HIVers were mulling medical proxies and end-of-life decisions long
before the vicious family battle over Terri Schiavo’s feeding-tube fate
made living wills a national issue. POZ asked HIVers if the world would
have been as caring if Schiavo had been a patient with HIV—and if the
case had moved these HIVers to deal with the living-will decision. To
download your own advance medical directive, visit www.caringinfo.org
or call 800.658.8898.
Brian DiCrocco, 37 Telemarketer, San Francisco America
would have been even more sympathetic if Terri had had HIV. It
horrifies me that her feeding tube was taken out. I don’t think that
she left any clear instruction for that. I have a living will. There is
life support I would want, like a feeding tube. I wouldn’t want to be
kept alive if brain-dead.
Dyane Haddock, 40 ASO
President, Tampa Florida Americans are uneducated about HIV, so I
don’t think they would have been as sympathetic. Her tube should’ve
been removed, but there must have been a better way to let her go. My
kids understand why I wouldn’t want to be kept alive. I recently pulled
out a computer program that helps create living wills.
Lora Tucker, 45 Program Director, Howard Beach, NY If Terri had HIV, the case would not have gotten the same attention, due to stigma.
Her husband was her legal caretaker, and his wishes should have been
followed. Death is part of life—I wouldn’t want my family or me to
suffer by keeping me alive artificially. I have no living will—my
health-care proxy died.
Jeff Hammond, 51 Reporter, Carrizozo, New Mexico People
would not have been as sympathetic if Terri had HIV. Everybody has the
right to die with dignity, including Terri. I’ve been close to checking
out without a living will, but I have one now. My wife died of AIDS
while I was in prison, and our wishes were not followed. I don’t want
that to happen again.