One of the best columns I have read on the saga of Terri Schiavo, and why the process that led to her death was tragic.
With all the ambiguity in diagnosing a brain-damaged person's state of mind, the law is unlikely to arrive at something we can call truth. The winner in court is usually the one with the most convincing medical witnesses, who speak with the greatest confidence and authority. One expert's opinion is pitted against another's, and the judge has to figure out which to believe.
This is not medicine's way. Consultants are not there to fight with one another but to collegially explain their differences. A reasonable approach is to get an independently named panel of physicians with no allegiance to either side and no discernible agendas. By itself, the adversarial approach offers little hope of bringing families to common ground. Indeed, back in 2002, the four dueling doctors chosen separately by Terri Schiavo's husband and her parents to offer the court evidence voted along party lines. That led of course to a split jury, not good enough when life--and death--are on the line.