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CNN.com users react to Terri Schiavo's death: 
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(CNN) -- CNN.com asked its users how the legal, moral and medical issues surrounding Terri Schiavo's life and death have affected their views or changed their lives. Here is a sampling from thousands of responses, some of which have been edited.

For me, the event underscored the importance of living wills to surviving loved ones left to make decisions. But identifying the potential situations is mind-boggling.
Chris Kjeldsen; Prairieville, Louisiana

Here in the Netherlands we have a law which deals with these kind of situations. Although we are progressive in the way that we allow euthanasia, we only allow it when the patient suffers from irreversible diseases and asks for it him/herself, or laid it down officially, but the family can still prevent it when the patient cannot confirm his/her wish. These kinds of infantile situations would not occur in our little country. Still, I don't understand the whole issue, what is the problem? Couldn't her husband just divorce? "It was her final wish," but still if she doesn't know she is alive what is the problem if her parents want to take care of her? She wouldn't know.
Bert van der Wees; The Hague, Netherlands

I think this case only reaffirms my belief in honoring a loved one's wishes. I believe Terri's husband was thinking of her and what she would have wanted. I also think that her parent's were still in denial about her condition. She's been in this state for years and they should have been thinking of her and not themselves. Terri is in a better place and I hope she rests in peace and that her family will come to accept her death without holding onto anger and resentment for Terri's husband. I'm sure this journey has not been easy for him either. I think it was heinous that the courts got involved, taking her off of the feeding tube, then reinserting it, then taking it out again. Finally they just kept the feeding tube out. Rest in peace, Terri and God bless.
Trinkette; Lancaster, California

It is a sad day for both the Schiavo and Schindler families. They have lost a wife, daughter and sister. What should have been a private family matter was exploited shamelessly to further the current administrations pro-life agenda and help right wing conservatives to further vilify the judicial branch. The impact on me was to spur me to complete a living will so there will be no confusion of what I want should I end up in a similar situation.
Stacey Carpio; Simi Valley, California

It is frightening to see how a person's healthcare wishes to not be kept alive by artificial means can be so easily cast aside as a result of family in-fighting and political maneuvering. I plan to put my healthcare directive in writing so that the horrendous fate that befell Terry Schiavo (living for 15 years in a vegetative state)can never happen to me. No president, politician or governor should have any say in my end-of-life choices.
Gail Taylor; Fresno, California

This case has affected me both physically and spiritually. I think that Terri died many years ago. It makes me think of myself and the many possibilities life bring. If I were Terri, I would want my loved ones to respect my wishes and put themselves to the side. I have since discussed these issues with my loved ones, and even had a living will drawn up.
Sarah; Tampa, Florida

The Terri Schiavo case has made me aware of the issue of guardianship upon marriage. Michael should have given up his guardianship rights for Terri when he began his life and family with this other woman. Michael will have to live for the rest of his life with this and will, one day, be accountable to God for his actions. The fact that he denied her family the right to be with her upon her death is truly pathetic. God Bless Terri's soul and her family. May they all find peace, and may Terri be finally able to feel joy again.
Ruthie Ramos; Tampa, Florida

I'm only 24, right around the same age as Terri was when she began this fight, and I have taken the steps to notify my family on my wishes, should I ever fall to the same fate. If anything is to be gained from this, I hope that it's many people making their wishes known. I cried when I heard of Terri's death as if I lost my own friend. We will never truly know if Terri Schiavo and Michael Schiavo had a conversation about being kept artificially alive. He certainly does not stand to gain anything from her death any longer -- I'm sure anything he did stand to receive was put to legal bills long ago. One would hope that he was truly fighting for what Terri would have wanted for all this time...fighting for a principle. I pray her true wishes were respected and I pray that she is free of her physical prison, as we'll never know if she was in a mental one, and in a better place. God bless.
Lia L.; New York, New York

This case has angered me in ways that I never seriously thought about before. I think it was a shame for Terri to die as she did. We all need food to live and to deny her that, to me, is criminal. If she had been on a respirator I would have felt different. If her husband did not want to take responsibility for her why did he deny her parents that right? They were more than willing to take responsibility for her. She should have been allowed to live until she stopped breathing. None of us can put life back into a person so no one should be allowed to take a live. Denying her the feeding tube was the same as killing her.
Carolyn Carey; Clinton, Maryland

