Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri's Reponse

Thanks to David Limbaugh’s blog, I was able to read earlier today this incredible account from Barbara Weller, one of Terri Schiavo’s attorneys, who visited with Terri last Friday before and after the feeding tube was removed.

Here’s an excerpt: . . .

I stood up and [leaned] over Terri. I took her arms in both of my hands. I said to her, “Terri if you could only say ‘I want to live’ this whole thing could be over today.” I begged her to try very hard to say, “I want to live.” To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri’s eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, “Ahhhhhhh.” Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, “Waaaaaaaa.” She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne’s husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri’s door, clearly heard her.

I can’t see how anyone can read this account and not feel differently about this case.

Speaking of those who feel differently about Terri’s plight, David Limbaugh in his latest column tries to get a handle on what’s motivating those who want Terri’s feeding tube removed. As David says, we must fight on and keep Terri and her family in our prayers.

4 Comments:

At Tuesday, March 22, 2005 12:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

READ THE TRUTH

SHE CANNOT TALK, SHE CANNOT MOVE, SHE HAS NO COGNITIVE THOUGHT ...

READ THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Schiavo recovery impossible, experts agree
Permanent vegetative state more severe than coma
Reuters Updated: 2:19 p.m. ET March 21, 2005

WASHINGTON - Terri Schiavo, at the center of an emotional and political storm over whether she should be allowed to die, will almost certainly never recover from her unconscious condition, neurologists agree.

She is in a permanent vegetative state, and no one has ever come back from such a condition, according to the American Academy of Neurology.

“Approximately 10,000 to 25,000 adults and 6,000 to 10,000 children in the United States are diagnosed as being in the persistent vegetative state,” the Multi-Society Task Force on Persistent Vegetative State says in its 1995 guidelines on the condition, the latest available.

“Survival beyond 10 years is unusual. The chance for survival of greater than 15 years is approximately 1 in 15,000 to 1 in 75,000,” it adds.

While most neurologists agree that recovery is almost impossible, the decision on whether and how long to keep such a patient alive is usually left to the individual doctor and the patient’s guardian.

Schiavo has been in the condition, which is far more severe than a coma, since she had a heart attack in 1990 that deprived her brain of oxygen. Under the medical definition, that became a permanent state after a month.

Her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, has fought to allow her to die and courts have supported him.

The tube was removed on Friday after Florida courts rejected numerous last-ditch legal attempts by the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to keep their daughter alive. But early in the hours of Monday morning President Bush signed a bill allowing federal courts to again intervene in the matter.

Looks may be deceiving
The Schindlers believe their daughter responds to them and her condition could improve with treatment. Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist, a surgeon and Senate majority leader, has viewed videotapes and agrees.

But Dr. Ronald Cranford, a neurologist and bioethicist at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said reflexes can fool non-specialists.

“To the families and loved ones, and to inexperienced health care professionals, PVS patients often look fairly 'normal,'" Cranford said in a statement.

“Their eyes are open and moving about during the periods of wakefulness that alternate with periods of sleep; there may be spontaneous movements of the arms and legs, and at times these patients appear to smile, grimace, laugh, utter guttural sounds, groan and moan, and manifest other facial expressions and sounds that appear to reflect cognitive functions and emotions, especially in the eyes of the family.”

Such patients can even squeeze a hand in response to a caress, Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago says in guidance posted on its Internet Web site.

“Sadly, these actions often appear meaningful to hopeful families but are all automatic reflexes -- not movements with a purpose,” it reads.

“There are no confirmed reports of anyone fully recovering from a permanent vegetative state lasting more than three months.”

Cerebral cortex destroyed
This is because in such patients, the cerebral cortex has been destroyed, said Dr. Lawrence Schneiderman, a physician and bioethicist at the University of California, San Diego.

“Four to six minutes of anoxia, lack of oxygen, destroys that completely,” Schneiderman wrote in comments posted on the Internet at http:/seeingthedifference.berkeley.edu/schneiderman.html

“The rest of your brain, particularly the brain stem, can survive for fifteen or twenty minutes without oxygen,” added Schneiderman, who signed a friend of the court brief in July of last year supporting Michael Schiavo.

“What happens is that part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, which is us, our personality, who we are, how we think — our capacity to experience, see, hear, think, emote — that may be permanently destroyed.”

Experts say Terri Schiavo would experience no discomfort if allowed to die, as the part of her brain that experiences pain is unlikely to be functioning.

 
At Tuesday, March 22, 2005 12:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“To the families and loved ones, and to inexperienced health care professionals, PVS patients often look fairly 'normal,'" Cranford said in a statement.

“Their eyes are open and moving about during the periods of wakefulness that alternate with periods of sleep; there may be spontaneous movements of the arms and legs, and at times these patients appear to smile, grimace, laugh, utter guttural sounds, groan and moan, and manifest other facial expressions and sounds that appear to reflect cognitive functions and emotions, especially in the eyes of the family.”

Such patients can even squeeze a hand in response to a caress, Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago says in guidance posted on its Internet Web site.

“Sadly, these actions often appear meaningful to hopeful families but are all automatic reflexes -- not movements with a purpose,” it reads.

 
At Tuesday, March 22, 2005 10:43:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

There's no doubt that Terri exhibits some if not all of the signs of PVS. But that's not reason enough to take her life by slowly and painfully starving her to death, especially when her family is willing to care for her. Her condition is not killing her, but cutting off her food and water will. Life is a precious gift from God, and one we should not take so lightly and toss away when it's inconvenient. What truly will be gained by killing Terri Schiavo?

 
At Tuesday, March 22, 2005 11:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first problem is that you said, "Barbara Weller, Terri's ATTORNEY..." Pass the grain of salt, please.

If all that you say about Michael Schiavo is true, this is grounds to hand over control to the parents. From personal experiences, I know that my wife would come back from the dead to haunt me if I ever put her fate in her parent's hands and not mine.

Try to imagine being in your 20's, your wife confides in you her wishes should something like this happen, it happens and you must make a decision. Medical and legal bills are burying you. Her parents, who are no longer her guardians, want to go against her wishes. In turn, this means that for the next 15, 20 or 30 years you are not allowed to have sex, marry another woman or have children (naturally).

Would that be God's wish for you? Is this your cross to bear? Perhaps it would be. But I know my wife and I know that if we were in this position she would be ticked and I would suffer as well for something she did not want in the first place.

And, no, I'm not saying things are that clean and clear-cut in this case. I just caution both sides of this issue to take what each side's camp says with a grain of salt. And pray for Terri!

 

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