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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Continuing the fight for Terri Schiavo's life

To this day, it is still mind-boggling how the case has come to this. Excellent sources regarding the case will be given below, but I have the following as my summary of the case:
  • Terri collapses in Feb 1990, and "Terri's attending physician.. testified at an evidentiary hearing last year (that) .. said she hadn't received therapy. He said he accepted (Michael) Schiavo's word that therapy had been deemed unnecessary" [1]. How can they conclude that she's beyond treatment and consign her to death, when they never even tried therapy?
  • Her husband's camp claims that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) and has twice been granted court approval to remove her feeding tubes, threatening to end her life by starvation. Fortunately, courts intervened for temporary stays, but the threat remains. Follow stories about the medical issues [2] throughout the case, and how adequate treatment has been repeatedly denied [3] her by Michael Schiavo.
  • Videos and pictures of Terri [4] show that she is conscious, responds to some verbal commands, laughs, speaks in a limited capacity, and focuses on people around her.
  • There is evidence that 43% of PVS diagnoses are misdiagnosed [5]. Given that there was never any attempt to treat her, could it be that she was also haphazzardly (mis)diagnosed?
  • Her husband remains Terri's guardian despite factors that suggest a conflict of interest:
    • He "stands to inherit what's left of monies awarded (to Terri) in a malpractice lawsuit. As WND reported, $1.2 million was placed in a medical-care fund for Terri in 1992. Schiavo says only about $50,000 remains in the fund and that the money was spent on Terri's medical needs" [1]. I wonder which medical needs that pertains to if she has never gone to therapy?
    • "The estranged husband is living with another woman with whom he has two children but refuses to give up guardianship and (to) divorce Terri, as the Schindlers have requested" [6].
    • There was testimony "given during last year's evidentiary hearing about her being presented at the emergency room with an 'extraordinarily rigid neck' described by one physician as 'consistent with attempted strangulation,' plus a 1991 bone scan report that suggests she had a history of trauma" [1]. This suggests the possibility of spousal abuse, as supported further in this testimony [7] by a psychiatrist and expert witness explaining how Michael Schiavo, in Dr. Lieberman's professional opinion, "fits the profile of a wife abuser.
  • "Terri has no written directive on the matter. Schiavo says she told him during a casual conversation a year before her injury she would not want to be kept alive through artificial means. He insists he is carrying out her wish to die" [1]. All we have is his word? Given the suspicious nature of Terri's injuries around the time when she collapsed, why do the courts consider his word to be completely credible?

Join Terri's fight if you feel strongly enough about this. Pray for her and the people around her and the case -- including her husband, his lawyers, as well as state and court officials. Terri's heart and lungs work fine without assistance. She just needs food and fluids as we all do, albeit through a feeding tube. If you've an open mind, at least, read about it at Blogs for Terri and at WorldNetDaily. This fight is not just for Terri: it's for her parents, brother, sister, for victims of spousal abuse (as Terri could be), and for other handicapped people whom far too many wish to see euthanized.


  1. Court to hear petition to remove husband as guardian (2003, WorldNetDaily)
  2. Medical Issues Archive, (Blogs for Terri).
  3. A Family's Torment - Terri Schiavo (ProLifeBlogs.com).
  4. Terri's Videos (Blogs for Terri)
  5. Andrews K, Murphy L, Munday R, Littlewood C. Misdiagnosis of the vegetative state: retrospective study in a rehabilitation unit. British Medical Journal 1996;313:13-6.
  6. Stay extended in Schiavo case (WND, 2005-02-23)
  7. Preliminary thoughts on how Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael, fits the profile of a wife abuser (Carole Liberman, M.D., M.P.H., Psychiatrist/Expert Witness)

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