February 24, 2005

What If This Was Our Daughter or Sister or Wife? What If It Was "Only" A Stranger's Life? Part II

This posting builds on a previous posting about Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

Digging further into the case only raises additional deeply unsettling questions, questions that deserve thoughtful responses and not the casual ending of a human life.

The first major question has to do with Terri’s physical and mental condition. As you read the following, remember that she has been denied any rehabilitation therapy since at least 1993:

Nurses who tended to Terri Schiavo…have stated in affidavits provided by her family that the 41-year-old has exhibited clear-cut behavior indicating she is conscious and aware of her surroundings.

In stunning testimony, one nurse, Heidi Law, a certified nursing assistant who took care of Terri when she was at Palm Gardens Nursing Home in Largo, Florida, in 1997, said that the severely disabled woman formed words such as "mommy, "momma," and most hauntingly, "help me."

"While it is true that those patients will flinch or make sounds occasionally, they don't do it as a reaction to someone on a constant basis who is taking care of them, the way I saw Terri do," claimed Law in a formal deposition…

The testimony…contradicts widespread perceptions that Terri is a nearly brain-dead or comatose woman living in a vegetative state…

That the disabled woman acknowledges the presence of her parents, responds to music, and follows the movement of objects such as a balloon has long been known and documented by videos…

attested by a second caretaker, Carla Sauer Iyer, a registered nurse who was at Palm Garden from 1995 to 1997:

"Terri's medical condition was systematically distorted and misrepresented," stated Iyer in her own affidavit..."When I worked with her, she was alert and oriented. Terri spoke on a regular basis while in my presence, saying such things as 'mommy' and 'help me.' 'Help me' was, in fact, one of her most frequent utterances. I heard her say it hundreds of times. Terri would try to say the word 'pain' when she was in discomfort, but it came out more like 'pay.' When I came into her room and said 'Hi, Terri,' she would always recognize my voice and her name, and would turn her head all the way toward me, saying, 'Haaaiiiii,' sort of, as she did. I recognized this as a 'hi,' which is very close to what it sounded like, the whole sound being only a second or two long. When I told her stories about my life, or something I read in the paper, Terri would sometimes chuckle, sometimes more a giggle or laugh.”

Numerous affidavits on Terri's condition, including some referenced in this posting, can be found here and here. An overview of medical observations on Terri over the last 15 years can be found here. All of this information paints an entirely different picture of Terri from what Terri's husband and his attorney have been stating publicly for years now.

There have been frequent media reports that Terri suffered from eating disorders. However, this posting notes:

…there was never a determination by any court nor the Florida Department of Health that Terri Schiavo ever suffered from any eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia or compulsive behavior that would lead to a heart failure at the age of 26.

Indeed, Florida’s Department of Health had completely and absolutely cleared Terri’s general practitioner of any negligence or wrong-doing in her case. This was after the physician had been accused by Terri’s husband of ignoring evidence of an eating disorder.

Additionally, at the time of her mysterious medical episode, Terri Schiavo stood 5’3” and weighed somewhere between 115 and 118 pounds – a slim, but normal stature and weight. [Her husband is said to be 6'6" tall and weigh about 250 pounds.]

This posting notes:

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.

I would strongly encourage you to read the entirety of Dr. Hammesfahr's report. Among other things, it will allow you to contrast the depth of his examination analysis with the shallow analyses of a doctor who has twice "examined" Terri and then declared her to be in a persistent vegetative state. Here are some impressions and observational excerpts from Dr. Hammesfahr's examination of Terri:

Impressions: The patient is not in coma. She is alert and responsive to her environment. She responds to specific people best. She tries to please others by doing activities for which she gets verbal praise. She responds negatively to poor tone of voice. She responds to music. She differentiates sounds from voices. She differentiates specific people's voices from others. She differentiates music from stray sound. She attempts to verbalize. She has voluntary control over multiple extremities. She can swallow. She can feel pain...

Communication: She can communicate. She needs a Speech Therapist, Speech Pathologist, and a communications expert to evaluate how to best communicate with her and to allow her to communicate and for others to communicate with her…

ENT[Ear, Nose, Throat]: The patient can clearly swallow, and is able to swallow approximately 2 liters of water per day (the daily amount of saliva generated). Water is one of the most difficult things for people to swallow. It is unlikely that she currently needs the feeding tube…

Spinal Exam: The patient's exam from a spinal perspective is abnormal. The degree of limitation of range of motion, and of spasms in her neck, is consistent with a neck injury.

