Filmmakers have released a new documentary which they say reports previously unexplored facts about the legal battle surrounding Terri Schiavo while exploring her death’s ethical and cultural implications. One disabled woman connected with the film said “countless people” face pressures similar to those that killed Schiavo.
Terri Schindler Schiavo, who was severely brain damaged after a cardio-respiratory arrest, in 2005 died from dehydration 13 days after a court ordered the removal of her feeding tube.
Her story is the focus of “The Terri Schiavo Story,” distributed by Franklin Springs Media and produced and directed by Ken Carpenter.
Speaking in a press release, Carpenter said he thought most people believed Schiavo had no prospects of improving.
“The truth is the doctors believed Terri was a candidate for rehabilitation, but her husband withheld that treatment,” he claimed. “Additionally, we uncovered that only one judge ruled on the facts of the case.”
The film is hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada, who was left quadriplegic and wheelchair-bound after a diving accident.
She said fallout from Schiavo’s case continues to affect disabled citizens.
"There are countless people like Terri whose lives are in danger because of unclear custody and guardianship laws," Tada said in a press release. "More states are removing the feeding tubes from brain- injured people when families abandon their responsibilities. Feeding tubes are providing basic care, not medical treatment."
Bobby Schindler, Schiavo’s brother, is working through the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation to help families in circumstances similar to Schiavo’s.
“I believe that if the public had been allowed to witness Terri's suffering first hand, the outcry would have deafened Florida and the world,” he said. “Death by dehydration is truly inhumane which is why it is always done in the strictest secrecy.”
The Terri Schiavo Story has won the Jubilee Award for Best Documentary at the San Antonio Independent Film Festival. Its trailer may be seen at www.TheSchiavoStory.com.