This case has touched me very deeply and very personally. One year ago my 23-year-old son stopped breathing when his throat swelled shut due to strep throat. Since then, he has been in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state, but more accurately he is minimally conscious. He had no advance directive and I don't know what is the right thing to do by him. If asked if Chad would want to live like this, I can say with certainty that he would not. I don't think anyone would, but I am not 100 percent sure that he has no chance at any meaningful recovery. Until that time, I will do everything in my power to find treatment options, conventional or not, to try to help my son. I am taking care of him at home. My heart goes out to Terri's family. I thought there was nothing worse than losing a child. I now believe there is. I grieve every day. I question myself every minute. Who am I doing this for: me or him? This is not the child I knew. It is his body, his face, but it is not him anymore. I have no closure and most likely am holding on to false hopes. I love him with all my heart as I know Terri's family did too. This is a fate worse than death.
Jeanne Kunis; San Jose, California

I have always spoken my wishes, but 4 months ago I documented them. Later, this case made me ask my physician exactly what happens physiologically if artificial nutrition and hydration are withheld, as I wished, and the answer was comforting - I may have never asked had this case not occurred. I can only hope that I have someone who loves me enough to see it through, as Michael Schiavo has done for Terri. No person, no government, no religious representative has the right to take away my wishes, spoken or documented.
Bonnie; Franklin, New Hampshire

I believe that Ms. Schiavo's life and death should be a lesson to all of us that both the parents and her husband loved her, yet with that love, came anger, differing points of view from both camps, and finally the inability for both sides to allow Ms. Schiavo the dignity that all people deserve. With the intervention of government, her death became more of a circus, and for all the words spoken about the right to life, or the right to death, Terri was forgotten by all the righteousness of both sides. I hope that wherever Terri is, that she is in peace, and that her death does not become a political issue on either side of the aisle. If she does become the next political pawn for some organizations forum, then surely she died in vain.
Chris; Houston, Texas

This is an intensely personal issue and every family should be aware of each others intents both verbally and on legal document. This should not ever become a mandated item influenced by any one political or religious group. Belief systems vary wildly, even within Christian, Judaic, and Muslim sects.
Demian Barshay; Cary, North Carolina

This case has affected me in determining law vs. religion. Although I am a firm believer in my religion. I feel that the legal issue stands on what Terri would have wanted. I believe that it has affirmed my views on of a living will. That everyone needs to have a living will and to also have a discussion about living wills with their loved ones. I think that this case will definitely have a political impact. This case touched me both personally and professionally. I do work in a legal profession. I would often quote this case when discussing living wills.
Rhonda; Belcourt, North Dakota

This case has touched my life dramatically. I had no idea that a husband could just pull the plug on his wife like that, especially when all she needed was food and water. I didn't know that as a nation, it was common to starve sick people to death! How frightening. I knew that rare cases like this came up with comatose patients, but never had I heard of PVS. I am in the process of drawing up a living will with my wishes for my daughter to decide and I choose to stay on life support until there is absolutely NO HOPE. I feel that Terri got the shaft from Michael Schiavo! I also feel that Florida has some bad laws that need revised and that the courts are just worthless in these types of cases. For the first time in decades, I supported the Republicans and Jesse Jackson on something -- and that is pretty shocking. I normally vote straight Democrat, but consider myself an Independent and am pro-choice. Just wanted you to know that I'm not one of the abortion protesters! This case has affected many of us regular people, just in case the politicians and media didn't know.
Kathe; Waco, Texas

This case has highlighted a need for myself and my husband to write a will with specific instructions regarding our wishes if we become unable to make a decision about our own death if ever were brain damaged. This case has not change my views, but shown how our government can and will get involved in very personal issues. This case has shown how the government attempts to go around the judicial branch of our government for political gains.
Denise; Everett, Washington