All of these observations explain why her parents are seeking further medical tests of Terri before any action to starve her to death is taken. Terri’s husband and the judge have been blocking these testing requests.

The second big question is whether her husband’s past behaviors and current intentions are ethical. As her husband, he is Terri’s legal guardian. Ask yourself whether he is acting in her best interest and deserves to remain her guardian where he has the power over life/death decisions.

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…

There is reportedly an order on file issued by Michael Schiavo that upon her death, Terri Schiavo will immediately be cremated, no autopsy.

Dr. Hammesfahr's report includes these words:

Interestingly, I have seen this pattern of mixed brain (cerebral) and spinal cord findings in a patient once before, a patient who was asphyxiated.

Another posting discusses how Terri did not receive adequate care and offers further insight into their marital problems at the time Terri sustained her injuries:

...medical records show that Terri has never been evaluated or treated by an orthopedic surgeon for the multiple injuries revealed in the bone scan, which may have a profound bearing on her current medical condition...

In testimony given during the 2000 trial, Terri's girlfriend and co-worker said [see item #6 on left side listing] Terri discussed getting a divorce and moving in with her. She also testified that the couple had a violent argument on the day of Terri's collapse, which prompted her to urge Terri to not stay at home that night – a suggestion Terri disregarded.

"There are only two people who know what happened that night that she collapsed. And one of them is trying to kill the other who is too disabled to speak," Anderson told WND at the commencement of the trial last month.

What has her husband Michael been doing over the years since 1990? Denying her any rehabilitation services, for starters, as this excerpt notes:

Michael Schiavo, although being awarded nearly $1.7 million from medical malpractice claims on the representation that he would provide rehabilitation services for his wife, refused to do so shortly after receiving the money and instead has used the money earmarked for Terri’s rehab to be used for legal fees to obtain a court order to end her life.

But it hasn't been just a failure to provide rehab over the years. I would strongly encourage you to read closely the information at this site, which highlights the numerous times since her injuries that her husband has ensured Terri did not receive either quality care or humane treatment. Equally powerful reading is selected information on Michael's character and actions from this site. In aggregate, the documents paint a damning picture of the man.

Here is some additional information on questionable behavior by her husband and Terri’s responses to him during these intervening years:

"I made numerous entries into the nursing notes in her chart, stating verbatim what she said and her various behaviors, but by my next on-duty shift, the notes would be deleted from her chart," claimed Iyer in potentially devastating detail. "Every time I made a positive entry about any responsiveness of Terri's, someone would remove it after my shift ended. Michael always demanded to see her chart as soon as he arrived, and would take it in her room with him."

Iyer claims that she "became fearful for my personal safety" and was terminated after she called police about comments and activities at the nursing home relative to the Schiavo woman. "When Michael visited Terri, he always came alone and always had the door closed and locked while he was with Terri," the affidavit alleges. "He would typically be there about twenty minutes or so. When he left 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." The glucometer reading would be so low it was below the range where it would register an actual number reading. I would put dextrose in Terri's mouth to counteract it. This happened about five times on my shift as I recall. Normally Terri's blood-sugar levels were very stable due to the uniformity of her diet through tube feeding." [These events led Iyer to speculate the unproven/unprovable idea that Michael Schiavo could have been injecting Terri with insulin.]

Added Law, the nursing assistant, "When she was upset, which was usually the case after Michael was there, she would withdraw for hours... Several times when Michael visited during my shift, he went into her room alone and closed the door. When he left, Terri was very agitated, was extremely tense with tightened fists, and sometimes had a cold sweat. She was much less responsive than usual and would just stare out the window, her eyes kind of glassy."

A previously referenced posting shares the following:

Nurses have reported hearing Michael Schiavo make such comments as "When is that bitch going to die?"… [Iyer] says that she recalls him making statements such as "Can’t anything be done to accelerate her death, won’t she ever die?" "Michael would be visibly excited, thrilled even, hoping that she would die", Iyer recalled. "He would blurt out, 'I'm going to be rich' and would talk about all the things he would buy when Terri died which included a new car, a new boat and going to Europe."

This posting has further information on George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney, and the information does not reflect well on Felos' personal values.

Another posting notes that:

On September 3, 2004 Father Rob Johansen wrote in his blog ["Thrown Back"] about what Cheryl Ford, a nurse from Tampa who has been very active in the efforts to save Terri's life, found in her review of Terri's medical records.

... Cheryl had recently undertaken, on behalf of the Schindlers, a review of medical records from when Terri was first admitted to Woodside Hospice. Woodside Hospice is run by Hospice of the Florida Suncoast.

