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Frist Implies He Trusted Discredited Doctor When Diagnosing Schiavo Via Video

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When Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) tried to diagnose Terri Schiavo from an hour’s worth of videotape — saying that “footage, to me, depicted something very different than persistent vegetative state” — the conventional wisdom was that he was looking at the famous images of Schiavo smiling and seemingly responding to family members.

But today, on NBC’s Meet the Press, viewers learned that Frist based his opinion on “court-appointed video by a board certified neurologist who came to the conclusion that she was not in a persistent vegetative state.”

That neurologist was almost certainly Dr. William Hammesfahr.

JABBS readers should be very familiar with how the conservative media used Hammesfahr to try to present the “other side of the story.”

Viewers of several conservative shows — MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes and Christian Broadcasting Network’s The 700 Club — were not told that Hammesfahr’s testimony was discredited by multiple courts for failing to back up his claims with actual facts. For example, a 2003 article in the St. Petersburg Times said that video supplied to Florida Circuit Judge George Greer showed Hammesfahr giving Schiavo 105 commands and 61 questions. The court reported it could not determine whether Schiavo’s responses were more than random motions.

Was that the video that Frist watched?

The conservative media pushed Hammesfahr — even falsely claiming he was a “Noble Prize nominee” — to rally the troops against all the things it hates: the dreaded “liberal media,” and those “liberal activist judges.”

As a heart surgeon, Frist should have done his homework before trying to diagnose Schiavo via video. He should have spoken to her doctors. He should have been briefed that Hammesfahr’s testimony had been discredited.

As a legislator, Frist should have known that 10 courts and 19 judges sided with Schiavo’s husband and upheld Florida law. He should have known that as governor of Texas, President Bush signed the 1999 Advance Directives Act, which allows a patient’s surrogate to make end-of-life decisions — and is consistent with the current Florida law.

Sadly, Frist did what a lot of conservative politicians did during the Schiavo ordeal — ignore facts, ignore legal precedents and ignore science, and instead kowtow to their base and the loud voice of the Religious Right.

Today, long after an autopsy proved Schiavo’s doctors and husband were correct, and that Hammesfahr was wrong, Frist relied on the same empty conservative spin today to defend his actions.

Here’s a portion of the interview with NBC’s Tim Russert:

FRIST: … Now, the video footage that I looked at, it wasn’t what you saw on TV, it was court-appointed video by a board certified neurologist who came to the conclusion that she was not in a persistent vegetative state.

RUSSERT: But, Senator, you will acknowledge that people who looked at this believed, suggested that you were trying to diagnose from your office, that the Senate was kept in session over the weekend. The president flew back from his ranch. For something that happens a thousand times a day, in terms of removing tubes, and … (a)nd that this was used in a way to exploit politics and to play to the conservative base of the Republican Party. … Do you regret going to the floor of the Senate and saying, “I watched the videotape and that’s not a persistent vegetative state.”

FRIST: No, I don’t. I’m a physician. I was watching a board-certified neurologist…

RUSSERT: Were you wrong in your diagnosis?

FRIST: I didn’t make the diagnosis. I raised the question of whether or not she’s in a persistent vegetative state. …

RUSSERT: No regrets?

FRIST: Well, I’ll tell you what I learned from it, which is obvious, is that the American people don’t want you involved in these decisions. …

Well, at least Frist has learned one thing from this embarrassing time in his Senatorial career.

***

This item first appeared at JABBS

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About David R. Mark

  • Bliffle

    Frist was once considered a candidate for pres for the repubs, but he keeps putting his foot in his mouth. Maybe he just has poor judgement.

  • Shark

    Fristenstein is the creepiest motherfucker the GOP has barfed up in a long time. He’s George W. with neck bolts.

    And dear gawd, I hope he’s in the running for the presidency; I need the material.

  • Bill

    Thanks for this – I missed that Frist was relying on Hammesfahr.

    BTW, the video taken was not court-ordered.

    It was in fact taken by the Schindlers, in direct violation of court order, though they suffered no penalty.

    One of the major issues you missed with Hammesfahr is that he operates as an alternative practitioner under Florida law, same as a homeopath or acupuncturist.

    Florida law is very generous to alternative practitioners, effectively shielding them from any medical oversight by the Florida Medical Quality Assurance Board.

    As long as they disclose the risks of their treatment, they are free to make nearly any claim they wish.

    Hammesfahr’s disclaimer (reproduced in his disciplinary file) boils down to “don’t expect any results”

    Once a patient signs the disclaimer and pays him his fees (upfront), they have no chance of holding him to account for the success or failure of the therapy.

    Clearly, it’s time to amend Florida law to ensure such a critical area like neurology is firmly under the governance of a medical body, not the provance of alternative practitioners.

  • Kelly

    Judge Greer never went to see Terri, not once, and he relied on video. Also, two of the Schiavo doctors also judged her by the video. Cranford looked at her for 42 mins when PVS is a clinical diagnosis and takes days to determine.

    Well, I see that Frist is a wuss, not standing by his concern and given in to the Creep crowd.

    I will tell you this, you American Morons, Michael Schiavo is on court record Terri could feel pain, and she felt that pain when she was dehydrated to death. Fick you for being okay with that. Damn you all.

  • Kelly

    “One of the major issues you missed with Hammesfahr is that he operates as an alternative practitioner under Florida law, same as a homeopath or acupuncturist.
    Clearly, it’s time to amend Florida law to ensure such a critical area like neurology is firmly under the governance of a medical body, not the provance of alternative practitioners.”

