In 2005, as a sharply divided nation looked on, Terri Schindler Schiavo's feeding tube was removed as the result of a court order. Thirteen days later, she died of starvation. Her mother, Mary Schindler, was prohibited from offering Terri ice chips or a moistened sponge to alleviate the pain as her mouth and tongue cracked and bled. Mary was even barred from the simple mercy of wiping her suffering daughter's brow.
As Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, claims in The Terri Schiavo Story—recently released on dvd—Terri's death was not the peaceful, tranquil, even beautiful event depicted in much of the media. It was murder.
This documentary, hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada, counters the prevailing media interpretation of the events that led to Schiavo's death. It highlights facts that were either ignored or not widely reported, such as husband Michael Schiavo's motivations. It also challenges the popular view that Schiavo wanted to die.
Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, interviewed here, would have the world believe that Terri's life was simply no longer worth living. He argued stridently and effectively that death would be a merciful release because she was so disabled.
But the film reminds viewers that Schiavo's was not a case of an ill person being allowed to die by natural causes. Her body was healthy and strong. Her impairments meant that she used a feeding tube for nutrition, much like a paraplegic would use a wheelchair to get around. Starvation is not natural. It's not the same as removing someone from a ventilator, unless you are also planning to smother the person with a pillow to prevent him from breathing. Removing Terri's feeding tube meant actively preventing her from the basic human right to ...1
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Starvation by Court Order
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