Q How can I best protect my family from a Schiavo/ Schindler situation?

A The Terri Schiavo case was gut-wrenching to watch, and her death did not end the 15 years of turmoil her husband and family had endured. From a legal perspective, this catastrophe would not have happened if Mrs Schiavo had signed Advanced Directives.

As critical care nurses, you are well aware of Advanced Directives and you encourage your patients to review and sign them. In addition, it is critical to consider the ramifications to your own personal situation if Advanced Directives are not a part of you and your family’s legal arsenal.

In 1990, the United States Congress passed the Patient Self-Determination Act1 following the case of Nancy Cruzan,2 a young Missouri woman who had sustained traumatic head injuries in an motor vehicle accident. She survived for years in a “persistent vegetative state.” This same...

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