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Terri Schiavo Autopsy Released

The full autopsy report on Terri Schiavo is now available [PDF/Summary]. The major finding was that her brain was half the size of a normal brain for a woman her age. Despite strong organ health her higher brain function (especially her sight) was damaged beyond repair. Among the many interesting items noted is that a therapeutic level of acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) was found in her blood stream. It seems odd that a pain reliever would be administered to a woman doctor (and the evidence) said was, in effect, brain dead. Certainly there was a reason for the drug to be administered, but the report doesn't address it.

Along with some seriously sloppy reporting on the autopsy (such as stating that the autopsy confirmed she was in a persistive vegetative state), one of the major memes played out this afternoon is that anyone who argued for Terri's life to be spared owes Michael Schiavo an apology. The other meme is that anyone supporting Terri is a wingnut/moron/fundie/theocon (pick you slur) for their beliefs. See Andrew Sullivan for this line of thought.

Certainly the vilification of Michael Schiavo was a particularly revolting aspect of the story, and who have claimed Michael murdered or abused Terri (including her parents) probably do owe Michael an apology. Of course Michael and particularly his attorney are hardly blameless in the family disagreement degenerating into a media-feed pissing match. If you thoroughly read the autopsy you'll see much of the evidence those who were making wild claims of abuse or murder are actually addressed in the report - the broken bones, the MRI, the claims of surreptitious injection - in a manner consistent with the voluminous court and DCF records on the case. As with all good conspiracy theories the abuse/murder claims start with shreds of truth which are then spun into conclusions that go well beyond the facts.

What is mostly overlooked is that not everyone who opposed the court-ordered death made those kind of conspiratorial arguments. Some made ethical or religious argument against ending Terri's life, while others argued that Terri's wishes were never truly known. In all of Wizbang's coverage of Terri Schiavo the main point addressed was the court's determination of Terri's intent. See Clear and Convincing Evidence, and Why Is Terri Shiavo Going To Die? for my take on the case.

To me Terri's wishes were the beginning and end of the case. According to the Supreme Court Michael Schiavo had no right to end Terri's life unless by "clear and convincing evidence" her wishes not to be kept alive artificially were made known beforehand. The claims that Terri had expressed her desire not to be kept alive by machine were neither timely nor particularly convincing, and Michael was aided by much better counsel on this critical issue. The determination of Terri's intent was made by Judge Greer as a finding of fact which was never seriously reviewed any appellate court. Lot's of issues were reviewed, but a de novo review of Terri's wishes was never performed, even after Congress acted.

Update: Do read INDCJournal, Josh Trevino, Darleen's Place, and Rightwingsparkle.


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Terri Schiavo Autopsy Released:

» Darleen's Place linked with Terri Schaivo, the emails begin

» The American Mind linked with Schiavo Autopsy

» The Last Call linked with Autopsy: Terry Schiavo

» Danny Carlton (aka Jack Lewis) linked with Terri Schiavo's Autopsy “Conclusions”

» ~Jewels~of~the~Jungle~ linked with Terri Schiavo (Dec. 3, 1963 - March 31, 2005)

» Joust The Facts linked with A Brief Final Word On Terri Schiavo

» Florida Cracker linked with Glennderoy

Comments (51)

The severe damage could pre... (Below threshold)
joe:

The severe damage could presumaly have been diagnosed before her death with a CAT scan or MRI, but Michael Schiavo would not allow such tests.

Kevin,Acetaminophe... (Below threshold)
Mark A.:

Kevin,

Acetaminophen is MUCH more than a pain killer. It suppresses fevers, it thins blood, it does other stuff. Do not assume it was prescribed for pain.

Aside from the legal aspect... (Below threshold)

Aside from the legal aspects of this case, those who have been gung ho about stem cell research and it's potential said nothing for Terri's case to live. There's research out there for brain cell regeneration and it's all positive. Also, many people have had labodamies and were able to function. It still doesn't prove that she had absolutely no chance of recovery. If she was able to live longer - maybe she could live long enough for medical breakthroughs...not immediate judgement.

My problem was and is the m... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

My problem was and is the manner they chose to kill her. If you tried to thirst your family pet or any type of livestock to death regardless of their brain function you would be in jail. Likewise for someone that received their death penalty for being a serial killer, you can't even play Christina Augilera music (and I use the term loosely) to irritate terrorists without some moonbat throwing a fit but they all lined to cheer for Terri dying of thirst. I would have felt much better if we were depriving al Qaeda members of food and water and gave Terri a lethal injection, whether or not she was aware of what was happening.

