Straight Up with Sherri

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Hat tip: Ron Panzer, Pres/Founder Hospice Patients Alliance


In light of my sister’s recent death by dehydration, experts have been urging people to sign advance directives. The implication is that this legal document will protect you from experiencing a horrific death such as Terri’s. However, I think that most Americans will be shocked to learn that this is not necessarily true.

Under the current law in most states, even if you clearly specify that you do not want to be starved to death, a doctor or a hospital doesn’t have to give you the food and fluids that you’ve asked for. Even if you have filled out a legal document choosing food and water, a hospital ethics committee can say that your “quality of life” doesn’t measure up to their standards, and you will slowly die against your will.

My family has personally experienced how biased the medical and legal systems can be toward people with disabilities, targeting people like Terri to hasten their deaths.

I wanted to speak at this press conference today to highlight this shocking information. Although it is important to sign an advance directive to make clear that you want food and water, evidently, that is not enough. We must also work to change the laws so that those wishes will be respected.

NRLC pages, chart of state laws


Report of advanced directives


  • This is soooo important! What is Bob proposing for changes to laws? Has he said, yet?

    By Anonymous juleni, at 11:50 AM  

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