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The case of Theresa Shiavo gained national attention because it was an extremely controversial subject Following a collapse in February 1990 of heart failure when she was only 26 years old Terri had been in a coma for three months When she regained consciousness she was in the generally unresponsive state in which she would remain for 15 years She remained on a feeding tube to keep her alive Her husband Michael Shiavo stated that it was not Terris wish to be kept alive in this way and that she should be taken off the feeding tube and allowed to die Her parents Robert and Mary Schindler did not agree and petitioned the court to allow their daughter to continue on the life-support This sparked major press coverage and the attention of Governor Jeb Bush of Florida Congress and the White House Over the years more than 40 judges have been involved with this case On the morning of February 25 1990 Theresa Shiavo collapsed in the hallway of her home in St Petersburg Florida of what appeared to be heart failure It is not known what caused the heart failure however it was well known that Terri had been concerned about her weight and had been on a NutraSystems diet in the past Doctors who examined her after she collapsed presumed that she had the eating disorder bulimia and because of this she had a potassium deficiency which caused her heart failure This has never been proven The cause of her collapse remains a mystery When paramedics arrived at the scene Terri was in full cardiac arrest After seven attempts to defibrillate or electrically shock the heart into beating normally a rhythm was restored Terris brain had gone without oxygen for over an hour She did receive irreversible brain damage The biggest question that still remains is Was Terri in a permanent vegetative state Some doctors have referred to Terris condition as locked-in syndrome
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