Talk:Terri Schiavo case/Archive 26

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I have a suggestion

Why don't we start another article that can be accessed from the "See Also" link at the bottom of the page (or possibly referenced by a link somewhere in the main article) that would lead to an article that covers all of the theories and opinions from the Michael-killed-Terri-and-bought-the-judiciary school.

Both the Project Apollo and Earth articles have similar separate pages to cover the Flat Earth theories and Apollo moon landing hoax accusations and they are the perfect analog to the dichotomy we are seeing in the talk page concerning the Terri Schiavo article.

In the main article we would pretty much follow what we already have, which is mostly supported by cites to court orders, affidavits, transcripts, reports, and articles, and in the subsidiary article we could lay out all the alternative theories and whatever support they can provide.

That way, the anti-Terri people could advance their POV that Michael must have killed Terri because Judge Greer has the same first name as Attorney Felos or whatever their theory is. The rest of us who attempt to practice NPOV (we all have a POV—the trick is to try and minimize it) can polish up the article and eliminate some of the convoluted narrative that POV pushers have forced us to contrive.

Note that the comments on the peer review page have found the article to be generally quite NPOV. The suggestions that were made were primarily form and not more or less POV. Duckecho 23:29, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

If you think my pages are conspiracy theories, then put them at that link. Here are some links you may find helpful, Duck: --GordonWattsDotCom 10:42, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Holy crap. There is a major difference between putting up a flat-earth conspiracy article on wikipedia and a "Michael-killed-Terri-and-bought-the-judiciary" conspiracy article on wikipedia that you're forgetting: Wikipedia can't get sued for libel/defamation for saying the earth is flat, but it can get sued for saying Michael murdered Terri. At some point, the Iyer affidavit has to be tossed out as utter crap. Wikipedia should report it as Iyer's POV, but wikipedia should also report all the surrounding pieces around it that show a complete lack of any supporting evidence. To allow wikipedia to start reporting on every crackpot conspiracy theory that any jerkoff puts on his blog is (1) asking for serious legal trouble and (2) giving credence to utter crap conspiracy theories. Any idiot with a blog can put his conspiracy theory on his blog. Wikipedia can add nothing to that other than to give such a blog free advertising. I also imagine that every single sentence will have to start with the phrase "so and so said" followed by a URL. If "so and so said" is ever dropped, wikipedia becomes open to libel. At which point the only safe way to report some crackpot conspiracy theory on wikipedia would be to quote the site verbatim and you might as well let people find it on their own when they google "Michael murdered Terri". This is a really, really, bad idea. FuelWagon 15:03, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Your personal attacks are very tiresome, Duckecho & FuelWagon. If you want a "flat-earther" type conspiracy article, then it should be about those who think that Terri's mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, etc., who fought to save her life, were "Anti-Terri" (rather than the estranged husband who she had wanted to divorce, and who sought her death and forbade that she receive any kind of meaningful therapy for more than a dozen years, and who was quoted in sworn testimony by a disinterested caregiver as complaining, in her presence, "when is that bitch gonna die?").
If you want a "flat-earther" type conspiracy article, then it should be about those who actually claim to believe that literally dozens of physicians, nurses, nurse, family members, and friends, most of whom had no plausible motive for dishonesty, conspired to lie about Terri's condition, falsely claiming that she was responsive, that she tried to talk, that she ate and obviously enjoyed Jell-O, etc., etc..
If you want a "flat-earther" type article, then it should be about those who think that the legal team which consistently fought to prevent medical tests for Terri was confident in the diagnosis they advanced, and that the legal team which consistently fought to obtain more sophisticated and comprehensive medical tests for Terri was trying to conceal her true condition; that Felos/M.Schiavo/Greer were certain that Terri really couldn't swallow food, yet wouldn't permit the tests that would have proven it; that Felos/M.Schiavo/Greer were certain that Terri really had no brain activity in her cerebral cortex, yet wouldn't permit the PET and fMRI tests that would have proven it; that Felos/M.Schiavo/Greer were certain that Terri really was in a persistent vegetative state, yet wouldn't permit the comprehensive evaluation by independent neurologists that would have shown her true condition.
If you want a "flat-earther" type article, then it should be about those who think that Michael's contradictory stories about the night/morning of Terri's injury were all true.
If you want a "flat-earther" type article, then it should be about those who think that Michael only cared about Terri's wishes (and not about the hundreds of thousands of dollars he would inherit) when he tried to prevent her from being treated for a UTI, when he denied her parents and siblings access to her, when her euthanized her cats to facilitate moving in with his girlfriend, when he forbade that she receive therapy, when he denied her Holy Communion, etc., etc..
If you want a "flat-earther" type article, then it should be about those who think that Michael Schiavo really did suddenly remember Terri telling him that she wouldn't want to be kept alive like that, approximately eight years after her accident, despite the fact that he had been telling people until then that he had no idea what she would want, despite the fact that his supposed recollection was contradicted by the sworn testimony of four witnesses and was inconsistent with his own sworn testimony in the malpractice trial; and despite the fact that his hiring of lawyer Felos, who knew the legal necessity for such an utterance, had nothing to do with his sudden, convenient memory of that utterance. NCdave 11:20, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I agree with FuelWagon that an alt.Terri Schiavo-type article has the potential to create huge legal issues for Wikipedia. That said, the idea is a noble effort on the part of Duckecho to reach some sort of compromise. NCDave, you may want to note that your name was never mentioned in this suggestion and that Duckecho is actually trying to give you space to air your views. Of course to so that you might have to give credence to another person's suggestion; something you've had an abysmal record of in the past. Let's do this: NCDave, you're more than welcome you to use the Terri Schiavo/sandbox to show us what you think should be presented. Duckecho, how would we submit this idea to the Wiki Gods? I support the idea being reviewed, even if I don't support it's implementation.--ghost 15:59, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

email quote

Thanks, FuelWagon. I thought the email quote was suspect, myself. Moreover, although the editor's contribution stated the email was from Schindler to the governor, the article cited makes clear that the email was forwarded to the governor through a third party. It may not have been addressed to the governor in the first place. Although this might be nit-picky, the edit is plainly not an accurate portrayal of the event. And further, who's to say the email actually said that and that Schindler was the author? Are there sources for the claim? Duckecho 00:21, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)


All threads that haven't been touched for a week, plus one really big one that was more recent (last touched 2 days ago) but was going in circles - if anyone really does feel a burning yearning to revive it, please don't post it all back on here, because the talk page was over 300k again. Proto 12:02, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

There was a formal request for mediation filed. It remains open. I copied my discussion of the need for mediation below, sans the arguments in the section, as they veered way off subject.

Proto, thank you very big for doing an otherwise thankless job. FuelWagon 19:01, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Let's settle this

From Archive25

I took a break for a few days, came back, and found out things were at least has bad as they had been. *sigh* Rather than argue with the various parties involved, I move that we collectively ask a third party to get involved. I just read through Wikipedia: Requests for mediation, and I believe that both the article and the talk page have gotten to that point. All of us have opinions; most of us at one point or another have failed to respect the opinions of others (myself included); the article suffers for it. Enough. I move that a mediator examine the following:

  • POV issues surrounding Ms. Schiavo's condition (PVS, MVS, etc.)
  • POV issues surrounding the legal status Ms. Schiavo's family (legal guardianship of Terri; Michael's relationships; etc.)
  • POV issues regarding terminology discussing the judge's ruling(s)
  • Behavior on the Talk Page

Is there anything else? I personally would like to see some other issues addressed, but I would rather reach a consensus first on what we should ask a Mediator to help us resolve. I would like to achieve some type of baseline that the vast majority can agree to stand behind, even if we don't agree with the particulars. Failing that, I want to establish grounds for the Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee getting involved. Wikipedia, the article and the Talk page should not places for people to grind their personal axes.--ghost 16:20, 18 May 2005 (UTC)


It appears to me that both of you (NCdave and FuelWagon) are at some level correct. NCdave is partially correct that some of the controversies may not be provided in the Wiki format of: Fact, document/link, fact about controversy, document/link. Rather, long and circular arguments are provided about one or both sides. This is suboptimal.