    You moron, Hammesfahr is a BC Neurologist! What would you do without the ability to lie and spin.
    Asshats, I have no patience for asshats like yourself.

    TERRI FELT THAT PAIN OF NO WATER….You are creeps for being okay with that. You really are.

  • Ebony Ghost

    I too, saw the interview. Clearly, there was a TN by his name. Since they were discussing the case of a Florida citizen, I’m curious about what makes this any of his business and why he stuck his nose in it in the first place.

  • Kelly

    Because he is a member of Congress and they voted for De novo because it should have been reviewed from the beginning. The first Judge was corrupted.

    No such thing as corruption…right? I wish the jerks that condon killing of Terri would go move to Saudi Arabia. You make me sick.

    I bet you didn’t know George Felos, the insane lawyer that believes God talks to him as well as brain dead patients, lobbied for the law to be changed so he could kill Terri.

    When you drink today, think about how Terri was dehydrated to death, you selfish bastard.

  • Nancy

    Frist stuck his neck out because he thought he could get away with pandering to the virulent pro-lifers; he also suffers from the typical “Physician As Unassailable God” complex, assuming that ordinary mortals are even less likely to question his pontifications as a doctor than they are his blather as a politician. He was wrong on both counts, there, wasn’t he?

    Kelly – get a grip & get a life. Your ranting impresses no one.

  • Justin Berry

    This issue is one of the rare issues where I disagree with everyone involved on both sides.

    First, I disagree with the right the woman had the right to die. Her husband made a very difficult decision and he should not have had to jump through all those legal hurdles to let his wife pass.

    Second, I disagree with the left in the way she died. Removal of the feeding tube was cruel and unusual. Euthanasia, death with dignity, or whatever you want to call it would have been the only humane treatment.

    If I had to take a side, it would be to keep Mrs Schiavo on the feeding tube until the law was changed in a way that she could be allowed to die without being starved and dehydrated.

  • david r. mark

    Kelly, I’m sorry, but you are misinformed.

    I understand that this is a difficult issue. Even those who supported Florida state law had a hard time with the Schiavo ordeal.

    There are plenty of arguments that can be made to support Terri Schiavo being kept alive. I always wondered why an arbitrator couldn’t have been brought in to cede care and the financial burden of Terri to her parents.

    But the autopsy backed the rulings by 10 different courts. It backed the opinion of all the doctors who treated her.

    It did not back Hammesfahr’s opinion. And Hammesfahr, given multiple chances to provide evidence in court, failed to do so. He had opinions, but he couldn’t back them up.

    To me, it seems that people with strong pro-life beliefs needed something to hang onto — and Hammesfahr provided that. It’s easier to justify one’s opinion by saying, “Look, here’s a medical doctor who has treated Terri, and hear what he has to say!” But strong belief can’t replace science. And strong opinions — from Hammesfahr or anyone else — can’t replace evidence.

  • Nancy

    While I still find Kelly’s hysterics distateful, I agree with you totally, Justin: I did find the method of dying extremely inadequate. It seemed to me that depriving her of, say, a machine that breathed or provided circulation for her would be one thing, but prolonged starvation/dehydration was quite another matter, even if she was incapable for getting it for herself. I think what drove me to one side vs the other was the revulsion I felt at the grandstanding by Terry Randall & the self-serving creeps on the so-called ‘pro-life’ side who were using both the parents & Ms. Schiavo for their own agenda. Ditto the politicians, who should have known better, and especially Frist, who proved himself contemptible in this matter, when he could have (and should have) with very little effort behaved like an actual physician and stayed out of what he had not been called to consult.

  • Justin Berry

    I agree the right acted out of desperation trying to hold on to anything to make them appear more palatable to pro-life nuts. That was disgraceful and made a difficult situation worse.

    If I contract a terminal illness my wife has orders to take me to Oregon where at least I wont be mistreated to death.

  • Bill

    Even before the litigation between parents/husband started, at least 4 of her attending neurologists had already diagnosed her in a PVS, with no hope of recovery.

    At the last trial in 2002, 3 of the 4 neurologists testified she was in a PVS (toss out Cranford if you wish)

    Hammesfahr was the only neurologist who examined her that said Ms. Schiavo was not in a PVS, though he admitted he had never treated anyone in her condtion.

    And yes, you can be board certified in your field of medicine in Florida and still fall under the protection of the alternative practice statutes, with essentially no oversight or regulation of the clinical claims you choose to make.

    Finally, I’ll note that Hammesfahr apparently continues to misrepresent himself as a Nobel Prize nominee, in order to promote his experimental, unproven clinical techniques.

  • Kelly

    I am not hysterical Nancy, I am furious at all the mis-information on Terri’s case. Those were not Terri’s wished to die, okay? Judge Greer ruled on Michael Schiavo’s side every single time and anything the Schindler’s presented, he threw out of court and laughed in their face. That is the absolute truth of the matter. Something is very wrong with Judge Greer, Terri is not the first women he caused to die. Helen McCall went to him for a restraining order, with proof her life was in danger, and Greer wouldn’t give her one. Two weeks later her husband stabbed her to death, mutiple times. Greer took campaign money from Felos and Schiavo. He is the most corrupt and arrogant Judge in florida.

    Hammesfahr was nominated by Mike Bilkarus, Senator of Florida.

