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March 7, 2005

Former Schindler Attorney Office Manager Speaks Out: Please Don't Kill My Friend!

Topics: Medical Issues

From Tom Brodersen, attorney Pat Anderson's office manager, former fiance, and more recently, her husband. He has personal knowledge of Terri Schiavo's actual neurological condition and responsiveness which he and Pat could not use before because of her role as attorney for the Schindler family. That is now changed, and he believes that he cannot sit quietly by and passively observe what he calls a miscarriage of justice.

- In his own words:
During the period of September to November 2002 (from just before to shortly after the medical evidentiary hearing featuring five doctors as witnesses), I spent time with Terri Schiavo, as a person briefly on her visitors list.

During that time I gently spoke to her, built rapport and trust, sang to her, played music for her, and encouraged her to vocalize. Over the twenty days or so that I visited with Terri, I observed that, while Terri is distrustful of strangers, she gradually warmed up to me—and not so gradually after Bob, Mary and I sang "Those Were the Days" to her as a trio!

Terri responds to a variety of stimulii, including responding to both her mother's and my voices, both in person and over the phone, by fixing her attention and frequently by laughing. When I sang to her, she often vocalized, in her best effort to sing along with me. She recognizes and takes great pleasure in certain singers and songs which are her favorites—most especially John Denver singing "Country Roads." She learned to love several songs I sang to her with which she didn't seem to be familiar with, but others she never learned to appreciate (just not her cup of tea, obviously).

She responded to gentle requests if given time and patience, such as lifting her right leg (three times out of four requests, the other time she lifted her left leg instead). While she does not have consistent control over her eyes to blink or look this way or that, she has excellent control over her breathing, diaphram and voice, and will vocalize in various patterns if asked. While trying to work out a yes/no system with sounds, Terri initially answered the question "Terri, are you ten feet tall" by moaning twice, which is the response for "No," then she spontaneously whispered the word "No" in response to the question "Terry, are you purple?"

At that point I abandoned the sounding system and started trying to teach her to say "Yeah" as best as she could. Bob Schindler has several recordings of her sort of saying the word "Yeah" shortly after that.

Unfortunately, I was then taken off Terri's visitors list, but on successive occasions (as recently as last October, approximately two years since I last saw her in person), when her father placed a phone to Terri's ear so I could talk to her, she laughed as soon as she heard my voice, and tried to sing along with me when I sang to her over the phone.

Terri is not just "in there," she is very responsive, she loves music, and she is my friend. Please don't kill her.

Tom Brodersen

Hat tip to "Life Matters" and "Times Against Humanity"
Also Cheryl Ford, R.N. for sharing this story.

Posted by richard at March 7, 2005 6:41 PM

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» Compassionate, Enlightened from Now You Know
Having read all that I can stomach of the allegedly compassionate, enlightened "mercy killers" who call those defending Terri Schiavo's right to life "arrogant," and who insist on discourse and debate over matters in which God has not granted them th... [Read More]

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Tracked on March 8, 2005 2:07 AM


Hello, I live in Illinois. Is there any way I can contact a Florida Legislator so I can let them know that I support Terri's parents in the fight to keep Terri alive? I am outraged by what her husband wants to do to her. Everyone that I know up here in Illinois are praying for Terri and her family. I'm not sure if I have to be living in Florida in order to contact them or not. Thankyou so much and God Bless.

Posted by: Terri Michalowski at March 8, 2005 12:11 AM

Wasn't there a time when families merged together and took care of their own to the very end? They didn't try to let go and consider killing them. They did everything in their power and God's power to help them along as sick and as old as they may have been, to show love, compassion and care. That is the the key to it all. It is the surrounding of caring loved ones being there for that person that gives the one who is ill or dying strength to endure to the end. I myself was at a point of illness that death seemed the only way out. but I really didn't want death and didn't believe I was suppose to be thinking that way. I wanted to live. It was the people in my life that gave me hope, love and strength to keep going on. God bless them. Because now I am no longer in that situation. The only thing I held onto and gave me everything were those who believed in helping me. PS And something else very interesting to point out. My own dog sensed that love and prayer were the answers. He sat next to me while my family surrounded me in prayer and he just howled with his face upward and one paw on me. He had never done that before.

Posted by: Mary at March 9, 2005 9:21 AM

I pray eveyday that the judge will rule for Terri and let her live. This is to me a grave error on our judicial system if they let her be murdered (yes it is MURDER if you deprive anyone of food and water ). The jugde in any case should be able to see who has the best interest for the person who is injured and cannot speak for themselves. Thanks for letting me voice my opinion. Jeff H.

Posted by: Jeff Hinchey at March 9, 2005 9:42 AM

Please keep Terri alive. To starve her to death is murder! Allow her parents to care for her and give her the necessary therapy treatments that are available. God has kept her alive for this long for a reason. Maybe it is to teach us that all life is precious and valuable in His eyes. He must be kept in control of her life -- not her husband

Posted by: Roberta Golden at March 9, 2005 9:57 AM

As a member of a Catholic pro-life group I find it incomprehensible that we as individuals,(humane)human beings, should even have to bring the subject of Terri to light. We live in a society where individuals can be disposed of like yesterday's garbage when they become an inconvenience. We are all so worried about stepping on peoples toes, saying, or doing the right thing to be politically correct. Where does God fit into all this ? For those of us who believe, like Terri's parents that God has a plan for us all. What right do we have to interfere in God's plan ? I am sure there will be people who read this and will be offended. I do not apologize. God has a plan for Terri's life, let His will be done.To Terri's parents I say this,"God bless you and give you strength ,and may Our Most Blessed Mother be with you".

Posted by: Bridget Grimmie at March 9, 2005 11:43 AM

Please save Terri S.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Kathy T. at March 9, 2005 1:08 PM

As a mother who lost a loving daughter to cancer 4 years ago, at the young age of 37, no one knows how heart wrenching this trial is to the parents.My daily prayers go out to everyone involved and especially that the Holy Spirit will enlighten Terri's husband as to the wrong he is doing. God, please grant us a miracle.

Posted by: Sybilla Gacka at March 9, 2005 10:05 PM