If anything, Terri Schiavo has taught us to have our wishes regarding life and death written out and notarized in order to prevent our families from being forced to make difficult decisions. When I look at the pictures of her before her collapse, I see a beautiful woman full of life looking back. A woman who obviously cared about her looks and image. I wonder if that Terri would have wanted images of brain-damaged Terri being shown everywhere for all to see and gawk at. For 15 years she was kept alive for others but now she's is in a better place. Rest in peace Terri.
Karin Demir; Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Terri Schaivo case has only re-affirmed what I have felt for some time: We should all be allowed to die with dignity. Michael Schiavo repeatedly said that his wife told him that she would not want to live the way she did, yet this battle carried on. Whether it's written in a will or not, when someone tells you what they want, what they feel, aren't you obligated, above any morality, religious or otherwise, to obey their wishes? I find it disgusting that the state legislature, the governor, and the president became involved in what should be regarded as a very private and personal decision. It makes me wonder if they ever thought, "What would I want if I was Terri?" Did her parents ever consider this question? Did all the "mourners" and religious folk that gathered consider this? Death can be a terrifying prospect, but being alive and living are not the same thing. Terri Schiavo is at peace now.
Michael Albert; Ellensburg, Washington

I think the parents, the state of Florida, the president of the U.S. and the Congress made a total fiasco of this young woman's final days which should have been in peace with her whole family. I already had my advanced directive in my records but no one who knows me would ever say I wanted to live one day in that condition, absolutely no feeding tubes, respirators, etc., when my time comes, LET ME GO.
M. Ross; Jefferson City, Missouri

This battle has had my entire family telling each other what we would want surrounding our own life and death. If I were to have someone make this decision for me, it would be my spouse, then my adult children, as my parents are gone. I did have to make this decision for both of my parents. All should be made clear.
Patricia; South Bend, Indiana

I can't help but look at this as if it was happening to me. I would not have wanted to be in that bed for 15 years. All her parents wanted was to salve their own wounds and their own conscience instead of thinking about Terri. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how anyone could say "keep me alive no matter what." A Living will is definitely in the works.
Pat; Omaha, Nebraska

This case has made me realize how important a living will is, and I intend to get one very soon. I would not want to live as Terri Schiavo did for so many years. But in my eyes, callous as this may sound, Terry Schiavo died 15 years ago. I feel for the Schindlers and what they experienced, but I think they wanted Terri to live for themselves, and not for her. I would hope no one whom I love and care for would ever want to do something of that sort to me. Do not let me be kept alive artificially if I am vegetative or that brain damaged. Let me go.
Gregory Gardner; Brooklyn, New York

I think this will forever impact us as a society. It certainly will get people talking about, and get them working on creating a living will. Had she just had a living will things would have been so much different for all of her family. I hope her parents can find peace with all of this. I commend her husband for taking a stand for what Terri wanted. It would have been so much easier for him to just walk away from it all and let her parents have custody but he didn't, he stood up for what she wanted. That took a lot of guts and love in my opinion.
Jayne Sherer; Platteville, Wisconsin

I talked to many people at work and friends and family members. We all have one voice. We do not want to be kept alive if this happen to us. We do not want family members to go through this if it happen to them. Whatever happened is right. Congress and president should never have gotten involved in this matter. Looks like if they don't like court's decision, they want to change it!! May God bless Terri. Sympathy with her husband and family.
Kaushik Parikh; Parsippany, New Jersey

Yes, this case has affected me. It has brought back memories that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, as I had to make this decision for my daughter. I didn't have to remove her feeding tube, but had to address the no code and no machines issue. And this was an accident that happened due to the overdose by a dentist at 20 months of age. My daughter lived in a coma for 2.5 years. This is a major release for Terri, and should be celebrated as such. Quality of life vs. quantity of life. Her life, not her parents. Michael made the correct decision, and I know how hard that one is to make. And to stick to his decision through everything was one really big achievement.
Tracy; Aloha, Oregon

This case has driven me to begin developing my own living will/health care proxy so I make it perfectly clear to my family and friends what my wishes are so I can spare them from what has happened between Terri's family and Terri's husband. I'm also urging my own spouse and family members to do the same.

