In Re Guardianship of Schiavo
Southern Reporter, 2d Series, 780: 176-180
The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, affirmed on 24 January 2001 (Schiavo I) the guardianship court decision authorizing termination of life support of a woman who had been in a prolonged persistent vegetative state, but was not comatose. Theresa (or Terri) Schiavo suffered cardiac arrest at age 27 in 1990. Now over ten years in a persistent vegetative state, her cerebral cortex had deteriorated and was replaced with spinal fluid. Her condition remained hopeless. Her husband petitioned a lower court to remove her life support, and her parents appealed that decision. The appellate court affirmed four rulings of the trial court. First, Terri Schiavo had a type of end-stage condition that allowed withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures. Second, there was no reasonable probability of her regaining capacity to make a competent decision about such withdrawal. Third, the trial court could act as guardian and make that decision when a conflict within the family prevented a surrogate decision by a relative. Fourth, evidence supported the court's determination that Terri Schiavo would have chosen to forego life-prolonging treatment.
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