jump to navigation

Terri Schiavo & False Campign Rhetoric August 27, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in Constitution, culture war, Democrats, elections, euthanasia, justice, law, liberals, news, political campaigns, politics, Republicans, right to life, Terri Schiavo.
trackback

As presidential campaign rhetoric spews across America’s airwaves, liberals of all stripes and special interests fault Republican’s for their zealous efforts to defend Terri Schiavo’s right to life. Even the prestigious financial publication, The Economist, got in on the act recently. The liberal spiel is that the federal government had no legal right to interfere with a state judicial matter. More important to Michael Schiavo and supporters is the view that family not government should decide such medical matters.

What is missing in liberal rhetoric is the interest of Terri Schiavo. In her Slate article Not Dead at All, Harriet McBryde Johnson, a disability-rights lawyer, argued that Congress did have a right to defend Terri. Because she was neither terminally ill nor was the Florida court deciding on an end-of-life decision making issue, congressional legislation giving the federal court the last word was proper procedural law. Johnson wrote that Terri had “a federal constitutional right not to be deprived of her life without due process of law.” She also had “a statutory right under the Americans with Disabilities Act not to be treated differently because of her disability.” Because “killing is not ordinarily considered a private family concern or a matter of choice,” it was appropriate for Congress to give federal courts jurisdiction to make sure state courts respected her federally protected rights.

Congress also acknowledged the right of the Terri’s parents, the Schindlers, to challenge the decisions of the state court to end her life. Her parents did not stop being such after she got married. They demonstrated to the world the deep and abiding love of normal parents. What liberals fail to mention is that Congressional Republicans acted on an appeal from her parents. The appeal was based on evidence from qualified medical experts that contradicted assessments made by pro-euthanasia physicians about her condition. As stated above, Congress created a procedure giving the federal court review authority to guarantee Terri’s Constitution rights were not being violated. This read the neurological exams as well as court hearing transcripts. It was apparent that a great travesty of justice resulted when the Supreme Court refused to review the case and when a federal court upheld the state court’s decision to deny Terri food by any means. Judge Greer ordering Terri’s death was an unpardonable injustice perpetrated both by his disregard of evidence proving she was not in a vegetative state of any kind and his refusal to order proposed medial treatment that would have enabled Terri to communicate her own will about whether to she actually wanted to live or die. As her tombstone makes clear, her husband Michael considered her disabled state the same as death. The date of death chosen by her husband was 1990 when her disability occurred and not when she was starved to death in 2005.

The charged of judicial murder made by Nat Hentoff and many others was not inappropriate but true.

Johnson also refutes current accusations by liberals and Democrats implying that Republicans were solely responsible for attempting to protect Terri’s constitutional rights. She mentioned Democrat Senator Tom Harkins’ outspoken support for the presumed unconstitutional federal remedy, but 46 other Democrats also supported the legislation.

Contrary to Johnson, Terri Schiavo was a victim of America’s culture war. Terri represents the many unknown victims of the clash of American civilizations. Directly or indirectly, all Americans have been drawn into this war between left and right, liberals and conservatives, secular humanists and Christian fundamentalists, globalists and nationalists, socialists and capitalists, humanists and traditionalists, Democrats and Republicans. Some even describe this clash of American civilizations as a cultural war between new barbarians of the liberal left and the often less than lion-hearted traditionalist right.

However described, the culture war began in the late 19th century between liberals who intended to strip Americas of all its public religious heritage and Christians who sought to preserve it. As explained by attorney Jay Sekulow in his book Witnessing Their Faith, it was in midst of that diffuse social struggle that Justice David Brewer adjudicated an official definition of our nation. He said, “America is a Christian Nation.”

Justice Brewer’s pronouncement is important because most of the social issues over which members of America’s two civilizations clash have been settled by the federal courts. Instead of public debate leading to public law created by Congress, public opposition to liberal agendas has led to judicial activism and lawmaking. Post Civil War reconstruction led to civil rights legislations ending slavery and eventually to the enforcement of equality for both blacks and women. However, civil rights became a tool of liberal extra-legislative lawmaking benefiting their ideological agenda, which has included special rights for sexual promiscuity, sexual equality of gays, and killing the unborn. The murder of Terri Schiavo represents new efforts by the left to establish the right of doctors to kill those considered less than fully human. As Johnson pointed out, Terri was not a terminally ill patient. The court did not decide on an end-of-life issue; it decided whether her husband and his physicians had the right to end her life and probably against her will.