It is of interest to note that Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, was a member of the Board of Directors of Hospice of the Florida Suncoast until the Terri Schiavo case began to attract widespread public attention a few years ago.

In her research, Ms. Ford found a document titled "Exit Protocol" in Terri's file. The document is on Hospice of the Florida Suncoast "Patient Care Notes" stationery, and is dated April 19, 2001. This document lays out, in clinical detail, the procedures to be followed in bringing about Terri's death by starvation and dehydration.

That protocol is part of a broader set of questions regarding the role the hospice is playing in this case:

The original hospice mission is to care for, support and manage the symptoms of the terminally ill until a death occurs in its own natural timing. Every hospice nurse and physician knows that hospice is supposed to neither hasten death nor seek to cure the terminal illness. Hastening the death of a patient goes against everything hospice stands for.

Although Terri Schiavo's case will be decided in a Pinellas County courthouse, any hospice that accepts a chronically ill patient has violated not only the spirit of hospice and the mission of hospice, but the federal regulations governing hospice.

In addition, there have been a series of very questionnable decisions by the judge plus some seriously overlapping conflicts of interest between the judge, his colleagues, the hospice, and George Felos. I find the number and nature of these conflicts to be most troubling, raising further ethical concerns.

Many of the ethical issues in this case are discussed in this article:

[George] Felos's well-known ties to the euthanasia movement...has been a member of the infamous Hemlock Society...

Michael Schiavo's principal witness, Dr. Ronald Cranford,...perhaps the leading medical proponent of the pro-death movement...

[One peer reviewed medical journal article] revealed that 43% of patients sent to that hospital with a diagnosis of PVS [persistent vegetative state] were not in a vegetative state at all...

The growing awareness of the difficulty in diagnosing PVS, and the widespread errors in making the diagnosis, have led many leading hospitals...to routinely reassess patients referred to them as PVS...

...[Terri's parents'] were informed [in 1993] that Michael had cut off their access to Terri's medical information...Michael had the legal authority to issue the order, which remains in place to this day...

[Later in 1993,] Terri had a serious urinary tract infection and that Michael had ordered the nursing home not to give her treatment, which would have consisted of a simple course of antibiotics...the nursing home eventually gave Terri the antibiotics anyway. [Could this be an example of why she was then moved from the nursing home to the hospice?]...Michael admitted [in a court hearing] that he had ordered the nursing home to deny Terri treatment for the infection and that he knew the infection, left untreated, would have caused Terri's death...

In 1998, Michael petitioned the court to remove Terri's feeding tube...was the first time that Michael had ever claimed such a wish on Terri's part [not to be kept alive in her condition]...

The judge then appointed a guardian ad litem, Richard Pearse, to investigate Michael's fitness as guardian and to make a recommendation about Terri's feeding tube. Pearse interviewed the various parties, including doctors, and issued his report in December 1998 recommending against Michael's fitness as guardian and against removing Terri's feeding tube...In February 1999, George Felos filed a "suggestion of bias" against Pearse and demanded he be removed as guardian ad litem...In April 1999, Pearse filed a request that he either be given further instructions or discharged...[noting] that there would be due process difficulties if the case proceeded to trial without Terri having an independent guardian ad litem...[the judge] discharged Pearse without appointing a successor...

All of which is why 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.

And that leads us back to the more fundamental question about what value we will place on human life, including that of a disabled woman. If we begin to say it is okay to kill off "weak" human beings, think where that will take us over time. It will take us to a place where certain people will seek to play "God" so they can set the criteria for who lives and who dies. Why not then an elderly parent or a young child, should either become a financial or emotional burden? The freedom to do such great evil will only invite more profound evil over time.

Holocausts do not begin with operational concentration camps; they start on a smaller scale and steadily break down our resistance while many people plead that they are "too busy" to pay attention and get involved.