The autopsy report addresse... (Below threshold)
jim:

The autopsy report addresses the MRI issue directly. IIRC, t report states that there was a medically-inserted wire in her head associated with an implant (pacemaker?). An MRI (and a CAT might be similar) was contra-indicated with that in place, as it would be like putting a metal object in a microwave. In this case, the metal being heated to tissue destructive levels would have been in her head.

CAT is just x-rays processe... (Below threshold)
joe:

CAT is just x-rays processed by computer, so metal isn't a problem. I had one on my head after I was tackled in football practice and came out not knowing what planet I was on. My metal braces were a non-issue.

Of course her brain was tin... (Below threshold)
Liz:

Of course her brain was tiny - she did die of dehydration, after all.

The most unexpected part he... (Below threshold)
HH:

The most unexpected part here, quite possibly, was the basis for the malpractice lawsuit filed by Michael Schiavo, that Terri was a bulimic. In fact the claim stated stunningly often as fact, by pundit, blogger and others alike was apparently based on scant, flimsy evidence (kinda like, say, many of the claims on the "other side"). So the least one can say about Mr. Schiavo is he spent years (knowingly or not) slandering his dead wife as having an eating disorder.

I, as a nurse, give Tylenol... (Below threshold)

I, as a nurse, give Tylenol all the time to the dying to deal with the rapid fluctuations in temperature that occur in the end of life (in suppository form, of course). Usually, for the dying/hospice type patients the only two drugs ordered are morphine and Tylenol. This is a highly un-odd finding. The goal in end-of-life care is comfort, and a 104.7 fever or so is very uncomfortable.

As for MRIs, any metal impl... (Below threshold)

As for MRIs, any metal implants (unless they are made with new MRI-compatible materials) would be a contraindication for an MRI and not a CAT. If there was a question as to what was the thing in the brain was made of, no one would do an MRI. And for the love of Jesus, I hope the doctor that put a "pacer" wire in the brain gets sued since a pacer is for the heart :-).

Liz, dehydration would NOT shrink your brain to half its normal size. It's really irritating when non-medical people spout medical information like they researched it thoroughly.

Bullwinkle:"..but th... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Bullwinkle:
"..but they all lined to cheer for Terri dying of thirst."

Is that true? ALL of them? And they lined to cheer?

Joe - You agree, t... (Below threshold)
jim:

Joe -

You agree, though, about the MRI statement in the autopsy report?

I do not recall anything prior to her death about a CAT, just MRI. I may well be mistaken, however. Nonetheless, the autopsy does eliminate any criticism about not doing an MRI. The question that point raises to me, though, is why that implant was not previously raised as an MRI showstopper. Was it and I missed it?

Joe,If you had rea... (Below threshold)
JyT:

Joe,

If you had read the autopsy, you'd have learned about the MRI issue that Jim pointed out AND that Terri DID have a CT scan before death. From the autopsy, "Much discussion took place in the media concerning why the decedant had not undergone an MRI scan of her brain, rather than only a brain CT scan while alive."

I remember cheering, but I ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I remember cheering, but I don't think we lined up at our big moonbat death party for Terri. The dip was outstanding.

Just for my edification, wh... (Below threshold)
JyT:

Just for my edification, when has anyone ever been declared to definitively be in a persistent vegitative state? Is this a pathology that really exists and can be diagnosed? One other note from the autopsy, "The decedant's brain was grossly abnormal and weighed only 615 grams (1.35 lbs.). That weight is less than half of the expected tabular weight for a decedant of her adult age of 41 years 3 months 28 days. By way of comparison, the brain of Karen Ann Quinlan weighed 835 grams at the time of her death, after 10 years in a similar persistent vegitative state.

So, maybe you can forgive the MSM a little here for not heeding the autopsy's statement, "The persistent vegitative state and minimally conscious state are clinical diagnoses, not pathologic ones."

Kevin, It's clear ... (Below threshold)

Kevin,

It's clear that you did not find statements that Terri Schiavo would not have wanted to live like that "unconvincing." But the court rules otherwise. Appelate Courts (state and federal) and Supreme Courts (state and federal) saw no reason to disagree with the originating court. It's their being convinced that matters, not your or my opinion.

It is quite possible that an injustice was done to Ms Schiavo. If that's the case, then it's a terrible tragedy. But it also tragic that the rule of law can be threatened by public upheaval simply because we don't all agree on every specific of a case. Some things are, in fact, more important than an individual life.

