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Your Family Will Thank You... The Importance of Advanced Medical Directives

Disclaimer: This is a HEAVY (but IMPORTANT) topic.

Terri Schiavo.... just saying her name evokes strong feelings for those of us who watched the events of her life, and the public battle over her death, unfold. In her mid-30’s, Terri collapsed in 1990 from a cardiac arrest, depriving her brain of oxygen. Experts disagreed about the extent of her cognitive impairment, but it was clear she could not survive without a feeding tube.

Terri had no written advanced medical directive; in other words, it wasn’t clear what she wanted. Would she want to live in such a condition, or would she want to die?

Beginning in 1995, and lasting for 10 years, her husband and her parents engaged in a bitter legal battle over this very question and, consequently, whether Terri’s feeding tube should be removed. The case made its way to the highest courts in the land, and even Congress and the President attempted to intervene. Ultimately, Terri’s feeding tube was removed, and she died on March 31, 2005.

What would you want if you were in Terri’s condition? Would you want your family guessing or, worse yet, fighting over the question? Would you want to survive indefinitely in such circumstances?

A sad reality is that the battle over Terri’s life could have been avoided with a simple advanced medical directive, a document called a Living Will. It allows a person to state in advance how they want to be treated, or not treated, if they’re ever in an end of life, end-stage, or persistent vegetative condition. No confusion or fighting among family and no fear about being trapped in an arguably lifeless body.

If you’re interested in how we can help you and your family have clarity and peace of mind, contact me at (813) 244-7758 or


Ross Spano

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