Bioethics: Terry Schiavos Case - Paper Example

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416 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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The bioethical case considered is Terry Schiavos case that raised questions regarding end of life issues. Schiavo was in a vegetative state for 15 years. As Clyde Haberman (2014) indicates, the stakeholders that were involved in her case were inclusive of politicians, her family, and the court. After her collapse on February 25, 1990, Ms. Schiavo was not receiving enough oxygen in her brain, leaving her in a vegetative state (Haberman, 2014). The bioethical issue that arose from her case was centered on the end-of-life decisions. Medical concerns that might lead to end-of-life issues cannot only be challenging to individuals in the healthcare field but the families of the patient as well.

According to Porter, Johnson, and Warren (2005), bioethical issues related to the right of an individual to live or die is legally complex as well as culturally sensitive. The legal and healthcare professionals involved in Schiavos case could not ascertain whether her condition would be reversible or otherwise. Even though the courts were supporting her husband, politicians were against it, leading to the passing of Floridas State Legislature declaring the move by the court as unconstitutional. However, a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court supported the idea that the then governor, Jeb Bush, violated the constitutional tenet that addresses the idea of separation of powers, leading to order that the feeding tube should be removed (, 2017).

The addressed bioethical issue reshaped the norms or circumstances surrounding the notion of natural death. Karnik and Kanekar (2016) argue that it is important to determine whether it is possible to prolong the life of a terminally ill patient since it affects the decision-making process regarding the end-of-life ethical issues. Following Ms. Schiavos death, the autopsy revealed that her condition could not be reversed. For this reason, the healthcare professionals involved in the case followed provisions contained in the healthcare directives to make their decision. For instance, the healthcare professionals had to make their decision not to resuscitate based on the provisions contained in advance directives.


References (2017). FindLaw Legal News: Special Coverage: Terri Schiavo Case: Legal Issues Involving Healthcare Directives, Death, and Dying. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from

Haberman, C. (2017). From Private Ordeal to National Fight: The Case of Terri Schiavo. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from

Karnik, S., & Kanekar, A. (2016). Ethical Issues Surrounding End-of-Life Care: A Narrative Review. Healthcare, 4(2), 24.Porter, T., Johnson, P., & Warren, N. (2005). Bioethical Issues Concerning Death. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, 28(1), 85-92.

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