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May 24, 2006

Important News: Drug 'Reverses' Vegetative State

Topics: The Truth About PVS

The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation Center for Health Care Ethics Calls For a Moratorium of Ordinary Care Removal From Persons Diagnosed in a Persistent Vegetative State

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida, May 24 -- Following reports that the drug Zolpidem can temporarily revive people in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) to the point where they are able to speak, The Foundation is calling for a moratorium of all potential ordinary care removal for persons diagnosed in a PVS condition.

Zolpidem is usually used to treat insomnia. However, South African researchers, writing in the NeuroRehabilitation, looked at the effects on three patients of using the drug for up to six years.

They reported that "All patients were aroused transiently every morning after Zolpidem."

Their conclusion was that Zolpidem appeared to be effective in restoring some brain function to patients previously determined to be in a persistent vegetative state.

Terri's family pleaded for years with Terri's guardian, Michael Schiavo, and the courts to try and use different treatments or medicines that could possibly help improve Terri's condition, but were denied. The Foundation has been contacted by dozens of families with similar stories of patients improving significantly after being wrongly diagnosed in this PVS condition.

In December 2000, Patricia White Bull, after given the drug Amantadine (used to stimulate people with Parkinson's disease and brain damage) awoke after 16 years of being in what doctors were calling a persistent vegetative state. Sadly, we will never know if any of any of these drugs or treatments that were available would have improved Terri's condition.

This recent finding and other studies in the past demonstrate the dangers of this subjective and often incorrect diagnosis. A report released by the British Medical Journal in 1996, found that 43% of the diagnosed cases of PVS they studied were, in fact, misdiagnosed.

"We at the Foundation are seeing that the PVS diagnosis is being commonly misdiagnosed. Consequently, it has become very obvious we don't know enough about this so-called diagnosis, and common sense dictates that the removal of food and water based on this misclassification must end until further studies can be conducted." Robert Schindler, Sr.

About the Schindler Family: Mary and Robert Schindler as well as Suzanne Schindler Vitadamo and Bobby Schindler now work for The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation Center for Health Care Ethics in St. Petersburg, Florida, an organization dedicated to ensuring the rights of disabled, elderly and vulnerable citizens against care rationing, euthanasia and medical killing.

Source: Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation Press Release

Posted by tim at May 24, 2006 12:23 PM


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