FuelWagon is correct in that NPOV is not served by inserting dissertations on one or the other POV. The reader should be allowed to reach their own conclusions, not be led of on a tangent. And unfortunately, the passion and detail of NCdave's arguments undermine his position on this point. So I submitted for mediation.

I think you are generally correct on one important point, ghost: Namely, I think that at least the two main opposing views be presented on each subject, be it the feeding tube, what Terri's wishes were, how much rehab & therapy should've been done, or even (for example) whether there should've been more examination of Terri. That is, you provide a good format: "Fact, document/link, fact about controversy, document/link." For example, The court ruled A (link), but the family (or other principals) said B (link). The court finally ruled C (link). Dave's passion (or lack therof) neither supports nor undermines his views. The fact stand or fall on their own merit (or lack therof). I was one of those users who both became frustrated with the rancor and argument --as well as the time spent that resulted in reverts. Resultantly, I am expected to limit my participation, but I mean no offense by this. Ann has a good point. As an example of rancor, let me point out that on the point of whether my court cases were "notable," I still haven't seen an answer as to why the court simply didn't deny my rehearing petition immediately by a 7-0 vote. History records that they reviewed the petition (case SC03-2420) from before Jeb filed his petition until after his petition (SC04-925) was denied. Also, they denied it 4-3. Governor Jeb Bush was denied 7-0. See e.g., I may have lost, but I was more "notable" than the good Governor, and I discuss this point in other places. Suffice it to say that the vanity page guidelines allow a NONfamous person to post his own pages, a fact that is not only rejected by some but also with rancor and poking fun at me. Next time you've done notable work, you might not get mentioned, and when one is cheated, all feel pain, particularly the readers who are cheated. I also refuse to get caught up in WIKI edit wars. In conclusion, let's argue less and follow GHOST's suggestion more: Put on the main points of view -and their respective documentation; don't worry about what order it is, or the details: It would be bad for your health to stress out. Now, is there any reason not to so do? --GordonWattsDotCom_In_Florida 03:29, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

We CAN make this work. As a group, it requires that we choose too. We have a moral obligation to do so that started when we hit the 'edit' button. Let's see what a 3rd party has to say about what Wikipedia's position(s) should be.--ghost 13:26, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

NCDave is simply pushing a POV. Each edit he makes is founded in a particular theory he has. Okay, I don't have a problem with that POV's being represented but it may not be put forward as "neutral" or as "the facts". I've suggested to him and I suggest to you, ghost, that he puts his suggested edits here on the talkpage, with short justifications, and sources where appropriate, one by one. Allow each to be fully discussed. Accept a compromise. We can go through the entire article in that manner. I don't know why you expect a mediator to say anything different. They're not simply going to say "let's just take a middle course". Most editors will, I think, agree that FuelWagon represents something like the neutral view and NCDave an extreme POV. A middle course would be somewhere slanted towards Dave's view. But articles should represent controversies quite separately from facts, not represent each side as though its "facts" had equal validity. Dave's facts are all too often interpretations ex post facto or what you might call "negative facts": Mr. Schiavo did not do this, the judge did not do that, and conclusions he draws from those omissions (it would be slightly more acceptable if Dave restricted himself to others' commentary and didn't seek to interpose his own thinking on it. Grace Note 23:34, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Your insults notwithstanding, Grace Note, my POV is that the article should be balanced and accurate. If you think that's "extreme" then you may call me an extremist, but I think that says more about your POV than mine. NCdave 02:57, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I actually do have a problem with NCdave's pov being represented. The POV's that deserve representation in the article are Michaels and the Schindlers. NCdave's pov is irrelevant. The POV of some blog in tim-buck-two is irrelevant. MY pov is irrelevant. The point is to report the POV's of the main players who were actually involved, not some armchair Don Quixote who can inflate his self ego by declaring himself to be on the side of the "culture of life" and waging war against whatever delusions of evil he might have. FuelWagon 15:06, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

To all: Please voice your support, or lack of support, for mediation at Wikipedia: Request for mediation (Terri Schiavo and the Talk:Terri Schiavo pages).--ghost 14:45, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

In keeping with fairness, I shall take my own advice. As far as "extra" stuff, I usually will NOT say something should go: I am a true "inclusionist." Now, are there things missing? Yes, I would add more links to both "Advocacy/Commentary" pages --and also to "Court documents/References-type" pages. (I myself manage websites that both have opinion AND court document compilation on board, including videos, but I am speaking in the broader sense: I would include many other pages that are NOT my own: In fact, when my friend GAVE me a website called, I was very reluctant to use it because I thought having a self-centered name would detract from my credibility, but I later "came around." Reasoning: If I have as a site, it makes it easier for folks to find me on the web.)--GordonWattsDotCom 23:13, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Now, GHOST raises a good point: What about "other" theories about what really happened (case and facts) --or opinions on whether the courts' ruling were legal (strictly "legal" arguments, not arguments about facts?? I have said it once (I think?), and I shall say it again: When looking for that elusive gold standard, we need to look at other articles, such as the slavery article, in which it not only mentions the court ruling against Mr. Dred Scott (the African-American man who was ruled a slave by the courts), but ALSO the article mentions the sentiments and feelings of others contemporary --and most likely mentions the "arguments" both "for and against," at, for example:

  • (which gives coverage of the views of some who DISAGREE with slavery; thus, coverage of those who disagree with the way the courts ruled in re Schiavo deserve equal treatment)
  • (which shows more coverage of "opposing view," and again, is a good example from which we can follow in the SCHIAVO article). And...
  • , which opines that "Many left wing thinkers have also discussed the idea of "wage slavery", although it is also generally accepted that payment of a wage signifies "free labour", with the quite different disadvantages experienced by such workers" (This shows one view of slavery, which is NOT accepted by the courts' recent rulings, BUT is included to make the article complete; Thus, Schiavo' article should include mention of the major views, without taking a stance of support on any one of them; The major criteria should be "is this view held by many people?" If this it is a "fact" that many people believe it (whether they are right or wrong; whether the courts' current agree or NOT), then this "fact," as in the slavery articles, should likewise be reported in relation to Theresa Schindler-Schiavo.

