Rebecca Dresser, JD, Daniel Noyes Kirby Professor of Law and Professor of Ethics in Medicine at Washington University Law School, in a May-June 2005 article published in the Hastings Center Report, entitled "Schiavo's Legacy: The Need for an Objective Standard," explained:

“Since Terri Schiavo had no living will, the Florida judges applied the ‘substituted judgment’ standard to reach a decision about her care. This standard aims to produce the decision the patient would make if able… The courts found that Ms. Schiavo’s former statements constituted clear and convincing evidence that she would refuse the medical nutrition and hydration prolonging her life.

Yet the courts also recognized that the evidence was not all that strong…

The testimony about Ms. Schiavo’s previous statements was general enough to raise doubts about whether she would indeed have refused nutrition and hydration. And years after her brain injury, with her family so divided, could anyone really know what she would decide if she were, in the language of the Quinlan court, ‘miraculously lucid for an interval…and perceptive of her irreversible condition’?”

May-June, 2005