Tim: Yes, you missed the coverage of the wire implant. It was covered in the media and blogs alike.

JyT A CT and ... (Below threshold)
susan:

JyT

A CT and MRI are different and I don't have medical knowledge, bur the MRI is considered superior for determining brain function among neurologists. The metal was some sort of brace or something put in her skull and could have been removed with no effect if I recall.
The point that always bothered me was - there was no definitive evidence on either side of her wishes. The witness on the "death" side had kids and a long term love interest. Why were his accounts allowed to override the parent's given that the evidence was hearsay?
There should be a law regarding "common law divorce"
I hope that my parents could decide for me in that situation. Even if he was right on the medical facts he had no more proof of her wishes than they did. But FL law defers to the husband.

Susan,Yes, CT and ... (Below threshold)
JyT:

Susan,

Yes, CT and MRI are different. I never meant to imply that they weren't. MRIs are generally considered to be superior. However, both scan tissue. If you were looking for a tumor the size of a half of a pea, than an MRI would definitely be more definitive than a CT scan. However, after seeing with a CT scan that half of the brain is gone, there is little reason to perform an MRI. Additionally, I don't think that the MRI or CT scanning would have been able to reveal anything when Terri was alive that actually removing the brain and examining it as part of the autopsy wouldn’t. Creating an image of the tissue is no match for taking it out and examining it first hand, merely less invasive.

As for the evidence, "definitive" is rarely the standard in any case. It's “preponderance.” The three credible witnesses to Terri’s wishes presented by Michael (including himself) beat out the zero credible witnesses presented by the parents. That’s actually more proof of her wishes than her parents had. I agree with Kevin that it would’ve been nice to have this heard by another judge, but there are very good reasons that the law doesn’t allow this unless procedural errors can be shown. If it did, we’d never get any cases decided.

Finally, if you’re married to someone you don’t trust to honor your wishes in such a case, I suggest getting a divorce now. I’m single, but the last thing I want is for my parent to decide for me. Though I have a living will, these can be challenged and held up in the courts for years, while the person who wished to die in such a case languishes. And I can’t divorce my parents…

It's their being convinc... (Below threshold)

It's their being convinced that matters, not your or my opinion.

I find I feel exactly the same way, when the judge's opinion mjatches mine. And I always am mystified that those who don't agree with the judge's (and my) opinion nevertheless feel compelled to take issue.

You'd almost think that each person's opinion does matter, to him.

John Burgess wrote:<... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

John Burgess wrote:
Some things are, in fact, more important than an individual life.

What a chillingly familiar statement. Especially when such a thing can be litigated in a civil court without the presence of a jury.

JyT wrote:
As for the evidence, "definitive" is rarely the standard in any case. It's “preponderance.”

In cases of government-sanctioned removal of life or liberty, it should always be definitive. The preponderance of evidence standard should only be used in cases of removal of property.

This is the true rule of law and due process, not some procedural claptrap yanked out of thin air by kangaroo courts and paraded around by law student wanna-bes.

The severe damage could ... (Below threshold)
Wendigo:

The severe damage could presumaly have been diagnosed before her death with a CAT scan or MRI, but Michael Schiavo would not allow such tests.

Dude. There was a CT done in 2002, which showed that most of her cerebral cortex had atrophied. Where are you even getting this?

Other tests may have been done, but not released. Schiavo and the court were under no obligation to release her medical information to the public.

John:It's clear... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

John:

It's clear that you did not find statements that Terri Schiavo would not have wanted to live like that "unconvincing." But the court rules otherwise. Appelate Courts (state and federal) and Supreme Courts (state and federal) saw no reason to disagree with the originating court. It's their being convinced that matters, not your or my opinion.

I think the problem is that the judge's finding was based entirely on hearsay, which of course would normally be inadmissable. Now I can sort of understand how this happened, since Terri didn't leave a written statement. Nonetheless, the "finding of fact" came down entirely to the judge making a determination of whether he found the pro- or anti- witnesses most credible.

Since, as far as I know, no effort was made to vet the credibility of any of these witnesses (admittedly, I'm not sure how such could have been done), it did in fact come down to the judge imposing his opinion. And since his opinion doesn't appear to have been any more informed than anyone else's opinion, why did his opinion wind up carrying more weight than anyone else's? Solely because of the office he holds. This is why the whole thing wound up having the smell of judicial activism.