Additionally, it probably does (and should) list LINKS to document critical and key assertions. So, in SUMMARY, the Schiavo article, (like all other good articles), should list "fact 1" (link), courts' ruling (link 2), opposing view on disputed facts (link 3), opposing view on legality of courts' ruling (link 4), and lastly arguments used to support BOTH sides (links 5, 6, and 7, or whatever). Order is NOT important. Including all the elements and differing views and arguments/links supporting the respective views IS important.--GordonWattsDotCom 23:13, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Gordon, I read thru your links on Slavery. I see your point, although I don't agree with them (Do I ever? ;-) ). However, you miss the fact that the Slavery article is VERY POV. As it should be. Slavery has been found to be illegal and immoral not only in the court public opinion, but in the courts throughout the world. So what was Abolitionist POV in 1861 has become fact. What will the standard of fact be regarding Terri in 10 years? In 20? The Dred Scott case is interesting, in that it's Judicial activism at its very worst. But how the article handles it illustrates a standard of dealing with minority POV that I've championed before: State the mainstream fact, state the conflicting POV with link, state the mainstream rebuttal (if needed), move on. No Doctoral dissertations. Two sentences + link. If this is the format you want to suggest for handling the more fringe material in the article, take it up with Uncle Ed. I maintain it's a Pandora's box.--ghost 02:24, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I disagree that Dred Scott was judicial activism. I argued this once before (here, I believe). You have to look at the decision in the context of the 1850s. There was no Emancipation Proclamation, there was no 14th Amendment, slavery was widespread. Two of the precedents that the Court had to consider was the 3/5ths Compromise at the Constitutional Convention which specifically dealt with slavery and citizenship (Supreme Court decisions are frequently decided based on the intent of the framers, which come from proceedings of the Convention and also, Hamilton, Madison, Jay's, The Federalist Papers), and a citizenship issue under Articles III and IV of the Constitution. In the context of the 1850s there wasn't the hindsight and cultural enlightenment of our modern day for them to use in their decision. While it's now regarded as bad law, the decision certainly wasn't legislating from the bench. Some people persist in throwing the case up as an example of the fallibility of the courts, but that argument fails on two points—that amendment(s) to the Constitution and Executive Order have negated its effects, and as I've shown above, it may not have been a wrong decision in the context of the law of the time. Duckecho 04:06, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
(Fixing font to Times New Roman so the "I" (capitol "i") and the number "1" and the "l" (little "L") don't all look the same!) "I disagree that Dred Scott was judicial activism." Well, I think it was, because there are absolutes as far as rights and wrongs go, or so I think; however, the rightness and/or activism that ghost and I allege is not relevant. Wikipedia's job is NOT to take sides but merely to present facts, points of view, arguments, and references, such as website links and any other proof that need be (such as a book, an interview, a law of physics, etc.), but to REGRESS (cf digress) ... "...amendment(s) to the Constitution and Executive Order have negated its effects" this too is moot. That would be like saying that it's OK to steal -so long as you "negate" the effect by later giving it back. "...and as I've shown above, it may not have been a wrong decision in the context of the law of the time." Wrong: That "time," as you so eloquently put it was only a hundred and forty or so years ago -not Cave Man "Og" times of the prehistoric: The people of Abe Lincoln's era DID have just as much conscience and knowledge of "right and wrong" as do we nowadays. (Lack of technology is no excuse.) Duck's disagreement with me is moot: It probably will not affect negatively the editing of the article. Duck and Wagon have been pretty good about not letting their point of view get in the article, which I think is good.
In addition, I would like to bring up a point that (I think it was) Fangz had said a long time ago, namely that if my involvement was "notable," that someone else would mention it -and that I should not make such edits myself. Well, I was quite happy (and surprised) when I saw the link to the court's decision of one of my lawsuits in the "Activism_and_protests" section of the Schiavo article here. I later discovered that Duck was the one to have made this edit, and I wanted to give him credit for his fairness here. While I don't like people to disagree with me, they have a right to. When people make fair and balanced edits, they even more so have a right to a diverging point of view or opposing opinion. OK, that being said, in answering you, Ghost, we may address the differing points of view and make everyone "happy." (Now quoting Ghost:) State the mainstream fact, state the conflicting POV with link, state the mainstream rebuttal (if needed), move on. No Doctoral dissertations. Two sentences + link. If this is the format you want to suggest... Ghost, this seems about right: I don't know why you think I disagreed with you. By the way, I elaborated on your method here, and I see you moved my comments to this page. Therefore, you may like a few paragraphs above for my proposed format of POV#1 - link - court ruling - link - POV#2 - link .... various arguments - various links, etc.--GordonWattsDotCom 06:32, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sandbox created

I created a subpage to make a sandbox. Terri Schiavo/sandbox. I took the liberty of doing my own restructure of the article to better follow the timeline, as others had suggested. There were a few redundancies that could then be removed. The ToC makes a LOT more sense in this version. Thoughts?--ghost 21:28, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

  • I think that order of topics definitely makes the article more comprehensible. --L33tminion (talk) 16:24, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

Political Animal

Just a heads-up, but a couple of commentators on Kevin Drum's "Political Animal" blog have singled out this article for praise: original blog post and comments 1 and 2. Good work! --Calton | Talk 08:04, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Wow. Folks this is a feather in the cap of all here. You all deserve praise. (And I do mean all of you.)--ghost 19:00, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That's pretty cool having our work acknowledged by someone. FuelWagon 19:46, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yep, cool. Must be we got it right. Duckecho 22:11, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Third Party

Ghost asked me to take a look. Actually, the article seems fairly well balanced, and has a "matter of fact" tone.

There is no way the reader can miss the conflict between the parents' views and the prevailing views. They thought their daughter was alive enough that she should be helped to recover. The others said, no, it's time to let her die.

Naturally this would be just as divisive an issue as abortion, gay rights, deprogramming, Iraq invasion, gitmo, etc. - with the added media bonus of an impending deadline: save my child before the courts kill her!

The key here, now that much of the uproar has died down, is to recognize and cherish each major POV - as opposed to, say, rejecting certain POVs as "not worthy of mention because they're obviously wrong-headed or biased". (My favorite excuse is: leave out this person's POV because it's POV - as if fairly describing all major points of view in a controversy were somehow a violation of NPOV policy rather than the heart and soul of it.

So let's all calm down and take up the task of identifying and describing the major points of view about the key facts and issues of the topic. Ghost, can you lay out the main points of contention? -- Uncle Ed (talk) 00:06, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)

I was unaware you had been invited to mediate regarding the article. We editors have had to stay alert for three months or more as various less than optimum edits were made by either known POV pushers or drive-by, hit-and-run contributors. That's why I reverted your edit, not ever having seen you before. Having said that, however, I am not in favor of the edit you made for the following reasons: Duckecho 01:54, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It's in the introduction. The introduction is already too long. It's time to pare it down, not add to it. All of the issues of who decided what and why really belong further down in the article (and are there already). To get where we are (were, before your edit) we had to settle for some clutter in the intro to mollify some editors. Now, three months later, we should refine it by trimming it. Duckecho 01:54, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
In our justice system trials are held to determine facts. Both sides present their evidence, elicit testimony, and cross examine the witnesses. A judge then makes a ruling, called a finding of fact. Yes, the judge determines the facts of the case based on the evidence. Those facts are then NPOV. There's no need to dance around with passive language about NPOV facts. Duckecho 01:54, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I feel your wording is inelegant in this paragraph,:
The court issued a ruling opposing the diagnosis of the parents' doctors and siding with the doctors who said Schiavo was in a PVS. This ruling was upheld on every appeal, by 19 different judges, both in state courts and later in federal courts, which seemed to settle the issue.
for at least a couple of reasons. First is the POV/fact point made in my preceding paragraph. Secondly, "siding with the doctors" strikes me as sounding POV. It's certainly not a well turned phrase, in my opinion. Finally, the phrase "which seemed to settle the issue," not only has a POV sound to it, but is demonstrably not the case. Witness the numerous appeals by the Schindlers and check the archives of the talk page (and more convincingly, the blogosphere). In many minds, the issue is not settled now. Duckecho 01:54, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
For the most part, even the most rabid editors claiming the article was either not accurate or not NPOV, had already accepted the wording of the intro and had their problems elsewhere in the article. While I appreciate your presence and interest in the article, I suggest that this edit is not in the best interests of the article or the many contributors who had a hand in forging it, and I ask that you revert it. Duckecho 01:54, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I confess ignorance as to the mechanics of the mediation process. I wouldn't have guessed that coming in and making an edit in the article right off the bat before even discussion of purpose or intentions on the talk page was the standard methodology. Still, I'm glad you're here, now ask away. Duckecho 01:54, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Points of Contention

First, I'd like to apologize to the group for the late arrival of 3rd party mediation. I appear to have missed a step. (The need to personally request a Mediator was not spelled out at the time of my original request.) 8-/ Anyway, Ed asked that I layout points of contention. Please edit them gently, so that we can develop a list we (mostly) all agree on.--ghost 01:09, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hot button items

    1. What is Fact?: Several of us feel the best NPOV standard is to assume that all rulings of the courts, not overturned, are considered fact for the purposes of this article. Others feel that the courts are not infallible, therefore we must adhere to a "higher" standard.
      1. If a "higher" standard is to be used, how do we deal with Terri's condition, etc.?:
      2. How does that impact the status of the Michael & the Schindlers?:
    2. What is the status of Michael, the Schindlers & other family members?: This sets the tone for topics such as guardianship.
    3. How do we handle repetitious, extreme POV insertions from specific individuals?:

