As you may have read here on bioethics.net this week, the headline from MSNBC read “5 Years After Schiavo, Few Make End-of-Life Plans.” What the headline really means, of course, is that following this landmark case that was so influential, not only in the world of bioethics, but also in the halls of Congress and that resonated throughout the nation, nothing has changed in terms of the number of people who are filling out advance directives.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Most research shows that advance directives aren’t really that effective at achieving the desired goals that so many of us want: clearly expressed wishes that lead to a good death.
This week on The Bioethics Channel, Glenn Edwards McGee reflects on what the Schiavo case meant at the time for the field of bioethics and what the Schiavo case (and other more recent research studies) means for the future for end-of-life research in bioethics.
Summer Johnson, PhD