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Elder Law Attorneys Offer Expertise in Schiavo Coverage
- March 25th, 2005
As the Terri Schiavo case approaches a legal and medical climax, elder law attorneys across the nation have been fielding reporters' questions about the case and the usefulness of living wills to prevent other such tragedies. Many of the interviewees are ElderLawAnswers members. Here's a sampling of articles:
The Lakeland (Florida) Ledger asked Florida ElderLawAnswers member Scott Solkoff his opinion of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's effort to have the state's welfare agency use its emergency powers to provide medical care for Schiavo on the grounds that she may be a victim of abuse by her husband, Michael. Solkoff, who is the head of the Florida Bar's Elder Law section, said Bush's use of the abuse law was incorrect. "These folks are exhausting every legal means they can, no matter how far-fetched," Solkoff said.
The Chicago Sun-Times asked Illinois ElderLawAnswers member attorney Steven C. Perlis to comment on how courts resolve right-to-die cases in the absence of a living will or other written directive from the patient.
"Courts tend to look at best interests of the patient," said Perlis. "The preference ordinarily starts out with the spouse, but there could be mitigating circumstances. The husband could be estranged; there could be allegations that the spouse is not a fit person."
Maine elder law attorney Timothy M. Vogel was interviewed in a Kennebec Journal article on whether Maine's courts could face a battle similar to the Schiavo case.
"Maine law works best for people who make their wishes known and have a power of attorney for health care," said Vogel. "If you don't have one, the question becomes who gets to make the decision. . . . The law really respects people who take responsibility for their own health care decisions, if you clearly make your wishes known."
As previously reported, a Wall Street Journal article on the importance of living wills quotes New York ElderLawAnswers member Bernard A. Krooks on the living will law in his state, and California ElderLawAnswers member and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys president Stuart Zimring on special instructions that can be placed in living wills.
Other articles featuring elder law practitioners include:
- "Schiavo case sparks interest in health care directives" (Mid-Columbia (Washington State) Tri-City Herald)
- "Schiavo case starts talk of living will for families in Hall" (Gainesville (Florida) Times)
- "End-of-life wishes a gift to loved ones" (The Oregonian)
- "UH director hopes Shiavo [sic] case stirs many to plan for death" ( Honolulu (Hawaii) Star-Bulletin)
- "Schiavo case has more people thinking about living wills" (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
- Putting it in writing is 1st step (Chicago Tribune)
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