The stakes are enormous here and there is no neutral ground. Not to decide is to decide. The fight for Terri’s life is another battle to determine whether we are to live in a culture of life or a culture of death.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Greg Wallace leads us to GM's Corner where the horrid reality of dehydration is presented:

The process of dehydration is as follows: (WARNING, GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS FOLLOW) Initially, Terri will be thirsty, just as you or I might be after a few hours of mowing the lawn or cleaning out the garage on a mild summer day. As that first day progresses, mild dehydration will set in. Symptoms will be mostly experienced by Terri, she will of course be fairly thirsty by now. her lips will be dry, as will her mouth and saliva will be hard to come by as the body struggles to keep water in. As she dehydrates further, she will cease sweating (we perspire ALL of the time, just not when we are hot, in addition, we lose moisture through the process of breathing)and her skin will begin to flush as her body temperature begins to rise. Terri will become tired and irritabile, though she may not be capable of showing that at this stage. She will develop a headache. Her urine bag (assuming she is cathaterized) will begin to show darker and darker urine because though she is not taking water in, her kidneys will continue to struggle to remove toxic impurities from the blood. With less water to work with, the urine becomes more concentrated and the output decreases, a viscious cycle. As she dehydrates further, you will see all the earlier signs of mild dehydration. In addition, her skin won't bounce back quickly when pressed, she will experience very dry mouth and will whimper, and plead to the best of her ability, her eyes will appear sunken. The output of urine will be limited and color of urine will be a very dark yellow. Her muscles will begin to very painfully cramp and her joints will become very stiff and painful. Her irritability, and fatigue will be significantly worse as the earlier headache becomes much more severe.

Finally, severe dehydration will commence as she nears death. Because the body knows that it is loosing moisture, it will attempt to conserve. But, the rest will continue. Her lips will turn blue as her blood becomes thicker and as less oxygen is carried to her system. her skin will be come blotchy she will become confused and become very lethargic. Her hands and feet will be unbearably cold.

Her breathing will be rapid, her pulse weak as her blood pressure drops. She may experience intermittent fainting and will begin running a high fever. She will be extremely miserable, but will be unable to pee or cry. Her body will attempt to conserve every bit of fluid, but her fever will go higher, resulting, perhaps, in convulsions and certainly in death.

This is what Michael Schiavo wishes for his wife. Simply ungodly.

We must never allow this to happen in America.

Posted by: Donald B. Hawthorne at February 24, 2005 6:56 PM

I have read your notes carefully. I am a 74yo retired medical social worker with much experience in Hospice and in end of life issues. I have read several blogs on Terri's case.

The level of the emotional response is striking and it blinds people to simple truths. Just above you described dehydration in a way calculated to horrify the reader. Did you know that even if the Jevity feed is discontinued, that hydration will continue as a comfort measure as long as her body will absorb fluids without prejudice to her health?

Terri's situation is sad and acutely distressing.
It is not good to tell less than the whole truth
since many readers may follow similar paths at the end of their journey.

Posted by: Tom Kelty at February 25, 2005 10:14 AM


This article details allegations of collusion between Judge Greer & State Attorney Bernie McCabe, and a possible cover up of previous DCF investigations by Charlie Crist, State Att'y General (who aspires to become the next Gov of FL)

Citizens of Florida (and indeed everywhere) need to become aware of this information. They need to flood the offices of these men with calls, emails and letter stating that they are watching the investigation process carefully and demanding justice for Terri. They need to contact FL papers with the information, they need to call radio & TV stations demanding investigations of the allegations.

Unless these men have their feet held firm and fast to the fire of public scrutiny and outrage, the new investigation may also go no where and be covered up.

Posted by: shana at February 25, 2005 11:39 AM

Donald Hawthorne -

Superb February 24 analysis and expression of Terri's "problem" and all of ours by easy extension.

I fear that, with the 3 weeks left to Terri per Judge Greer's mandate of February 25, all the emphasis now has to be put on so pressuring the FL governor, the FL legislature, the FL attorney general and the FL Dept of Children and Families that they'll have no choice but to rouse the appellate courts to intervening action.

More immediately, Terri's caregivers have to be encouraged/empowered to conscientiously object to and refuse to carry out Judge Greer's order, should March 18 arrive without contravention.

Simultaneously, Judge Greer himself must be challenged with impeachment, as some bloggers have begun to do, and with the absolute certainty of never again being re-elected. And let's re-double our alertness to re-election bids by other judges and justices effecting this case.

www.terrisfight.org, the blogs and other sites are replete with contact "pressure points." Let's use them, again and again. And these sites are full of sworn and professional testimonies giving powerful credibility to our efforts to recruit support. FL newspapers should be flooded with letters to the editor, other news outlets swamped with writings and calls citing such sources.

Intense prayer throughout is a given.
My spiritual sense now is that the dam has broken, Terri WILL be saved and our cultural awareness has been significantly heightened for future pro-life action.

May God have mercy on us all.