    The brain is made up of 80 percent water. The autospy report said Terri’s organs were very dry. What do you think it did to the brain in 13 days with no water. That is what killed her, the dehydration, not the starvation. Terri was brain damaged, nobody denied that. Her condition went down hill when Michael Schiavo denied her therapy to improve. She was just like a severkly retarded person, and she had a right to live her life.

    For those of you using this as fodder to slam the Republican’s, it is not a R issue. Why don’t you get that. Actually, it was the Republicans that changed the law to kill her and the Judge was a Republican.

    Whatever, it is sad to live in a country with people that would so easily fall for Hitler tactics, killing the disabled and saying it is OK.

    Withholding water to Terri to her mouth was illegal in this country and that Judge and Michael Schiavo should be held accountable.

  • Kelly

    “pro-life nuts”

    Gee Justin, I bet you wear all black and paint your finger nails black too. What is the problem about loving LIFE? I don’t get this ….pro life nuts?? You mean someone is a NUT if they believe in living? Wow…

  • Kelly

    The autospy did not prove Terri was PVS. That is impossible to prove other than in a clinical setting.

    You should have believed her Parents when they said, Terri could communicate with them, in her way. She had her right to live.

    Michael Schiavo knew her for 6 years before her collaspe, which he probably caused, and her parents knew her for 41 years. How can you go to the bat for such a criminal loser. He’s as bad as OJ, but atleast OJ was quick.

  • Nancy

    And of course, you know better than all the judges, doctors, and others who were intimately involved in the case. Just like Frist. Case closed.

  • Kelly

    Nancy, why are you saying that? Yes, I have the court records and have studied them. Do you know how a court of law works? Judge Greer set the precedence of the case and those other courts did not see what he was presented and threw out. Do you understand what that means? There was no fair review by those courts, that is why Congress got involved. You don’t know how crooked Pinellas county is.

    Would it hurt you so much to admit that maybe you are mistaken?

    Dr Cranford believes brain damaged and Alzheimer’s patients don’t have US Constitutional rights and advocates starving them to death. Do you agree with that? Yes or No Nancy? Would love to hear your answer.

    The Justice Department is still investigating Terri’s case, maybe one of these dsys they will do their job and get it right.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    For all of your fire and anger Kelly, you don’t really know alot about Terri Schiavo’s situation at all.

    If you’re really up in arms about this, why don’t you spread the word to your pro-life friends to support things like stem cell research? That’s somthing that could have helped people like Terri Schiavo.

  • david r. mark

    Kelly, once again, you are misinformed.

    Hammesfahr’s nomination consisted of a letter written by his congressman, Mike Bilirakis (R-FL), who is ineligible to make such a nomination, according to rules established by the Stockholm-based Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet.

    Judge Greer did indeed agree with Michael Schiavo. So did 10 courts and 19 judges. They all upheld state law — similar to the state law signed by GW Bush in Texas in 1999.

    You may BELIEVE that Terri Schiavo didn’t want to die, but you have no factual basis for it. It’s your opinion — shared by many who call themselves pro-life. You are entitled to it — it’s a worthy opinion for consideration — but opinion is not enough to overturn state law.

    There was no evidence provided in court — and considered credible — that showed that Michael Schiavo mistreated his wife at any time. Multiple courts agreed on that point, too.

    The way Terri Schiavo died — withholding of water — is allowable under state law in Florida. It’s the equivalent of turning off a ventilation machine — something done maybe 1,000 times a day nationwide. Would you convict doctors across the country of denying oxygen to PVS patients? Of course not.

  • Kelly

    I would not have had a problem with Terri dying as she did if those were her wishes. Those weren’t her wishes and there certainly was no proof. Schiavo told several people he didn’t know what she would have wanted. Later his brother and his wife remember, oh yea, she would want to die.

    Funny that you would support a man, Schiavo, that had others attest he stalked them and harrassed them when they attempted to end their romantic relationship with them.

    We can go around and around the mulberry bush, I will quit right here [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    The rub, Kelly, is you have no proof of anything except for what you want to be true! There’s so much truthiness in there.

    “It reminds me of why I hate liberals and consider them ‘brain dead'”

    So, you consider living and breathing, normally functioning beings brain dead but not an actual brain dead woman? What’s the deal here?

  • Kelly

    “The way Terri Schiavo died — withholding of water — is allowable under state law in Florida. It’s the equivalent of turning off a ventilation machine — something done maybe 1,000 times a day nationwide. Would you convict doctors across the country of denying oxygen to PVS patients? Of course not.”

    Last POST….

    DID YOU KNOW THAT GEORGE FELOS, MICHAEL’S ATTORNEY LOBBIED FOR THE CHANGE OF LANGUAGE IN THE LAW SO HE COULD KILL TERRI? MARY LABYAK OF SUNCOAST (woodside hospice where Terri died)…went with him to the FLORIDA HOUSE.
    George Felos made a half a million dollars killing Terri, money that was supposed to be used for her care. The autospy did not PROVE she was PVS, as the Florida statute states, you must be in, in order to die. The autospy did prove she was healthy and would have lived another 20 years. George Felos is slick….and he gets the job done. He went Judge shopping for the easiest Judge to do the deed. Rah rah for George Felos!

    Schiavo is on court record Terri could feel pain, if you are okay with her feeling that pain of her dehydration agonizing death, I think that is creepy and sick of you.

    Stem cell research…don’t even go there.

    Look how sweet and loving Schiavo is..check this obit out on his mother, and he doesn’t list Terri, he lists his concubine, Jodi, and Terri is still breathing. This is the kind of guy you support. I’m done, need to go throw up.

