The majority of the great sayings of life evolve over a period of many years, modified and improved by individual people over time.

In other cases, such as the case that occurred on Sunday, the evolutionary process is accelerated and the phrase “Never criticize a woman till you’ve walked a mile in her knee highs” is born by a family of nine in about two minutes.

It’s a long story.

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Motion Denied

Judge Whittemore, who has previously fined and sentenced to probation men who merely cut down a tree with a Bald Eagle nest in it, didn’t see Terri as valuable as those birds. He has ruled against her parents (and Terri). Terri’s parents are appealing, again.

From the Corner, via Blogs for Terri:

O. Carter Snead, who is general counsel for the Council on Bioethics and has previously written about the Schiavo case e-mails (Note: His comments are his own and don’t reflect the views of the council, which has varying views on varying things:
The state of Florida, through its judiciary, has ordered the termination of Terri Schiavo’s life. This is an interest clearly protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Thus, before Florida can order such action, it must accord Schiavo with the full measure of process that is due to her. Unfortunately, a review of the record shows that such process was never provided.

The courts in Florida were charged, first and foremost, with discerning what T. Schiavo would have chosen under the present circumstances (“substituted judgment”). Florida law provides a complex system of procedural safeguards for this determination, including a “clear and convincing” evidence standard (the highest in all of civil law), and a presumption that the now-incapacitated patient would choose to live, in exercising her constitutional right to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment. Moreover, Florida law requires that a guardian be appointed in circumstances such as these to represent the interests of the patient…

…The procedural irregularities that tainted the handling of Ms. Schiavo’s case include…:

The court’s failure to appoint a guardian ad litem (following 1998);
The court’s usurpation of the guardian’s role (in direct violation of Florida law);
The court’s reliance upon insufficient evidence regarding T. Schiavo’s wishes (namely, the recollection of her husband that T. Schiavo’s had made ambiguous, casual remarks about “not wanting to be a burden” many years prior, in a wholly unrelated context);
The court’s refusal to consider probative evidence of T. Schiavo’s wishes (namely, witness testimony that Mr. Schiavo was lying and that he had never, in fact, discussed end-of-life care with T. Schiavo); and
On remand, the court’s shifting of the burden to the Schindlers to demonstrate that T. Schiavo would have wanted treatment under the present circumstances (inverting the logic of the Florida laws).

These irregularities make it impossible to conclude that T. Schiavo’s wishes under the present circumstances were proven by “clear and convincing” evidence, particularly in light of the presumption (under Florida law) that she would have chosen to receive life sustaining treatment. Any claim, therefore, that re-insertion of the tube is contrary to Terri’s wishes (and thus an encroachment upon her right to refuse treatment) is groundless. We simply do not yet know what her wishes would have been.

The recently passed S.686 gives the Middle District of Florida jurisdiction to hear a suit or claim by or on behalf of T. Schiavo “for alleged violation of any right of T.M. Schiavo under the Constitution or laws of the US relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life.” It gives third parties the standing to bring such claims. And, most importantly for present purposes, it empowers the federal court to determine, DE NOVO, “any claim of a violation of any right of T. Schiavo within the scope of this Act, NOTWITHSTANDNG ANY PRIOR STATE COURT DETERMINATION AND REGARDLESS FO WHETHER SUCH A CLAIM HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN RAISED, CONSIDERED, OR DECIDED IN STATE COURT PROCEEDINGS.”

Thus, its seems highly improper for the federal court to determine on the basis of a two hour hearing that the Schindler family would not likely be successful on the merits in an entirely new trial, complete with extensive discovery, etc.

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Where are the women’s rights groups?

It used to be possible for husbands to have their wives committed to mental instutions for infractions such as arguing with them about theology or not doing the housework (two genuine cases I just read about). Fortunately, this is no longer a common practice. Instead of mental institutions, one husband seems to be using the court system to put away his wife- permanently.

Code Blue Blog (or here ), a healthcare blog, has looked at the CT scan that is supposedly Terri’s, looked at the court ruling based on medical testimony about the scan and has this to say:

“I contest the theory that Terri’s brain actively continues to degenerate as implied by the above statement. How could they gage serial brain degeneration without serial follow-up? And by what mechanism would her brain CONTINUE to atrophy? Second, Terri’s cerebral cortex has not been replaced by fluid. That is inaccurate. The cortex is thinned and the sulci are enlarged. There is a difference.

Third, and most importantly, given the amount of atrophy on this image I disagree with the court’s inadequately considered conclusion.”

Makes sense. In order to gauge continued degeneration, you’d have to have more than one scan. To continue:

“First of all, the University of Miami’s appellation for this scan is inaccurate. “Cortical regions” are not and can not be filled with spinal fluid. The sulci (spaces between cortical ribbons) are enlarged secondary to cortical atrophy and these sulci are filled with cerbrospinal fluid.

The most alarming thing about this image, however, is that there certainly is cortex left. Granted, it is severely thinned….