Commentary on the items

Okay, let me address the fact thing. I may have misstated slightly when I asserted that facts are NPOV, while Ed said that court rulings (findings of fact; my words, not his) have a POV. Of course he's right. However, once that ruling (or finding of fact) is made, it is the same as one of the immutable laws of physics. Sure, there's a POV about it, but because it's a fact, it is indisputable and therefore neutral. That's what I was getting at. Facts are neutral. The court ruled that Terri was in a PVS. Any argument or assertion that she was not in a PVS is biased against the finding of fact that she was. That's where we kept getting into trouble with people. They didn't know what the court had ruled, or they didn't like what the court had ruled, or they didn't understand how the legal system works. They objected when we said "Terri was in a PVS" because from their POV (based on one of the three aforementioned failings) she might not be, which changes everything that followed. But the fact is, the court had so ruled, and although one can certainly say that it is the POV of the court, it is also the law of the land and any POV apart from that ruling cannot be neutral. Does that make sense? Duckecho 02:16, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Of course the courts are not infallible, but they are the best we have. Whether there's a higher standard or authority is a theological question not germane to the discussion, because the courts are the only arena in which we can resolve disputes. Not satisfy the litigants, necessarily, but resolve, nonetheless. We can certainly assume that when the ruling of a judge survives not one, not two, not three, but many appeals, it approaches infallibility. The one thing to remember about the Terri Schiavo situation is that it had enormous emotional baggage. At the end of the day, however, the resolution of the conflict surrounding her situation, was a legal one. And the findings, with respect to the legal system, are therefore neutral points of view once they are made. Duckecho 02:16, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Uncle Ed, I tend to agree with Duckecho on the concept that the court's ruling give us as close to a bulletproof-standard as we're ever going to have in this article. That said, alot of people disagree with the courts on this one. And I can see where the "higher-standard" POV folks would read a POV tone into what is an attempt at an NPOV statement of fact about a ruling. And tone can be just as damning to the article. The only way I can see of presenting contrary POV regarding a ruling is to meticulously go thru each statement of fact, provide a rebuttal with a link, and move on. The problems I have with that are: 1) That's a tremendous amount of work. 2) The history of this article shows that is likely to get unwound the next time an extremist shows up. 3) It leads to "article creep" as more and more point/counterpoint is added. Any ideas?--ghost 02:41, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
A court ruling does not become an immutable law of physics. That's nonsense. Science works on continuous re-examination of evidence that's open to anyone. The meta-POV that the court's POV is the neutral POV is wrong. patsw 15:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Pat, please reread my comments above. I'm not saying that the court's POV is the neutral POV. I don't know that there truly is a neutral POV when people have differing opinions. I'm saying that the court's ruling is a finding of fact. Facts are neutral, whatever POV one assesses of them. Duckecho 16:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The fact that the Schindlers before and after Terri's death disputed the rulings of Greer's court is not an appeal to an undefined "higher standard" but to editors here to accurately reflect what was disputed: i.e., Terri expressed wishes to die of thirst... patsw 15:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Pat, so long as you persist in couching the case in inflammatory terms you undermine your purported position as seeking of truth. The question (as I've pointed out before) was Terri's expressed wishes to not live on prolonged life support. Duckecho 16:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
...should she suffer a severe but non-terminal injury to her brain, patsw 15:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Again, in the state of Florida, a feeding tube is life support therefore, according to the statutes, she was in a terminal condition, your inflammatory wording notwithstanding. Read the statutes. Duckecho 16:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
...her state of being unaware and unable to communicate from February 1990 and thereafter, etc.patsw 15:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
So, we are in agreement then on this point, that she was unaware and unable to communicate? Duckecho 16:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It doesn't help get this article completed to label people like myself who want the Schindlers' disputes with the court presented in the article as well as Michael's victorious POV as extremists.patsw 15:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

But their dispute is presented in the article. The mediator himself said, "[t]here is no way the reader can miss the conflict between the parents' views and the prevailing views." The only conclusion one can draw in your argument is that the conflict isn't couched in the inflammatory terms such as you used above, and that is extremist. Duckecho 16:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm not carrying out a vendetta but on the same side as Duckecho and ghost if they are seeking an accurate article rather than a one-side presentation of Michael's victorious POV.patsw 15:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

In my mind, there are three classes of items that are making the pro-Michael cabal hit the delete key:
  • An assertion made by the Schindlers' without evidence: i.e. that Michael may have strangled Terri to cause the loss of oxygen to her brain.
  • An assertion made by the Schindlers' with evidence: i.e. that Terri would not have sought to die of thirst should she suffer a severe but non-terminal brain injury.
  • An argument made by the Schindlers' against Michael's credibility using a fact not in dispute: i.e. that Michael sought Terri's death by attempting to allow her bladder infection to go untreated.
I'm not an advocate of speculative items in the first group. The second and third group on the other hand reflect the compelling parts of the story which a truly neutral article would present. patsw 15:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Again, had you phrased part two, for example, as Terri would not have sought to discontinue life support while in a terminal condition (straight out of the statute), that part of the story becomes neutral, and worthy of inclusion. In fact, I think it's prima facie that the Schindlers did contest that and is represented in the article. Duckecho 16:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No, with that wording, that part of the story becomes doubly inaccurate:
1) Terri wasn't on "life support" as that term was universally understood at the time of Terri's 1990 injury. So even if Terry had written and signed and had notarized a document in January, 1990, saying that in some circumstance she would not want to be kept on "life support," that would still have said nothing about whether she would have wanted to be kept alive with a feeding tube, because in 1990 nobody considered a feeding tube to be "life support."
2) Terri's condition wasn't terminal. Michael Schiavo admitted as much during the 1992 malpractice lawsuit, when he testified under oath that he intended to care for Terri for the rest of his life. The fact that her condition was not terminal was the reason they killed her. If she'd been terminal, they'd not have had to wage a 7 year legal battle to end her life, they could have just waited until she died. NCdave 13:49, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sometimes I think some editors miss the reason why Terri's story is important: it is the first case in the U.S. where a dispute over substitute judgment ended with a court order to remove nutrition and hydration from a human being and directly cause her death, not otherwise at risk of death. patsw 15:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Patsw, guardians have had to make these kinds of decisions for decades. The difference here is that the guardian, Michael, was vehemently opposed by non-guardian family members, the Schindlers, to the point of dragging it through the courts and before the public eye over the course of several years. Guardians have had to make these sorts of painful decisions for decades. The only reason the courts got involved was because Terri's parents wanted to override the guardian's decision. And the court sided with the guardian. So, no, I don't think it's important because of a "substitute" judgement ended life support. That's what guardians have had to choose now for decades. The only difference here is that the courts had to step in and hear the parent's claims that Michael shouldn't be Terri's guardian and that Terri would want to remain on life support, before ruling both claims out. So, back to Ed's comment above that we cherish the different POV's, I can clearly get the pain the parents were going through in wanting to keep their daughter alive at all costs, but I also get that from Michael's point of view that he was doing what many guardians do in deciding for a spouse or someone under their care that there's nothing more that can be done. And there is the rub, because the guardian gets to decide. Had the parents been the guardians, then Terri might spend the next 4 decades saying "wa", hooked up to a feeding tube, and that would be that. But Michael was her guardian. And while I can understand and empathize with the Schindler's pain of watching her daughter die, I don't hear a lot of Schindler supporters saying they understand and empathize with Michael's decision to end life support, like so many other guardians have done over the years. FuelWagon 17:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
not otherwise at risk of death. That's like saying a person died of dehydration in the desert, but wouldn't have if they only had water. She was at risk of death. Without a feeding tube she would die. Even if she had some swallowing capability, she could not ingest enough nutrition to sustain her life (that's not my opinion; it's in the testimony and is quoted in one of the court orders). Therefore, she was at risk of death without artificial support and was consequently in a terminal condition. Have you read the statute that defines terminal condition? Duckecho 16:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No, the importance of the story is that (as Wolfson points out in his report) two well intentioned families could not agree on the circumstances in which Terri existed and could not agree on the path to be taken. No matter what decision the court might have made there would be an equally compelling and vigorous challenge (and POV) to the contrary as there was in the event. Duckecho 16:25, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Only one family was well-intentioned. They were trying to protect her. The other "family" was the estranged husband who wanted her dead, who, at the time of her 1990 injury, she had wanted to divorce, who killed her cats and assaulted her siblings, who wanted "that bitch to die" (his words, according to sworn testimony), who refused her treatment for a painful and dangerous UTI, and who had been seeking to cause her death for more than a decade (the last 7 years of which by legal means). He testified under oath that he would not permit her family to care for her because they made him miserable. If Michael Schiavo was "well-intentioned" then you are the Pope, Duckecho. NCdave 13:49, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
For the record, I don't view patsw, or most others, as being in the extremist camp. And it these are views that I'd like to see brought into the article's mainstream. The vast majority of us desperately want as neutral and accurate an article as possible. That way, when one of the true extremists raises their head, we can respond as a community. Also, the group that defends the court's POV usually does so without regard to Michael's POV. Michael's POV is only relevant in that he happened to win. That said, of Patsw's three points:
  • Like Patsw, I am vehemently opposed to group #1. Hearsay has zero place in Wikipedia.
The only evidence of Terri's supposed desire to die was hearsay evidence (and it was 7-1/2 year belated hearsay testimony, which was colored by conflict of interest and contradictory to previous testimony of the same witness). Would you support removing that from the Wikipedia article? NCdave 13:49, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • With group #2, why is the onus for this on the editors defending the court's POV? I have suggested repeatedly that those that wish to see these types of items included are welcome to do so provided it is brief and properly referenced. Writing for the enemy is a fine idea. But why do I have both write for the enemy AND do hours of work to hit moving target?
  • How can we amateurs possibly establish Michael's, or anyone else's, credibility? We can't. That's the court's job. Therefore, lacking proper evidence, this becomes hearsay. The only midpoint that makes sense is where credibility has been questioned by reliable sources. Not blogs, etc. Then it could provide background, and would fall into the 2nd group.--ghost 17:34, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Autopsy results announced

