The Schiavo and Korp cases: conceptualising end-of-life decision-making.
J Law Med | Published : 2005
An incompetent, terminally ill patient can be viewed in two ways--as a person who is dying, when futile, life-prolonging treatment can be lawfully withdrawn; or a person with a disability, for whom a guardian must be appointed to decide about treatment. Terri Schiavo's husband took the first view and her parents the second. Maria Korp was regarded as dying when treatment was withdrawn. The difference in conceptualising a patient's situation is critical. Where a patient is dying, treatment can be lawfully withdrawn whatever the view of the relatives; they cannot require treatment to be continued. Where a patient has a disability and a surrogate decision-maker is appointed, the focus is on wha..View full abstract