“…Based on this evidence Terri Schiavo should have a CT scan repeated. She should also have an MRI and a PET scan to gage the severity of her brain dysfunction.”

In the comments we read this:

“Here is the important part: In a patient of her age, given her circumstances, this would almost surely be “noncommunicating” hydrocephalus, which is almost always caused, in this situation, by a “clot” at the level of the ventricular drainage (Foramen of Magendie; which is EXTRAAXIAL, meaning that the clot had its genesis OUTSIDE OF THE NEUROAXIS…to a specialist this means she had BLOOD IN HER CSF.

How do you get that?

From getting smashed on the head (as in an assault).

So how would she have got smashed on the head?”

Here’s a possibility:

From Blogs for Terri, February 26, 2005
What If This Was Our Daughter or Sister or Wife? What If It Was “Only” A Stranger’s Life? Part II
– From Anchor Rising by Don Hawthorne

“…Dr. William Hammesfahr, a world renowned neurologist wrote a complete report…in September, 2002, revealing that medical tests conducted after her collapse did not show evidence of a heart attack. In the emergency room, a possible diagnosis of heart attack was briefly entertained but then dismissed after blood chemistries and serial EKG’s did not show evidence of a heart attack.”

In fact, this doctor found that her condition was most commonly associated with neck injuries. Mr. Hawthorne continues:

“There is significant uncertainty about what happened on February 25, 1990, the day Terri sustained her injuries:

The main evidence comes from a bone scan taken on March 5, 1991…This scan indicated numerous broken bones in various stages of healing, including compression fractures, a broken back, pelvis, ankle, bone bruises and ossifications.

Board certified radiologist Dr. Walker read the scan in 1991 and interpreted the results as abnormal, which he attributed to either an accident or earlier trauma…a) the injuries indicated by the scan occurred on or around the time that Terri Schiavo collapsed; b) the abnormalities on the bone scan were not typical of someone suffering cardiac arrest and collapsing to the floor; and, c) the fractures…are not typical of patients bedridden only thirteen months…

On October 24, 2003, renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden [former chief medical examiner for New York City]…disclosed that with low potassium and no elevated enzymes, it would be extremely rare for a young woman to collapse as Terri did from a heart attack. When asked what the bone injuries suggest to him, Dr. Baden replied, “Some kind of trauma. The trauma can be from a fall, or the trauma can be from some kind of beating…It’s something that should have been investigated in 1991 when these findings were found.”

The same posting contains the thoughts of psychiatrist and expert witness Dr. Carole E. Lieberman, including a profile of Michael Schiavo. The posting also states:

Prior to Terri’s collapse, there were serious financial problems in her marriage and her husband tried to control her behavior. He was fired from six jobs in two years, some of which he held only two weeks. They often lived on her income, which Michael often spent on himself. He monitored her odometer and isolated her from her family and friends. On the day of her collapse, Michael and Terri had a bad fight after he accused her of spending too much money at the hairdresser…

So, what really happened on February 25, 1990? We know that Terri fell in her home and sustained serious injuries. We know that Michael Schiavo, who was trained in CPR, oddly did not administer CPR to his wife.

A previously mentioned posting add the following observations:

Why isn’t [Judge] George Greer and the court interested in how Terri Schiavo sustained the injuries in 1990?…

…after the Schindlers became aware of the bone scan report in November, 2002, they tried to file a report with the police of a possible battery on Terri but that the police refused to get involved…”

“Prior to 2002, Terri’s medical records had been kept sealed under court order at the request of Michael Shiavo. The bone scan surfaced when the Schindler’s former attorney, Patricia Anderson, obtained some of the medical records through discovery…

The hospital admittance records from 1990 show evidence of trauma to Terri Schiavo’s neck…”

“…the following comment makes so much sense:

You have to ask yourself, why a Judge would continue to allow this [ceasing to provide a feeding tube] without ordering that Terri Schiavo have, at the very least, six months of therapy just to make sure that he’s not killing someone that has every right to continue fighting for her life…

As observers from afar, we cannot independently confirm the veracity of all of the information described above. But reasonable people must admit that the information pattern raises enough material questions about the behavior of Terri’s husband and the judge to have grave concerns.”

Please, please read the whole thing, and keep in mind that in October of 2002, Michael petitioned the court for permission to have Terri cremated as soon as she dies. He has the arrangements worked out with the funeral home- they are still in place. This is one month after Dr. William Hammesfahr wrote his report stating that Terri’s injuries were more typical of those resulting from neck trauma than heart attacks.

There is more about Dr. Hammesfahr here. I’ve heard some unsavory things about him from those who want Terri starved to death. If you have, too, you want to read this article.

“The important thing for people to understand is that she can eat and swallow right now,” said William Hammesfahr, a neurologist who has examined Schiavo. He is in many of the videos circulated through the news media showing that Schiavo is at times responsive and aware.

