« On "Thoughts on Terry Schiavo, Michael Ross and Blogging" | Main | Today may be D-day for Maria Korp »

May 14, 2005

Scott Thomas: cognizant and communicative, but does it matter?

Topics: News

Here's a story just emerging, and sent to us from Purple Kangaroo(The Empire Journal first covered it here and here) about a man with severe brain damage whose wife wants to remove his feeding tube. Scott Thomas is apparently aware, responsive and able to communicate. Reminiscent of several similar cases, Scott received his injury last November while alone at home with the person who now wants him to die.

"According to Ms. Patton, her son speaks a limited vocabulary, gives affirmative and negative hand signals and has successfully answered questions of where he lives, where he attended school and his situation. She states that he is aware and oriented. She says he has steadily progressed towards recovery since his injury."
Scott Thomas' wife and mother are in a legal battle for guardianship. His wife Eliza wants to move him to hospice and have his feeding tube withdrawn. Scott's mother, Pamela Patton, claims that Scott has indicated to herself and to nursing staff that Eliza tried to kill him by hitting him on the head and that he doesn't even want to see her. According to Scott's mother, Eliza has ordered medical personnel to not give Mrs. Patton or other family members any information about Scott's medical condition.
"In November, Scott's mother received a six-month temporary guardianship of her son but Eliza is now seeking to become Scott's guardian even though he has indicated to nursing staff and others that his wife allegedly tried to kill him by striking him in the head."
A guardianship hearing is scheduled June 3 before Fourth Judicial Circuit Court Judge William Wilkes in Jacksonville."

Mrs. Patton is arranging to have Scott Thomas examined by Dr. William Hammesfahr, the neurologist who examined Terri Schiavo and said he saw signs of physical violence. Personally, I hope Mrs. Thomas will also get opinions from other more widely known and respected neurologists rather than banking on the neurologist who helped lose the Terri Schiavo case and is otherwise relatively unknown. Apparently the Schindlers have also gotten involved. "Terri Schiavo's family is asking Mrs. Eliza Thomas to err on the side of life. According to them, the dehydration and starvation death suffered by their daughter in March of this year was anything but a peaceful and painless death."

Purple Kangaroo offers, "if Mrs. Patton has already succeeded in receiving temporary guardianship of Scott Thomas in preference to Eliza Thomas, she should have a fairly decent chance of getting permanent guardianship."

This is a story that all of us need to be watching, with interest. It might be a good idea for some of us to continue looking into the issues and make sure that the right information is propagated throughout the blogosphere. It sounds like the mom needs some support. The Empire Journal is good at investigation, but the Blogsforterri team and it's readership is more apt to get the message out.

Cross posted at Hyscience

Posted by richard at May 14, 2005 9:43 PM

Articles Related to News:


Obviously the Statute of Limitations on attempted murder has NOT run out on this case. Since Mr. Thomas has had the wherewithall to even indicate what happened to him, what is the police investigation case number? Isn't there one? WTH not? How about the family abuse investigative services of whatever this state is in? I don't think Dr. Hammesfahr can hurt this case, but get some bulldog lawyers with TEETH to get the findings of fact CORRECT the first time. Because as we all know, y'only get one shot at that.

Posted by: Suzanne. at May 14, 2005 10:41 PM

Dr Hammesfahr did not hurt the Schiavo case. It would not have mattered who the other doctor happened to be. For example Dr. Chesire came down on the same side as Dr. Hammesfahr and his advice was ignored on the grounds that he was seen to be a "Christian" who errs on the side of life.

It is already a good indication that the mother might get the guardianship for the son, since she already has the temporary guardianship. We must keep an eye on the case, but must not interfere and compromise the judge who is to hear the case.

If the police have not been investigating the case then something must be done to ensure that there is a proper investigation into what actually happened. It is possible that this is a case of reversed spouse abuse. Scott Thomas has rights and his rights must not be overridden by a wife who has already attempted to murder him.

Posted by: Maggie4life at May 15, 2005 2:13 AM

What IS this world coming to? Scott is also on the top of my prayer list. Perhaps the person who is writing the book about Terri could take a cursory peek into this--he has a record of getting things done.

Posted by: mary et. al. at May 15, 2005 9:15 AM

We do need to be careful about how we present this before we have more information, and I've clarified that a bit better in my post this morning. It appears from these two articles that the Empire Journal hasn't yet interviewed anyone but Scott's mother, and we need to keep that in mind.

Scott's wife says he tripped over the dog and fell; his mother claims there was foul play. At this point, I don't think we have enough information to make any kind of judgement, since the Empire Journal seems only to have interviewed the mother and any investigations have not been completed. We need to be careful not to condemn Eliza Thomas for his injury on the basis of hearsay by someone who has a motive to see her blamed.

We do need to be praying that the truth will come out and that Scott's life will be saved. Since this is already being handled, I think probably all we need to do at the moment is keep an eye on the situation and pray. Never underestimate the power of prayer.

Also, about Dr. Hammesfahr, I wasn't intending a criticism of him as a doctor--just saying that if I were choosing an expert witness I'd want one who had a track record of winning cases and who was affiliated with a respected agency such as the American Academy of Neurology, along with someone like Dr. Hammesfahr.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo at May 15, 2005 11:30 AM

If he can speak a limited vocabulary and all of that, why can't they get in _any_ honest neurologist to confirm that? I should think that, with the mother as guardian, she should be able to do have him thoroughly examined and his state thoroughly documented, and it wouldn't need to be by Hammesfahr particularly.

