PHI 240 Wake Technical Community College Terri Schiavo Case Discussion

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My Opinion: Remove Terri from life support, so claim has to be that.

Terri Schaivo Case Study Worksheet

Directions: Complete the questions below in regard to each of the topic headings. This worksheet is designed to help you decide the claim you would make in to either remove Terri from life support or continue it. Then using those answers, provide evidence that will help support your position. Not all of the questions need to be answered but you do need to have a paragraph or so for each section to help me see your perspective on each.

Life and Death –

What makes a person alive or dead?

What are the specific characteristics that make us alive or dead? Try to come up with specific characteristics that make you alive or dead.

Are there any areas that overlap in terms of being alive or dead?

Personhood –

Are all human beings automatically persons?

What makes you a person?

Are you still the same person you used to be when you were 1, 3, 5, 8 years old (or yesterday, or a minute ago, for that matter)?

What has changed? What stayed the same? When did you become a person, or the person you are now?

What would have to change for you to become a different person, or cease to be a person?

Are all human beings (automatically) persons?

Can only human beings be persons?

Based on these questions, was Teri Schiavo still considered a person? Meaning should we still treat her as a person?

Right to life –

A PERSON’S “RIGHT TO LIFE” If we agree that every person has a basic human right to be protected from physical harm or death, wouldn’t a person in a “coma” or a “permanent vegetative state” also have to be protected by that right?

And if so, what would lead her to lose that right?

There are at least two categories of human beings, who may be considered exceptions: those that are still considered persons (e.g. enemy soldiers), and those that are not (not yet/no longer) considered persons (e.g. embryos).

Does Terri Schiavo fall into either of these two categories? And if so, can the comparison help us understand her status?

What could be other reasons why she may not be protected by the “right to life”?

Quality of life –

What makes life meaningful? Try to come up with a list of things that make your life meaningful or that are important to you.

Then consider if some of those things were taken away.

What if your life stayed the same, but you had to live in constant pain? How would that change the way you view your life as a whole? Would your life still be meaningful? What would make you want to keep living (e.g. hope for improvement, being of service to others, etc.)?

Autonomy –

Who should ultimately make the decision for a person in a permanent vegetative state?

Assignment: Now given all that you have compiled here, what do you think should have been done in the case of Terri Schaivo? Was it correct to remove her from life support of should the courts have allowed the parents to care for her? Which section above was the most important in helping you to make your decision? Make sure to detail specifically why you took this position and state clearly what the reasons for this are. You will be posting this as your initial post in the discussion board forum.