reporting on medically vulnerable patients "living on the edge of consciousness."
In her reporting, Swartz tells the story of Maggie Worthen -- a young college-aged woman whose story is so similar to Terri Schiavo's as to be uncanny. Like Terri, Maggie collapsed and became unconscious, unable to speak or move. Like Terri, Maggie initially recovered with the assistance of a ventilator and the benefit of time. Like Terri, Maggie relied on a feeding tube after recovering the ability to breathe naturally, without machines.
Like Terri, Maggie was given very little rehabilitation before being called "vegetative," resulting in her disqualification from further insurance. Like Terri, Maggie was sent to a nursing home where she continued to show signs of life and consciousness.
Unlike Terri, Maggie's supportive physician had her transferred to a facility where she was deemed "minimally conscious." Unlike Terri, Maggie benefited from aggressive rehabilitation that let her regularly communicate with family, friends, and medical staff before she died in 2005 after an illness.
What is most remarkable about Newsweek's feature on these medically vulnerable Americans is the absence of any mention of Terri Schiavo, whose own struggle for rehabilitative services and basic care and against premature death at the hands of an unsupportive husband dominated the attention of the nation in 2005, the same year that Maggie died.
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