I believe this case will definitely have lasting social impact. It has caused people to think seriously about their own feelings regarding end-of-life care and the importance of making your wishes clear to others.
Sandi Pelton; Weymouth, Massachusetts

I said a prayer and know she is in a better place now. I truly believe that this is what she wanted. I'm only happy about the controversy because it encouraged millions to draft living wills. This past week my company made living will paperwork available to staff. I do believe this was an important story that raised awareness on some very sensitive and personal issues many of us will face, regrettably, in our lives.
John; Morgan, Connecticut

This case has forced me to ask myself what I would want in Terri's situation. My husband and I have discussed this and have made some decisions as to what we'd each want if we were living in a vegetative state. If anything, hopefully this will get families talking so that there are no more families torn apart by such a decision.
Holly Wever; Las Vegas, Nevada

This has touched me personally. My parents and I discussed this almost everyday and we have decided that my sisters and I will make a living will stating that even if we are to be married they have total control of our well-being if this should ever happen to us.
Elida Rosado; San Lorenzo, California

I think this case will make a huge impact on the American people. Because of the media attention given to this debate many people now know about living wills. I personally know several people who were not even aware that there was a specific document that could make a person's wishes known regarding long-term care. I have always said that I wouldn't want to be kept alive in a vegetative state, but now my family knows that as well thanks to the discussions brought up by this case. I am glad that they will never have to go through what the family of Terri Schiavo has...on both sides of the debate.
Lisa Sylvester; Irving, Texas

So, the question is has this case affected me? Yes. I have a daughter, but she is only 11 years old, so I have a while to go. But I know how the parents of Terri are feeling, just like so many of us are. My family and I were at the March for Life in Washington, back in January. It was an experience I will never forget. Terri's parent's were there asking for our prayers. That was a very emotional experience.
William H. Breidenbach; Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania

I am a mother of a 3-year-old special needs child. The doctors have told me that her brain is damaged etc., yet she continues to do things that medically they can not explain. This situation has touched me in many ways. One being is would I ever find myself fighting for my daughters life because she has a feeding tube. I think all the unanswered and skeptical things that Michael did should have been investigated. Terri had every right to have therapies to help her. Why were these things allowed to be stopped. I do believe if someone has a heart attack or something and is on a ventilator that it is a different situation. Suzanne; Greensboro, North Carolina

I have been party to the termination of care for 2 people. My girlfriend's mom, who was brain dead after a massive stroke and on life support for 5 days. Also my dad, with stage 4 bladder cancer that had spread to the kidneys, liver, intestines and stomach. Thankfully, our families were in agreement over the quality of life for our loved ones and they were permitted to die with dignity. We mourn them, we miss them always but have never questioned the validity of the decisions we made on their behalf. We knew them, we knew their wishes in our hearts. Some will say that Terri Schiavo died more than 15 years ago, in fact she was dead, brought back to life and sustained by the miracles of modern science. Letting go is never easy, but if one truly believes in an afterlife, how can anyone deny their loved ones gracious passage to their eternal reward?Steve Martinez; Newton, New Jersey

This issue of life and death will/should have us all ponder deeply two things: What would I do, if this (Terri) was me? And is it humane to simply let a person starve to death in order to bring peace to an irreversible condition which provides no conscious quality of life? After all, when considering the condition of starvation, I would image it would be far more cruel than the horror of suffocation or drowning. The real question should be: Why do we allow animals to be "put down" in a humane and painless way, and in the same world we allow a human being, otherwise healthy, to simply wither away and die? This issue has taught me one very important lesson: Keep a living will; God forbid my family would have to endure this horror!
R. Brost; Ontario, Canada

This case has made me very sad. I have spoken to my 28-year-old daughter and she has assured me that she would never want to be kept alive for my purposes, for my needs. She wants a quality of life and so do I.
Kathleen; Zeeland, Michigan

First and foremost it has made me decide to write a living will so my family will never have to go through something like this. And secondly, my heart is with her family. While I believe that her life truly ended sadly 15 years ago, it becomes much more real when her physical body is gone. I am so sorry that her family had to go through that, no one should ever have to go through something like that. I send my love to her family and friends.
Daniel; Boston, Massachusetts

I personally would not want to live that way and put my husband and family through that. This event has made my husband and I write up living wills, so there is no question if a situation like that arises.
Kathy Perea; Phoenix, Arizona


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