Terri Schiavo - December 3, 1963 -- March 31, 2005
Jordan Cross and Cid Davoodi
April 18, 2005
On March 31, 2005, Terri Schiavo passed away after battling starvation and dehydration
for nearly fourteen days. By order of her legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, her
family was not allowed near during her final hours. Some people do not know the
facts about Terri Schiavos life and death.
Her husband claims that Terri verbally
told him that "I don't want to be kept alive on a machine." This,
however, comes as a surprise, to say the least, since Terri was an active member
of the Catholic Church. When Terri's lawyer - three days after she was
cut off from life support - told her that they could connect her back to life
if she tells them to, she made an attempt to speak and tried to save her own
life. But she died before her wishes could be expressed.
A Persistent Vegetative State is defined as severe
brain damage which causes a state of "wakefulness without awareness."
Patients with the following
symptoms are said to be in a Persistent Vegetative State:
- The absence of voluntary action or cognitive
behavior of ANY kind.
- An inability to communicate or interact purposefully
with the environment.
According to medical records, Terri Schiavo was
completely aware of the environment she was in. She tried to physically
herself from irritating or painful
stimulation. She would react to her family members, follow objects with her
eyes and even mumble very small, unclear words from time to time. Her behavior
not meet the medical or statutory definition of Persistent Vegetative State.
So what did Terri really want? Are we to take the
word of a man who has allegedly abused her, even while incapacitated
and has moved on to form a new family
and engaged a new fiancé, or should we allow Terri's poor grieving parents
some shred of hope that one day their daughter may recover.
the astonishing lack of action on Michael Schiavo's part, denying Terri
rehabilitation for 10 years after her accident, I hope that the
answer is clear: when
deciding on someone's life, we should always err on the side of
life because in
the event that it wasn't her wish to die, or that she was somewhat conscious,
we have just condemned an innocent woman to death -- and in such a
fashion that it would be considered a gross human rights violation
if done to anyone
So why, then, should we force this poor, innocent
woman to endure such a death in a society where one of our greatest
values is the protection of those
who can't protect themselves? Or more importantly, why wasn't
this question asked before her feeding tube was removed and she was
forced to starve
to death for 13 days before she finally died?
Jordan Cross and Cid Davoodi are young teenagers living in