Terri's Story: The Court-Ordered Death of an American Woman (Hardcover)
By Diana Lynne
Most Americans had never heard of Terri Schindler Schiavo when the controversy over her court-ordered death exploded upon the scene in March 2005.
For more than 12 years she had languished, her body slowly deteriorating in the absence of rehabilitative therapy, while the value of her life was litigated in the courts and weighed by legislators. Although she was neither dying nor dependent on machines for her life, many felt the brain-injured woman who relied on a feeding tube for nourishment should die. Because she had no living will, others insisted ending her life amounted to murder. As the debate raged on the airwaves, its significance was not lost on the pro-life, right-to-die, pro-euthanasia, and disabled-rights advocates who all adopted Terri Schiavo as a poster child for their causes.
When the tug-of-war over Terri escalated, an avalanche of news outlets – many of them misrepresenting crucial medical facts and overlooking salient details – swept the story even farther beyond her bedside. As two divergent versions of her last hours – one in which she was “peaceful,” “beautiful” and free of pain and the other characterizing her as in “deep distress,” “suffering” and “fighting like hell” – puzzled millions, one simple question remained: Did Terri want to live or die?
What would Terri have told us if she could? How could her caregivers over the years claim that she repeatedly made statements like “Stop that,” “Pain,” and “Help me,” while her husband’s attorney likened her to a “house plant?” Why was Terri denied testing and rehabilitative therapy when the courts had awarded more than $1.5 million for that purpose? Why did the majority of the money earmarked for her medical care and rehabilitation bankroll the lawyers who sought her death?
What are we to make of the numerous conflicts of interest overlooked by the courts? Was the Rule of Law followed or did judges display dereliction of duty and misconduct? What was behind the critical, timely changes to Florida law that gave legal legs to Michael Schiavo's petition to remove her feeding tube? Did campaign contributions influence the actions of public officials who stonewalled efforts to investigate Terri's collapse and allegations of neglect and abuse by her husband? And what role did the hospice play in the saga? Did the hospice affiliation of Michael Schiavo's attorney, a legislator who co-sponsored the change in Florida law, and members of a state panel who helped craft the legislation influence the outcome? Was Terri's case just one cog in the wheel of a national movement to support euthanasia in America? Has America turned down the “slippery slope” toward involuntary euthanasia? What are the implications of her story for other incapacitated persons? Who will die next?
"Terri's Story" includes interviews with Michael Schiavo, his family members and right-to-die activists who see this case as the Roe v. Wade of court-assisted death, as well as the stories of Schindler family members and many who got caught up in the effort to save her life. A powerful, insightful and ultimately heartbreaking story, "Terri's Story" provides the background and depth missing in most of the national news coverage of the battle to save her life.
DIANA LYNNE has covered the Terri Schiavo story for three years as a reporter and news editor for WND. She grew up in Boston and is a graduate of Harvard University and Emerson College with degrees in economics and mass communications. A 10-year veteran of network and public television in South Florida, she lives in West Palm Beach.
•Hardcover: 352 pages
•Publisher: WND Books; illustrated edition (September 1, 2005)
•Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches