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Florida court orders woman be starved to death.

Florida Teri Schaivo 2003

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#21 Drew

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 06:47 PM

G1223, on Oct 15 2003, 06:38 PM, said:

Sorry if I was in that state I do not care if there were a Billion Dollars in rulings awaiting me. If the woman is to the point where her doctors are saying her reactions are relaxive and not a sign of being alive then I would want to be let go.
But here's the trick. Those are what the husband's approved doctors have said. Other doctors have testified in court that she would very likely recover her ability to feed herself if given the therapy that her husband has withheld.

There is certainly more than a sign that she's alive. Again, it's only a feeding tube that she requires. Otherwise, she's doing fine.

After reading a bunch of articles on this case, I read one about an Arkansas man who suddenly started speaking after 19 years in a coma. His doctors are now considering what therapies they might use to help him recover further. That man was apparently worse off than this woman.

Edited by Drew, 15 October 2003 - 06:55 PM.

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#22 G1223

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 06:51 PM

What degree of life are these other doctor's offering? A full and reasonably compleate life,or something near it ,or something that is less than what she had before hand.  From what I am seeing there is a little chance of it being the first and likely closer to the third of the three places.
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#23 Drew

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 07:04 PM

What degree of life is worth living? This case brings the issue into sharp focus. Are disabled people worth only so much . . . and then we kill them when they become a financial burden? (I reiterate that there was plenty of money to take care of this woman until her husband started using it to go to court to seek her death--money that was supposed to be used for therapies she never received.)  Can we really put a price on life itself?

Furthermore, it angers me that this decision has been made without ever once allowing therapy to see how well she could respond. If after a few months of therapy she showed no improvement, one might have an argument, but her husband has seen to it that she has never received a single minute of therapy. Meanwhile he's off boinking some woman, having babies, planning for a new wedding once his wife is conveniently dead and he receives his "inheritance," . . . and he's beek seeking her death for years.
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#24 GiGi

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 07:48 PM

I spent some time on the family's website reading articles and I watched two videos of Terri responding to requests by a therapist (I am assuming), opening her eyes and following a balloon with her eyes.  She does not look comatose to me!  The article that is in the first link does not tell the story very well and no doubt was influenced by the husband.

Most interesting is that some of the videos where shown to a speeh-language pathologist.  (interestingly too she has not seen Terri in person, I wonder why). Here are a few things she says...

Quote

H 04  A loosening of Terri's muscular tone appears to be a result of a soothing effect on Terri of her father's voice.  This could indicate recognition of the voice as her father's, and an appropriate emotional response.  Later in this clip, Terri's behavior of looking first at Dr. Hammesfahr and then at her mother appears to be responsive to the request that she do so.  When she opens and closes her eyes, she clearly appears to be following the commands of Dr. Hammesfahr to do so, although she cannot engage in this behavior consistently . 

H 09 (Same Exam as above) Terri appears to keep her eyes closed on command, but it would be helpful to assess in other venues, such as relative to her neck position and visual stimulii.  

H 11 (Same exam as above) Terri appears to track a balloon but appears to be challenged by motor deficiency to move past midline. This could be secondary to an oculomotor dysfunction. 

6.  Terri is clearly vocalizing.  She does not appear to vocalize at random    during these examinations.  Her vocalizations are generally purposeful and usually in response to specific environmental stimuli,  most particularly family members.   

7.  Over the years since her injury, Terri has infrequently spoken audible words.  The records of MediPlex reflect the fact that she has said "stop" in apparent response to a medical procedure being done to her.  The family reports that they have heard Terri say "ugh-hugh," ugh-ugh," and "No" on a few occasions.   

<snip> 

10. It is not my opinion that Mrs. Schiavo is in a coma or in a persistent vegetative state.  In my opinion, she exhibits purposeful though inconsistent reactions to her environment, particularly her family.  Her eye movements, easily observed on the videotape, are particularly suggestive that she recognized family members and responded.  She also appeared to have sufficient sustained attention to track a balloon.  It is not my opinion that these behaviors are merely reflexive.  The entire range of behaviors listed above, and each and every one of them, are inconsistent with a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state. 

11. Even without the benefit of any medical treatment which successfully improves this patient's organic medical condition or cognitive abilities, in my opinion Terri would benefit from speech-language therapy, physical therapy and occupational/recreational therapy.  Her ability to interact with her environment and her ability to communicate can be enhanced.  Her quality of life can be significantly enhanced.  

<snip>

13. It is apparent that Terri has sufficient swallowing ability to handle her own secretions, therefore it would be my recommendation that she receive a modified barium swallow study to assess swallow function for intake trials of thin and thick liquids and pureed consistencies.  It has been my experience that patients similar to Terri have been able to accomplish food intake.  This would permit Terri greater interaction with her family and in social situations through the enjoyment of mealtimes.  I have worked with numerous disabled patients who have expressed to me that being able to eat would make the difference between their desiring to live or die. 

14. It is my judgement based on my training and clinical experience  working with patients similar to Terri that she would, within a reasonable degree  of clinical probability, be able to improve her ability to interact with her   environment, communicate with others, and control her environment if she were given appropriate therapy and training as outlined above.  These recommendations, in my opinion, would greatly improve Terri's quality of life. 

FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NAUGHT. 

Sara Green Mele, MS, CCC-SLP

Link to the whole article

It looks like some funny business is going on to me.  This woman is handicapped and in need of therapy not to be cruelly starved to death...what kind of insanity is going on here?!!
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#25 Uncle Sid

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 08:25 PM

It does sound more than a little fishy.  Now, not everything necessarily may be what it seems.  For instance, if he really did believe that his wife was dead and gone, it's not too hard to believe that he'd end up seeing someone else while he fought his way through the court system.  I've known of more than one couple, some personally, that met while one of their spouses was terminally ill or in a similar circumstance.  I'm not saying that I necessarily think that it's a great idea or right, but I am saying that it's not uncommon.  Regardless of whether he authorized the therapy, he still might have ended up with another woman.  

Still, there is more than a little reason to at least suspect foul play, so I think her family is completely justified in looking at what is going on and challenging him on this.  There really are too many conincidences and warning flags in the husband's behavior to ignore.  

In the end, though, this is definitely a lesson for people to ensure that they have their wishes taken care of in the event of such an incident.  While this case is not precisely a cut and dry "vegetative" state situation, it's possible that the wife's wishes could have at least been anticipated through a living will or some sort of documentation.  It would have gone a long way towards insuring peace for her family, and for her husband as well, assuming that he cared.  One is never too young to be involved in a tragic accident of some kind.
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#26 Drew

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 08:34 PM

Still, as of 2pm this afternoon, this poor woman is now condemned to slowly starve to death. Can't SOMETHING be done? I have been fantasizing that someone hires a special ops team to break into the hospice where she's being held, and kidnaps her and takes her somewhere beyond the reach of her husband where she can actually get some help!  :(
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#27 GiGi

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:14 PM

^I understand Drew, this case has captured my interest too, I spent quite a while today researching it. It seems horrific to do this to someone who has the capacity for some understanding.  She will know something is terribly wrong and will suffer through the starvation/dehydration.

This is really cruel!!  :glare:
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#28 Bad Wolf

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:40 PM

I'll admit that the 10-14 days duration from disconnect to death seems fishy.

It is one thing to take someone off life support with the knowledge that their heart will stop beating within minutes.

This seems very different than that.

How exactly did the husband get this much control over things?

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#29 Shaun

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:44 PM

I am simply appalled.  I can't think of any other word for it. The husband's motives and behaviour appear to be highly suspect.

What kind of people, and I use the term loosely, can condemn someone to such a cruel lingering death.
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#30 Rhea

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 11:18 AM

GiGi, on Oct 15 2003, 07:14 PM, said:

^I understand Drew, this case has captured my interest too, I spent quite a while today researching it. It seems horrific to do this to someone who has the capacity for some understanding.  She will know something is terribly wrong and will suffer through the starvation/dehydration.

