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Cause of Death


As the end nears for Terri Schiavo, one question remains: What will officials record on her death certificate as the cause of death? The truth is that the cause of her death will be malnutrition and/or dehydration. But will officials tell the truth? Or will they sugar coat it with euphemisms, or even record as the cause of death something that did not cause her death, such as brain damage resulting from a loss of oxygen? Scholars studying the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands noticed from the beginning a tendency of some doctors to misrepresent the cause of death in the case of mercy killings (many of which, we now know, were and are performed without the consent of the person killed). Will the same thing happen here? Will truth be another victim in the Schiavo tragedy.


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