I suggest we discuss here before someone enters text into the article. patsw 15:35, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I agree... no need to get into another edit war. --Lord Voldemort 15:37, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
What's the big deal? The only reason there would be an edit war is if someone insists on holding onto their conspiracy theories in the face of autopsy evidence. FuelWagon 15:41, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

yahoo news article

LARGO, Fla. - Terri Schiavo did not suffer any trauma prior to her 1990 collapse and her brain was about half of normal size when she died, according to results released Wednesday of an autopsy conducted on the severely brain-damaged woman.

Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin concluded that there was no evidence of strangulation or other trauma leading to her collapse. He also said she did not appear to have suffered a heart attack and there was no evidence that she was given harmful drugs or other substances prior to her death.

Autopsy results on the 41-year-old brain damaged woman were made public Wednesday, more than two months after Schiavo's death ended an internationally watched right-to-die battle that engulfed the courts, Congress and the White House and divided the country.

She died from dehydration, he said.

He said she would not have been able to eat or drink if she had been given food by mouth as her parents' requested.

"Removal of her feeding tube would have resulted in her death whether she was fed or hydrated by mouth or not," Thogmartin told reporters.

Thogmartin said that Schiavo's brain was about half of its expected size when she died March 31 in a Pinellas Park hospice, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed.

"The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain. ... This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons."

I've heard stuff from the press conference that sounds like Thogmartin was asked to speculate and he speculated. What should be entered into the article should not include his speculation but his findings. In terms of what was a surprise from the autopsy report, "she did not appear to have suffered a heart attack" is an example. patsw 15:50, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I haven't been able to read the PDF (although I've downloaded two versions of it; must be a local problem). I'd be interested in what the context of the "she did not appear to have suffered a heart attack" quote is. Lay people often interchange [[heart attack]] and cardiac arrest. They are not synonymous. If you're surprised at the quote because you're thinking of the initial medical crisis which included cardiac arrest, don't be, because the lack of heart attack doesn't rule out cardiac arrest. A heart attack (myocardial infarct) frequently leaves markers discernible at autopsy (and certainly in an EKG while the subject is alive). Evidence of a previous cardiac arrest may not. Duckecho 19:48, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
This Terri advocacy site has the pdf of the autopsy. patsw 15:57, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Some of the autopsy press accounts (including the one that was added to the article) are sloppily written. The report has conclusions about 1990, the period from 1990 through 2005, the time of her death, and speculation about her future medical condition in the event that she had not died from dehydration in March 2005. I see some accounts blended all these time frames together. patsw 16:26, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"the article should not include his speculation". The doctor who actually performed the autopsy, who actually examined the body, shouldn't speculate? That's convenient. I think there is a fundamental difference between some knucklehead watching TV and speculating what was wrong with Terri and the doctor who performed the autopsy speculating beyond the specifics of the autopsy. This is just attempting to keep the conspiracy theories alive. FuelWagon 18:04, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm making the distinction that you would make - what's actually in the report as opposed to a oral speculative comment made at the press conference in response to a reporter's question without a context for what time frame the answer relates to. My motivation is accuracy not "keeping conspiracy theories alive". patsw 20:53, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Autopsy results to be released today

Terri's autopsy report is to be released today. So now's the time to ask: Does anyone hear really believe that Terri's cerebral cortex was "missing" or "replaced by spinal fluid" or "scar tissue?" NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I doubt it. I think we all know that those claims by Felos/Cranford et al were just plain lies. The truth, as I think almost everyone here at least suspects, is that Terri's cerebral atrophy was moderately severe, but her cerebral cortex was far from "missing." As radiologist Thomas Boyle, M.D. (host of the award-winning CodeBlueBlog web site), who has interpreted over 10,000 brain CT scans, wrote, "I have seen many walking, talking, fairly coherent people with worse cerebral/cortical atrophy. Therefore, this is in no way prima facie evidence that Terri Schiavo's mental abilities or/or capabilities are completely eradicated. I cannot believe such testimony has been given on the basis of this scan." NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Ah, yes, the infinite, all-knowing, and wise (and fundamentally neutral) Dr. Boyle. Give me a break. The guy is a right wing nut job who has a blog that gets money for writing outrageous stuff like "why are all the Democrats in the US trying to MURDER Terri?" Yeah, there's a real winner. Go away. FuelWagon 18:44, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Good grief. Dr. Boyle is a highly respected and credentialed specialist, who agreed with every other radiologist that I know of who has offered an opinion about Terri's radiological studies (and their paucity), and whose conclusion that Terri's cerebral cortex was not "replaced by spinal fluid" or "missing" has now been confirmed by autopsy. He was justifiably outraged at the murder of an innocent, handicapped person, based on obviously false medical claims. That does not make him a "right wing nut job." NCdave 21:10, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Or is there someone here who will go out on a limb and predict that the autopsy report will say what Felos et al were claiming, that Terri in effect had no cerebral cortex? NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

If there is someone here who actually believes that Felos, Cranford et al were telling the truth, then I have a modest proposal for you. This is our opportunity to end the argument over Terri's condition, by finishing the argument over the veracity of the doctors chosen by Felos/M.Schiavo/Greer (who variously claimed that Terri was either probably or definitely in a PVS), vs. the veracity of the doctors chosen by the Schindlers and by the Florida DCF (who believed that Terri was at least minimally conscious). Here's my offer (good if any of the frequent pro-Michael contributors here will take me up on it BEFORE the autopsy results are released): NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • If the autopsy report indicates that Terri's cerebral cortex really was missing, then I will cease arguing that she wasn't in a PVS. NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"I will cease arguing" Oh, if only that were true, it would be a happy day, indeed. FuelWagon
Of course, the autopsy showed that her cerebral cortex was not missing. NCdave 21:11, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
And of course, I knew you will never cease arguing until this article says the "truth" about the Felos propaganda machine, the murder attempts by Michael, and the coverup by Greer. So, we're back where we started, aren't we. FuelWagon 22:15, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • But if the autopsy report indicates that Terri had significant remaining cerebral cortex, then y'all will cease arguing that she was in a PVS, and will concede that Felos and his hand-picked doctors (who claimed she had no cerebral cortex) were not credible, and will support changing the article to say that Terri "was variously diagnosed as either 'minimally conscious' or 'vegetative.'" NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