Could this case have motivated most medical schools to reinstate the Hippocratic Oath? According to a study by Robert D. Orr and Norman Pang, only 26% of medical colleges required graduates to take some form of the oath in 1926. By 1993, 98% made taking the oath a graduation requirement. Today, only 14% of graduating doctors still pledge not to perform euthanasia and only 8% abortion. American Medical Association (AMA), the organization responsible for licensing doctors, does not adhere to any version of the Hippocratic Oath. The AMA has a written code of ethics, which neither mentions the high value of life nor prohibits euthanasia. Instead of an oath, the code of ethics requires adherence to the law. Under Roe v Wade, abortion is ethical. Euthanasia is still prohibited in most states. Consequently, it is an unethical practice for physicians in those states.

The hodge-podge of medical ethics and ethics standards requires citizen participation to create legal and ethical standards reflecting the unalienable right to life. In order to prevent judicial murder of another disabled or helpless person like Terri Schiavo, Americans who value the constitutional right to life, must engage in the conflict to change medical ethics and public legislation.

Moreover, false rhetoric of liberal pundits, politicians, and their supporters must not be allowed to demean those who defend life or who pursue justice by appropriate means. The news media aided the judicial injustice when it failed to expose it. Instead, the media supported the views of the practitioners of injustice. Failing to combat such rhetoric of injustice effectively allows the value of life, the right to life, the Constitution that guarantees it to continue to diminish. It is especially reprehensible when the type of demeaning rhetoric is employed for monetary or political gain.

Technorati Subscribe by Email Permalink

Advertisements

Comments»

1. Bad - August 27, 2007

“What is missing in liberal rhetoric is the interest of Terri Schiavo. ”

Again, this just completely misses the point of the controversy. Legally, Schiavo’s rights WERE being exercised: the right to refuse medical care in certain situations and have those wishes carried out.

You may not like the outcome of the court ruling that decided that the evidence of her wish not to be maintained in the state she was in, but our system of courts is how we rule and determine such matters of legal fact. All this other rhetoric about not being fully human or rights to life is just trying to change the subject from the ACTUAL legal issue and matter in question.

2. Daniel Downs - August 27, 2007

I’m glad you made that point. I intentional avoided addressing it because her living will–not a written one–but the one while she was alive and responsive was considered meaningless to the court. The court did not just order her feeding tube removed. The court ordered that no food or drink be given her at all. The court did not LET her die, the court order her TO BE KILLED by starvation.

The court also intentionally made it an issue of her past words while she was still ‘normal’ and her husband’s memory of it. Medical experts testified to the court that based on her present condition she could through technology, like Stephen Hawking, tell the court what she actually wanted. Not what she had claimed many years before. I have seen people in a vegetative state and my response was that I would rather not be kept alive. I know of others who have responded the same way. Terri was not in such a state. Like others, if i wound up in a severly disabled state i would most likely want to live.

3. Bad - August 28, 2007

She wasn’t responsive in any coherent sense: there was no evidence that she even had conscious awareness of, let alone the capacity to think about her situation and decide her own interests on an ongoing basis. If I am ever in a PVS, I expect doctors to obey my pre-stated wishes on my treatment, not for them or anyone else to second guess based on randomly interpreting how my eyes twitch.

“The court did not just order her feeding tube removed. The court ordered that no food or drink be given her at all.”

Giving her food or water without a feeding tube would have resulted in death by choking (which was why it was so ironic that people thought they were going to rush in and feed her: doing so would have killed her on the spot). She didn’t even have a functional swallow reflex.

“The court also intentionally made it an issue of her past words while she was still ‘normal’ and her husband’s memory of it.”

Her husband was not the only person who presented evidence of her prior wishes. And the issue of what her wishes were is central to the whole matter. That’s the whole point on what the court had to rule on.

“Medical experts testified to the court that based on her present condition she could through technology,”

And the court did not find these people credible, which is a judgment that courts have the authority to make. She was not like Steven Hawking and again, there was no evidence that she was even aware of anything, much less able to communicate coherent wishes. Endless attempts were made to demonstrate that she had the capacity to make consistently repeatable responses to stimuli, and all failed.