This is really cruel!!  :glare:
Therein lies the tale. If she is truly in a persistent vegetative state (doctorspeak for nobody home permanently), she won't know anything and will slip quietly away.

When I was in nursing school I worked with people in this condition. Their families often mistake reflexive blinking or smiling for somebody being home - and there isn't. There is a point of no return where no recovery is possible and the victim is totally unaware of anything happening to them.

One of the big problems is that people often confuse persistent vegetative state (nobody home for good) with a coma, where recovery MAY be possible. This woman is not in a coma. She is irretrievably brain-damaged.

A person in a PVC may also be in a coma, but you can be in a coma without being in a persistent vegetable state. They're not actually interchangable.

I'll see if I can find a definition for each.

Edited by Rhea, 16 October 2003 - 11:37 AM.

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#31 Rhea

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 11:19 AM

double post  :blush:

Edited by Rhea, 16 October 2003 - 11:23 AM.

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#32 GiGi

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 04:16 PM

I understand Rhea, but the husband is only allowing certain doctors to see her.  I don't know if she has been adequately diagnosed.  

The husband also won the suit with the understanding he would take care of her the rest of her life.    He has been pushing for the rest of her live to end as soon as possible.

Some thing is wrong.

PS did you look at the videos on the family's site?  I am not a expert, so maybe you could look to see if it is just a reflex.

PPS Her husband has also stopped anyone from taking more videos of her...for her "privacy" If she is a vegetable what does that matter.  What is he hiding?

PPSS then there are those weird things that happen when he visits her, like her blood sugar falling off the chart!!!
"Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do all creatures." -- HH The Dalai Lama

#33 Rhea

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 06:14 PM

GiGi, on Oct 16 2003, 02:16 PM, said:

I understand Rhea, but the husband is only allowing certain doctors to see her.  I don't know if she has been adequately diagnosed. 

The husband also won the suit with the understanding he would take care of her the rest of her life.    He has been pushing for the rest of her live to end as soon as possible.

Some thing is wrong.

PS did you look at the videos on the family's site?  I am not a expert, so maybe you could look to see if it is just a reflex.

PPS Her husband has also stopped anyone from taking more videos of her...for her "privacy" If she is a vegetable what does that matter.  What is he hiding?

PPSS then there are those weird things that happen when he visits her, like her blood sugar falling off the chart!!!
Let me see if I can separate this out:

1) Her husband is probably a jerk. However, even her family admit that he wasn't involved with his "fiancee" until 6 years after his wife was injured.  If he had half a brain and no interest in her money, he'd just divorce her.

2) The doctors are probably right. And I, for one, would not want to be maintained for 13 years in a largely if not completely unresponsive state. However, maybe this poor woman's family genuinely believes it would be a blessing for her continue to be trapped in a useless body in a vegetative state indefinitely. Personally, that would be my idea of hell.

3) I can't tell who's right from looking at the clips and neither could anyone else who hasn't seen her in person. Her husband and her doctors could be entirely correct about her medical condition and it wouldn't make her husband any less of a jerk. It also wouldn't make her parents any more correct.

4) There's no way to tell how much cognition she has from the movies on her parents' site.

5) I don't see how his visits could possibly trigger low blood sugar. Period. that's ludicrous. Were that true, a diabetic would be in huge trouble every time he or she gets emotional.  :eek2:

Do I know who's right? Nope. Only the Divine knows in this case.

Edited by Rhea, 16 October 2003 - 06:19 PM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
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When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#34 GiGi

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 06:51 PM

Quote

I don't see how his visits could possibly trigger low blood sugar. Period. that's ludicrous. Were that true, a diabetic would be in huge trouble every time he or she gets emotional.

It is suspected that he is giving her insulin to lower her blood sugar.

Quote

Allegations prompt call for criminal probe into suspected abuse

One particular allegation that was "very disturbing" to Hennessy and prompted the request for a criminal investigation was lodged by Carla Sauer Iyer, a registered nurse who cared for Terri from about April of 1995 until August of 1996.