This certainly needs to be investigated by the police.

I definitely agree that we shouldn't bug the judge. All may go well. I wonder if this is the same judge that gave the mom custody before. Does anyone know?

I want to point out that this just shows the legal irrelevance of PVS. In fact, you can even be talking and be dehydrated to death.

PIECE OF ADVICE FOR THE MOM: If at _all_ possible, get the husband on mouth feeding to whatever extent she can. That might help a bit, legally, if she should lose custody.

I've gotta ask: What hospice would agree to kill this man? I mean, he isn't dying, everybody knows he isn't dying. He communicates. What's the deal with hospice? And I _don't_ wanna hear, "They just have to do what the guardian tells them." Baloney sausage! Hospice refuses people as not being proper candidates all the time. If you tried to bring in your perfectly healthy child, hospice wouldn't take him. They could easily say, "Well, this man doesn't meet our criteria." If all the hospices would take a stand against dehydrating OBVIOUSLY NON-DYING PEOPLE to death it would be a whole lot harder to kill them.

Posted by: Lydia at May 15, 2005 1:40 PM

In the case of Mae, the Hospice in Alabama "refused" to deny her a feeding tube. They only do that at Suncoast, as far as I know. I have checked around. The doctor said Scott's injury was greater than tripping over his dog. The man said he doesn't want his wife around him, he can speak, for heaven's sakes.

Posted by: Shaggy at May 15, 2005 9:02 PM

Not all Hospice's are bad, Suncoast made them all look bad. Suncoast is a mockery. I don't see much future in their facility, just my humble opinion. They are supposed to assist the dying, not kill them for five years. The USG has been suing them since 1997? Hello.

Posted by: Shaggy at May 15, 2005 9:07 PM

My advice is for Scott's mother to find the nearest church, whether it be catholic or protestant, and get sanctuary for Scott while she is still guardian and while there is still time.

Scott is supposed to be released from the rehab hospital sometime this week. The next court hearing is June 3. That gives her 2 weeks to make sanctuary arrangements with a church in order to keep him there indefinitely. Then, on the morning of June 3, on the way to the courthouse, drop him off there, and then go to the courthouse. If the judge's ruling is favorable and Ms. Patton is allowed to continue as guardian, just stop by the church on her way home and pick him up. If the ruling is unfavorable, then no court order in the world is going to make the church give him up.

Churches take that sanctuary stuff seriously, and so does the government. No sheriff or state official is going to send forces into a church to mow down a bunch of priests and nuns, or even other clergymen.

It seems that it is more likely that the judge in the case will rule in favor of Scott Thomas and his mother, but these court proceedings can be a bit surprising. The judge, unlike Greer in Pinellas County, has extensive criminal experience and it seems that he can smell a rat when it comes to the wife Eliza's behavior. He seems to be a straight shooter, so to speak. That's why he gave guardianship to his mother to begin with.

But who knows what can happen? The wife has had 6 months to find a lawyer and work on finding legal loopholes around the guardianship laws. She just might come to court and drop a bombshell in the judge's lap and he may have no choice but to hand Mr. Thomas back over to her.

That's why Ms. Patton needs to make sure that all of her bases are covered while she still has time. Get the sanctuary arranged as a back-up plan for just in case something surprising happens on June 3. I know of a minister right here in San Antonio that will be more than willing to help out with the sanctuary should she not be able to find anyone in Jacksonville. But that shouldn't be a problem though. I've never heard of a church turning down someone in need of sanctuary, especially when they are going to be wrongly killed.

Posted by: damesheryl at May 16, 2005 7:14 PM

Pray, people, pray. I do wish I could get more people to join the prayer warrior group. We need a constant presence before God in these times.

Posted by: mary et. al. at May 16, 2005 11:12 PM

Good Grief, Jacksonville, Home of Senator "Terri's death is long over due" King. Vote No to save Terri. Good call on the church, if it were me, I would move him out of that state. Other states don't have such insane unconstitutional guardian laws. This is crazy and out of control. Homeland Security should shut that state down. Just my humble opinion, State of Florida.

I am praying Mary, pray, pray, pray.

I mention Tom Delay because he is the one that stood up and told those Judges they were wrong. He got a big fat ride on Air Force one a few weeks ago and he also got a big dinner party last week. This isn't over by a long shot.

Posted by: Shaggy at May 17, 2005 12:32 AM

Please keep us informed on this case. There have been other cases where Dr. Death Cranford was called in and even when the man was operating his own wheelchair Dr. Death ruled that he was PVS. Go figure.

Posted by: Maggie4life at May 17, 2005 4:49 AM

I live in Jacksonville with another blogger who goes to the same Catholic Church and I just emailed him about coordinating on this. Contact me if I can be useful.

Posted by: gopchristian at May 17, 2005 11:23 AM

Is America becoming a nation where only the strong survive? Married people need to understand that all of us faces life alterations,this is what makes us human.As we age,our bodies become weaker,our hearing and sight isn't as good,and many people develope cognitive disabilites.Love,patience,and acceptance conquers all.We cannot categorize people and pick and choose who should live or die according to how short changed we may feel if a loved one becomes impaired.

Posted by: michel0 at May 20, 2005 6:49 PM