March 22, 2005

Part 2: "I have a sister who was in the same situation as Terri Schiavo"

Topics: Medical Issues

Part 1 is a previous post.

- By Rae Stabosz at Confessions of a Cooperator
A few days ago I reported the story of a woman who said, "I have a sister who was in the same situation as Terri Schivo."

Thanks to Tim at ProLifeBlogs, I tracked this woman down today. I talked with her parents. They are just an hour away from where I live, as it turns out. They want to tell their story. They have told it once to a local news team from a tv station near their home. I've arranged for them to tell it again through a local news team from a tv station in New Castle, Delaware.

You who follow this case know that this story is not unique. But the mainstream news media are not getting stories like this out. Whether because they don't want to, don't believe it, or don't care enough to track people down, they are not doing their job. Folks who hate Bush, folks who think Terri's case is just about politics, folks who are rabidly against anything that Republicans favor, folks (let's face it) who have been seduced by the dark side (ie. the culture of death), these folks are being sold a pack of lies about PVS and about this case. Some are culpable, but some are just ignorant.

We need access to a national news source or a fair documentarian who can, in the next 48 hours, get these people in front of a camera with a solid human interest story that will touch hearts.

The parents are eager. The girl is eager. They have videotapes from right after the accident, videotapes from during the long recuperation. They have the living girl now. Her speech is not normal but her brain is. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, ought to be exposed to the truth.

An update: I discovered that the TV station I hooked these folks up with is not a local station, but is Comcast
MidAtlantic, which has 6 million viewers from Maryland to Maine.

Tomorrow at 9:00 AM on their morning news show, CN8 will do a live broadcast, including some video footage the family has of their daughter right after her near-fatal accident, when she was diagnosed as PVS, and also video from her long recuperation.

Afterwards, they will take the family out to breakfast, come back and do a fuller interview, for broadcast tomorrow evening.

CN8 is on Channel 8 in my Comcast cable area. I Don't know what it is elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic.

Posted by richard at March 22, 2005 10:55 PM

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good work :)

Posted by: demonsurfer at March 22, 2005 11:21 PM

How come these reports don't come out more prominently on national television? Isn't the message so significant but appallingly ignored by mainstream media for the most part?

There ought to be a way to broadcast these stories as widely as possible!

Posted by: Jeff Tan at March 22, 2005 11:38 PM

Jeff, because the so-called "modern progressives" have monopolized the major media. Even as a liberal I don't mind admitting the big media has been hijacked by the "Ero-Americans" now. At least we've still got some sanity on the left on Capitol Hill where half the Dems voted in favor of the Schiavo Bill.

Posted by: GunTotingLib at March 22, 2005 11:43 PM

Don't you yearn for those Max Headroom episodes where the cause of liberty and justice could manage to wrest control over the media by sheer heroism and brilliance? :-(

Posted by: Jeff Tan at March 22, 2005 11:55 PM

I posted this at ProlifeBlogs and I want to share it here too. The thoughts just popped into my head and it's scary:

"I just had a thought. I think I know what possible benefit Terri's death will have in the minds of Felos and the pro-euthanasia crowd: they will use her death itself, not just the growing conviction of new euthanasia supporters from this case.

First of all, let me clarify that there is a growing sympathy for euthanasia because of this issue. This comes from misrepresentations by the court of Greer, by George Felos, and by mainstream media. In any case, the attitudes of people are being changed as this case progresses. How? By keeping the lingering death of Terri in everyone's mind, in the background, where it can make the most impact. By lying through their teeth about the painlessness of starvation and dehydration, they are in fact reinforcing those thoughts, scaring everyone out of their wits at the possibility that they or their loved ones will suffer the same fate.

How will they use Terri's actual death? Think of it as a trigger that they can use to drive home their point. Euthanasia advocates in the media and government will probably start talking about what a shame Terri's mode of death was and start hammering in legislation for more humane forms of euthanasia. They'll say things like "if only we had more humane modes of euthanasia in legislation, this wouldn't have gone the way it did."

Make no mistake, the next time someone's turn is up, there won't be enough time to make appeals against the legal guardian's maneuverings. They might already have quick and "humane" euthanasia methods enshrined in law by then.

That's why Terri's survival of this attempted murder is so important."

Actually I want to rewrite that last paragraph to say that the future agenda of the pro-euthanasia folks is ANOTHER reason why Terri's survivial is so important. The most important reason is because it's her life and it's being taken from her against her will and against logic. With so much at stake, we cannot give in!

