. One of them was the argument upon diagnosing the Permanently Vegetative State (PVS) versus a minimal conscious state of the person. Michael Schiavo, her husband argued that Terri was in a permanently vegetative state while her parents argued that she was only in a minimally conscious state. One important ethical question that arises at this situation is when does life end or where. Robert and Mary Schindler seemed more reasonable on their decision than that of Michael Schiavo. They were willing to take up the moral obligation of the issue. They had the right to petition court decision as they were more justifiable than her husband. The ethical element of the issue was looked into by her parents by deciding to preserve the feeding tube. In the beginning, both Michael Schiavo, her spouse, and Terri’s parents were together taking caring of Terri along with the staff at a hospital. But later, Michael Schiavo was appointed legal guardian and surrogate in caring Terri. However, on the ethical perspective, her parents had the moral obligation to continue Terri’s care as her parents. The decision to remove the feeding tube and slowly letting her die cannot be substantiated as the intermittent reflexive smiling and other behavioral changes in Terri had given hope to people who cared for her. The arguments of Michael Schiavo cannot be justified in any case, though his intentions were given attention during the case. He had many conflicts of interest within himself in taking care of Terri which cannot be simply rationalized with any morale concern. In letting Terri’s doctors to take off her feeding tube, he stood to get benefited from a malpractice settlement. He was much inclined to his girlfriend. Such misleading intention of Michael Schiavo sparked the ethical concerns of the community. The case analysis shows that the ethical principles were violated in the case of Theresa (Terri) Schiavo. As Beauchamp and Childress (1994) point out, the principle of Beneficence asks the clinician to promote the interests of the patient, as well as the non-maleficence-duty demand for not to do any harm (p.259). in the given case, both these ethical principles were seen violated. According to Ashcroft, Dawson, and Draper (2007, p. 5), many fundamental rules in the common morality are the obligation to avoid causing any harm, which include guidelines such as, do not kill, do not cause pain, do not disable, etc. Besides, the principles provide respect for the patient’s autonomy, which keeps up the parent’s health related values. As Jeffrey (2006, p. 35) points out, autonomy can be referred as the ability to think, decide and act on the basis of such thinking and decision, freely and independently. The parents seemed deprived of their right to preserve the life of their daughter. Finally, according to the National Institutes of Health, the justice element of the ethical principle demands to treat the patient fairly according to their medical needs. References Ashcroft, R. E., Dawson, A, Draper, H & McMillan, R. J. (2007). Principles of Health Care Ethics. England: John Wiley and Sons. Beauchamp, T. L & Childress, J. F. (1994). Principles of Biomedical Ethics. UK: Oxford University Press. Jeffrey, D. (2006). Patient-centered Ethics and Communication at the End of Life. UK: Radcliffe Publishing. National Institute of Health: Office of Human Subjects Research. Department of Health Education. (18 April, 1979). “Regulations and ethical guidelines: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research”. Retrieved from http://ohsr.od.nih.gov/guidelines/belmont.html Schiavo case resources: Key events in the case of Theresa Marie Schiavo. (13 October, 2011). University of Miami. Retrieved from http://www6.miami.edu/ethics/schiavo/timeline.htm Read More
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