I, too, have been looking into this.
I have now read several hundred pages of court transcripts, read a variety of moving papers from Governor Bush's legal citation of precedent in "Alice in Wonderland" (amusing) to the Guardian Ad Litem Dr. Wolfson's statement that she should not be helped because people would still argue about what her improved condition meant.
Medical reports, affidavits, videos, some news coverage -- I've looked at a bunch.
This timeline with links is very helpful.
UPDATE: Apprently, it has not been made clear: The Court has ordered her to die -- she is NOT to be fed, even by hand -- she is NOT to be kept alive even if she can swallow food and water on her own. (She evidently can.) The parents are ordered to let her die, and not help.
Another useful set of links.
My conversation with Zaimoni on the topic.
The conversation with Zaimoni has many additional references that he has compiled.
The understanding I have reached is rather different from some of my friends:
1. Terri Schiavo is not "brain dead". She has greatly impaired muscle control, vision, and somewhat impaired hearing.
2. She is able to vocalize, with difficulty, and is limited to a few words or sounds.
3. She can and does laugh, cry, smiles at interaction with those close to her, and is (distantly) aware of her surroundings.
4. Her brain is not "gone" -- and while the tissue is damaged particularly in some brain regions, it is still present.
5. Medical testimony in the case indicated that someone with the level of damage shown on the scans would be expected to retain some awareness, and that she does retain that awareness.
6. Terri Schiavo's movements are voluntary, though she does have occasional spasms.
7. She is, essentially, severely retarded (at least in ability to express herself).
8. She is not on life support. She can swallow her own foods and water, with difficulty.
9. She is not in a coma, though she was briefly in 1990 after the attack.
1. She has been described as having suffered a heart attack.
2. When admitted, she had unexplained bruises on her neck, and unexplained lack of oxygen.
3. Michael Schiavo said she "fell", and that's how she got the bruises. He "doesn't know" how she was deprived of oxygen.
4. She seems to have had a shortage of potassium -- but there is conflicting information on this.
5. The Guardian Ad Litem suggests that this might be from drinking too much iced tea.
6. (She drank about half the iced tea that I have done daily for eight years.)
7. Because the hospital was told that she had lost a lot of weight (she had, over years had gone from 250 to 110) they suggested bulimia as a cause.
8. There is apparently no other evidence for bulimia, and no reports of bulimic behavior.
1. She has not been a ward of the state in the medical sense.
2. Michael Schiavo (her husband) won a malpractice suit and settled another case, (about $1.6m total) and most of this was to be used to help her.
3. Instead, he has used much of it to hire lawyers to kill her.
4. Little of it is left, apparently, though he will not disclose his accounting.
1. She's survived having the feeding tube pulled or shut off on multiple previous occasions.
2. The longest of these was a week or so, from October 15 to 21, 2003.
3. The original standard was "she must express a wish to die" and "she must be in a persistent vegetative state".
4. Michael remembered (years after the beginning of this affair) that she expressed this wish.
5. Michael was able to hire "experts" to testify that she was in a persistent vegetative state.
6. Other experts testified that she was, indeed, aware of her surroundings.
7. The current legal standard imposed on her is that physicians must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that she can be cured.
8. With this new standard, made up for this case, they now can legally kill her.
9. The legal action has successfully blocked all attempts at therapy -- even no-cost therapy.
10. Michael could easily obtain a divorce, but refuses.
11. Michael has been offered (apparently) $10 million to let her live, but refuses.
The legal approach has been "therapy would likely help her, but there would still be a lawsuit so we cannot recommend the therapy."
Overall, the behavior and actions of husband Michael Schiavo have been utterly reprehensible. If he catches someone doing something nice for Terri, he fires them. He wants her to die, has said so frequently (including to Terri herself), and she is distraught after his visits. When she develops an infection, he demands that she be given no antibiotic, hoping she'll die from it. Nurses have helped her anyway, and several have paid for this with their jobs.
This is not "the experts all agree" -- this is Michael's experts against everyone not paid by Michael or the State. And many paid by the State are on Terri's side.
Terri Schiavo is severely impaired, not brain-dead. She is aware and interactive, not vegetative. I don't like killing her because she is impaired, just because she is inconvenient (or threatening) to her husband. I think that it is likely that if Terri Schiavo improves her ability to speak, Michael will spend the rest of his life in jail.
I hope it works out this way.
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- Death and the Legal Process: Terri Schiavo