Ethical theory / ethical principle

Ethical theory and/or ethical principle might be applied to the terry Schiavo

Terry Schiavo

Expressed as being am ethical principle, in this case, the cardinal focus is the respect for
autonomy. There is a struggle between quality of life versus sanctity of life (Perry, Churchill &
Kirshner, 2005). By taking patient liberty and autonomy interests as the key question, the court
maintained the individuals’ prerogative to make decisions based on their values, even after they
have no ability of speaking for themselves. It is important to also continue with Schiavo’s
artificial hydration and nutrition so as to ensure high quality life.
It is also descriptively inappropriate to refer to people with persistent vegetative states as
disabled, this is overgeneralization, which should be avoided at all costs. Worth noting there is
great difference between this state and paralysis (Perry, Churchill & Kirshner, 2005). There
should also be no overgeneralization that the action taken regarding Terri Schiavo’s case poses
widespread public policy implications. Liberty should be stressed as a cardinal issue and
precisely, this indicates that people should be given the authority to make their decisions. In
addition, several different legitimate proxy decisions as well as living wills can be honored.
Regarding her rehabilitation, the person making the decision was discredited as opposed to
considering the decision’s merit. There is a need to secure the liberties of individuals and honor
their self-determination. Even in cases where patient have lost competence and in end-of-life
issues, patients have the right to informed consent and their wishes should be respected (Perry,
Churchill & Kirshner, 2005).


Probably, Terri Schiavo’s case shall remain controversial since some people still have the
feeling that wrong decisions were made. On the contrary, the case presents a perfect example of
good processes and standards in ethics, law, and medicine.



Perry, J. E., Churchill, L. R., Kirshner, H. S. (2005). The Terri Schiavo Case: Legal, Ethical, and
Medical Perspectives. Annals of Internal Medicine, 143, 744- 748.

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