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Without a feeding tube, Schiavo could live about 10 days. Death will come from dehydration, not starvation. While no one can say what she will feel, a recent survey of nurses caring for dying patients rated this a peaceful and good way to die. Her parents still hope for a miracle. Last Wednesday a priest touched Schiavo with a bit of cloth that had once touched Mother Teresa.
Doctors, lawyers and ethicists witnessing the malignity of the Schiavo case believe there is a lesson in it for everyone. "We all have an obligation to tell our loved ones what we would want done," says Fins. Schiavo was only 26 when disaster struck; Cruzan was a year younger. Quinlan was just 21. Says Fins: "You can be sure that one wish Terri Schiavo would have had is that her family wouldn't have fallen into this dispute at a time when she can't speak for herself."