Posted by: Jeff Tan at March 22, 2005 11:58 PM

Age has a lot to with this matter.being fourty one and being eighty years old, is something else on a tube feeding. The next five years for her case having rehab. and beening feed threw a tube feeding. Being a Mother its hard to let your child die at this age. If my daughter live at age eighteen due to a car crash, broken neck and ect. I know I would have care for her at my home, thats love a mother has deep with in her heart. I know some day I would have to make that decision to let her die in peace with the medication that they have today.

Posted by: Jo-ann Belleisle at March 23, 2005 12:12 AM

I found this medical article that says this:

"The vegetative state is a group of clinical features of profound brain damage which attempt to demonstrate that the patient is awake but unaware of internal or external environments. The diagnosis depends on an assessment of behavioural responses. Because of the complexity of the clinical features, it takes considerable experience to have confidence in the diagnosis. It is certainly not a diagnosis which can be made on a one-off assessment at the bedside without a considerable amount of supportive evidence from a multidisciplinary team experienced in the management of severe brain damage. So far, neurophysiological investigations can at best be supportive, rather than diagnostic."

I wonder if the Felos team had gone through the trouble of taking supportive evidence from a multidisciplinary team experienced in the management of severe brain damage. Dr. Hammesfahr sounds like he has had the experience, but Dr. Cranford does not (I wryly opine that he probably consigns them all too soon to euthanasia for him to manage their brain damage). From what I've read, it appears that the Felos team have pinned their case on the diagnoses of neurologists only. Where are the experts from the behavioral sciences? Where are the therapists?

The full text of the article is here:


The contents may not be publicly available except from a library.

Posted by: Jeff Tan at March 23, 2005 12:22 AM

Dear Friends,

As suggested by another friend, I have just read this artice "Terri Schiavo's parents discuss their pain, heartache & resolve," By Joni B. Hannigan, Nov 10, 2003
It is a must-read! Learn the whole story up until 2003. You will see why this situation is so wrong, and dangerous. What is up in Pinellas County anyway???

Pray for Terri!


Posted by: Richard Dean at March 23, 2005 12:23 AM

See, that's where it gets mixed up. With people starting to sympathize with euthanasia, it's a quick and easy task for the Felos team to make people accept Terri's death. Why? Because foul play notwithstanding, people have now got that sympathy for the disabled at the back of their minds, a sympathy that welcomes death as a quick release from pain. That's why lots of people support Michael Schiavo. It's not too hard for them to turn a blind eye to the possible homicide and fraud involved when they can justify Terri's death as a compassionate thing to do for her. The problem with such a thinking is that it leaves no room for hope, because surrender and hope aren't really compatible.

My two cents anyway. I don't purport to know how it would feel to be Terri's parent. I have three kids of my own and I pray that I will never have to go through what Terri's parents are going through. But I think that the lesson we should be coming away with here is that "never surrender" attitude of Robert and Marry Schindler, because with life comes hope. What would happen to all those cases of folks waking up after 20 yeras of PVS/coma if we gave that up?

Posted by: Jeff Tan at March 23, 2005 12:28 AM

Hey, just wanted to let you all know that there is a link to a live video feed of CN8 at this website:

Posted by: David Brake at March 23, 2005 12:29 AM

RE: NIGHTLINE "Life or Death Decisions" Panel Debate 03/22/05, (which I am currently watching)

I am amazed that no one seems to be able to "see the forest for the trees" with regard to the current situation of Terri Schiavo... Beyond the political/legal/medical/ethical/moral questions and issues at hand is ONE SIMPLE UNDENIABLE FACT:
Right or wrong the Florida Court (Judge Greer) determined Terri's "wishes" (that she would not want to 'live like this' with tubes 'keeping her alive' on 'artificial life support'), and the (feeding) tube was ordered to be removed.
BUT... Judge Greer went BEYOND the scope of the original Trial Determination and then further ORDERED that Terri not only have her feeding tube removed but be KILLED via dehydration & starvation by DENYING the Schindler's Motion to be allowed to provide Terri nutrition naturally and orally.
I am appalled by the lack of debate on this point in particular - this seems wholly unconstitutional and illegal.

Fllow-up on the Terri Schiavo "Life or Death Debate".

Do you realize that more than one person has been arrested for approaching the Hospice where Terri is being guarded because they were offering up a cup of water, or a "symbolic" piece of bread?