Iyer alleged that Terri's blood sugar levels were normally "very stable due to the uniformity of her diet." While she suspects Schiavo of injecting Terri with regular insulin to drive her into hypoglycemic shock, she acknowledged that she has no proof.

"She noted at least five times when Michael Schiavo would come to visit Terri, close the door to her room and then emerge sometime later and leave," Hennessy related. "On those occasions, Iyer had tested Terri's blood sugar, and the level was so low it wasn't even registering, she would administer dextrose to get Terri...out of danger."

Iyer's affidavit detailed the alleged incidents.

"Terri would be trembling, crying hysterically and would be very pale and have cold sweats. It looked to me like Terri was having a hypoglycemic reaction, so I'd check her blood sugar," Iyer recalled. "The glucometer reading would be so low that it was below the range where it would register an actual number reading."

Iyer and the other caregivers recalled numerous occasions when they would record information in Terri's medical charts or patient logs indicating that she was alert and responsive, speaking to them, laughing at jokes or funny stories, and complying with simple instructions.

Those records, they allege, were deleted from the files and, in some cases, were later seen in trashcans at nursing stations.
From Here
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#35 Delvo

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 07:03 PM

The thing about his visits screwing up her blood sugar wasn't that they were too emotional for her; it was supposed to be that some hospital employee said she saw him carrying a needle in the room and closing the door, and then saw the patient's problem. Of course, to believe this, you have to figure the guy, when planning to subtly kill her like this, decided to walk through the hospital with the needle in plain view, and decided to do it with the door closed instead of blocked from view for a few seconds some other way when he didn't normally have the door closed while visiting. Whoever thought up this story didn't put much thought into making it believable. It makes me wonder how much of the rest of the case against him is also like that.

And even if he is being selfish about the money, he's certainly not being nearly as selfish as the family. To continue insisting that someone be tortured every moment of every day year after year just so you can keep pretending there's still a life there is just about the greatest evil I can imagine. If their claim that she's got any consciousness left at all is true, it's only worse.

Now put yourself in his position for a moment, figuring that either he wasn't always the jerk you probably think he is now, or even that he really isn't. Your spouse is stuck in this kind of state, and his/her family persistently denies that it is what it is and insists on keeping him/her in that state indefinitely, even to the point of getting foul and vicious with you for wishing for mercy on him/her. You might come to resent them pretty badly. And guess what else: If there's money involved, which you'd have access to if not for other people's insistence on doing that, and you've already accepted the fact that (s)he's gone like everyone does sooner or later when people die, that that WILL add to your other reasons to be annoyed with the people who are keeping it from you, and getting it WILL add to your other reasons to wish his/her situation were over. That's just the way it goes; remember, from your position, you and the family will never get him/her back, and the best that can be done for him/her and all of you is letting go anyway.

#36 GiGi

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 07:32 PM

Sorry Delvo, I don't buy it.

1 If we are all concerned and want this women not to suffer how about putting her out of her misery like we would a beloved pet, with gas, not a slower torturous death of the body via starvation.  Oh, yeah, she's a vegetable and won't feel a thing.  Funny, there are studies that show even vegetables have feelings.

2 If it is not about money, the money the court award to Terri should NOT go to the husband when she dies, it should be donated to some group doing research on brain damage.

If those two things were to happen then I would buy that it isn't about the money but what is best for Terri.
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#37 Cardie

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 09:31 PM

If we had euthanasia for people like we do for pets I might be persuaded that the woman would rather have it that way. But to say that denying someone nourishment isn't euthanasia and so is legally is just ridiculous. Either let them give her an overdose of morphine or keep on feeding her.

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#38 Rov Judicata

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 09:50 PM

http://www.wftv.com/...588/detail.html

The husband is getting death threats.

Further, some attorneys are suggesting Bush has the authority to intervene.

I say he should go for it. Worst case scenario is that he tried his best to save her, and simply failed. There's really little to be lost by the attempt. Even if he ultimately loses on that ground, he could buy some time.

*shrugs*. I'm grasping at straws, just like Drew.
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