Terry Schiavo

Essay by missyjr1University, Bachelor'sA-, May 2010

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

Downloaded 52 times

Ethics Case Study � PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT �5�

The uses of four main ethical principles are applied in most health care ethical concerns: beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice (Mueller, 2009). This paper will focus on the case of Terri Schiavo and the ethical principles as they apply to this case.

A potassium imbalance causing Terri Schiavo to suffer cardiac arrest became a symbol for those fighting for the right-to-life movement. Terri did not have a living will, but according to her husband, she had made her wishes known to him that she did not want to be kept alive in a vegetative state. This case illustrates the need for every competent adult to execute a living will expressing the wishes regarding use of life-prolonging procedures (Stuart, 2009). This story of life has changed the ways many people view death.

A living will legally expresses what one wants to occur if terminally ill or unable to speak.

It also states who would be put in charge of making final decisions. This would allow doctors to know to use artificial means to keep the body alive. This case offered a lesson of importance of expressing one's views in a legal and effective manner.

The legal issues were complicated but followed three basic themes. The first consideration was who is able to act on behalf of the patient. The courts consistently ruled that the spouse was the most qualified to fill that role of surrogate. In the state of Florida, there is a legal framework for determining who will act as the patient's surrogate, in effect a chain of command. The order of succession is as follows: judicially appointed surrogate, the patient's spouse, an adult child of the patient, or majority of adult children, a parent of the patient, an adult sibling, or...