Friday, April 29, 2005

A Catholic Neurologist's Perspective on the Terri Schiavo Case

I have reviewed the CT scan images of Terri Schiavo’s brain, watched the video of her taken by her family members, and also reviewed some summary comments/excerpts regarding testimony given in deposition transcripts in her medical malpractice case. These again are all things I do on a very frequent basis. They are, to be frank, part of how I make my living. Having clarified the context in which I share my thoughts with you, I offer the following thoughts on this matter:
This neurologist lists over 20 points of observation from which we may conclude that Terri was in pain and suffered terribly - and we may conclude further that she was murdered.

The neurologist errors, however, when he states in his conclusion:
Finally, I would advise each and every person to prepare a living will as you would a normal will so that your families might be spared the pain and anguish of having to decide what care measures you would want should a grave or terminal illness occur.
As we have seen already, a "living will" is not the instrument that would have saved her or anyone else. It most likely would have been used to hasten her death.

The doctor's observations are here.

Fr. Frank Pavone describes what it was like to see Terri pushed and forced to appear at death's door at the whim of her estranged husband, a whacked-out lawyer, and incompetent judges:
Brothers and sisters to describe the way she looked as peaceful is a total distortion of what I saw. Here now was a person, who for thirteen days had no food or water. She was, as you would expect, very drawn in her appearance as opposed to when I had seen her before. Her eyes were open but they were going from one side to the next, constantly oscillating back and forth, back and forth. The look on her face (I was staring at her for three and a half-hours) I can only describe as a combination of fear and sadness … a combination of dreaded fear and sadness.

Her mouth was open the whole time. It looked like it was frozen open. She was panting rapidly. It wasn't peaceful in any sense of the word. She was panting as if she had just run a hundred miles. But a shallow panting. Her brother Bobby was sitting opposite me. He was on one side of the bed I was on the other facing him. Terri's head in between us and her sister Suzanne was on my left. We sat there and we had a very intense time of prayer. And we were talking to Terri, urging her to entrust herself completely to the Savior. I assured her repeatedly of the love and prayers and concern of so many people.

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