Terri Shiavo – Her Life Due Process and Death
By James Constant
Copyright © 2005 by James Constant
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Florida's Rule of Law was inconsistent with the 5th Amendment and arbitrary in taking Terri Shiavo's life
In 1990, just starting off her marriage, the young lass had a stroke which left her in a vegetative state confined to bed and in the care of physical therapists, nurses, her husband and parents. In 1993, after a medical-malpractice jury awarded him $1 million for Terri's long term care, for misdiagnosing her condition, Terri's husband began to seek her death. Terri's parents sued to have their son-in-law dismissed as their daughter's guardian and in 1998 the husband asked the courts to remove the feeding tube inserted into Terri's body that kept her alive. The tube was out for a few days before another judge ordered it restored. In 2003, the feeding tube was removed a second time after federal courts refused to intervene. The devastated parents kept trying and, after 15 years of legal proceedings, and repeated appeals, the courts ordered removal of the feeding tube and after 14 days Terri died on 31 March, 2005. Terri's death warrant was rendered in a 2002 decision by a Florida court which held that Terri's wishes were guided by a Florida Supreme Court case called Guardianship of Estelle M. Browning establishing three tests one of which was that "the evidence of the patient's oral evidence is reliable". The court cited testimony from the husband's brother and sister-in-law, who said Terri had said "I don't want to be kept alive on a machine" which, the court said, "rises to the level of clear and convincing evidence". The rulings against Terri's parents were made by the Florida Supreme Court: five times; U. S. Federal courts: five times; and the U. S. Supreme Court: three times.