Now, if I were that judge, what would I have done different? Here's what: I would have spent a lot less time on the friends and family members, since they obviously were expressing conflicting positions and that line of inquiry just wasn't getting anywhere. I would have gotten my hands on absolutely anything I could find that Terri ever said, did, or wrote -- school papers, artworks, videos, anything. From that, maybe, just maybe, I might have been able to glean something. If that didn't lead anywhere, I would have made the ruling that could have been reversed if and when new evidence was presented -- I would have ruled in Terri's parents' favor. The judge made the ruling that was irreversible, which is something the judiciary usually tries to avoid.

The other problem that I think a lot of people have with this case is that it appears to be the top of a slippery slope. And there is some indication that that could happen; witness the situation in Georgia a few months ago where a judge ruled that the life of a woman who wasn't terminally ill and wasn't in a vegetative state could be ended. That got reversed, but it's not clear that the reversal would have happened if the blogosphere hadn't gotten involved.

Cousin Dave: With respect, ... (Below threshold)

Cousin Dave: With respect, I'd like to suggest you take a look at Abstract Appeal, a Florida law blog that extensively covered and documented the Schiavo case, without taking sides.

Today he takes a look at the autopsy report.

The writer, incidentally, goes into what the definition of "hearsay" is and finds that what was said by Schiavo and his relations is not, in any sense, hearsay.

John Burgess wrote:<... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

John Burgess wrote:
With respect, I'd like to suggest you take a look at Abstract Appeal, a Florida law blog that extensively covered and documented the Schiavo case, without taking sides.

You probably don't find it strange that Conigliaro's records of her case conveniently ignore anything before February 2000. Maybe he just prides himself on doing an incomplete job.

"Certainly the vilification... (Below threshold)
not Sue D.:

"Certainly the vilification of Michael Schiavo was a particularly revolting aspect of the story, and who have claimed Michael murdered or abused Terri (including her parents) probably do owe Michael an apology."

<a href="http://www.theempi... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

I don't owe Michael Schiavo shit, cowardly assweasel.

Then again, maybe I should be easier on Michael, since he obviously suffered so much brain damage that same night Terri did that he makes up a different story about it every time he's asked.

Maybe he's suffered so much brain damage that he's no longer a real person under Florida law and can be legally starved and dehydrated to death.

Oh yeah, that's right, Mike... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Oh yeah, that's right, Mikey moved back to Pennsylvania. Lucky for him.

It's so nice to see Sue bac... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

It's so nice to see Sue back with her well reasoned approach and continued reliance on skewed information to support her argument.

The severe damage could ... (Below threshold)

The severe damage could presumaly have been diagnosed before her death with a CAT scan or MRI, but Michael Schiavo would not allow such tests.

Posted by: joe at June 15, 2005 10:42 PM

That is a lie, there were CAT scans of Terri. See for
yourself:

http://radamisto.blogspot.com/2005/03/left-normal-brain-rightterris-brain.html

http://radamisto.blogspot.com/2005/03/normal-brain-cat-scan.html

Sue Dohnim:First, ... (Below threshold)
jim:

Sue Dohnim:

First, let me note that I have no ideological stake in all this. With that said, I'd like to point to a couple things in the urls you posted. Thus, the below is criticism of that source, and is not necessarily directed at you.

1) "Although both Thogmartin and Nelson stressed that Terri's brain was only half the size of what they term as normal, other physicians have said that the size of the brain is not indicative of whether a person is cognitive or not."

The above is a classic non-sequitor argument. That is, it links two true statements and implies a relationship that simply is not there. The autopsy did NOT say only that her brain was less than half the normal size. Rather, it indicated that her brain had lost most of the higher level structure along with the mass reduction. Furthermore, read the medical jargon in that report and you will see many statements that the remaining brain tissue was not functional as a human brain, with neurons. It would be like having one's upper arm muscles replaced with a lesser mass comprised only of fat and scar tissue, and then asserting that the people with muscles that were equivalent to the remaining mass could still lift weights. When a pathologist uses and repeats the word "profound", the damage or condition must be truly massive.

2) "He did not rule out that the injuries could have been caused by smothering."

This is another classic, asserting that the failure to rule out something suggests its opposite. The autopsy is totally, IIRC, silent on smothering, just as it was on the possibility that space aliens invaded that bathroom and shot her with some death ray gun. Thus, that sentence in your url could have been written as follows:

"He did not rule out that the injuries could have been caused by:

- smothering,
- space alien's death rays,
- the sight of Elvis,
- the guy from the grassy knoll,
- rabid mimes,
- malevolent muppets, or
- coriolis force."