FuelWagon? Neutrality? Duckecho? Grace note? Astanhope? Preisler? Mike H? Lankiveil? SS451? Anybody? Who'll take me up on it? NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Neutrality said, "That Schiavo's cerebral cortex is destroyed and replaced by spinal fluid is a medical fact." If you really believe that, then now's your chance to shut me up about Terri's condition! How about it? NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

SS451 said, "Added information about Schiavo's loss of cerebral cortex--I've heard no dispute over that." Do you really believe it, SS451? NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

My prediction is that none of the M.Schiavo supporters here really believes that Terri had no cerebral cortex, at least not with sufficient certainty to "put their money where their mouths are." I predict that no one here really believes that the M.Schiavo legal/medical team was trustworthy and telling the truth about Terri's condition, and no one here really believes that Terri had no cerebral cortex, and so none of you will say "yes" to this offer. NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Prove me wrong, please! NCdave 15:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Whoops, the autopsy was released before I finished typing, and Patsw was apparently editing while I was editing, and posted first. Oh, well. NCdave 20:08, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Well, you're wrong. Terri's brain was half the weight of a normal brain. Her cerebral cortex really was gone. Your accusations that Felos rigged the CT image is a crock. The coroner said Terri was BLIND, which means that video tape by the Schindlers where it APPEARS that Terri is looking at her mother REALLY WAS just random motions in Terri's body that synced up with the location of her mother. The only way for you to continue your asinine behaviour on this page would require that you include the coroner on the massive conspiracy. Perhaps he was paid by Felos and Greer? FuelWagon 18:44, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Duck, who said below that "Whether there was no cerebral cortex or not really was never the issue," however the fact of the matter is that Wagon, is that Terri DID have cerebral cortex, which is distinct and different from the cerebrum, brain stem, or cerebellum. See e.g., page 13 of 39 of the autopsy report. Even the abstract appeal lawyer admits that Terri was " the point where much if not most of her cerebral cortex (the portion of the brain that controls conscious thought, among other things) was literally gone, replaced by spinal fluid." [] (2nd sentence, 5th paragraph, under the "Overview" heading) Thus, you are wrong to claim that "Her cerebral cortex really was gone." The cortex is merely the outer layer.--GordonWattsDotCom 12:35, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Half the weight of a normal brain is not "gone," of course.
Stop putting words in my mouth. I never said that Felos "rigged" the CT image. I said that he selected one shallow slice from the CT scan, to maximize the apparent atrophy. Then he compounded the sin by juxtaposing that carefully selected slice with a much deeper slice from a normal brain to exaggerate the apparent difference. It was a grossly dishonest propaganda stunt. NCdave 21:20, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The fact is well-known that Terri was partially (but not completely) blind. There was no mistaking the fact that she turned and looked at people, tracked moving objects with her eyes, and recognized and responded to family members. When Dr. Cheshire (of the Florida DCF) first met her, she turned and looked at him, and maintained eye contact for about 30 seconds. If the autopsy report actually says that she was completely blind, then that is a plain error. But my guess is that the press misreported a statement about her being partially blind or legally blind or some such thing. NCdave 21:20, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You are mindless, you know that? You will ignore anything that disagrees with what you want to believe. I'm in the process of reading the autopsy report and found an interesting footnote on page 16 of 39: FuelWagon 22:20, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Brain weight is an important index of its pathological state. Brain weight is correlated with height, weight, age, and sex. The decedent’s brain was grossly abnormal and weighed only 615 grams. That weight is less than half of the expected tabular weight for a decedent of her adult age of 41 years. 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 vegetative state.
Actually, 615 grams is just about exactly half of average for an adult female, but it is substantially more than half of the lower end of the "normal" range of brain weights for adult females at time of death.
This large study found that the average brain weight for adult females was 1198 grams at time of death. this smaller study found that the average brain weight for adult females at time of death was 1204.76 grams, +/- 123.92 grams (I'm guessing that's the standard deviation), with a range of 890-1550 grams. Although 615 grams is only 51% of 1198, 615 grams is 69% of the lower end of that range (890 grams), and 57% of 1081 (which is 1204.76-123.92).
The studies also found that brain weight is positively correlated with body size (Terri was very petite, which would lead one to expect a smaller than average brain mass), and negatively correlated with age (Terri was much younger than a typical decedent, which would lead one to expect a larger than average brain mass). NCdave 22:06, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It's simply amazing. The years of training it took you to be able to look at any document and selectively pick and choose the words you want to read is truly fascinating. It's like watching a master jedi lift an x-wing fighter. Yes, Terri's brain was 615 grams, about half the normal mass for her age/gender/weight/etc. That you could read those words and yet somehow miss the words immediately after that said many sections contained no neurons is truly an indication of your level of training. you are a master and none can defeat your version of reality (because you get to completely make it up in your head). FuelWagon 22:14, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I know that the fact that Terri's brain atrophy was not what Felos/Cranford claimed, and the fact that Thogmartin & Nelson refused to offer an opinion about whether she was vegetative or conscious, must be very discomforting to you, but those are the facts, nevertheless. Here are some excerpts for you, from the autopsy report:
"The changes seen ... were most severe in the occipital lobes, with relative preservation of the frontal and temporal lobes. There was a readily discernible and noteworthy gradient loss when moving from the anterior to the posterior regions. ... The frontal and temporal poles and insular cortex demonstrated relative preservation...
"The persistent vegetative state and minimally conscious state, are clinical diagnoses, not pathologic ones. ... Neuropathologic examination alone of the decedent's brain - or any brain, for that matter - cannot prove or disprove a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state or minimally conscious state."
It is worth noting that the worst damage was to her occipital lobes, damage so severe that Thogmartin concluded that she must have been blind, yet there is incontrovertible videotaped proof and overwhelming eyewitness support for the fact that she was only partially blind -- and now we know that the areas of her brain responsible for cognition were in much better shape. NCdave 22:51, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Where "incontrovertible" means "4.5 hours of random motions edited down to 4.5 minutes of actions that would make even a Ouija board look like it works". Please. FuelWagon 23:40, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Whether there was no cerebral cortex or not really was never the issue. That she was in a persistent vegetative state was the issue. That you would argue that one point in the face of all of the following evidence from the autopsy report serves to illustrate why your theories have met with so very little support. -Duckecho
Say WHAT?? Thogmartin offered no opinion about whether or not Terri was in a PVS. But the Felos/Cranford/etc. claim that Terri had no cerebral cortex, and the fact that their claim was a lie, is very important, for two reasons:
1) It proves that Cranford, Felos, are untrustworthy. They were flat-out lying when they claimed that she had no cerebral cortex. They had the CT scan (the one that they released one carefully select slice from), and they knew better. They are liars, and nothing they say can be trusted. It is now proven that they lied about that to justify ending Terri's life, so it there is no reason to say that anything else they said for that purpose was true.
2) It demolishes one of their key arguments. They argued (and their supporters argued here on Wikipedia) that it was impossible that Terri could be helped by rehabilitative therapy or other treatments, because she had no cerebral cortex.
But there's a world of difference between 50% and 0%. Many people get along remarkably well with only 50% of their brain intact (Christina Santhouse,for example). (I'll refrain from making political jokes.) Some people even get along with much less than 50%, in fact.[1]
The fact that Terri's brain was 50% intact means that, contrary to what Felos/Cranford/M.Schiavo claimed, it was reasonable to hope that she could be helped by therapy. NCdave 20:43, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Terri Schiavo did not suffer any trauma prior to her 1990 collapse. -Duckecho
The radiological evidence from her bone scan (I think it was in 1991) showed that she did suffer numerous traumas. The argument wasn't over whether or not she had such traumas, it was over when and how. The autopsy could not possibly have determined whether the traumas observed 14 years ago occurred before or after her 1990 injury. However, in 14 years cracked and bruised bones do heal. According to an April article, "Schiavo's husband has denied harming his wife. His lawyer said the fractures resulted from osteoporosis caused by the woman's years of immobility and complications of her medication."[2] Of course, there had been only about one year of immobility (not "years") when the bone scan was done. Fifteen years of bedrest is terrible for the bones, but she should have been on a bisphosphonate to forestall osteoporosis. NCdave 20:43, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • there was no evidence of strangulation or other trauma leading to her collapse. -Duckecho
Thogmartin said that he could not determine the cause of her collapse. That is consistent with what I've been repeatedly lambasted for saying here on Wikipedia.
  • "Thogmartin said the investigation was unable to determine what caused Schiavo's collapse." [3]
When I put into the article that the cause of her collapse was undetermined, I got blasted for "POV-pushing." I await the apologies. NCdave 20:43, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • there was no evidence that she was given harmful drugs or other substances prior to her death.
  • she would not have been able to eat or drink if she had been given food by mouth as her parents' requested.
  • Removal of her feeding tube would have resulted in her death whether she was fed or hydrated by mouth or not. -Duckecho
The question of whether or not Terri could have been sustained by natural feeding will forever remain a matter of speculation. It could have been settled if the Greer/Felos/M.Schiavo had permitted the swallowing tests and therapy that at least three speech pathologists (the experts on such matters) and the GAL all recommended. From the FoxNews article, it appears that Thogmartin was baited into commenting on her swallowing ability in response to a reporter's question, the article doesn't say whether the autopsy report has anything to say about it. A coroner is not well qualified to engage in such speculation, certainly not as well qualified as a speech pathologist. The fact that she could and did eat Jell-O and take Holy Communion suggests that Thogmartin might have been wrong about that. NCdave 20:45, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The report does make the conclusion on page 34 that she could not have been nourished by mouth. Posted below -O^O
Could Mrs. Schiavo eat by mouth? The neuropathologic findings, oropharyngeal anatomic findings, and medical records clearly indicate that Mrs. Schiavo would not have been able to consume sustenance safely and/or in sufficient quantity by mouth. In fact, the records and findings are such that oral feedings in quantities sufficient to sustain life would have certainly resulted in aspiration. Swallowing evaluations and speech pathology evaluations repeatedly record that Mrs. Schiavo was a high risk for aspiration and not a candidate for oral nutrition/hydration. Although in her early rehabilitation, she received speech pathology services, she was later repeatedly evaluated and determined not to be a candidate for speechldysphagia therapy. According to medical records, she had been treated in the past for aspiration pneumonia. Thus, Mrs. Schiavo was dependent on nutrition and hydration via her feeding tube. Claims from caregivers of past oral feedings are remarkable, and, based on the autopsy findings and medical records, these feedings were potentially harmful or, at least, extremely dangerous to Mrs. Schiavo's health and welfare. Mrs. Schiavo's postmortem lung examination had findings that could be considered consistent with aspiration of secretions; however, her decline and dehydration over almost 2 weeks could also have played a role in these findings.
  • This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons. -Duckecho
No one has ever suggested that she could have fully recovered. That's a strawman. But many doctors said that she could be helped, and could improve with therapy. The fact that Thogmartin found that her brain was 50% intact supports that possibility. Felos/Cranford/M.Schiavo (and their supporters here) said that such improvement was impossible because she had no cerebral cortex. I said that was nonsense, which the autopsy report has now confirmed. NCdave 20:50, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