    When Clara Schiavo, Michael’s mother, died in July, 1997, instead of her obituary listing her son, Michael and his wife, Terri as survivors, the obituary said she was “the devoted mother of….Michael R. and his finance, Jodi of Florida”.

    The obituary read:

    Clara M. Schiavo
    Former Levittown Resident

    Clara M. Schiavo (nee Henkell), passed away Wednesday, July 2, 1997. For the past five years she was a resident of Seminole, Fla., living formerly for 30 years in Junewood, Levittown. She was the assistant personnel manager for the Gimble Department Store, formerly located in the Oxford Valley Mall, for ten years. She was a member of Hope Lutheran Church in Levitttown for 30 years. She was the beloved wife of William F. and the devoted mother of William F. Jr. and his wife Joan of Mayfair, Stephen O. and his wife Pamela of Fairless Hills, Brian J. and his wife Donna of Newtown, Scott E. and his wife Karen of Indiana and Michael R. and his fiancé Jodi of Fla. She was the dear grandmother of William J., Aleen C., Steven G., Kelly M., Scott R., Lisa M. Thomas M. and Ryan A. She is also survived by her sister, Joan May Enoch of Delran, NJ. Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing Mon., 10:30 a.m. until noon and to her funeral service at noon in the Campbell & Thomas Funeral Home, 905 Second St. Pike (at Old Bustleton Pike), Richboro. Her interment will take place in Sunset Memorial Park.

  • david r. mark

    Kelly, you haven’t refuted any of the facts provided. It’s just your opinion on top of your opinion.

    The autopsy showed that it would have been impossible for Terri to feel pain.

    There were people who claimed Terri was tracking things with her eyes — but the autopsy proved she was blind, making that claim impossible, too.

    I know you feel very strongly about this. And I know it’s a very tough issue. But until Florida changes its law — again, similar to the law signed in 1999 by GW Bush when he was governor of Texas — then your claims that Michael Schiavo should be prosecuted are unjustified opinion.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Part of AP story on June 15, 2005

    “LARGO, Fla. – An autopsy on Terri Schiavo backed her husband’s contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding that she had massive and irreversible brain damage and was blind, the medical examiner’s office said Wednesday. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused.”

    Sounds like your facts are DOA, Kelly.

  • Kelly

    READ the autopsy report Scott, not some Florida rag pushing the Michael Schiavo LIE. The autopsy report states that they could NOT PROVE PVS.

    Want me to get it for you?

    Michael Schiavo said Terri could feel pain! It is his sworn testimony.

    Terri had no fluid in her body for 13 days, what do you expect her brain to look like after that. She was at the most, MCS not PVS, and she had a right to her life, and it was taken away from her by a bunch of criminal crooks who violated her civil rights. Every American in this country has civil rights except in Florida State.

    I guess Nancy agrees with Dr Cranford. Hope she never comes down with Alz-disease.

  • Kelly

    Show me where it says Terri was PVS.

    See yah Grim Reapers, Hope you never end up on the other side of Judge Greer’s bench. He likes killing women. Record shows that.

  • Kelly

    “I know you feel very strongly about this. And I know it’s a very tough issue. But until Florida changes its law — again, similar to the law signed in 1999 by GW Bush when he was governor of Texas — then your claims that Michael Schiavo should be prosecuted are unjustified opinion.”

    Yes Mark, I do, very. The FBI could prove conspiracy and collusion if they were allowed to do their job, and I know that for a fact. Terri was not just an old shoe and was not the property of Schiavo who had another woman. He gave up that right. She was an American with rights! Her rights were taken away from her.

    This country is going to hell in a hand basket when we have people supporting the likes of Michael Schiavo, Judge Greer and george Felos.

    Promise, I am gone.

  • david r. mark

    Don’t confuse Kelly with the facts, I guess.

    It’s much easier to lash out than have a reasonable conversation, right? Very mature. And blaming the media for reporting facts is certainly the way to go.

  • david r. mark

    “The FBI could prove conspiracy and collusion if they were allowed to do their job, and I know that for a fact.” That’s an opinion.

    “Terri was not just an old shoe and was not the property of Schiavo who had another woman.” Terri’s father gave Michael permission to be with another woman, according to court records. I’m not justifying Michael’s actions, but keep it in context.

    “She was an American with rights! Her rights were taken away from her.” Not under Florida state law. 10 courts and 19 judges agreed.

    “This country is going to hell in a hand basket when we have people supporting the likes of Michael Schiavo, Judge Greer and george Felos” That’s an opinion.

  • Kelly

    “Don’t confuse Kelly with the facts, I guess.”

    Last time, the autospy report does not prove PVS, she could have been “MCS”, like her parents said she was, and the other doctors said she was.

    I have the court records in a box right next to me, and Schiavo said she could feel pain. I guess he was wrong???

    I haven’t seen a fact of yours yet, Mark.

  • david r. mark

    Kelly, I’ve presented about 20 facts overall. You keep offering opinions and claiming them as facts.

    Furthermore, the point of the story was that Frist was apparently referencing Hammesfahr, whose testimony was found not credible by the courts. It shows a lack of judgment on his part.

    The debate about Terri Schiavo is really off the topic. I have tried very hard to be understanding, but it’s tough when all you do is lash out and basically say “my opinions are the facts, and you guys are all a bunch of liberal grim reapers.”

    It makes you about as in-credible as Hammesfahr.

  • Kelly

    Okay, back on topic. I called Frist’s office to opine on his Meet The Press comments.

