Schiavo Story and Ethical Theory


SchiavoStory and Ethical Theory

SchiavoStory and Ethical Theory

Thebattle over life and death of Terri Schiavo was only the most recentmedical ethics case to catch the public`s attention. The caseinquired to both the individuals and general society, in general, tomake moral judgments about the appropriate decision to maintain orwithdraw life-sustaining treatment (Jennet, 1972). There was astartled misunderstanding about different types of brain injury andby more than a few misstatements about medical facts of the case.Mrs. Schiavo described several times as comatose, brain dead minimalconscious, locked in and disabled. Also, failure of the media,politician and also physicians should know better to describeaccurately Mrs. Schiavo`s medical condition was disturbing sincesound medical ethics begin not with the discipline of ethics but withgood clinical medicine (Jennet, 1972)

Themorality of the action to be taken in this case can be viewed usingthe utilitarian theory of ethics. Utilitarianism is a reductionistapproach that seeks the highest good (Lee, 2009). The killing of apatient in this case is viewed as giving greater good of reducing hisor her suffering, and then to maximize happiness. Therefore, morejudgments about medical treatment decision can be based on the goodit brings to as many people as possible. From the video, I reviewedthe difference between coma, brain death, vegetative state and otherprofound brain injuries. From the Terri Schiavo, the ethical issuewas viewed as the ending of suffering, rather than preserving life.The people rooting for “right-to-die” did not value the life ofSchiavo as they sought to ease pain.

However,in such a case, the victim is denied the basic need human beingshould enjoy. They include water and food until she died. The act hasbeen ethical since delaying human being from basic needs isunethical. Life is precious and should be respected, guided and moreprotected. From the Christian point of view, God is the only one whohas the power to end life but not doctors. Therefore, it`s importantfor physicians to consider ethics before performing euthanasia(Jennet, 1972)


JennettB, P. F. (1972). Persistent vegetative state after brain damage.pubmed,734-737

Lee,E. 2009, AnIntroduction to Utilitarianism. Retrievedfrom, The Victorian Web.&lt 21October, 2015