Healthcare Directives



“A man, even if seriously ill or disabled in the exercise of his highest functions, is and always will be a man, and he will never become a ‘vegetable’ or an ‘animal.'”

– Pope John Paul II

Speech to the participants in the international congress on “life-sustaining treatments and vegetative state:scientific advances and ethical dilemmas” Saturday, 20 March 2004


A healthcare directive authorizes someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in situations where you are unable to make your medical wishes known (e.g., a stroke). A healthcare directive is a very important document.  It allows someone to express his or her positions, interests, and values regarding several important issues.  This document is necessary to clearly express your end-of life treatment.

The importance of having a healthcare directive is illustrated in the tragic case of Terri Shiavo.  Terri’s heart stopped when she was 25 years old and she never regained consciousness and was unable to make her medical wishes known.  Her husband insisted that she did not want any life sustaining measures, even food and water delivered through a feeding tube. She could still digest food naturally, but she used a feeding tube instead of a spoon.  Her parents “claimed that Terri was a devout Roman Catholic who would not wish to violate the Church’s teachings on euthanasia by refusing nutrition and hydration.” Sadly, Terri’s husband won the battle. Terri’s feeding tube was disconnected, which led to her death via dehydration.

If Terri had a healthcare directive instructing all involved that she did not wish to violate the Church’s teachings and wished to be kept alive by artificial nutrition and hydration, much of the legal battle would have been avoided and Terri might still be here today.

Trojack & Schniederjan Law Office, P.A. knows that healthcare directives need to be specific and clearly express your positions, interests, values.  Our office has developed a healthcare directive that is specifically designed to reflect the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on the end of life issues to make sure that you are not the next Terri Schiavo.

Our office also offers more general health care directives that do not conform to any particular religious belief.  Trojack & Schniederjan Law Office, P.A. has drafted more than 1,000 healthcare directives. We would be happy to assist you in making your healthcare wishes clear and incontestable.