    Hammesfahr’s treatment actually helped a brain damaged man in Jacksonville improve greatly. He is not the only one that said Terri was MCS. Why don’t you recognize that?

    Hey Mark, why don’t you do an article on Judge Greer and see how many cases he has had reversed for his errors. I think you would be very shocked the man is still sitting on the bench. His descretion is criminal. imho Oh yea, and he is legally blind and requires a driver.

    Toodles

  • Bliffle

    Kelly,

    I think you’re clutching at straws here. Why is this so important to you?

  • david r. mark

    First off, it’s David, not Mark.

    But Kelly, please note that Hammesfahr had days in multiple courts to present his evidence. The court found his testimony in-credible. He showed the video — seemingly the video Frist saw — and it showed Hammesfahr giving 166 commands, and Terri responding to 1. And the court could not conclude that this response was more than random action.

    Furthermore, you focus on Greer. But you don’t seem to want to acknowledge that 10 courts and 19 judges agreed with Michael Schiavo, and agreed to uphold Florida state law.

    What you are doing is similar to what the conservative media did at the time. Focus on the evil Michael Schiavo. Focus on the liberal activist (even though he’s a Republican) Judge Greer. Ignore that Hammesfahr’s testimony was found multiple times to lack credibility. Ignore that the two nurses’ claims were found by multiple courts to lack credibility. Ignore that Hammesfahr wasn’t actually nominated for a Nobel Prize. Ignore the opinions of the multitude of doctors who cared for Terri.

    It’s a lot of emotion and a lot of opinion, but it’s not a lot of facts.

    And I say that not to give you my opinion, but to repeat to you the decision of 10 courts and 19 judges — across the political spectrum.

  • Bill

    There is no evidence beyond Hammesfahr’s own dubious word that his vasodilation therapy has ever worked.

    He was the only neurologist who examined her, in the entire history of the case, who claimed she was not in a PVS.

    The other 7 neurologists who examined her were clear she was in a PVS with no hope of recovery.

    You can toss out Dr. Cranford and you still have 6 confirming PVS vs. Hammesfahr.

    Even the 2nd District Court of Appeal, the 3 judge panel that had ordered the second trial, was clear they would make the same decision on the facts presented at trial:

    “this court has closely examined all of the evidence reviewed in this record.

    We have repeatedly examined the videotapes, not merely watching short segments
    but carefully observing the tapes in their entirety.

    We have examined the brain
    scans with the eyes of educated laypersons and considered the explanations provided
    by the doctors in the transcripts.

    We have concluded that, if we were called upon to review the guardianship court’s
    decision de novo, we would affirm it.” (pp. 9-10)

    http://www.2dca.org/opinion/June%2006,%202003/2D02-5394.pdf

    Based on the above, I see absolutely no support for your position that were the
    case tried again, under any jurist, that the findings of fact would differ.

    Her wishes, of course, were irrelevant to the Schindlers:

    from the Report of Jay Wolfson, guardian ad litem, December 2003

    page 14:

    “Throughout the course of the litigation, deposition and trial testimony
    by members of the Schindler family voiced the disturbing belief that
    they would keep Theresa alive at any and all costs.

    Nearly gruesome examples were given, eliciting agreement by family
    members that in the event Theresa should contract diabetes and subsequent
    gangrene in each of her limbs, they would agree to amputate each limb, and
    would then, were she to be diagnosed with heart disease, would perform open
    heart surgery…

    Schindler family members stated that even if Theresa had told them of her
    intention to have artificial nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it.”

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    “READ the autopsy report Scott, not some Florida rag pushing the Michael Schiavo LIE. The autopsy report states that they could NOT PROVE PVS”

    I wasn’t aware that the AP wire service was a Florida rag, or even one pushing a lie. They tend to deal in facts because otherwise, they would be out of business.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    “Show me where it says Terri was PVS.”

    You yourself said earlier that PVS can’t be proven in an autopsy. What it did prove is that her brain was basically gone, confirming the diagnosis that she had been in PVS.

  • Kelly

    “Ignore that the two nurses’ claims were found by multiple courts to lack credibility.”

    That’s not true, Greer struck their testimony from the record, the other courts never laid eyes on it. That is what people don’t realize. That is why Congress wanted a de Novo, to start from the beginning and look at what JUDGE GREER IGNORED.

    Felos led the Schindlers into that sick arms and legs amputation, it was a shyster trick that indeed made them look bad.

    David, Schiavo cut off care for Terri in 1991, he didn’t want her to recover an inch. He even refused towels in her hand to prevent curling.

    He has yet to explain why she collasped that night and why he left her faced down.

    He is lucky I wasn’t Terri’s sister or Mother.

    David, lastly, Frist did nothing wrong, he simply didn’t agree with the PVS state, he was not sure. And, you have yet to admit that Judge Greer and atleast one of the other doctors made their findings with the same video tape. No comment from David. I would think if it was good enough for Greer to pen an execution of an innocent woman that married the wrong man, it should be good enough for Frist to form an opinion.

    Don’t hear you finding fault in Greer for using the TAPE.

  • Kelly

    “You yourself said earlier that PVS can’t be proven in an autopsy. What it did prove is that her brain was basically gone, confirming the diagnosis that she had been in PVS.”

    No, that is not what it confirms. The brain is a mystery to medical science, even today. Didn’t the doctors say that little girl in Mass was PVS and they pulled her plug last week and she didn’t die. Fooled them…huh.

    Again, after 13 days with no water, the brain is 80 percent water. No wonder it shrunk as it did. Terri was MCS and that does not fit the Florida Statute for death.

