The truth about Terri's condition

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NOTE: Action is urgently needed on the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act. Please contact Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (phone 202-224-3344,
fax 202-228-1264) and Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (phone 202-225-2976, fax 202-225-0697) and plead with them to expedite passage of this bill.

Today on National Review Online, Rob Johansen has a thorough rebuttal to those (like one persistent anonymous commenter on this blog) who claim that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and that her brain has liquefied. Johansen reviews the decisions made by Judge George Greer, the qualifications of the expert witnesses whose testimony he allowed and of those he disallowed. Regarding the PVS diagnosis, Johansen has been interviewing neurologists:

Almost 50 neurologists all say the same thing: Terri should be reevaluated, Terri should be reexamined, and there are grave doubts as to the accuracy of Terri’s diagnosis of PVS. All of these neurologists are board-certified; a number of them are fellows of the prestigious American Academy of Neurology; several are professors of neurology at major medical schools. ...

One such neurologist is Dr. Peter Morin. He is a researcher specializing in degenerative brain diseases, and has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University.

In the course of my conversation with Dr. Morin, he made reference to the standard use of MRI and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to diagnose the extent of brain injuries. He seemed to assume that these had been done for Terri. I stopped him and told him that these tests have never been done for her; that Michael had refused them.

There was a moment of dead silence.

“That’s criminal,” he said, and then asked, in a tone of utter incredulity: “How can he continue as guardian? People are deliberating over this woman’s life and death and there’s been no MRI or PET?” He drew a reasonable conclusion: “These people [Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer] don’t want the information.”

Regarding the claim made by Michael Schiavo's attorney that CT scans show that Terri's brain has "liquefied":

But in spite of the lack of advanced testing, such as an MRI, attorney George Felos has claimed that Terri’s cerebral cortex has “liquefied,” and doctors for Michael Schiavo have claimed, on the basis of the CT scans, that parts of Terri’s cerebral cortex “have been replaced by fluid.” The problem with such contentions is that the available evidence can’t support them. Dr. Zabiega explained that “a CT scan can’t resolve the kind of detail needed” to make such a pronouncement: “A CT scan is like a blurry photograph.”

Upon whose medical expertise did Judge Greer rely? Dr. Ronald Cranford.

Perusing the case literature and articles surrounding the “right to die” and PVS, one will see Dr. Cranford’s name surface again and again. In almost every case, he is the one claiming PVS, and advocating the cessation of nutrition and hydration.

In the cases of Paul Brophy, Nancy Jobes, Nancy Cruzan, and Christine Busalucci, Cranford was the doctor behind the efforts to end their lives. Each of these people was brain-damaged but not dying; nonetheless, he advocated death for all, by dehydration and starvation. Nancy Cruzan did not even require a feeding tube: She could be spoon-fed. But Cranford advocated denying even that, saying that even spoon-feeding constituted “medical treatment” that could be licitly withdrawn.

How is it that this woman's life can be in the hands of one fallible man? Johansen explains that it's the way our legal system works. Once a judge makes a finding of fact, appellate courts are very reluctant to overturn it or to order a new trial. Terri's parents have been in the position of having to convince Judge Greer to reverse his own judgment.

That's why it's so important for the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act to be passed and signed into law. It would give an incapacitated person like Terri the same right as a condemned murderer to have the facts of the case reviewed. Please contact Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (phone 202-224-3344,
fax 202-228-1264) and Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (phone 202-225-2976, fax 202-225-0697) and plead with them to expedite passage of this bill.


Joanne Williamson said:

Ron Johansen has given us some powerful information. Can someone email this to the Florida legislature and U.S. Congressmen and Senators?

One would think they've read all the print on this case but very likely they do not.

I've read about and been deeply disturbed by what appears to be collusion in Pinellas County, Florida, to put this woman to death.

Theresa Schiavo's "guardian", Michael, with self-appointed guardian ad-litem Judge Greer have been assisted by George Felos to put her to death, plain and simple.

All based, apparently on "recalling", only after he won his malpractice suit, that his wife said she wouldn't want to live that way.

Well, maybe she did say that. Who other than Michael, his brother, and a sister-in-law know if it's true.

What gave the "infallible" Greer the right to ignore evidence from Terri's friend on the same subject? When called on it recently, he acknowledged a mistake in dates, yet he deemed her testimony irrevelant.

For those of us who are aghast and horrified at what the courts "justify", are we all a bunch of ignorant and emotional fools, non-lawyers who just don't understand?

On the other side, I do believe they have no ability to see beyond the comprehend the serious ramifications the citizens of this country will suffer due to their shortsightedness.

Sorry, folks. Abortion and euthanasia are evil.

Joanne Williamson said:

Be assured, I'm not only posting in support of Terri Schiavo. I've contacted my PA senators and representative. (Hope they received it) Will make some phone calls tomorrow.

I can't figure out what is true and what is not in all the statements made on the internet.
There is no doubt, though, that Michael Schiavo has a conflict of interests. That Greer refuses to remove him as guardian creates suspicion of collusion in many minds. There are so many, many questionable manuevers which suggest a thorough investigation of all involved.

I hope, and I pray to Almighty God that some court will have the power to bring this about, and that they will.

Ceci said:

This is an excellent article. ....very well said. Thanks for finding and posting this Michael.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 16, 2005 10:24 PM.

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