<a name="atrophydef">

Read the autopsy report. He didn't say the brain was 50% intact. The mass of the brain was about 50% of normal, but it, too, was atrophied. Duckecho 05:07, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"It, too, was atrophied?" Duckecho, you misunderstand what the word atrophied means. It simply means diminished in size - in this case, by about 50%[4][5][6]
Ha, ha, ha. How very clever of you. You neglected to cite the very first words of the definition of atrophy in all three of your sources: "...wasting away." That's not simply diminished in size, that's another process entirely. Duckecho 11:44, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No, it does simply mean diminished in size. You seem to be confused about the definition of "wasting," too, Duckecho. It simply means shrinking, decreasing in mass.
  • Atrophy: Wasting away or diminution. Muscle atrophy is wasting of muscle, decrease in muscle mass. A nerve can also show atrophy. For example, atrophy of the optic nerve diminishes vision.[7]
  • Wasting: 1. Gradual loss (for example, of weight), deterioration, emaciation. As in a wasting disease. 2.(inapplicable)[8]
Terri had about 50% overall brain atrophy, which was not severe enough to prove that she could not have been conscious. NCdave 19:21, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
However, the atrophy to the frontal lobes of her cerebral cortex was less than that. The report says that the frontal areas were relatively preserved. That means that Felos/Cranford/etc. were lying when they claimed that the CT scan (from which they only released one shallow slice) showed that she had no remaining cerebral cortex. It also means that she very well could have been conscious, and that her family's hope that she could have been helped with appropriate treatment and therapy was not unreasonable. NCdave 10:31, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
These are all definitive rebuttals of the many claims you have made. Please just stop. Duckecho 16:02, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Rubbish. The only thing on that list that resembles a "rebuttal" of any "claim" I have made was his opinion, stated to reporters, that she could not have been sustained with oral food and hydration. I said it was undetermined; he thinks that she could not have. But let's see if he was sure enough of that opinion to put it into the autopsy report. The weight of her brain is something that a coroner can determine with certainty, her level of impairment with half a brain is not. NCdave 20:50, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Oops, caught you not having read the autopsy report. He absolutely did say she absolutely could not have been sustained with oral food and hydration. When's your report coming out? Duckecho 05:07, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
One thing the autopsy absolutely proves is that Felos, Cranford, et al were flat-out lying when they claimed that Terri had no cerebral cortex. But we all already knew that, didn't we? NCdave 20:50, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'd be willing to take you up on that. Terri Schiavo no longer had a functioning cerebral cortex. Not every neuron was removed, but the conclusion that the functionality of that brain region was destroyed can be made with confidence beyond any reasonable doubt. -L33tminion
Most of the human brain is cerebral cortex. She had about 50% of the brain mass of a normal adult. 100-50=50. That means that half of her brain was not destroyed. Lots of people function reasonably well with less. NCdave 20:50, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I do think M. Schiavo's legal and medical team were trustworthy. I also think that all doctors involved in this case were making honest efforts to correctly diagnose Terri's condition. -L33tminion
You know that she had only 50% atrophy, and you know that Felos/Cranford/etc. had CT scans showing them that fact, and you know they nevertheless claimed she had no remaining cerebral cortex -- a flat-out lie. That's proof positive that they were dishonest. NCdave 20:50, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You haven't read the autopsy report. It does not say she had 50% atrophy. She had severe atrophy. She only had half the normal brain mass, but it, too, was atrophied. -Duckecho
"She only had half the normal brain mass, but it, too, was atrophied?" Duckecho, you misunderstand what the word atrophy means. It does not mean sick or dysfunctional or something. It simply means diminished in size.[9][10] In this case, it was diminished in size by about 50%.
However, the atrophy to the frontal lobes of her cerebral cortex (the centers of reasoning) was less than that. The report says that the frontal areas were relatively preserved. Felos/Cranford/et al lied when they claimed that the CT scan showed she had no remaining cerebral cortex. The state of her cerebral cortex was such that she very well could have been conscious. Hence Thogmartin's agnosticism on the question of whether she was conscious or vegetative. NCdave 10:31, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
So, let's see, you claimed that the 1991 bone scan proved that Michael abused Terri, and we now know that the autopsy report thoroughly debunked that report. That's proof positive that you are dishonest. Duckecho 05:07, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Duckecho, please don't make up things and attribute them to me. I never said that the 1991 bone scan proved that Michael abused Terri. What it proved was that she had multiple traumatic injuries. The most likely explanation is assault, and Michael is the obvious suspect, but there is no way to tell with certainty from the bone scan who assaulted her. The autopsy report doesn't in any way debunk that. Bones heal, and 14 years is plenty for those injuries to heal. The fact that those injuries were no longer apparent by the time of Terri's death is not surprising.
And please cease your personal attacks. NCdave 10:31, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
All the autopsy reports I've seen say nothing about the cerebral cortex specifically because that information was already obviously clear from brain scans taken well before Terri was dead. However, the autopsy also weighed and measured Terri's brain and found that it was only half the size and mass of a normal human brain. If someone is missing half of their brain, the chance of them remaining conscious seems just about nil. As Dr. Stephen Nelson, an examiner present at the autopsy, said, "There's nothing in her autopsy report that is inconsistent with a persistent vegetative state." --L33tminion (talk) 17:00, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)
Nor is there any proof that she was in a persistent vegetative state, because, as almost any doctor knows, 50% atrophy does not mean that a person cannot be conscious.
Lots of folks function quite well with half a brain, or less. That's why Cranford/Felos et al lied, and claimed that Terri had no cerebral cortex: because every doctor is aware of cases like Christina Santhouse, and most have heard of much more severe cases. NCdave 21:00, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I can tell by the above that you have not read the autopsy report. First, Terri Schiavo did not have half a brain. The mass of brain tissue that she had remaining was less than half of a normal adult of her age, but I'm not saying that to quibble over half or less than half. The half that was left was also severely atrophied. There were few neurons left. She was unable to do the things that we said she was unable to do, whether it was half a brain, less than half a brain, or no cortex at all. She didn't have the brain power to do them. Duckecho 05:07, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"The half that was left was also severely atrophied." Duckecho, you misunderstand what the word atrophied means. It does not mean sick or dysfunctional or something. It simply means diminished in size.[11][12] It is nonsensical to say that "the half that was left was also severely atrophied." -NCdave