Cousin Dave,The j... (Below threshold)
JyT:

Cousin Dave,
The judge made the ruling that was irreversible, which is something the judiciary usually tries to avoid.

Huh? Lower court judges can now hand down opinions and also decide that their rulings are irreversible? Where do you get these ideas? Higher courts almost never will review findings of fact from lower courts. They're there to review the interpretation of the law and procedure. In any event, the findings were reviewed by the District Court of Appeal who said, " We conclude that the trial court's decision is supported by competent, substantial evidence and that it correctly applies the law. Accordingly, we affirm the decision." They could have overturned the decision if they'd determined it was not valid for any reason, but they didn't.

I guess we're just lucky you're not on the bench still looking at Terri's crayon drawings from 1st grade to see how much black she used.

Yes, DavidB, please ... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Yes, DavidB, please ignore any substantial content in those two links. Ignore the first one because it states the medical examiner confessed that the autopsy was significantly based on records from one of Michael's attorneys, and that "a lot of records have been destroyed."

Ignore the second one because it shows how many times Michael changed his story about the night Terri collapsed. Michael's own testimony in court and his own words in TV interviews - wow, talk about skewed! Maybe we shouldn't trust a word the man says, considering how skewed his viewpoint is. Oh wait, a judge already did, and denied Terri food and water from cups and spoons as well as tubes, you know, just to be safe. My bad.

jim, you're right about some of those statements in those articles. Their editorializing is not a good thing, but it doesn't poison the well. If you can read past the garbage and get to the kernel, as I did for DavidB above, you can see that they have a point.

I will rebut your point about the brain size, though. The MSM and lefty blogs all point at the ME's statement about brain size and go "Ha! See? She didn't have enough brain left to do anything! Stupid rightwing RTL nutjobs! Get back under your rocks!" The article was obviously attempting to answer that charge, but not in a very knowledgable way (unlike your answer, which was more scientifically sound.)

The MSM, lib blogs, and the Empire Journal article author could be considered guilty of intellectual laziness on that issue.

Oh yeah, you lined up. Righ... (Below threshold)
Demoncratkiller:

Oh yeah, you lined up. Right after the macarena and before the gay sex, you damn sure lined up.
BTW, that was NOT dip!

The day we can terminate individuals for being unable to use less than half of their brains will be the first day of democrat extermination.

Sue Dohnim:On brai... (Below threshold)
jim:

Sue Dohnim:

On brain size, I think the vast majority of folk do no more than browse what the MSM write or post or broadcast. The brain size was the one item that the pathologists knew would be a decisive "sound bite", thus its inclusion at a feature level. To med types, though, the atrophy of the brain to a mass of scar tissue half its original mass would be definitive. I doubt any doctors or pathologists would quibble with the report on her "consciousness" (or PVS) with that single statement in front of them in print.

Thus, trying to rebut the consciousness positions concentrating on the words "half normal size" only in the literal sense (conscious petite 5 year olds, for example, might have 615 gram brains) is intellectually dishonest. That approach, in turn, suggests to me that the well (to use your good metaphor) is not a wise one to drink from.

Consider, for example, the swallowing part. There were direct court documents that cited tests done by her own doctors in 1990, 1991, and 1992 that all concluded that she could not swallow competently to support life. That is, she might well manage some saliva, but that anything more than that was a certainty to cause aspiration. It was those three separate tests (the results of which are all in public domain) that the judge relied upon to refuse additional identical tests a decade later. Those same conclusions discussed the almost certain aspiration pneumonia and suctioning attempts. The swallowing mechanisms are, per those documents, about one-third conscious and two-thirds unconscious. One needs all three thirds to swallow enough to sustain life orally and the conscious one-third was absent. (The "aggressive" speech therapy was discarded about the same time as the third swallowing test, and for the same root reason.) The autopsy itself does NOT state that she could not swallow. Instead, it states specifically that she could not swallow enough to sustain nutrition of hydration. In short, she could have died perhaps slightly slower if one attempted to hydrate her via cups, that is, if she did not die promptly from aspiration. But she would still die and, in the "best case", only a very short time later than she did. (hours or a day, perhaps)

Demoncratkiller,T... (Below threshold)
sabre:

Demoncratkiller,
The day we can terminate individuals for being unable to use less than half of their brains will be the first day of democrat extermination.

