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Corruption Chronicles

Fifth Anniversary Of Terri Schiavo’s Death

 

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the gut-wrenching death of a disabled woman who starved and dehydrated after a judicial homicide order was upheld by a Florida appellate court.

Terri Schiavo died on March 31, 2005 because her estranged husband won a court order to kill her by depriving her of food and water. Thirteen painful days after her feeding tube was removed the 41-year-old Schiavo died as her devastated family desperately exhausted legal measures to save her.

Schiavo had suffered heart failure in 1990 at the age of 26 and lapsed into what courts deemed a “persistent vegetative state.” A chemical imbalance evidently caused her heart to stop beating for a few minutes. For nearly a decade, Schiavo’s husband fought to end her life by removing her feeding tube while her parents and brother insisted she be kept alive.

A lengthy legal battle ensued with Schiavo’s parents fighting for guardianship in order to get their daughter medical and rehabilitative treatment. The courts sided with the estranged husband, who had a live-in girlfriend during the decade he tried to kill Schiavo. The couple has two children.

In 2000 a circuit court judge in north Florida granted his request to remove Schiavo’s feeding tube and a series of hearings, appeals and mediation attempts followed. The tube was removed and subsequently reinstated and Republican lawmakers at the state and federal levels passed measures to save Schiavo’s life to no avail.

Her case earned worldwide attention and became a civil rights issue that inspired even the most liberal of activists to petition for her life. Among them was Jesse Jackson who visited the family and asked God and politicians to save Terri. “Without water or food, without even ice cubes for her lips for 12 days she is still alive, “ Jackson said the day before Schiavo died. “That should send a message to all of us.”

Incredibly, this tragic case has been mocked by Hollywood. A popular network television comedy sitcom (Fox’s Family Guy) dedicated an episode to deriding the Schiavo case, referring to the brain-damaged woman as having “mashed potato brains” and suggesting she’s kind of alive and the most expensive plant (vegetable) you’ll ever see. Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, said his family was astonished at the cruelty and bigotry towards his beloved sister.


 


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