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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Schiavo case drawing attention to living wills

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Some funeral homes are promoting living will declarations and appointment of health care representative forms after a federal judge ruled a brain damaged Florida woman's feeding tube did not have to be reinserted.

Moore Funeral Home Director Rob Moore said the Funeral Homes Association, "is having an overwhelming response," to what has happened in Florida.

Terri Schiavo,41, who doctors say can only survive one to two weeks without water and nutrients, had her feeding tube removed Friday by orders of her husband Michael. He said his wife told him before she suffered brain damage that she would not want to be kept alive artificially.

Schiavo's parents disagree with her husband and are appealing the issue yet again. Wednesday, President Bush said the Executive Branch has done all it can. His brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has told the family he will help them fight the issue at the state legislature and even to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Moore said, "The good news is that it's getting people all over the nation, husbands and wives, to talk about (the living will forms)."

Worthington Funeral Home Director Nathan Butler said, "These forms list special instructions and limitations meant as a guide for your health care providers.

"They authorize others to act on your behalf in the consent to treatment, and withdrawal or withholding of health care, in the absence of your ability to give directions regarding the use of life-prolonging procedures."

Nathan Butler Funeral Home has made the two forms available free of charge in compliance with Indiana Code 36-16-1.

Moore said many states differ on their laws regarding this responsibility. Residents need to fill out these special forms and an Indiana living will isn't recognized by Illinois.

He specified the differences between a will and a living will.

A will is something that usually distributes material items after a death, while a living will has much more to do with health issues while the person is still alive, although they may be alive artificially, he said.

Most people don't understand the way these forms work. People should educate themselves on the details of the forms and then appoint someone to make important life decisions if they end up in a similar situation to Schiavo's, Moore said.

Documents are so important. If there would have been documents created by Michael Schiavo and his wife, there wouldn't be anything to discuss, he said.

Living will declarations and appointment of health care representative forms will be available at Moore Funeral Home soon, he said. The information was being mailed to him Wednesday.

Forms are also available at the front desk of St. Vincent Hospital. French Funeral Homes said they will not be offering the forms at their location.

Butler urged people to document their family's wishes in matters such as these.

"You are never too old or too young to address these issues with those you love," he said.

The forms are available online at:


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