Lake City Reporter: Schiavo Predicament Urges Living Wills

Home/Blog, News, Samples/Lake City Reporter: Schiavo Predicament Urges Living Wills

It is important to designate a health-care surrogate.

Terri Schiavo was in her mid-20s when she collapsed from a possible potassium imbalance that temporarily kept her heart from beating.

As a young, vibrant woman, the idea of creating a will, a living will and designating a health-care surrogate were tasks she probably wasn’t considering.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of these documents, her life has been suspended for more than 15 years.

Many local attorneys recommend that citizens take time to plan for unforeseen events.

Chapter 765.303 of the Florida Statutes contains a suggested form of a living will, making known a person’s desire for what happens if he or she has a terminal condition, an end-stage condition or persistent vegetative state.

“There is a big difference between a regular will and a living will,” said Marlin Feagle, a Columbia County attorney. “A regular will includes directions on what will be done with an individual’s property when they die and a living will refers to what a person wishes should take place if she or she is in a vegetative state.”

Feagle recommends the hiring of an attorney in creating a regular will and living will.

“While there are other ways to do it, if there is an error, most people don’t find out until after the loved one has died and they cannot correct the mistake because the person is deceased,” he said.

Thomas W. Brown, an attorney in Columbia County, said the most important aspect of the living will is naming a health-care surrogate.

“If you can’t communicate to make decisions on your health, the person you name as your health-care surrogate can make these decisions for you,’ he said. “In Schiavo’s case, none of these items were ever signed.”

Brown says that the living will answers the question of whether or not a person wants his or life prolonged if he or she becomes terminally ill.

“You can make this as detailed as you want, ‘I have seen some as long as 20 pages,” Brown said. “But the most important part of this paperwork is two words, the first and last name of these person you designated to make these judgments for you.”

He said that individuals need to ask themselves if they trust putting their life in their health-care surrogate’s hands.

“Do they know you well enough to put themselves in your  shoes to make the choice you would have made if you could have done it yourself?” Brown said.

He said that the question with Schiavo is not who is right or wrong, but who has the right to decide for her.

Brown said that if there is a dispute, despite the paper work being filed, the Florida statute has a provision for a review of the surrogate.

People need to know that they have the right to make a choice and choose a person they trust to represent them in discussions, when they cannot do so, he said.

“A lot of people feel like ‘I don’t mind being let go if I am on my way, but don’t push me,” Brown Said.

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:45+00:00 March 22nd, 2005|Categories: Blog, News, Samples|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

Leave A Comment