It in unbelievable that any court in this land would have the authority to block the providing of Food, Air or Water "naturally" to any American citizen (especially one who is neither terminal nor on death row). That is beyond assisted suicide, that is an incontrovertable State ordered Death Sentence... to be carried out (as Judge Greer stated) "forthwith".

Posted by: Raquel at March 23, 2005 12:31 AM

This is the biggest travesty of justice since slavery. How can the ACLU be so against a quick leathal injection for an 8 time murderer in Connecticut who says he wants to die, and at the same time be in favor of the torture of a starvation - dehydration death of a woman who is herself the victim of an attempted murder!

This has me and my family so shaken that we are changing a lot of our political and religious views. I never thought I'd say this but congradulations President Bush on your election victory.

Mr. President, I think you and your brother Jeb could be doing a lot more right now, but at least you're on the right side.

President Bush, please have Terri put into witness protection to protect her from her crazy ex-husband, and please help craft some new laws to protect innocent citizens from these crazy local courts.

Governor Bush, please launch an investigation into the massive corruption that is rampent in Pinellas County, and spreading through the state.

Posted by: Joe at March 23, 2005 12:38 AM

Let her go. It isn't the will of God that someone stay alive by artificial means. A hundred years ago, or two thousand years ago when Jesus walked the earth and his words were being written, these measures for sustaining life weren't available. Have the rules for life changed because the medical community can do things that are unnatural?

Ms. Schiavo is alive because her parents cannot let her go. This isn't about her, its about her parents.

Posted by: Sara at March 23, 2005 2:05 AM

Since when is eating and drinking artficial means to stay alive?

Posted by: Rebecca at March 23, 2005 9:06 AM


Terri is alive because she's simply disabled. The only TUBE she's on (or was on) was a feeding tube. I know of MANY people on feeding tubes that can't feed themselves due to surgery or what not. Should we stop feeding them and letting them die a slow painful death as well?

Sure, why not!? Let's kill all those who can't feed themselves with their two hands! Oh, and all the babies because of course, they can't feed themselves either. Sheesh.

It's ludricrous. And if you had a child, you would see why they don't want their disabled child to die in this matter. It's inhumane and grotesque, no matter what those "experts" try to get us to believe.

I feel sorry for Jody, Michael's mistress he's had for 10 years. God forbid if she's ever disabled and he gets to starve her to death too...

Posted by: Sirena at March 23, 2005 10:44 AM

Sara, note that a VERY SERIOUS point of contention is that COURT PROCEEDINGS TO DETERMINE TERRI'S INTENT ARE FLAWED. Why? Because the basis used was obviously biased, having come from hearsay via Terri's husband

- who didn't remember that hearsay until almost 10 years after the collapse
- who stands to gain financially from her death
- whose role in the cause of her collapse has never been considered in court because medical records were sealed on his orders until 2002
- whose admitted in sworn testimony in 1998 that he had two conflicts of interest (he was marrying again and he would inherit money, if Terri dies)

And Sara, you can't "let go" someone who isn't terminally ill. She's been quite alive for 15 years without artificial life support, without medicine, without treatment, without surgery. All she's needed to survive for 15 years was food and water -- just like you and me. Heck if they'd given her therapy she might already be talking and feeding herself fine by now, but Michael refused to get her into a rehab center in 1991 despite therapists' prognosis that Terri was improving already. Then in 1993, he forbade all therapy and -- right after winning that $1 million malpractice settlement.

Posted by: Jeff Tan at March 23, 2005 11:01 AM


That's it in a nutshell. The BIGGEST reason I don't believe a word Michael Schiavo says is because until he received the million dollar malpractice suit "pleading with the courts to give him money to take care of his wife for the rest of her life", Terri was getting rehabilitation. And then immediately after he received the money he put a "DNR" note on her chart and then a few years later when he knew he couldn't make her die, he hired George "Lawyer of Death" Felos, and made up that story about "her wishes". If she ACTUALLY said she never wanted to live that way, then why wasn't it brought up in the malpractice suit? Why? Because it's not true, and because he wanted to get that money on fradulant terms, so he could live the high life. What irks Michael is that his spending money for fun is dwindling a bit due to legals fees (to kill Terri). What a charming guy, huh?

Posted by: Sirena at March 23, 2005 11:15 AM

He appealed to stop feeding Terri exactly one month after he got engaged to current girlfriend.

Posted by: sujata at March 23, 2005 2:37 PM