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Terri Schiavo Case: Legal Issues Involving Healthcare Directives, Death, and Dying
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Legal Documents

  •   Autopsy Report of John R. Thogmartin, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, Fla. (June 13, 2005)
  • Federal Court Order Denying Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Petition for a Rehearing (March 30, 2005)
  • A Second Federal Court Order denying another attempt by Terri Schiavo’s parents to reinsert her feeding tube (March 25, 2005)
  • U.S. Supreme Court Order denying the application of Schiavo’s parents for a stay of enforcement of the Florida judgment (March 24, 2005)
  • Michael Schiavo’s Opposition to application by Terri Schiavo’s parents (March 24, 2005)
  • Emergency Application for Stay of lower court orders filed with U.S. Supreme Court by Terri Schiavo’s parents (March 23, 2005)
  • Rehearing Denial The 11th Circuit denies Terri Schiavo’s parents’ request for a rehearing (March 23, 2005)
  • 11th Circuit Opinion In 2-1 vote, a federal appeals court denies a legal request to reinsert a feeding tube into Terri Schiavo (March 23, 2005)
  • Court Order denying the request of Terri Schiavo’s parents to reinsert a feeding tube into their daughter (March 22, 2005)
  • Michael Schiavo’s Opposition (March 21, 2005)
  • Government’s Statement of Interest in support of Schiavo’s parents (March 21, 2005)
  • Motion by Schiavo’s parents for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”), declaratory and injunctive relief (March 21, 2005)
  • Congressional Bill Signed into Law concerning Terri Schaivo signed into law by Pres. Bush after being passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (introduced March 19, 2005; signed into law March 21, 2005)
  • Order U.S. Supreme Court Order rejecting a request to consider arguments on the case (March 17, 2005)
  • Emergency Motion by Schiavo’s parents to the U.S. Supreme Court (March 16, 2005)
  • Order setting March 18, 2005 as the day to withdraw Schiavo's feeding tube (Feb. 25, 2005)
  • Order by Fla. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denying motion for a stay (March 16, 2005)
  • Opinion Florida’s Supreme Court rules that the law enacted by Gov. Jeb Bush to reinsert a feeding tube into Schavo “violate[d] the fundamental constitutional tenet of separation of powers” between Florida’s executive branch, the judiciary, and the state’s legislature. (Sept. 23, 2004)
  • Guardian ad Litem’s Report on Terri Schiavo -- Prepared by Jay Wolfson, DrPH, JD, (Dec. 1, 2003). Schiavo’s guardian ad litem concluded:
    “...that the trier of fact and the evidence that served as the basis for the decisions regarding Theresa Schiavo were firmly grounded within Florida statutory and case law, which clearly and unequivocally provide for the removal of artificial nutrition in cases of persistent vegetative states, where there is no advance directive, through substituted/proxy judgment of the guardian and/or the court as guardian, and with the use of evidence regarding the medical condition and the intent of the parties that was deemed, by the trier of fact to be clear and convincing.”
  • Gov. Jeb Bush's Executive Order that feeding tube be reinserted for Schiavo; Subsequently ruled unconstitutional (Oct. 21, 2003)
  • Text of Fla. Bill SB35e a/k/a “Terri's Law”; Subsequently ruled unconstitutional (Oct. 21, 2003)
  • Order by Judge Greer setting Oct. 15, 2003 as the date when removal of the feeding tube can begin (Sept. 17, 2003)
  • More Healthcare Information
    Living Wills
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  • Sample Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive Forms

    A new survey by FindLaw finds that only 33% of Americans have a living will. Sixty-seven percent of Americans lack a living will, potentially leaving them with no say over whether they wish to receive life-sustaining medical treatment in the event they should become incapacitated or terminally ill.

    The national survey of 1,000 adults was conducted by telephone and results are accurate to within plus or minus three percent.

    The Lawyers

  • George J. Felos, attorney for Terri Schiavo’s Husband Michael Schiavo

  • Deborah J. Bushnell, attorney for Terri Schiavo’s Husband Michael Schiavo

  • David C. Gibbs, attorney for Terri Schiavo’s parents Robert Schindler and Marcy Schindler

  • Barbara J. Weller, attorney for Terri Schiavo’s parents Robert Schindler and Marcy Schindler

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    Other Cases

  • Cruzan v. Director, MDH, U.S. Supreme Court 497 U.S. 261 (1990)
    Chief Justice Rehnquist writes for the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, holding that “a State may apply a clear and convincing evidence standard [of the patient’s wishes] in proceedings where a guardian seeks to discontinue nutrition and hydration of a person diagnosed to be in a persistent vegetative state,” and that the Constitution gives “a competent person a constitutionally protected right to refuse lifesaving hydration and nutrition.”
  • In the Matter of Quinlan, Supreme Court of New Jersey (1976) 70 N.J. 10, 355 A. 2d. 647
    New Jersey’s Supreme Court recognizes that a patient’s constitutional right to privacy includes a right to terminate medical treatment.
  • Conservatorship of Wendland, Calif. Supreme Court (Aug. 9, 2001).
    California case holding that, under the State’s law, a conservator may not withhold artificial nutrition and hydration “from a conscious conservatee who is not terminally ill, comatose, or in a persistent vegetative state, and who has not left formal instructions for health care or appointed an agent or surrogate for health care decisions...absent clear and convincing evidence the conservator’s decision is in accordance with either the conservatee’s own wishes or best interest.”
  • Brophy v. New England Sinai Hospital, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (1986) 398 Mass. 417; 497 N.E.2d 626
    Massachusetts case holding that the “State’s interest in the preservation of life does not overcome [the patient’s] right to discontinue treatment,” and that such a position is not contrary to the “State’s interest in the prevention of suicide.”
    Power of Attorney & Healthcare Directives
    Legal Commentary

  • Why Congress’s Intervention Predictably Didn’t Help the Schindlers: Putting Federal Judges In an Unfair Pressure Cooker In the Terri Schiavo Case, by Edward Lazarus (March 31, 2005)
  • How the Schiavo Federal Court Case Might Have Been Won, by Michael Dorf (March 26, 2005)
  • The Terri Schiavo Case: Congress Rushes In Where Only Courts Should Tread, by Elaine Cassel (March 24, 2005)
  • How The Florida Legislature and Governor Have Usurped the Judicial Role in the Schiavo “Right to Die” Case, by Michael Dorf (Jan. 29, 2003)
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