Posted by: Patricia in Naples FL at February 27, 2005 11:47 AM

What really bothers me in this case is the need to vilify people that don’t agree. Here, and much more so on other websites Michael Schiavo is accused of all sorts of nasty stuff, including possible murder. Isn’t it just possible that he’s a young man that was dealt a pretty bad hand by life and he’s trying as best as he can to fulfill his wife’s last wishes? And Judge Greer and other judges involved are just trying to navigate a horrible situation as best as they can.

A couple note on what has been said here: the court (yes, Judge Greer) gave pretty short shrift to the bone scan issue for 2 reasons – First nothing was said about it for years after the actual scan happened. Why was nothing brought up about the scan for 10 years if it showed something so horrible?

The second reason it was rejected out of hand had to do with the malpractice suit after Terri’s collapse. Michael and the Schindlers (still friends then) sued the doctors who treated her because they failed to diagnose her bulimia. Michael and the Schindlers won a $1 million judgment (the case was actually settled for an undisclosed amount before appeal). The doctors being sued had access to Terri’s complete history and had access to her. If there was ANY way that part of the blame could be shifted to an abusive husband they would have done it. Not 1 word was said in the trial.

There are answers for other points, and if anybody wishes to discuss further I will. The problem is that too many people start at the position that no intelligent person of good faith can believe other than I do on this issue. Since Michael has won virtually every act of the court drama then it’s necessary to attribute nefarious motives to him – interested in the money, abusive, withholding treatment, even murder – to explain his victories. By extension it also follows that others involved –Judge Greer, Judge Quesada, Judge Baird, entire FL Supreme Court, State Attorney Bernie McCabe, and others – are either incompetent or corrupt. That’s unfortunate.

Posted by: Buckland at March 2, 2005 11:47 AM

I'm afraid the only "brain dead" people are the ones who can't see through Michael Schiavo. He is the one to gain from Terri's death while her family will suffer forever.Also, what connections does Judge Greer's family member have to do with that hospice as rumored? Wasn't this hospice sited for malpractice and still has not repaid the money? What about the insulin accusations?Remember the Claus Von Bulow case? He was accused of injecting his wife with insulin and putting her into a coma. He got off because it coulnt be proven. If terri's blood sugar was wild after Michael visited and Terri was visibly shaken wouldn't that indicate that she was terrified of him and he had done something.? Why have the police done nothing. Who was behind the police ignoring suspicious activity? I believe the hospice let Michael do whatever he wanted to the detriment of their patient.(according to testimony of the nurses) I'll bet they would willingly take a lie detector test. Think Michael would? Michael has opened a real can of worms. Bottom line-he was afraid that with therapy she would talk and tell what happened to her. That is the only logical reason he could have for being so cruel and demanding her death. Why not just let her live,save her family from suffering and save his reputation. There is more to all this and there seems to be some collaboration between Michael, Greer,Felos, and the hospice. I hope the state ceases her body and autopsies it before he can have it cremated.(Sorry to say but I think evil will win again for now and they will stall until she is dead) I think this is the only way to settle this somewhat. I don't think that will happen because these same People who are so eager to have their way and want her to die (who is it hurting that she is alive? MICHAEL!!!.Thats all.)What are they trying to hide? I hope the truth comes out and they all go down. I guarantee they will have no peace for the rest of their sorry lives. We, with hearts,will know we tried to do the right thing which is not in vogue right now to the disgrace of our country. GOD forgive us. (Am I allowed to say that?)

Posted by: linda at March 25, 2005 8:17 PM

It is a disturbing thing for the ethical/moral/physical life of human society or of any member of that society to be held hostage by a confused state of emotion, legalism, machination, nihilism, and arrogance. The law ( and the authorities that make and/or uphold that law ) are supposed to be there to protect the individual and the state, not destroy both in the pretext of protecting each from the other.

What need is there in hastening Terri's death?
If keeping her alive costs too much money, are there not millions of people willing to care for her from their combined pockets?

If her situation was so horrible that her husband could not bear to see her so, does that automatically imply that she could not bear to see herself so?

If her husband figures that he is protecting her from such a horrible situation, how is it necessarily better that she die now when it might yet be possible for her to be rehabilitated? Is certain death invariably better than the possibility of rehabilitation?

Does not Terri's husband have the option of giving up legal responsibility for his wife if he cannot bear her situation - if only so that she may have a chance at having her parents and/or others take over legal responsibility for her? Which is worse: to risk killing an innocent person, or to transfer responsibility for their care to others who are more determined to fight for the person's life?

Even if anyone - including Terri, if that were to have been conceivably so - thought that the best thing for Terri would be her death, is starving her to death ( especially under these unsettled and questionable circumstances ) not the same thing as assisted suicide, and maybe even judicial murder?

