Boone County residents reflect on Terri Schiavo’s death

Friday, April 1, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:05 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pinellas Park, Fla., is about a 24-hour drive from Columbia. It’s more than 1,100 miles away. But it was home to Terri Schiavo, whose death hit close to home for some Boone County residents on Thursday, bringing both sighs of relief and feelings of sadness.

“When I went to bed (Wednesday) night, I was thinking that this would be her last day,” said Lana Jacobs, who has been closely following the Schiavo case and spent eight days protesting outside of Schiavo’s hospice in Florida last week.

“I just had a feeling,” she said.

Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman who lived on a feeding tube since 1990, died Thursday morning after the tube was removed 13 days earlier by judge’s approval.

Other Boone County residents are talking about Schiavo’s situation too.

Kurt Albert, who visited the Senior Center in Columbia on Thursday, said he is more likely to get a living will be-cause he doesn’t have one now. The intense media coverage of Schiavo’s death was the topic of discussion between several senior citizens during lunch at the Senior Center. Carol Slusher, volunteer at the Senior Center, said she and other members of her Bible study discussed the legal concerns of Schiavo’s situation last week.

Schiavo’s medical condition has been making headlines for some time now, and most older people at the Senior Cen-ter said they are glad to see a resolution.

“For her sake and everybody’s sake, I’m glad it’s over,” said Jerry Darnell, another Senior Center visitor.

As for how the legal matters of Schiavo’s case were decided, several people at the Senior Center agreed that it’s not their place to decide.

“I don’t wish to second guess the family’s choice,” Albert said. “It is a very sad and private moment.”

Roxanne Reed-Johnston, director of Missouri River Hospice, said the greatest lesson learned from Schiavo’s death is the importance of patients, especially those near the end of their lives, having living wills.

“Each adult human being needs to make their wishes known in writing in a legal format,” Reed-Johnston said. “All of (the struggle for custody of Schiavo’s life) could have been avoided if she had a living will.”

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