Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Insights on MEdicolegal Issues:The right to refuse medical interventions - Theresa Marie "Terri" Schiavo case of United States

In 1990, 27–year–old Theresa Marie "Terri" Schiavo suffered cardiopulmonary arrest in her home leading to a persistent vegetative state requiring artificial nutrition and hydration by feeding tube. After eight years without neurologic recovery, her husband and guardian requested that her feeding tube be removed, but her parents objected and the case went to court. The judge determined that there was "clear and convincing evidence" that she would not have wanted to be kept alive in this state. Despite several attempts on the part of Schiavo’s parents’ to prevent removal of her feeding tube, including claims that she could recover, the Florida state Supreme Court affirmed that her husband could exercise his right and discontinue treatments. The US Supreme Court stood by the lower court’s decision and refused to hear the case.

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