    Do some reseach on the Nazi that created the PVS medical term. Cranford’s hero. Can’t remember his name now. We don’t do these acts in America. Nazi’s do that. By the way, as a former Republican, I can tell you this, it is the Republicans that made these sick laws.

    Bye

  • Rach

    Yeah, It’s me. I know Dr. Hammesfahr is getting
    some bad publicity, but frankly, he isn’t harming anyone, is he? He DID spend time, plenty of it, with Terri unlike Dr. Cranford. Cranford is much more suspect to me than Hammesfahr-and not just in this case. His ability to misdiagnose/mispeak/speak too soon is not unknown. I’m glad he’s leaving medicine.
    As for Frist-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeuw! It will take a lot before I would consider him as a candidate and I LIKE smart southerners! By the way, isn’t anyone moderating blogcritics? Noone needs to use f-words; it lowers the IQ here no matter what one’s opinion. Just go over to Newshounds already!
    Kelly: Tu es canadienne ou quoi? At least you have heart!

  • Kelly

    Rach,

    I called Frist’s office today and told the staff he could forget running for President, he was being delusional. He has the back bone of a wet noodle.

    I am very disappointed in his comments.

    Rach, I have an American heart, I don’t know these other people.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    I have a baboon heart. The sun feels good on my baboon heart.

  • Rach

    Yeah, It’s me. I know Dr. Hammesfahr is getting
    some bad publicity, but frankly, he isn’t harming anyone, is he? He DID spend time, plenty of it, with Terri unlike Dr. Cranford. Cranford is much more suspect to me than Hammesfahr-and not just in this case. His ability to misdiagnose/mispeak/speak too soon is not unknown. I’m glad he’s leaving medicine.
    As for Frist-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeuw! It will take a lot before I would consider him as a candidate and I LIKE smart southerners! By the way, isn’t anyone moderating blogcritics? Noone needs to use f-words; it lowers the IQ here no matter what one’s opinion. Just go over to Newshounds already!
    Kelly: Tu es canadienne ou quoi? At least you have heart!

  • Bill

    The significantly reduced brain weight observed at autopsy was not a result of dehydration.

    Rather, it was the result of the death of most, if not all, of the upper brain as a result of oxygen deprivation that occurred in her 1990 collapse, where she suffered cardiac arrest.

    The upper brain cannot survive for long without oxygen – major damage occurs in 8-10 minutes (some sources as 5 minutes).

    Once the upper brain died the tissue atrophied and was replaced by CSF, per the autopsy report:
    “ex vacuo hydrocephalous is merely the replacement of lost cerebral tissue with cerebrospinal fluid.” (p. 8)

    This is very clear in the 2002 CT scan widely circulated (the image of her brain is on the right):

    http://www.miami.edu/ethics/schiavo/2%20CTs.png

    Dehydration is not, and never could be, responsible for such a dramatic reduction in brain weight.

    I see no attending neurologist besides Hammesfahr claiming she was MCS.

    It is not surprising that both trial and appellate courts rejected his opinion in favor of the 7 (or 6, if you exclude Cranford) other neurologists who examined her and found her to be in a PVS with no hope of recovery.

    That is not surprising, given Hammesfahr’s significant professional and personal ethical compromises, including his false claim that he is a Nobel Prize nominee in the field of Medicine, a claim which he apparently continues to the present day.

  • Rach

    Cher Bill,
    You are probably addressing your comments to Kelly, but dehydration really caused her (ugly, egregious) death. There is no beauty in being a liberal on this issue. The initial incident will always be suspect to me.
    Care to opine on her albumin level, Bill?

  • Kelly

    Bill,

    Terri was MCS just like her parents, siblings, caregivers stated. There was one Nurse that quit Hospice out of disgust and spoke out as Terri was dying. The MSM didn’t give her much credit, she was too truthful.

    Really, the point is that you can’t diagnose PVS or even necessarily tell how much functionality someone has from a CAT scan or from their brain structure at all.

    Isn’t it the truth that science doesn’t really know for sure exactly how the brain functions or what it does, and there are situations where people who have very severe brain damage are much more functional than we would expect from looking at their brains. Do you have an honest bone in your body?

    http://flatrock.org.nz/topics/ sc…y_necessary.htm

    http://www.alternativescience.co…/ no_brainer.htm

    Dr. J. Lorber, for example, is famous for being the first person to provide a systematic study of patients with hydrocephalus, a buildup of spinal fluid in the brain just like Terri had.

    Here’s a quote from the first article I linked above:

    “Two young children with hydrocephalus referred to Lorber presented with normal mental development for their age. In both children, there was no evidence of a cerebral cortex. One of the children died at age 3 months, the second at 12 months. He was still following a normal development profile with the exception of the apparent lack of cerebral tissue shown by repeated medical testing. An account of the children was published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.

    Later, a colleague at Sheffield University became aware of a young man with a larger than normal head. He was referred to Lorber even though it had not caused him any difficulty. Although the boy had an IQ of 126 and had a first class honours degree in mathematics, he had “virtually no brain”. A noninvasive measurement of radio density known as CAT scan showed the boy’s skull was lined with a thin layer of brain cells to a millimeter in thickness. The rest of his skull was filled with cerebrospinal fluid. The young man continues a normal life with the exception of his knowledge that he has no brain.

