Disability and Death: There’s Much to Learn From the Deaths of Terri Schiavo and St. Pope John Paul II

Schiavo Pope John

(Live Action) – 15 years ago, both Terri Schiavo and St. Pope John Paul II died, just days apart. Both deaths had a substantial impact on society, albeit for different reasons. Both Schiavo and the Pope faced disability, yet how they were treated was entirely different. One was given the best medical care possible; the other’s death was sponsored by the state.

The story of Terri Schiavo not only divided a family but the entire nation, as Americans debated whether or not a woman who was severely disabled had the right to live. In 1990, at the age of 26, Schiavo suffered massive cardiac arrest, and due to oxygen deprivation, was left with severe brain damage.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, originally vowed to remain by her side until her natural death and even filed a malpractice suit, from which he was awarded $2 million. He told the jury the money would go towards her medical care and rehabilitation, and that she would live a normal life span.

But soon after the trial ended, he quickly did an about-face, ending all rehabilitative care and even trying to withhold antibiotics from his wife when she contracted an infection. CONTINUE