“Terri was not in such a state. ”

Well, that’s not what every credible medical expert said. I’ve seen people in PVS too. When it comes to brain injury of that severity, the fact that she moved randomly like she did is actually a BAD sign, not a good one, because it is a sign that even the body’s natural ability to shut the body down so that it can repair and recuperate (which is what a more traditional coma is) is damaged, and, worse, it can no longer suppress ideomotor effects and so on. PVS conditions that last for years are far far worse than comas that last for years. Generally recovery is extremely unlikely after a year of being in that state: Terry had been maintained like that for more than a decade with no sign of improvement and no reasonable chance of recovery.

4. Daniel Downs - August 28, 2007

“She wasn’t responsive in any coherent sense: there was no evidence that she even had conscious awareness of, let alone the capacity to think about her situation and decide her own interests on an ongoing basis.”

Contrary to your belief–dictated by the media informed is my guess–the court did have credible witnesses present present medical assessments video taped demonstrating that PVS was incorrect. Besides that, other medical reports criticize the large percent of misdiagnoses about the condition.

And the court did not find these people credible, which is a judgment that courts have the authority to make.”

You are right. The court did have the prerogative to dismiss the evidence of those professional witnesses. Judges opinions are not also true, right, or just.

“She didn’t even have a functional swallow reflex.”

The neurologist that examined her, taped the exams, and testified in court said she was swallowing her own saliva.

The rest of your argument is wishful thinking. You or the courts belief does preclude other doctors, medial specialists, nurses, friends, and family witness that she was not in a rehabilitative state. That she had damage beyond recovery is true. That she was denied sufficient rehabilitative treatment for those many is also true. There is no just defense of killing a person who willed to live whether euthanasia doctors or support judges claim otherwise.

The evidence that Terri was not PVS and that she was killed is still available to anyone willing to review it.

5. Amazed - August 31, 2007

Actually her medical record was very clear on her ability to swallow- specific testing was performed involving radiographic imaging (barium swallow tests on 3 occasions) and it was established that she was unable to safely swallow foods and liquids in life sustaining quantities without severe risk of silent aspiration (she had no gag reflex).

Brain damaged people do not automatically drool all over themselves and there is no medical “rule” that says being able to handle your own saliva qualifies you for oral feeding. Production of saliva remains minimal and a constant in PVS patients because their damaged brain does not process “hunger” and therefore does not trigger the normal chain of events from it (increased salivation, increased stomache acid production, etc.)

Putting aside the barium swallow tests as evidence of Mrs Schiavos inability to swallow there was also the investigation into the allegation of neglect stemming from someones complaint that Mrs Schiavo was not provided with proper dental care.

If you read the report you will note that Mrs Schiavo suffered from contractures. Contractures result when the nervous system is damaged and there is a loss of voluntary muscle control. Body parts that move are generally moved by opposing muscle pairs. The nervous system controls movement by balancing the forces between the opposing muscles-when one contracts the other is relaxed. Contactures result when both muscle pairs are active at the same time.

Routine dental exams and cleanings were not performed on Mrs Schiavo because oral stimulation caused her to grind her teeth as the contractures from loss of voluntary muscle control caused her jaws to spasm. The only way they could have performed “routine” dental care on her was to use general anesthesia (muscle relaxant and central nervous system depressant) – given the risk/versus benefit analysis they would never do such a thing for “routine” dental care.

The point is that while the nuerologists observation certainly fueled controversy (and was likely intended to- the neurologist in question is very self promoting, runs a financially successful business and is controversial within the profession for a number of reasons…) it really wasn’t a particularly useful or relevant observation from a scientific/medical perspective.

His colleagues and peers within the profession would never even have made note of it because it was an inconsequential, meaningless and useless medical observation. Certainly the neurologist knew it had no bearing whatever on the functional ability to swallow. In other words his obvious intent was to fuel the firestorm of controversy and not to communicate useful medical information.

6. Truth not RHETORIC - August 31, 2007

The legal history around the Schiavo case included fourteen appeals and numerous motions, petitions, and hearings in the Florida courts; five suits in Federal District Court; Florida legislation struck down by the Supreme Court of Florida; a subpoena by a congressional committee to qualify Schiavo for witness protection; federal legislation (Palm Sunday Compromise); and four denials of certiorari from the Supreme Court of the United States.

In October 2002, on remand by the Second District Court of Appeal, an evidentiary hearing was held in Judge Greer’s court to determine whether new therapy treatments could help Schiavo restore any cognitive function. In preparation for the trial, a new computed axial tomography scan (CAT scan) was performed, which showed severe cerebral atrophy. An EEG showed no measurable brain activity.

The court viewed a six-hour tape of Schiavo with her mother and neurologist William Hammesfahr and concluded that her vegetative condition was factual and not subject to legal dispute.

The trial court was particularly critical of neurologist Hammesfahr’s testimony, which claimed positive results in similar cases by use of vasodilation therapy (the success of which is unsupported in the medical literature).

When requested Dr Hammesfahr was unable to provide records or evidence of his success with ANY patient he had treated using the method.

Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal stated that “this court has closely examined all of the evidence in the record,” and “we have… carefully observed the video tapes in their entirety.” The court concluded that “…if we were called upon to review the guardianship court’s (Judge Greers) decision de novo, we would still affirm it.” This decision by the 2nd DCA came to be known as Schiavo IV in later rulings.
________________________________________________

There is also the GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) report:

“The GAL was not able to independently determine that there were consistent, repetitive, intentional, reproducible interactive and aware activities.” He notes further, that when joined by her parents no success was gained in eliciting a repetitive or consistent response from Schiavo.

In examining medical records and consultations surrounding the case, Wolfson concluded: “(that there is) well documented information that she is in a persistent vegetative state with no likelihood of improvement, and that the neurological and speech pathology evidence in the file support the contention that she cannot take oral nutrition or hydration and cannot consciously interact with her environment.”

He observed further that while there appeared to be agreement about Schiavo and PVS: “the Schindlers have adopted what appears to be a position that Theresa is not in a persistent vegetative state, and/or that they do not support the fact that such a medical state exists at all.”

7. Daniel Downs - August 31, 2007

My dad who is over 90 yrs old and currently paralyzed on side has had a number of barium swallow tests. He has failed them. The fact that such tests were performed on Terri further supports that she was not in a PVS state.

The neurologist stated he witnessed her swallowing her own saliva while examining her, which occurred over several days and for number of hours. It is not uncommon or impossible for brain damaged patients to recover some function like swallowing. Nevertheless, the point is additional test were conducted after the neurologists examination and testimony to the court were performed to determine whether she had in fact regained her ability to swallow.

Even if she had regained that ability, the more important point is the court denied her any possibility to communicate whether she wanted to end her life. Medical rehabilitation specialist believed they she could been enabled to do so based on their evaluation of previous evaluations and reports.

Moreover, the attempt to discredit a medical scientist because he profits from his practice is rather cheap and meaningless, it seems to suggest a pretense that the other neurologists and physicians who were pro-euthanasia-didn’t also profit by her death.

8. Bad - August 31, 2007

Contrary to your belief–dictated by the media informed is my guess–the court did have credible witnesses present present medical assessments video taped demonstrating that PVS was incorrect. Besides that, other medical reports criticize the large percent of misdiagnoses about the condition.

Merely the fact that people can make an argument does not mean that the argument is credible. I’ve looked at those claims. Doctors have looked at those claims. They just aren’t credible. A layperson watching highly edited footage in which reactions seem to correlate with stimulus is not the same thing as spending an hour on an actual medical evaluation with someone trained on what to look for.

Furthermore, the misdiagnosis rate you speak of is not relevant to this case and it is misleading to bring it up: it relates to diagnoses of PVS that are done within the first few months after injury, when its not clear how much of the brain is left and whether it can actually recuperate. That’s not in the least relevant to PVS cases where the clinical findings of the diagnosis are sustained for more than a decade. These are very very different sorts of things.

You are right. The court did have the prerogative to dismiss the evidence of those professional witnesses. Judges opinions are not also true, right, or just.

I didn’t say that. What I said was that courts have the authority to do this, and they have that authority for the court system to even function. EVERY trial can have hired professional witnesses on BOTH sides: the court has to be able to decide amongst them. In this case, it did, and frankly, I don’t see any evidence that it made the wrong choice. People just dislike the outcome, so they pretend that this somehow makes claims that aren’t supported by medical literature or experience credible.

If you think that there is a better way, please tell me. Would it be better if you personally decided the outcome of scientific evidence presented in any court case around the nation?

The neurologist that examined her, taped the exams, and testified in court said she was swallowing her own saliva.

That’s not the same thing as having functional swallow reflex that can allow you not to choke on food that someone shoves down your throat, or liquid either. This is exactly why she had a peg tube and wasn’t being fed orally in the first place!

You or the courts belief does preclude other doctors, medial specialists, nurses, friends, and family witness that she was not in a rehabilitative state.

Neither the court nor myself is simply dismissing them out of hand. I’ve looked at what those claims are, and they just do not hold water: THEY are wishful thinking.

