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Title: Terri Schiavo
Published: Ventura County Star
Date: April 1, 2005
About this cartoon: After weeks of protests and vigils, politcal and religious rhetoric, and endless harsh words on all sides, Terri Schiavo, a woman in a brain-dead persistent vegetative state for fifteen years, died, ending a near-circus of attention and leading many Americans to fill out Advanced Medical Directives to prevent themselves from being artificially kept alive when there is no hope for quality of life.
Noteworthy: Many people assumed — wrongly — that Terri Schiavo was just in a coma (from which people can wake up) and that there was a malicious plot to kill her. No. Neurologists and other doctors knew that her brain, except for the part that handled basic autonomous functions like breathing and reflexes, was dead. MRI brain images (available on the Internet) show her brain cortex had in fact atrophied away, leaving only a functioning brain stem, meaning there was zero hope that the Schiavo as anyone knew her could ever return. She existed as basically just an organism for fifteen years under expensive artificial support.

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