So, I guess when we exterminate people for being unable to use more than half of their brains (up to including being unable to use their entire brain), it'll be the Rebublicans up against the wall :-)

jim wrote:... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

jim wrote:
Thus, trying to rebut the consciousness positions concentrating on the words "half normal size" only in the literal sense (conscious petite 5 year olds, for example, might have 615 gram brains) is intellectually dishonest. That approach, in turn, suggests to me that the well (to use your good metaphor) is not a wise one to drink from.

In that case, the wells of the MSM and the celebratory lib blogs are highly toxic.

This does not refute the statement of the ME about the basis of his autopsy nor his statement about the destruction of Terri's medical records.

...specifically that she could not swallow enough to sustain nutrition of hydration. In short, she could have died perhaps slightly slower if one attempted to hydrate her via cups, that is, if she did not die promptly from aspiration. But she would still die and, in the "best case", only a very short time later than she did. (hours or a day, perhaps)

You state that the last swallowing tests were done in 1992. That's 13 years ago. Both guardian ad litems (if I remember correctly) recommended more recent testing, which was never done.

Why is that? Why were the GALs' recommendations completely ignored when it comes to this and other testing, but their words were golden when they supported Michael's assertion that Terri had to die?

One problem for Sue Dohnim ... (Below threshold)
Cedarford:

One problem for Sue Dohnim is who is being shown as the liars. Every "abuse" claim the Schindlers and RTL fanatics made has now been disproven by Florida DCF investigations at a cost of millions, and by the autopsy report. We now know their many stories of "Terri" talking with them, praying with them, responding to them, were false or delusional. The video they released of carefully collected snippets of 4-10 hours of video is revealed by the autopsy report as something T Schiavo was incapable of doing due to the extent of her braindamage. Instead, they and the RTL media people made an edited "Mr. Ed the talking horse" style production that gave the illusion of edited randomness stemming from cognition.

Michael Schiavo appears to be - on the other hand - consistent and truthful in what he and his lawyer told the court and the public.

Dohnim is just another spiteful bitch looking for a new man to demonize & hate vicariously, since her last "dark love" - Scott Peterson - is now in jail. Pity she selected a flawed, but good-hearted man who gave his wife's husk 15 years of devoted care and daily visits (the sleazy little shit Bobby Schindler apparantly only visited his sister 4 times from 1990 to 2001).

The Schindlers and their henchmen do owe M Schiavo an apology for their slanders, not that they will ever have the grace to give him one. The Schindlers owe the State of Florida restitution for money wasted in all the false "abuse" claims they made of Terri's broken knees, strangling marks, etc. Not that they will ever pay a cent to reimburse the taxpayers. The RTL movement has to confront how religious they actually are when they have been caught in numerous examples of bearing false witness to advance a political agenda, with 4 RTL nurses lying and violating their professional medical oaths with false stories of T Schiavo's cognitive interactions with them and tales of "abuse". The RTL lawyer Barbara Weber, who perjured herself in court testimony that Terri was articulating "I want to live!".

The autopsy didn't rule out bulimia. It stated that it just couldn't be proved by autopsy as the cause of Terri's real death back in 1990, when her brain was destroyed..The autopsy report, as Jim noted while the media mostly overlooked it, stated the other half of her brain, the part that was still there, was profoundly abnormal -non-functioning scar tissue, fat, and isolated pockets of surviving neurons not connected to other regions. Which also bears out the clinical evaluation that the Schiavo husk was PVS, not cognitive, an EEG Flatliner...

JyT:"Huh? Lower co... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

JyT:

"Huh? Lower court judges can now hand down opinions and also decide that their rulings are irreversible? Where do you get these ideas? Higher courts almost never will review findings of fact from lower courts."

What I said.

"I guess we're just lucky you're not on the bench still looking at Terri's crayon drawings from 1st grade to see how much black she used."

As opposed to trying to interview her friends from the first grade...

Y'know, I really didn't come into this thread with an axe to grind. But clearly the other side doesn't want a debate, they just want to call people names for disagreeing. JyT, John Burgess, et al, you can stop pretending now and just admit you really are from the die-bitch-die camp.

Cedarford:"Dohnim ... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

Cedarford:

"Dohnim is just another spiteful bitch..."

Yeah, that's reasoned debate. Say it one more time, for old time's sake: "Die bitch die!"

You people who were obviously cheearleading for Terri's death, and still are even after the fact, are absolutely disgusting, vile people. I suppose you think that you should have the right to kill everyone who doesn't meet your personal standards of beauty, health, intelligence, and political opinion. Good luck on that.