“They are truly withholding food from a person who is awake, alert, and can eat and swallow,” Hammesfahr said. After spending at least 10 hours with Schiavo several years ago, he told Florida Judge George W. Greer that she can improve with therapy.

Hammesfahr said his credibility had been questioned at the time, but he has since been vindicated in court and currently maintains a thriving private practice in Clearwater, Fla. Despite reports attacking him, he said he has never lost his license to practice medicine and currently is involved in litigation surrounding the ordeal.

Hammesfahr was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1999 for his work in brain injury and stroke. He is a recognized expert in treating neurological disorders, having successfully treated thousands of patients using vasodilator therapy, which increases blood flow to the brain, thus healing conditions previously thought to be untreatable…”

Angel Watson was once declared PVS, but she survived and is quoted in the article:

“Watson questions Michael Schiavo’s insistence that he loves his wife and cares deeply for her. Michael Schiavo, Watson said, has had ample proof that his wife wants to live.

“She’s the embodiment of a living will,” Watson said. “She is a living will. He’s tried to kill her twice and she has the will to live.

“What more [evidence] could you possibly want?”

What to do? Pray, Go Here, and continue to pray.

h/t The Anchoress, WuzzaDem, Blogs for Terri

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Terri Schiavo

The Federal Judge involved in the case is refusing to make an immediate ruling.

Why? Credible witnesses have said that Terri would not want to die like this, that she is not in a PVS. Why this hesitating attitude when Terri hasn’t been fed for days? What is there to consider? We like to talk about living wills, and heart problems, and brains, and the right to die. While all this talking is going on, however, someone is dying. Someone who should live.

Why, Judge Whittemore? Millions of people who have been taught that this nation stands for the importance of individual life want to know why this decision is so hard to make.

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The Mini Schiavo Round-Up

According to our tracker, we have a number of new visitors who have come to the Common Room to read more about Terri Schiavo. For their benefit I’ve compiled a list of all the Schiavo related posts here, in a sort of miniature, Common Room specific round up.
If you’re nice people, you’re welcome to stay and look around. Please remember you are in a school crossing zone.=)

Pay Attention, by the Equuschick, our best writer, and the first one to turn the Common Room from our usual nonsense to something more serious

The Conversation, conversation with a prochoice friend. I point out that the quality of life argument very quickly reduces the continued existence of our multiply disabled child to a choice up to us rather than a self-evident right of her own.

Quality of Life, Quality of Mercy– Some people who have just met us will often tell us over and over again how sorry
they feel for the Cherub. It tends to be the most unobservant, or perhaps self-absorbed, people who feel so sorry for her. We can tell, because sooner or later, they will draw attention to their self-absorption by saying something like “I wouldn’t want to live like that.” I find this sadly amusing, as the Cherub is generally a pretty happy soul, and is perfectly content with things as they are (although there could always be another cookie, another song, another hug, another joy ride on a golf cart). I’m pretty sure that I would not want to live my life as a self-absorbed fool, either, but I don’t tell them it would be better if they’d been killed at birth just because I would find it unsatisfying to live life as they do.

Terri Schiavo and Brain Death– case of woman diagnosed as PVS and what she has to say about it

Proverb for Today– first we have the disclaimer (It was never our intention to make this a blog about hard, serious, and heartrending, heartbreaking, and really emotionally difficult topics. We meant to be funny, lighthearted, trivial, and occasionally erudite- but never serious. The Common Room isn’t meant to be a soapbox.). Then we have the soapbox, and a lot of information on Terri’s case.

Speaking Out, by the Head Girl again. She makes some historical connections, which is only natural, since her major is history.

Staying Current, for the purposes of this mini-round-up, I’m not listing general updates. Updates quickly become postdates in this case. But this post has more on Kate Adamson, declared PVS, starved, and survived to tell about it. It wasn’t painless.

Something to Say, a mustread, IMO, about our disabled daughter. She can’t speak, but she has mobility, so can communicate. If her physical disabilities were greater, she would be unable to communicate, as she doesn’t understand enough to blink her eyes or squeeze our hands consistently on command. But she’d be no less of a human being.

Petulance and Pride , about some of the professionals involved in the attempt to kill Terri.

Is Life Important, by the Head Girl. Hint: the answer is yes. Furthermore, we can care about two things (or even more) at the same time.

Whose Wishes are They Anyway, Part the First
Part the Second
Compelling evidence that it’s not Terri’s wishes being fulfilled here.

Death with Dignity? The last time Terri’s tube was removed and then reinstated, Michael’s lawyer (because Terri doesn’t have a lawyer or a guardian ad litum of her own) complained about the state performing surgery ‘against her wishes.’ I’d agree that it was against Michael’s wishes. I’m not so sure about Terri. But when I think about it, why do they not just cap off her tube? Why put her through the unnecessary physical trauma of having her tube surgically removed. Isn’t that oddly sadistic? Especially when it’s not done properly?

Thanks for reading. Please pray for Terri and all those involved, and consider phoning the appropriate people to complain to.

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