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Other Families Struggle With Life and Death Decisions Too

Families face tough decisions every day in the wake of freak accidents or chronic illness; to continue life support or not, to remove a feeding tube or not, and for families who've been through it, watching it on TV is all the more painful.

Liz Cox, a mother, says, "We were just having lunch and a piece came on about it and he just casually said, ‘you know mom, I know you love all of us kids, but please promise me you would never do something like that to me.’ Little did I know just a few weeks later I'd be making that decision."

Liz Cox's son Ben was struck by a car in July 2004. Declared brain dead, his family opted to remove him from life support the next day. His mother cannot bear to watch the battle over Terri Schiavo and the pictures of her on TV.

Liz Cox says, "It's not an issue for the courts, and it's not an issue for the media. It should have been a family issue, and I don't know how it's gotten so out of control."

Dr. Sally Karioth, a grief therapist and FSU professor, says, "The focus on this single event is stunning to me, and sad, certainly."

Sally Karioth is furious. The nationally known expert on death and dying says this battle has distorted the facts and demonized the players in what should be a family privately sifting through its feelings of right and wrong, and allowing itself moments of anguish and peace, verity and doubt.

Dr. Sally Karioth says, "I think a lot of people have gotten excited about the issue, excited about weighing in, excited about being heard, and I think many people forget there's a woman in a hospice whose life is no longer private."

Sally Karioth would like to see Terri go home with her parents. Liz Cox wants them to let her go, but both feel these critical decisions are best left to bedsides, not statehouses or courtrooms.

As you know, there are plenty of people who disagree with that too.


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