The GALs both tried brokeri... (Below threshold)
Cedarford:

The GALs both tried brokering a deal that they thought would end the dispute - acceed to the Schindler's pleas to do yet another "Magic Cure swallow test", and if she failed, the Schindlers would agree to unplug her. The Schindlers refused the deal both times. The 2nd GAL left it in as a "couldn't hurt to just try it one more time even if the Schindlers wouldn't give up after that. Perhaps it was a sop to the Schindlers...especially the Mother...who apparantly everyone felt sorry for even if half thought her religiously delusional..

But in Wolfson's same report, he essentially concurred with the court that the Schindlers were unfit to be T Schiavo Husk's guardian. He wrote how profoundly disturbed he was by the Schindlers response to hypotheticals...cut all T Schiavo's limbs off? Open heart surgery? Full aggressive cancer care? Yes, the Schindlers responded...because they "enjoyed" her being alive so much that they would do any mutilation and put her in any amount of pain to enjoy one more day of "her being there for (us)".

Wolfson also asked them directly if Teris own wishes mattered, they said "no" to that...only keeping her alive by any means necessary mattered to the Schindlers. Wolfson then related that the choices weighed by the court for a suitable guardian were limited to Michael Schiavo or a court-appointed independent guardian. The Schindlers were not seriously considered by the court as possible guardians. Wolfson did not say the same outright, but was implicit in his rejection via his remarks about the Schindlers in his Report to Jeb Bush. Maybe that was the basis of his recommendation to humor the Schindlers and the RTL people that clamored for a 4th "Magic Swallow Test" that would prove Terri was really OK and could have meaningful recovery.

Nice one Sabre.... (Below threshold)
sitnam:

Nice one Sabre.

Sue Dohnim:I do no... (Below threshold)
jim:

Sue Dohnim:

I do not disagree that there are a great many toxic wells within both blogs and MSM, and on both sides of the political spectrum. Due note that I stated from the start of our level-headed discourse here that I had no ideological stake in this. Instead, I just wanted to correct a couple points that were made in what I deemed to be innocent ignorance or mistaken impressions drawn from just such wells.

On your last couple issues, the MSM and the "celebratory lib blogs" are quite toxic indeed. No argument here. There might also be a few on the other side capable of tainting wells and aquifers, but that is hardly the point here. You and I need not discuss these sensitive matters on their level. For example, the autopsy report is quite careful NOT to condemn or even sharply criticize the absence of all records, noting that 15 years and numerous lawsuits (for which those documents might have been harvested, perhaps) had intervened. Thus, I think the "basis of his autopsy" is not quite a correct phrase.

I am reluctant to respond to your very last comments, as they presume certain motives and conclusions within your very text. I will, however, recommend that you read the court decisions themselves. They are on the web and quite find-able - I have. Do not, I beseech you, rely on extremist blogs and the MSM. I think you will find the bases for the conclusions quite well presented and reasoned.

Cousin Dave,OK, pe... (Below threshold)
JyT:

Cousin Dave,

OK, perhaps you just stated your position poorly when you said, "The judge made the ruling that was irreversible, which is something the judiciary usually tries to avoid," and "I would have made the ruling that could have been reversed if and when new evidence was presented." Those make it sound like the judge has that kind of discretion on whether his ruling could be reversed. The judge has to decide the case and to do so, he has to make findings of fact. On this point, it's really unclear what you would have done differently other than becoming Columbo and turning the next six moths of your court time over to reviewing Terri's Collected Works, Volumes 1-40.

My point still stands that no judicial findings are "irreversible" findings. It's simply not a usual occurrance for a higher court to reverse findings of fact. It can happen, and it could have happened in this case, had the Schlindlers presented a valid argument for it.

My last comment about the crayon drawings was merely intended as a humorous aside, nothing more. I found it funny that you rail against the subjectiveness of the current process, but suggest reading all Terri's writings as a substitute method of gleaning the truth. See if this one is better:

"In Terri's story, 'Little Pony Hay Ride' she speaks of the 'joy of life in PonyLand', clearly showing an aderence to the 'culture of life'. However, in her teen diary, she says, 'I'm so mad at Frank I could kill him,' revealing a later fascination with death and killing."

Sorry if my previous post pricked your skin.

And where was it that I started name-calling? Did you just make that part up? What name was I supposed to have called you?

