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Debate Case Study Essay Sample

Debate Case Study Pages
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Life sustaining treatments should be continued for patients in persistent vegetative states. All life is sacred and worthy of preservation, no matter what the condition is. There is currently no evidence that supports patients in persistent vegetative states do not feel pain or process sounds and discussions that are occurring around them. “. Descriptions of nonpurposeful behaviors as purposeful—smiling, laughing—can cause confusion and misunderstanding,” (Racine, Amaram, & Karczewska,, 2008, p. 1031). Schiavo’s parents had video tapes of Terry smiling and showing signs of purposeful behavior. Though Terri was severely brain damaged, she was able to maintain a blood pressure and breathe on her won, unassisted by a ventilator.

Recovery from the vegetative states can occur, but many live in the persistent vegetative state for months or years if provided with adequate nutritional functions. The importance of life and God’s will is a predominant basis for Christianity. According to Pope John Paul II, “the intrinsic value and personal dignity of every human being does not change, no matter what the concrete circumstances of his or her life.”(p.368). Terri was a devout Catholic per her parents, and it would have been completely out of character for her to not want to sustain life. She believed in the sanctity of life. A close friend of Terri’s testified that she had verbalized in the past that she believed in life sustaining treatments, but a court ruled against her and her parents in favor of testimony from Michael and his family that rebutted that claim.

Decisions about life sustaining treatments are taken away from the family only if it is unclear as to who should be the family surrogate or if the appointed family surrogate has a conflict of interest and may be unable to act in the patient’s behalf. So when Michael Schiavo was received the million dollars from the malpractice suit, he was unable to act in Terri’s best interests. When this happens, a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court. Normally, these decisions are kept in the clinical area and out of the courts hands. During the malpractice suit in 1992, Michael made no mention of his wife’s alleged wish to die and conversely pleaded for the opportunity to personally take care of his wife at home for the rest of his life. He sought $20 million to cover the cost of her future medical and neurological care, estimating her life expectancy to be 50 years. (Lynne, 2005). This life ending debate was a decision based purely on greed and money. Michael did not take Terri’s wishes into consideration, her ability to breathe and smile on her own, nor her religious beliefs. He simply ended her life based upon his desire to move on with someone else and the money he won off of Terri’s misfortune. References:

Lynne, D. (2005, March 24). the whole Terri Schiavo story. WorldNetDaily. Retrieved from http://www.wnd.com/2005/03/29516/ Racine, E., Amaram, R., & Karczewska,, M. (2008, September). Media coverage of the persistent vegetative state and end-of-life decision-making. Neurology, 71(13), 1027–1032. doi:: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000320507.64683.ee

Rebuttal:
A discussion about the sanctity of sustaining life and the quality of life does not address the fundamental question: What would Terri want and what are in her best interests? Terri was a devout Catholic and per her parents, would want to continue life sustaining treatment. She has a good friend to whom she had discussions with regarding this issue, but because of an erroneous court ruling, was the conversation was disregarded and Michael Schiavo was allowed to make decisions regarding his wife’s right to life issues. Decisions about LSTs are taken away from the family only if it is unclear as to who should be the family surrogate or if the appointed family surrogate has a conflict of interest and may be unable to act in the patient’s behalf. So when Michael Schiavo was received the million dollars from the malpractice suit, he was unable to act in Terri’s best interests.

When this happens, a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court. Normally, these decisions are kept in the clinical area and out of the courts hands. During the malpractice suit in 1992, Michael made no mention of his wife’s alleged wish to die and conversely pleaded for the opportunity to personally take care of his wife at home for the rest of his life. He sought $20 million to cover the cost of her future medical and neurological care, estimating her life expectancy to be 50 years. (Lynne, 2005). This life ending debate was a decision based purely on greed and money. Michael did not take Terri’s wishes into consideration, her ability to breathe and smile on her own, nor her religious beliefs. He simply ended her life based upon his desire to move on with someone else and the money he won off of Terri’s misfortune. Lynne, D. (2005, March 24). the whole Terri Schiavo story. WorldNetDaily. Retrieved from http://www.wnd.com/2005/03/29516/

Rebuttal:
There is currently no evidence that supports patients in persistent vegetative states do not feel pain or process sounds and discussions that are occurring around them. “Descriptions of nonpurposeful behaviors as purposeful—smiling, laughing—can cause confusion and misunderstanding,” (Racine, Amaram, & Karczewska,, 2008, p. 1031). Schiavo’s parents had video tapes of Terry smiling and showing signs of purposeful behavior. Recovery from the vegetative states can occur, but many live in the persistent vegetative state for months or years if provided with adequate nutritional functions. When the feeding tube was removed, so was all hope for Terry to continue nutritional support. Her body could no longer repair itself. There is no specific timeline for all bodies to repair and recover from a persistent vegetative state.

Racine, E., Amaram, R., & Karczewska,, M. (2008, September). Media coverage of the persistent vegetative state and end-of-life decision-making. Neurology, 71(13), 1027–1032. doi:: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000320507.64683.ee

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