Profession

Fla. Supreme Court strikes down "Terri's Law"

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 11, 2004

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Declaring that it violated the constitutional separation of power between the three branches of government, the Florida Supreme Court voted unanimously to strike down a state law that gave Gov. Jeb Bush the authority to continue medical treatment for Terri Schiavo.

Schiavo, 40, has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed 14 years ago when her heart temporarily stopped beating and halted the flow of oxygen to her brain.

Schiavo's husband, Michael, has said she would not have wanted to continue to live in this condition and has worked to have her feeding tube removed. Her parents, however, have insisted that she be kept alive in hope that her condition someday might improve. Courts allowed the tube to be removed in April 2001 and October 2003, only to have others order it reinserted.

After the tube was removed last year, the Legislature passed "Terri's Law," which Bush signed. He immediately ordered the tube to be reinserted six days after it had been removed.

"The continuing vitality of our system of separation of powers precludes the other two branches from nullifying the judicial branch's final orders," the court's opinion states.

"If the Legislature with the assent of the governor can do what was attempted here, the judicial branch would be subordinated to the final directive of other branches. ... No court judgment could ever be considered truly final, and no constitutional right truly secure, because the precedent of this case would hold to the contrary. Vested interests could be stripped away based on popular clamor."

Schiavo had left no documented instructions concerning her wishes for continued medical care, and her case is said to have spurred interest around the country in living wills and advance directives.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/10/11/prbf1011.htm.

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn