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March 23, 2005


The Apologist

I tell ya, the more I learn about this case - the more it breaks my heart. I hope her parents can heal afterwords. This has got to be terrifying for them.

The Apologist

No pun intended.



I think what's going to happen is that Terri is going to die, and then we're going to get to the truth.

It's ugly now and it's bound to get much uglier.

Bill Arnold

I am aware that Cranford has a "history", and perhaps this has already been posted here and discussed at length, apologies if so:

Which frankly look convincing to me (a layperson), though a current MRI/fMRI would be more convincing. Note that Cranford says that "an MRI scan on July 24, 1990", and that "the MRI is contraindicated because of the intrathalamic stimulators implanted in Terri's brain." He dances around the PET scan question a little saying "the only PET scan center in the country I would trust right now for doing the PET scan for the determination of PVS is New York-Cornell Medical Center with Niko Schiff."


I'm with Ed on getting uglier.

This has the perfect makings of a Waco like, or Vince Foster like cult (I say that as a recovering Wacoholic).

Too many unanswered questions, and a weirdly non-responsive "due process".

If she dies on Easter Sunday, heaven help us.


We're all going to die someday... I'd put each of our chances of survival in the long run at zero.

My question is: why the hurry?

Joel B.

The Corner was thinking Good Friday TM.


The problem I have with the Pekin Prattles posting (I read the "complete report" but don't have time to read the "offers reply") is that Dr. Cranford makes several assumptions that are open to question, and that he leaves out what I can't escape feeling are significant factors in Michael Schiavo's behavior. He assumes that the Schiavos would only want their daughter to live if she could improve or recover - he states, "So this family, cruelly misled by blatant distortions of fact and thoroughly unprofessional advice, believes that letting Terri die now takes away any opportunity, any slim chance, that she will receive 'appropriate' treatment in order to recover. They feel like they are the last chance that Terri will ever have, and they are acting according to these strong (but unfortunately terribly mistaken and ill informed) beliefs." Correction: they know that they are the last chance that Terri will ever have, with or without any degree of recovery. Without them, she would be dead.

He further assumes that Terri's "right to privacy" is violated by her parents' desire for her not to die, taking as given that Michael Schiavo's representation of her wishes is correct. My husband and I have been married for twelve years and dated for three years before that. We have a great relationship and have never been estranged in any way. We don't have living wills (but we will now, you betcha). I was shocked to find that he believed things about what I would want in Terri's situation that I absolutely would not want. He made assumptions about me that were incorrect - and he unquestionably loves me.

What was it, seven years into Terri's ordeal before Michael Schiavo suddenly remembered that she wouldn't want to live "this way"? If I'm doing my math correctly, he had already been involved with his current girlfriend (it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck - she's his wife) for several years by then, he'd received the malpractice settlement, he'd withdrawn treatment from Terri including basic physical therapy and apparently common care like having her teeth cleaned. Why is his, his brother's, and his sister-in-law's testimony as to Terri's carefully considered wishes if she were ever incapacitated - oh, pardon me, their recollection of her comments at a couple of funerals and after a Karen Ann Quinlan movie - so compelling?

Something about Terri's "reflex smiles." I am obviously no expert in PVS, but I do know what a newborn's reflex smile looks like. It's fleeting, ephemeral - terribly sweet but not involving the rest of the face, any particular stimulus (gas, for instance), or duration beyond a second or two. The videotape of Terri smiling at her mother doesn't look reflexive to me; it involves her whole face rather than just her mouth, it lasts, it appears when her mother's face comes into her field of vision (British Med Journal study I saw this week indicates that a significant majority of seriously brain-damaged people in apparent PVS have profound visual deficits) and seconds after her mother starts talking. If the reflex smile of a person in the PVS is the same as that of a very young infant, I don't see the similarity here.

And then there's Cranford's "history," about which much has been said.


Tom - If Terri was black, nobody would know her name


If Terri was black, nobody would know her name

C'mon, this is "Cheers" nation. And I have heard of Tawanna Brawley.

If there are really 30,000 folks in America in a permanent vegetative state, and only one is in the news, I have to say that Terri S. was the perfect storm.

I would think finding a black evangelical woman (who could rally pro-life support) in a coma might be manageable; finding her with a divided family might be a lot tougher; finding them in court, a total longshot.

Well, as I said, we only have this one case even now.


WASHINGTON, March 24 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith, author of the award winning book "Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America" call upon the Florida Courts, Governor Jeb Bush and concerned citizens to take any legal action available to let Terri Schiavo live.

"A profound injustice is being inflicted on Terri Schiavo," Nader and Smith asserted today. "Worse, this slow death by dehydration is being imposed upon her under the color of law, in proceedings in which every benefit of the doubt-and there are many doubts in this case-has been given to her death, rather than her continued life."

Among the many injustices in this case, Nader and Smith point to the following:

The courts not only are refusing her tube feeding, but have ordered that no attempts be made to provide her water or food by mouth. Terri swallows her own saliva. Spoon feeding is not medical treatment. "This outrageous order proves that the courts are not merely permitting medical treatment to be withheld, it has ordered her to be made dead," Nader and Smith assert.

The medical and rehabilitation experts are split on whether Terri is in a persistent vegetative state or whether Terri can be improved with therapy. There is only one way to know for sure- permit the therapy. That is the only way to resolve all doubts.

The court is imposing process over justice. After the first trial in this case, much evidence has been produced that should allow for a new trial-which was the point of the hasty federal legislation. If this were a death penalty case, this evidence would demand reconsideration. Yet, an innocent disabled woman is receiving less justice.

The federal and state governments are spending billions on what we are told will become miracle medical cures for people with all sorts of degenerative conditions, including brain damage. If this is so, why not permit Terri's parents and siblings who want to care for her do so in the hope that such cures are discovered?

Benefits of doubts should be given to life, not hastened death. This case is rife with doubt. Justice demands that Terri be permitted to live.


And I keep forgetting to point out, to Dr. Cranford and others who say that she's a "carrot" (wasn't that Schiavo's lawyer's term? I want THAT guy on my team), she's been in a flippin' sensory deprivation chamber for some twelve years. Astronauts - among the healthier among us, I'd wager - experience muscle atrophy if they don't exercise daily in low gravity. Kids with broken arms end up with one arm visibly smaller than the other when the cast is removed after just a few weeks. Elders who start doing crossword puzzles and other brain-stretching activities show improved cognition. People can exercise their eyes, for heaven's sake, to improve their vision (but not me so far, darn it). Chris Reeve began to regain control of his limbs before his untimely death.

Terri Schiavo, on the other hand, has been disallowed even from having music played in her room and having her limbs stretched and straightened since 1992 or so. Even if she had significant chance to regain some level of cognition, is it any wonder she isn't showing it now?

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