SueD,"You state t... (Below threshold)
JyT:

SueD,
"You state that the last swallowing tests were done in 1992. That's 13 years ago. Both guardian ad litems (if I remember correctly) recommended more recent testing, which was never done."

The finding of the autopsy, based on "neoropahtologic findings, oroparyngeal anatomic findings, and medical records", was that she "clearly" couldn't have have swallowed food safely. It's points like this that the autopsy is actually helpful in resolving. It has verified that those original reports were correct. So now, there isn't much point in arguing whether they should have been done while she was alive.


"In cases of government-sanctioned removal of life or liberty, it should always be definitive. The preponderance of evidence standard should only be used in cases of removal of property. This is the true rule of law and due process, not some procedural claptrap yanked out of thin air by kangaroo courts and paraded around by law student wanna-bes."

I believe that the many judges that reviewed this case are a little more than "law student wanna-bes". They all actually passed the bar and have been awarded seats on the bench for their skills. And their statement on appeal was: "Her [Terri's] statements to her friends and family about the dying process were few and they were oral. Nevertheless, those statements, along with other evidence about Theresa, gave the trial court a sufficient basis to make this decision for her." as well as, "After due consideration, we conclude that the trial judge had clear and convincing evidence to answer this question as he did." So, not "definitive," but "clear and convincing".

"You probably don't find it strange that Conigliaro's records of her case conveniently ignore anything before February 2000. Maybe he just prides himself on doing an incomplete job."

This is a strange comment for two reasons. First, the Abstract Appeal site is from a legal point of view, so it's based around the actual case and subsequent appeals, starting with the 2000 Greer decision. If you want to call WizBang incomplete because as a political blog, it doesn't cover the dog racing news, then feel free. Secondly, Conigliaro does at least touch on several things before 2000 including linking to several court documents that cover such issues in depth. If you're unhappy because he isn't breathlessly covering the latest fashion in Michael Schiavo slander, then you did get the wrong site. Sorry. As another poster pointed out with your articles, they actively slant the findings and arttempt to draw inferences that aren't warranted. Abstract Appeal is very good at not doing this. Perhaps removing the log from your eye before going after the speck in that of Conigliaro is in order.

A little light reading for ... (Below threshold)
fatman:

A little light reading for those wondering (as I did) why Michael Schiavo didn't just get a divorce and walk away:

www.divorcesource.com
click the following links: divorce laws, then Florida.

www.divorcefind.com
click the following links: state laws, then Florida.

The parts about property distribution and alimony/maintenance/support are especially enlightening.

And for those of you who mi... (Below threshold)
fatman:

And for those of you who might be interested, Ora Mae Magourik died of a stroke May 16, 2005. She was the woman who was placed in a hospice by her grandaughter and denied food and water for two weeks because of a treatable heart condition. Mrs. Magourik had an Advance Directive, which the grandaughter ignored. (Sorry to go off-topic.)

Should have done this in th... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Should have done this in the last comment:

www.theempirejournal.com/516054_mae_magourik_dies_of_stro.htm

The determination of T... (Below threshold)

The determination of Terri's intent was made by Judge Greer as a finding of fact which was never seriously seriously reviewed any appellate court.

That's because findings of fact are not reviewed de novo in any appellate court.

Which is why when the feder... (Below threshold)

Which is why when the federal court refused to do a de novo review, as provided for in the bill passed by Congress, the case was over for good. That was the only chance they ever had, but the federal court short circuited it.

SWLiP,That is tota... (Below threshold)
JyT:

SWLiP,

That is totally correct, except for the "never seriously reviewed" part. The appellate courts reviewed the arguments and testimony and consistently came to the conclusion that there was no fault in the finding of fact. Certainly, since this is an appeal, not a new trial, this was not "de novo". However, I believe that there is a lot of ground between "de novo" and "never seriously reviewed".

As you correctly point out, no appellate court does "de novo" hearings. They only review the perceived faults of the original trial. Naturally, if they could do new hearings from scratch, that's always what the appellant would want and there would have been little reason for the lower court to have had a trial at all.

Of course, no one ever thinks this way of doing business is a bad thing until they lose the first trial. Then it suddenly becomes a big problem.

After awhile most people... (Below threshold)
Sean:

After awhile most people seem to realize that most Martial Arts in their traditional form are not realistic self defense systems - and were never meant to be - but a sport, whereby a modern Karate practitioner (for example) can compete against another karate practitioner.

That's incorrect. Appellate courts do, in fact, make de novo review of factual determinations of trial courts under certain circumstances.




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