    Although anecdotal accounts may be found in medical literature, Lorber is the first to provide a systematic study of such cases. He has documented over 600 scans of people with hydrocephalus and has broken them into four groups:

    those with nearly normal brains
    those with 50-70% of the cranium filled with cerebrospinal fluid
    those with 70-90% of the cranium filled with cerebrospinal fluid
    and the most severe group with 95% of the cranial cavity filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

    Of the last group, which comprised less than 10% of the study, half were profoundly retarded. The remaining half had IQs greater than 100. Skeptics have claimed that it was an error of interpretation of the scans themselves. Lorber himself admits that reading a CAT scan can be tricky. He also has said that he would not make such a claim without evidence. In answer to attacks that he has not precisely quantified the amount of brain tissue missing, he added, ‘I can’t say whether the mathematics student has a brain weighing 50 grams or 150 grams, but it is clear that it is nowhere near the normal 1.5 kilograms.'”

    Terri should have been allowed to live. There was no proof from “her” that she wanted to die. Her husband is a pathological liar and it can be proved in the court records.

  • Kelly

    For Bill,

    When hypernatremic dehydration occurs, the brain shrinks. During those 13 days her brain cells died. I can’t believe you are trying to refute that.

    Neurologic complications can occur in hyponatremic and hypernatremic states. Rapid correction of chronic hyponatremia (>2 mEq/L/h) has been associated with central pontine myelinolysis. During hypernatremic dehydration, water is osmotically pulled from cells into the extracellular space. To compensate, cells can generate osmotically active particles (idiogenic osmoles) that pull water back into the cell and maintain cellular fluid volume. During rapid rehydration of hypernatremia, the increased osmotic activity of these cells can result in a large influx of water, causing cellular swelling and rupture, with cerebral edema being the most devastating consequence. Slow rehydration over 48 hours generally minimizes this risk.

    http://www.emedicine.com/ped/byname/dehydration.htm

  • Rach

    Kelly,
    you on-line?

  • david r. mark

    Kelly, again, the issue is Frist, not Michael Schiavo.

    You continue to mix Sean Hannity spin points with your own opinion and call it factual evidence.

    10 courts, 19 judges, all of her doctors, and an autopsy report. I’ll stick with all of them.

  • Bill

    Dehydration caused her death, via complications from electrolytic imbalance (per the autopsy).

    Dehydration did not, however, cause a loss of over 50% of brain weight in a mere 2 weeks.

    Her upper brain (or at least most of it) died as a result of the cardiac arrest in 1990.

    The dead brain tissue atrophied, with the space replaced with CSF over the years following her initial collapse.

    The neuropathologists’ report within the autopsy report notes the significant loss of tissue, shown as I indicated before, roughly 3 years pre-mortem on her CT scan.

    In addition to Dr. Nelson, the pathologist, Dr. Thogmartin, notes “massive cerebral atrophy… Her remaining brain regions also show severe hypoxic injury and neuronal atrophy/loss.” (p. 8)

    Even Jay Wolfson, the final guardian ad litem, noted in his December 2003 report (p.31):

    “Theresa’s neurological tests and CT scans indicate objective measures of
    the persistent vegetative state. Theresa’s cerebral cortex is principally
    liquid, haven shrunken due to the severe anoxic trauma experienced thirteen
    years ago. The initial oxygen deprivation caused damage that could not be
    repaired, and the brain tissue in that area continued to devolve.”

    All 3 of the above directly contradict your assertion that dehydration alone is responsible for the loss in brain weight observed at autopsy.

    If you have a differing opinion, you’ll need to find a neurologist or preferably a neuropathologist who supports your contention that dehydration alone caused the loss of brain weight.

    I don’t see how Lorber is germain to her case.

    Had she not been in a PVS, had she been like those Lorber studied, it would have been evident in the clinical examination, yet all but one neurologist (of those who examined her) repeatedly confirmed PVS.

    As for PVS vs. MCS, note that only those neurologists who bothered to personally examine the patient can present a qualified medical opinion on whether she was in PVS, or MCS.

    Her family, her nurses, etc. do not have the medical training to present a qualified opinion.

    E.g., her parents thought she could see them; the autopsy confirmed she was blind.

    I notice you keep ignoring the fact that she was repeatedly, over a number of years, personally examined and diagnosed by 6 neurologists (excluding, for the moment, Cranford) who confirmed she was PVS, with no hope of recovery.

    Could you share with us all why you choose to believe Hammesfahr?

    He relies only on his observations and personal credibility as support for his clinical claims.

    However, his extensive disciplinary history and repeated, willful falsification of his medical background, even to this present day, significantly damages that credibility.

  • Rach

    David, Bill: Okay to have opinions, but going with the majority isn’t always the way. There was nothing wrong with Cheshire’s examination of Terri’s case. For those who don’t know, Cheshire did not paste a diagnosis of PVS on Terri and he is NOT discredited in any way. At least Bill allows that there is something maybe not quite allowable about the extreme Cranford. Yet, he’s the doc who was frequently trotted out on TV. .
    Since nurses spend more time with patients I think it is fair to listen to their comments, certainly most wise docs listen to, if not rely on some nurses to provide clues to the pt’s condition.

  • Kelly

    “Dehydration did not, however, cause a loss of over 50% of brain weight in a mere 2 weeks.”

    You have misunderstood me. I know it didn’t contribute to all the shrinking of the brain but the autospy is not a clear picture of her brain prior to her dehydration and you cannot judge her cognitive ability from the autospy. Neurons died during the 13 days, so how can you prove what was firing and what was not. You can’t. Terri’s brain was damaged, nobody ever said it wasn’t. What the Schindlers said was she was not a “plant” as Felos and Schiavo want everybody to believe.

