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Regarding The Terri Schiavo Case


Regarding The Terri Schiavo Case

This press release is written in response to the recent confusion regarding the circumstances surrounding the case of American woman Terri Schiavo.

We are particularly concerned with comments being made that Terri was being kept alive by unnecessary means and that her death, as a result of removing her feeding tube, would simply be a case of “nature taking its course”.

Our organisation has been following this case for over six months and we felt that it was important to make contact with you to let you know about some of the details of this case that you may not be aware of.

1. Terri Schiavo is not being kept alive by machine. She has a fully functioning heart, lungs, and other major organs.

2. The feeding tube that has been removed does not “keep her alive” in the same way that an artificial respirator, etc would. The feeding tube was inserted into her abdomen and provides her with fluids and sustenance. She has this feeding tube because she cannot swallow. This is not extraordinary life support it is simply treating a patient in the usual and humane way by providing them food and water.

3. As per the instructions of her husband, Terri has not had any meaningful therapy since 1991. This is despite the fact that many competent medical professionals have publicly stated that she could benefit from such therapy.

4. Terri Schiavo will not die a peaceful or natural death if her feeding tube is not reinserted. She will starve and dehydrate to death. This is an excruciating and inhumane way to die. The tube does not keep her alive, it simply provides her with the fluids and sustenance that all of us need to survive.

5. Terri is not in a Persistent Vegetative State. Dr. Victor Gambone, part of a team hand-picked by Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, shortly before he filed to have Terri’s feeding removed testified that he was surprised to see Terri’s level of awareness. 14 independent medical professionals (6 of them neurologists) have given either statements or testimony that Terri is NOT in a Persistent Vegetative State.

6. Terri’s has left no Living Will or previous instructions expressing a desire to end her life in such a circumstance as this. This serious course of action has been undertaken based only on the verbal claims of Michael Schiavo, claims which have been seriously questioned by Terri’s parents.

This case is not a simple matter of someone having their life unnecessarily prolonged through the use of extraordinary life support and there are many questions relating to the initial injuries that lead to Terri’s condition and the way she has been treated since that need serious investigation.

No matter what views an individual may hold about this case there is no doubt that Terri’s death would be cruel and inhumane and that it would be instigated without Terri’s consent.

Many countries will be looking to the outcome of Terri’s case as a guide for future legislation regarding the legalisation of euthanasia.

We ask the New Zealand media to research this case more thoroughly and to provide objective and balanced reporting of this life or death situation.


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