Her Body Her Self?

I find the current congressional furor over a certain woman’s body (pretty much just body since her mind is gone)quite hysterical and tragic. The story is about everything but the woman herself. “A woman who at the age of 26 was apparently in the process of starving herself – that’s what an ‘eating disorder’ is, folks – and succeeded to the point of triggering a heart attack?,” writes Chris Nolan in her March 20 entry at Politics From Left To Right.
Robin Toner and Carl Hulse describe it a little differently in their Sunday New York Times article: “Ms. Schiavo suffered extensive brain damage when her heart stopped briefly 15 years ago due to a potassium deficiency; she remains in what doctors have testified is a “persistent vegetative state.”
Potassium deficiency can cause heart problems – and can be caused by vomiting and laxative abuse, both symptoms of an eating disorder. Nobody now seems to think the cause of her life-ending heart attack is important. Everyone is completely caught up in who will have control over her body now that she has no control over it herself.
I want to know about her. Not her parents, her husband, or the grandstanding politicians who have made control over her body their cause celebre. Who was Terri Schiavo? And is there anything we could have done to help her before the feeding tube became her claim to fame.