That she had damage beyond recovery is true. That she was denied sufficient rehabilitative treatment for those many is also true.

Again, no one could provide evidence that there was a rehabilitative treatment that would have helped in her particular situation.

Nor, in fact, is that relevant at all. Medical directives cannot be overridden just because someone decides that they want to use me as a guinea pig for some untested treatment.

There is no just defense of killing a person who willed to live whether euthanasia doctors or support judges claim otherwise.

You are again just changing the subject here to avoid the central issue. The central issue here was the right to refuse medical care, not euthanasia. Nothing in the court’s decision had anything legally to do with euthanasia. This was strictly decided on the grounds of the right to refuse medical care as per medical directives.

The evidence that Terri was not PVS and that she was killed is still available to anyone willing to review it.

You can claim it is evidence, but that doesn’t make it not credible evidence.

Daniel:

My dad who is over 90 yrs old and currently paralyzed on side has had a number of barium swallow tests. He has failed them. The fact that such tests were performed on Terri further supports that she was not in a PVS state.

No it doesn’t: that logic makes no sense. PVS is not based on any single criteria, but requires fulfilling a whole host of them. Simply not having a swallow reflex is not a diagnosis of PVS, and a person who doesn’t have PVS without a swallow reflex does not prove that PVs patients without one are not actually in PVS.

the more important point is the court denied her any possibility to communicate whether she wanted to end her life. Medical rehabilitation specialist believed they she could been enabled to do so based on their evaluation of previous evaluations and reports.

Again: this person was not able to provide any credible evidence that she would ever be able to communicate again, or even that she had the ability to have wishes TO communicate given the state she was in.

Major core structures of her brain were missing and had not regrown (nor could they regrow from such a state), as the autopsy showed, all of which were inconsistent with the ability to function in the way you people are claiming.

9. Amazed - September 1, 2007

Hammesfahr discredits himself by continuing to claim to be NOBEL nominated when in fact he was contacted by the NOBEL committee and informed that what he is claiming as a nomination didn’t meet their criteria nor did it conform in any way to the actual process necessary for someone to be nominated.

His medical opinions coincide with your strongly held beleifs about Mrs Schiavo therefore, from your perspective, his reputation is impeccable and his expert opinion valuable beyond all other expert opinions rendered in the case.

As far as his reputation among his peers and colleagues within the medical profession? His treatments are unproven. The science behind his treatments is speculative and theoritical. There are no controlled studies involving Dr Hammesfahr or his patients.

The Schindlers have circulated a list of medical professionals that were solicited to provide affadavits in support of the Schindlers. How did the Gibbs law firm and its private investigators choose medical professionals to solicit? Perhaps via listings in certain pro life professional organizations. Perhaps by their religious affiliations. Rumor has it that Catholics in the medical profession were targeted and pressured.

It really doesn’t matter how these medical professionals came to be involved. Almost without exception every affadivit from licensed medical professionals states very clearly that they had not examined Mrs Schiavo or reviewed any of her medical records and that they were not rendering a professional medical opinion and that they were not “consulting” on the medical case.

In other words they were expressing a personal opinion.

Lets not forget Dr Frist in front of the cameras and on the Senate floor.

He rendered his opinion very publicly.

He volunteered his retraction and apology (for allowing himself to be misled by the carefully edited and selected bits of video he was shown) very quietly.

10. Daniel Downs - September 2, 2007

“Merely the fact that people can make an argument does not mean that the argument is credible. I’ve looked at those claims. Doctors have looked at those claims. They just aren’t credible. A layperson watching highly edited footage in which reactions seem to correlate with stimulus is not the same thing as spending an hour on an actual “medical evaluation with someone trained on what to look for.”

It works both ways. Your pretense of authority or expertise does mean much either. Nevertheless, it was qualified physicians and medical specialists whose assessments of her medical records and their medical evidence that contradicted court Michael’s hemlock society doctor and others. Judges are no more exempt from faulty or prejudiced opinions as others. As attorney Jay Sekulow points out in “Witnessing Their Faith,” many judicial decisions are influenced by their personal beliefs as you also prefer to believe Terri Schindler-Schiavo was PVS.

” the misdiagnosis rate you speak of is not relevant to this case and it is misleading to bring it up.”

That is your opinion. It is very relevant both within the medical profession, to legal rulings, and especially to Terri’s case. It was obviously not sustained by every physician, medical specialist, nurses, or others. It was certainly relevant to her whether she should live or die. It was relevant as to whether it was possible for her to communicate her own wishes in the matter, which the court denied her based on the the beliefs as you.