    Back to the topic, Frist didn’t think she was a “plant” either.

    You keep saying all the doctors were in agreement with Cranford, when they were not. Some said, “Persistent” and some said “Permanent” veg state. The Schindler’s said MCS.

    When Terri was in the nursing home prior to the hospice the medical notes indicated Terri was awake.

    Okay, nuff said. I ‘m done Mark, sorry to keep going on. Thanks for your patience with me.

  • Shark

    Kelly: “…Okay, nuff said…”

    THANK GAWD!

  • Bill

    Dr. Cheshire is unable to render a qualified medical opinion.

    By his own admission, in his affidavit, he chose not to perform a personal examintion of Ms. Schiavo.

    All the neurologists who bothered to examine her, with the exception of Hammesfahr, confirmed PVS, a state of irreversible brain damage, with no hope of recovery.

    Only a neurologist can distinguish between PVS and MCS.

    I don’t know how to make that any clearer.

    Dr. Frist, who is not a neurologist, would not be able to present a qualified opinion, even had he examined her personally.

    Regardless of their personal beliefs, her parents, her nurses, etc., cannot present a qualified medical opinion.

  • Amazed

    Actually Kelly the extent of the atrophy of her brain was apparent in the CT scans taken many years prior to her death.

    Upon autopsy there was nothing to indicate that any dramatic or even noteworthy changes had occurred from what was observed in the CT scans from many years prior.

    Despite what the Schindler marching army of supporters claim- no evidence exists to support the bizzare claims about how dyhydration accounts for the observations made at autopsy about the nature and extent of the damage.

    The nature and extent of the damage was readily apparent in the CT images from many years prior to her death.

    In terms of what the Schindlers said when they had the media spotlight and the backing of pro life groups: they were proven to be outright liars and operating from an agenda of deception and misinformation. Remember the claims about the bone scan? Every statement they made in regards to the bone scan was an outright falsehood because they were in command of the facts.

    First of all a bone scan is not an X-ray. These are two entirely different diagnostic imaging processes. The bone scan is a diagnostic tool used to identify abnormal turn over, turn over being the natural process of bone replacement activity.

    The Bone Scan was ordered by a rehab physcian because it was noted during a rehab session that there was greater than normal resistance in knee range of motion excercise and that there were indications of inflammation with the knee joint- such as elevated local temp at the joint.

    The rehab doc was looking to confirm a presumptive diagnosis that she was having the kind of TYPICAL problems that long term bed ridden patients suffering from contractures and other nuerological related issues suffer.

    It was not ordered to explore the possibility that she had been abused.

    The radiologist marked his observations and a possible interpretation without knowing the reason why it was ordered or the medical history of the patient. The doctor that ordered the scan didn’t need a radiologists possible interpretation in order to use the results of the scan for its intended purpose.

    The Schindlers knew why it was ordered. They knew the circumstances under which it was ordered. They knew the INTENDED purpose of it. They had access to the deposition made by the radiologist.

    They Schindlers knew of its existance- in fact their attorney stated in open court and on the record that they had the scan in their possession for years. It was not hidden. It was not buried. They had deposed the radiologist.

    The only thing “recently uncovered” about it was that the Schindlers outright lied about it and used the deception to further their campaign of deception and misinformation. They used it to fuel the fires of the conspiracy theorists and nut jobs that flocked to them like moths to a flame.

  • Rach

    AMAZED is back!

  • Rach

    Hey, Amazed! ever find out the answer to my question?

  • Kelly

    “Actually Kelly the extent of the atrophy of her brain was apparent in the CT scans taken many years prior to her death.”

    Have you ever seen a CT scan of an elderly patient? Looks alot like Terri’s.

    “The nature and extent of the damage was readily apparent in the CT images from many years prior to her death.”

    Nursing home medical notes indicated she was awake.

    “The Bone Scan was ordered by a rehab physcian because it was noted during a rehab session that there was greater than normal resistance in knee range of motion excercise and that there were indications of inflammation with the knee joint- such as elevated local temp at the joint.”

    Nice way to describe that Terri felt pain and reacted to the pain. Did I say..Michael is on court record, “terri feels pain”. ??? He swore she felt pain. Did he lie?

    Like my link said, People without a “brain” can actually live and communicate. The brain is complexed and not text book.

    I can’t imagine why the Mother of a child would be devious in wanting to keep her daughter alive and spare her death of dehydration.

    Schiavo knew Terri for 6-7 years before he smothered her that night. Terri’s parents knew her for 41 years. I vote for the parents rights to take their child home to avoid execution by OJ Schiavo.

    A friend told me they heard on a police scanner a domestic violence call to Schiavo’s house this past weekend. WOW..that was quick.

    For David…Frist, Frist, Frist, Frist….

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Ok, note to everyone…Kelly’s a loon.

  • Bill

    Indeed, the birth family did everything they possibly could to delay the removal of the feeding tube.

    As another poster notes, this position is understandable, however, it had severe consequences.

    When one admits under oath that one would simply ignore the prospective ward’s wishes, even were those wishes known beyond a doubt, one can expect never to be granted guardianship, in any probate court, in any state here in the U.S.

    Had the husband been removed as guardian for any reason, there was never a realistic chance any member of the Schindler family would have been appointed guardian, as a result of their own prior admissions to the court.

  • Carrie

    Scott, I thought I read that “personal attacks are NOT allowed?”

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