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Terri Schiavo, what would you do?

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14 years 8 months ago #4367 by Duck
I agree with what Premed wrote in her post.
From what I understand, Terry's spouse now has a common-law-wife,etc. What does he gain from his stance on the issue? Why would he fight the parents to the end? Is he really trying to support Terry or does he have alterior motives? I heard her brother allude to Terry not being happy in the marriage, etc. There certainly seems to be more to this...
Duck

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14 years 8 months ago #4368 by fearlessphoenix
As far at ulterior motives on behalf of her husband I can't imagine them. Any life insurance policy she would have would be eaten up by the medical and legal bills that have undoubtedly accumulated over the last 16 years . . . I just don't see any substantial financial gain to be made if any at all. :no:

I'm of the camp that you leave your parents home when married and your spouse takes their roll in questions of financial, legal, and medical proxy. I made sure that after our wedding when I made up my new living will and power of attorney paperwork that I had a frank and open talk with my parents. I wouldn't want my husband to be battling my parents and I made it very clear, I'm just thankful that everyone agreed with little arguement and discussion with my choices. I'd rather get as much of this out on the table before anything happens.

It makes me sad that this is so very public for their family. . . :(

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14 years 8 months ago #4369 by Drey
Originally posted by PremedRN:

I think it should be the spouse's choice only if the patient's parents are deceased if there is no living will. Who is to say what she REALLY wanted without it?

I absolutely disagree. If your parents have the final say until they're dead, then why do we recognize marriage as the partnership that it is, and why do we make the spouse the next of kin? Why do we make vows to put our spouse above anyone else and share our lives with them? I agree that my parents gave me life, but that does not mean that they forever hold sway over it. In the absence of my being able to speak for myself, I would say my husband is best able to speak for me.

Originally posted by Duck:

From what I understand, Terry's spouse now has a common-law-wife,etc. What does he gain from his stance on the issue? Why would he fight the parents to the end? Is he really trying to support Terry or does he have alterior motives?

Not that it excuses his behavior, but Terri has been in a persistent vegitative state since 1990. That's 15 years, and I would not blame anyone who found it difficult to remain chaste and committed to a woman in a permanent coma for that length of time. Also, a life insurance policy would have been in place before Terri died, and if her husband benefits, that's exactly what a life insurance policy is supposed to do. Let's not treat this as if he killed her for the life insurance.

From what I can see, there is not a good reason for him to keep fighting, which makes me believe his case even more. Why bother to fight unless you truly believed that Terri would not have wanted to exist like this? I'm sure he still cares deeply for her regardless of whatever else is going on. If he did not, I think he would simply get a divorce, relinquishing rights to her parents, and move on with his life.

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14 years 8 months ago #4370 by weirdo
The whole thing has gotten so messy. Really, none of us knows the whole story. Her parents say bad things about him and that their marriage was very unhappy (whose is perfect all the time, though?). He apparently has another "wife" with whom he has had children. But I don't know when that happened, how long he "waited." I wouldn't want my husband to waste the rest of his life pining over me. Anyway, I think the Courts have read more of the record than the legislators have, and so I tend to trust the judges' decision. Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter who we think is right. I think that family's extraordinary and unfortunate story has opened up all of our eyes, though, and made everyone think and talk about these things, which is good.

As for me... I WANT my husband to be taken care of financially when he dies, and I WANT him to find someone else to share his life with and make as happy as he has made me. And if this happened to my husband, he would feel the same, and I would rather carry out his wishes to return to the Lord than divorce the man I love and leave him in the hospital while I move on.

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14 years 8 months ago #4371 by Dental-Mom
The second article says that there was a money settlement in 1993...but doesn't give more details. They won the law suit becuase of the diet pill she took?

He lives with another woman and has 2 children. Good for him to move on. Why is he still married to her? Only he knows.....

I hope the find a fair solution soon.

Dental Mom.

Dental Mom<br />Determination: You don't know what you can do until you try.<br />Applying this summer<br />Dental school 2010!

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14 years 8 months ago #4372 by eeh2004
I did some reading on this case when I was preparing a presentation on eating disorders (it is thought that the original injury was secondary to arrhythmia caused by bulimia). It infuriates me more and more each day to see the issue pushed beyond the family, beyond the courts, and even to the extent that the federal government sees the need to intervene. It infuriates me that this is no longer about Terri Schiavo.

Michael Schiavo would not win a gold star for being the best husband ever prior to Terri's injury. That much is made clear by the media and by Terri's family in numerous Web postings. However, no one save the two people within a marriage truly know the status of that relationship. Not friends, siblings, or parents. Not one of us will ever know the direction that their marriage was taking, and regardless, he was still her legal spouse and they were continuing to live together in 1990 when this occurred. He had the right to medical decision-making as next-of-kin at that time and continues to as her legal guardian. He did win a medical malpractice suit around 1993 to the tune of half a million dollars. He didn't choose to share this with the remainder of the family from what I understand, and this is the point in time at which her family began to petition for legal guardianship. Why didn't he divorce Terri and allow her parents to take over her care? That would have made sense if he were ready to take on a new relationship (as he did). Some reports state that he will benefit from her life insurance policy when she dies and that this is his motivation for having the tube removed. He continues to insist that she would never have wanted to live in this condition and that she made it clear to him verbally when a family member was placed on a ventilator during their marriage.

As a parent, it would crush me to see my helpless child caught in such a situation. It would tear at my soul each day and drain my energies to fight such a long and bitter battle. But I would also struggle with seeing the shell of the person who once was my daughter merely physically exist for years. The essence of who Terri Schiavo was died the day that her cognitive function ceased though her body, and yes, her soul live on. I don't know which would be more unbearable, but whether living or dead their daughter as they knew her is gone. Feeding tubes keep people alive, and sometimes they suffer. Aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs, decubitus ulcers, contractures, infections...I can go on and on. Miracles happen, and I acknowledge that, but she will never be the same, and will likely never regain functioning that will even begin to approach the level that she once enjoyed. Is withholding tube feedings active euthanasia? In the hospital setting, we decline to place feeding tubes at the wish of patients and families on a regular basis and provide them with comfort measures when it is desired. We give pain medications and sometimes IV fluids depending on patient or family wishes. Terri is receiving pain medications via an IV line from what I understand.

Again, though, this is no longer about Terri. Her husband and family have such a deep-seated hatred for one another that is has superceded the original "this is what Terri wanted" argument. And the political involvement is just wrong, outright wrong. :twocents: , and a long one.

Erin, MD/PGY-2

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