“If you think that there is a better way, please tell me. Would it be better if you personally decided the outcome of scientific evidence presented in any court case around the nation?”

So are you supposedly the final authority? Maybe in your own mind, but in in mine. Neither is government. People do not have to accept political outcomes in America. The lawyers and judge have had legal proceedings brought against them about this case. It is far from over.

“That’s not the same thing as having functional swallow reflex that can allow you not to choke on food that someone shoves down your throat, or liquid either. This is exactly why she had a peg tube and wasn’t being fed orally in the first place!”

That is a very melodramatic way of putting. Your consistency does equate to the truth though. As another respondent wrote, she had swallow tests prior to the above mentioned examine. The fact that she was swallowing her own saliva sufficient for a doctor to suspect the possibility of a change in her condition also suggests she was not in a PVS state as you want to believe. She was making that and other voluntary actions for the doctor you so desperately have to believe she didn’t or couldn’t. It is the evidence for which your denials have no real basis of fact as you claim.

There is no just defense of killing a person who willed to live whether euthanasia doctors or support judges claim otherwise. “You are again just changing the subject here to avoid the central issue.”

Actually, it is the central issue of my writing. It is obviously not central to your belief. Corroborating witnesses medical and non-medical said she was against several other doctors’ assessment. She expressed her desire to live, but not in the way required by law. She was denied the therapy and technology that would enabled her to do so. For you to deny based on your belief she was PVS is meaningless. That the court decided not to give her that treatment denying the experts the opportunity to give her that chance means they killed her against her will. Had the court gave her that treatment and then she failed, then denying her further treatment at her ex-husband’s continued request would been legit. The court didn’t. It chose to kill her.

“PVS is not based on any single criteria, but requires fulfilling a whole host of them. Simply not having a swallow reflex is not a diagnosis of PVS, and a person who doesn’t have PVS without a swallow reflex does not prove that PVs patients without one are not actually in PVS.”

I didn’t say that. Barium swallow test required Terri to have swallowed liquid for the x-ray can be taken. It required voluntary cooperation something PVS patients cannot do.The three barium swallow tests is more evidence she was not PVS. Like you claim, she had many PVS test and the last PVS tests showed she was not PVS.

How much of her brain was “gone” was not a part of her case. Whether her rights were violated is still the issue.

11. JusticeForTS - September 3, 2007

“The lawyers and judge have had legal proceedings brought against them about this case. It is far from over.” -Daniel Downs

Do you have an authoriatative source for this? What are the filings, who brought the cases and where were these filed? You would think some news service would pick up the story. You would think the religious press or blog sites would publicize this info!

Why, in your opinion, is the Schindler family refusing to release the entire 6 hours of video tape that was submitted to the court?

Pro death advocates claim the reason is that the Schindlers had to carefully select tiny bits and moments and then heavily edit them in order to give the appearance that Mrs Schiavo was responsive.

Why wouldn’t the Schindlers want to put an end to that speculation and just release the entire video?

Those six hours of tape were viewed in their entirety by the appeals court and the judges claimed the video clearly demonstrated that Mrs Schiavo was not responsive and did not interact with her environment and, most importantly to the pro death forces, supposedly the video proved that Mrs Schiavo did not respond to her mother and did not react or respond purposefully to anything- just reflex and random movements and sounds.

12. Daniel Downs - September 4, 2007

Truth and Not Rhetoric: “The court viewed a six-hour tape of Schiavo with her mother and neurologist William Hammesfahr and concluded that her vegetative condition was factual and not subject to legal dispute.”

The entire tape was viewed by Judge Greer, who wrote, Schiavo “clearly does not consistently respond to her mother”. However, PVS is defined as a behaviorally defined syndrome of complete unawareness, to self and to environment, that occurs in a person who nevertheless experiences wakefulness. As demonstrated by during Dr Hammesfahr’s exam and confirmed by others, Terri was aware of herself and others though not at all times. Moreover, Dr. Stephen J. Nelson, commenting on her autopsy, said “neuropathologic examination alone of the decedent’s brain – or any brain for that matter – cannot prove or disprove a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state or minimally conscious state.” Before the court starved her to death, 33 medical experts requested additional tests to determine the possibility of her being able to swallow and to gain any cognitive function to the point of expressing her will to live or die, which the court denied.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: