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Living wills are Schiavo legacy

Thousands a day record intentions

TAMPA -- Tulie Taylor, her husband, and other members of her family argued last year over whether Terri Schiavo should have been allowed to live or die. But they all came to agree on one thing -- none of them wanted it to happen to them.

After watching the right-to-die dispute that gripped the nation, the 45-year-old Tallahassee woman and her three siblings signed documents that would tell caregivers what to do if any of them ended up like the severely brain-damaged Schiavo.

''Ultimately, it was difficult to discuss the Schiavo case because in the end we all chose sides," Taylor said. ''So we decided not to discuss the Schiavo case, and we turned it around to be about us."

Today marks one year since Schiavo's death. Many advocates say the case has led to a sharp increase in the number of Americans signing end-of-life directives.

Visits to the Internet site for the US Living Will Registry, where advance directives can be stored for quick access by doctors and family members, increased from 500 a day to 50,000 a day when the Schiavo case was in the headlines last year. It has leveled off to about 2,500 day.

''It basically brought the whole idea of advance directives and living wills into the national consciousness," said Joseph Barmakian, president of the Living Will Registry.

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