Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Life That Matters: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo -- A Lesson for Us All Hardcover – March 27, 2006
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
THE SCHINDLER FAMILY lives and works in Florida. All of their profits from this book are being donated to the organization they created in Terri's name, The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, which fights for the lives of the country's most vulnerable citizens. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
All in all, a worthwhile story, told with dignity, of a sad milestone in modern American history.
From attorney David Gibbs' work, I first learned that Terri Schiavo had been exceedingly more responsive and interactive than the public was led to believe. Even so, her cognitive level should have never determined whether she received food and water! As the Schindlers explain in this current work, "We had to argue that Terri wasn't PVS - even though she didn't fall into the PVS criteria - because only then would she be allowed to live. But why did Terri have to prove anything? She's a human being" (p. 230)
Way back in 1995, #120 of the Vatican's "Charter Health Care Workers" stated that "The administration of food and liquids, even artificially, is part of the normal treatment always due to the patient when this is not burdensome for him: their undue suspension could be real and properly so-called euthanasia." In 1999, in the Schindlers' & Schiavos' native Pennsylvania, the Catholic Bishops issued a revision of "Nutrition & Hydration: Moral Considerations." As per the bishops, "the patient in the persistent vegetative state is not imminently terminal (provided that there is no other pathology present). The feeding...is serving a life-sustaining purpose. Therefore, it remains an ordinary means of sustaining life and should be continued."
In spite of the above earlier statements (particularly the one from the Vatican), it appears that MISINTERPRETATION of one 2001 sentence from the 4th edition of the U.S. Catholic Bishops "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" fostered confusion about Church teaching, during the agonized suffering of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, her parents, and her siblings: "The USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities' report...points out the necessary distinctions between questions already resolved by the magisterium and those requiring further reflection, as, for example, the morality of withdrawing medically assisted hydration and nutrition from a person who is in the condition that is recognized by physicians as the 'persistent vegetative state' (PVS)." Michale Schiavo actually brags of being backed by at a trial by a supposed expert on Catholic medical ethics. When the Schindlers tried to appeal to their bishop, Michael Schiavo's team reportedly had the gall to cry witness tampering!
In his 2004 address to the International Congress on Life-Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State, it appears that Pope John Paul II was directly intervening to bring clarity to Terri Schiavo's situation: "The sick person in a vegetative state, awaiting recovery or a natural end, still has the right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.), and to the prevention of complications related to his confinement to bed. He also has the right to appropriate rehabilitative care and to be monitored for clinical signs of eventual recovery....the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act....The evaluation of probabilities, founded on waning hopes for recovery when the vegetative state is prolonged beyond a year, cannot ethically justify the cessation or interruption of minimal care for the patient, including nutrition and hydration. Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal." In response, Richard Doerflinger, chair of the aforementioned USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities stated: "With the Pope's statement, the Church's teaching authority has rejected each aspect of the theory that opposes assisted feeding for patients in a PVS."
While I feel challenged to understand how there could have been ANY remaining confusion, in 2007 the Vatican provided "Responses to Certain Questions of the USCCB Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration": "The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented....A patient in a 'permanent vegetative state' is a person with fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food even by artificial means."
In 2009, the 5th edition of the U.S. Catholic Bishops "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" brought more clarity to Directive 58: "In principal, there is a moral obligation to provide patients with food and water, including medically assisted nutrition and hydration, for those who cannot take food orally."
As the Schindlers eloquently conclude, "Terri's tragic and needless death, and her life as a disabled woman, have forced us as a society to confront our prejudices against the disabled" (p. 229).
One final thought - While we may never know for certain why Terri Schiavo collapsed in 1990, "Silent Witness : The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo's Death" explores an alternative explanation to what is commonly assumed.