These are some of the questions that one might be permitted to ask, I suppose. To all these, my answer is simple: the life of a person is more important than legal finesse. Terri's husband and the court system appear to be implementing a certain power of life and death over her, such as I fail to see when, where, why, or how they could or should assume such tyrannical powers.

When there is a problem in some far away country, and people are being tyrannized, those of us in the far more stable and relatively democratic West wish to somehow intervene to prevent such atrocities. It is not any different if theese same atrocities are being perpetrated in our own cities, and in the name of our laws.

To hasten Terri's death is to judicially murder her. Whenever she does die, there must be a complete autopsy, not only of her body, but of the legal process of the last 15 years.

May God, the maker and giver of life, have mercy on us all.

Posted by: Emmanuel at March 26, 2005 12:29 PM

What a shame to live in a country where a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. Terri Schiavo never had a chance. With Michael, her loving adultress husband, his appointed doctors,attornys and Judge Greer whom michael Schiavo supported financially in his nomination for Fl. Judge and old George Felos whom is connected to Hospic there in the place where it just so happens Terri is dying, and was the Attorney for Dr Korvikan, the euthenian Dr. that killed a man on T.V. and all the evil people that are connected to Michael Schiavo. How strange that this lady has to die because not enough Drs. and Lawyers cared enough to come forward. So to you folks, I say, what goes around comes around. You that claim to be Born Again Christians, God does not reconize you if you felt Terri shoul die before God calls her to Him. You are a liar...Marcia Young

Posted by: Marcia Young at March 27, 2005 1:10 AM

Several of the links to zimp.org don't work.

Posted by: Coyote at March 29, 2005 5:32 PM

TO late Michael Schiavo did your slick attorney Felos over look Florida law about CREMATION and AUTOPSY ? you don't have a choice about the autopsy. but I have to give you credit FELOS you will fool lots of people out there that it was Michael idea.


Posted by: taylor at March 29, 2005 10:58 PM

Thank you so much for all of your info and links Donald Hawthorn. One can certainly find the truths here, if they have the concern that you have and we all should have for the benefit of our children, their children and our country. I am sickened by the fact that this judge Greer, Michael Schivo and his attorneys have been allowed to hide so much from the parents and family of Terri Schindler-Schivo, as well as the public. Especially once it was revealed that Terri and Michael had marital problems and a fight the night before.

I am consumed by grief for Terri, her family, friends, supporters and all of the people of this country who could fall victims to this same sort of cruel and inhumane death sentence.

How a judge can enforce a death sentence decided by another person, on an innocent and incapactiated person is unconsiousable. When in doubt, and a living will was not written, or other family memeber did not know of her wishes, then she should be allowed to live if there is disagreement as to her wishes. Better to error on the side of life. Greer should be impeached and disbarred.

She is fighting for her life and there is a good reason for this. One day Michael, the judges, Michael's attorneys and those who have covered for Michael and the truth, will have to answer for all of this, I just wish it would happen before Terri's death. What is wrong with our laws and judicial system when there is so much evidence against a person that the "layman", the public can see it and demands investigations, but we the people are ignored.

Posted by: Bobbie of Tampa, FL at March 29, 2005 11:49 PM

A few random thoughts:

Isn't it ironic that this whole sad affair started with an eating issue (bulima) and now ends with another "eating issue" (the feeding tube)?

If I were in a similar state, how vigorously would my spouse fight to carry out my last wishes?

Should a parent's wishes carry more weight than a spouse's? Kinda puts that whole "giving the bride away" tradition in a different perspective....

On any given day, how many people are forced to make (and live with) the decision to remove life sustaining support for a loved one? What makes this case any more profound or tragic than theirs?

I can not even imagine the pain and anguish the girlfriend and Michael's children must be living through during this time...

If a person is truly in a "persistent vegetative state," do they feel pain from dehydration or starvation?

Posted by: Robert at March 30, 2005 7:55 PM

Death cults. Felos is a death cultist. Look at his book, for Christ's sake.

Posted by: Buddy Larsen at March 31, 2005 2:29 AM

Michael Shivo is evil.So does George Felos.So does George Greer.Starving Terri to death is not as beautiful and peaceful as evil Felos described.Michael Shivo will go to hell and die miserably.God is watching.George Felos will go to hell and be burned in the fire forever.George Greer will go to the deepest place in hell as Michael Shivo does.God bless Terri!!!

Posted by: Bo at March 31, 2005 4:35 AM