As for your Christina Santhouse (I don't know whether she's the apples or the oranges in your argument) example, there are a number of differences, but the principle one is that the removal of the hemisphere was done when she was a child and she was able to compensate. The article that I looked at cited doctors as saying that couldn't be done as an adult. Duckecho 05:07, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Ahad Israfil was 14 when he lost half his brain. Still younger than Terri, but close to adulthood. Look at the Ripley's picture! NCdave 10:31, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
John Lorber? Well, I looked all through that search for something remotely resembling a legitimate source of information and couldn't find one. I did read the article from the alternative science website but couldn't stop laughing once I got to the part about someone living a regular life with 1mm of brain tissue atop the spinal cord. I couldn't finish the article. Duckecho 05:07, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The Google search link I posted yields "about 456" hits. The second one was a reprint of a 1983 Science Digest article. How did you reach the conclusion that that publication and all the others are all "illegitimate?"
I don't think Science Digest is still being published, and I know it didn't have the depth and rigor of, for example, Scientific American, but Science Digest was a reputable magazine, and I've never before heard it described as "illegitimate."
The reason I posted Google links for these was prevent the inevitable ad hominem attacks, by giving too many sources to dismiss. But I guess 456 wasn't enough.
Anyhow, the Science Digest article is very short, so here it is:
By Paul Pietsch
This article originally appeared in Science Digest, October 1983 (vol. 91 No. 10)
Anatomy textbooks contain detailed maps of "normal" human brain function. Sight, we are told, resides in one region, hearing in another. But one fascinating patient who was referred to the eminent British neurologist John Lorber demonstrates that there are exceptions to every rule.
Lorber, who specializes in birth defects caused by fluid buildup within the interior of the brain, tells of a 26 year- old man referred to him for a brain scan. Ordinarily, the walls of the cerebrum are 45 millimeters thick. This man's cerebrum had been squashed by fluid pressure--a condition known as hydrocephalus--to a thickness of less than one millimeter.
That Lorber's patient was alive at all seems incredible. But he was socially normal, had an IQ of 126 and had earned a first class honors degree in mathematics. His relative lack of gray matter had not apparently affected his intelligence. How could this possibly be? If the way the brain functions is similar to the way a hologram functions, that one-millimeter sliver might suffice. Certain holograms can be smashed to bits, and each remaining piece can reproduce the whole message. A tiny fragment of this page, in contrast, tells little about the whole story.
Observations such as Lorber's suggest that input- output functions of different parts of the brain can be shifted and that there's a great deal of functional plasticity in it. Indeed, in recent years, plasticity has become a major topic among neuroscientists. That valid maps exist at all--and they do--suggests that there is a strong tendency as we mature for certain regions to assume particular chores. But that a brain one millimeter thick functions as well as its 45- millimeter counterpart illustrates that these tendencies are not etched in stone.
NCdave 20:00, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Oh, man, now that is funny. Anytime someone starts talking holograms, it's a good bet that someone is talking out their posterior. Now why in the heck did the autopsy fail to mention holograms??? Gee, you'd think they should have picked up on that important connection. FuelWagon 21:36, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
NCdave, did it ever occur to you that you are fishing for the testimony you want? Ya know, those guys that autopsied Terri weren't exactly plumbers or car mechanics. I'm not sure, but I think they might have actually been doctors under those greasy coveralls they were wearing at the news conference. (you know, the one that had "Thogmartin" embroidered above the pocket). I mean, they LOOKED like grease monkeys and idiots, but I think they were just having a joke with you. I'd be willing to bet that they actually knew a lot more about Terri's physical condition than any doctor you can fish out of google. Ya see, it was an april fools joke they were pulling and apparently you fell for it. And the said terri wouldn't have been able to respond. So, rather than going fishing for stories of wild speculation and doing your own medical research and brain diagnoses, why don't we just go with the doctors who actually EXAMINED Terri's brain. Yeah, I think that would be a good approach. FuelWagon 21:44, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
So,...why don't we just go with the doctors who actually EXAMINED Terri's brain. Yeah, I think that would be a good approach. Yeah, we can really trust all doctors. So, I guess we must trust Dr. Josef Mengele. Now that is REALLY funny! Did you know that: "Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death," said Leventhal, a Denver native with a reputation as one the best medical malpractice attorneys in the country. Leventhal is this year's winner for Best of the Bar in the medical malpractice/plaintiff category. [13] cached at: [14] OK, maybe it's not the third, but surely it is ranked highly as a cause of death: [15] [16] [17] ...yeah, I can see why I laughed the first time you said we out to just trust those doctors.--GordonWattsDotCom 15:26, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I have nothing constructive to say here, I just wanted to point out that I think Gordon just Godwin-ed this conversation. Fox1 15:52, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That is not necessarily true: I was not evoking the "evil" of the good Doctor Mengele, only his apparent lack of medical qualifications. Even as Godwin's_Law#Notes indicates: "Frequently, a reference to Hitler is used as an evocation of evil," I think you may have made an apples and oranges comparison. Or maybe you were just unable to make a good counter argument. Hey! Ghost made a good counterargument below, and challenged me to offer an alternative. Well, I will have to admit, this one is tougher, but let me try: If a doctor says something, give him (or her) credibility, but still accept it with a grain of salt. By the way, since I cited studies proving doctors sometimes screw up, Godwin's Law isn't applicable, because, after all, "...sometimes using Hitler or the Nazis is a perfectly apt way of making a point." Godwin's_Law#Objections_and_counter-arguments GordonWattsDotCom I will admit, though, I should have known better, and DUCK is right: I DO frequently mention Dred Scott --because I got whacked once before about Godwin's law, and sought to use a "more creative" way of explaining myself. "I have nothing constructive to say here, I just wanted to..." Now, careful with statements like that, or someone just might agree with you, ... just kidding; I wouldn't do that!--GordonWattsDotCom 18:01, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"Guy's corollary - If a Usenet discussion mentions Godwin's law as a counter-rebuttal to a mention of Hitler/Nazis, then the chance of Godwin's law being disputed is equal to one." Godwin's_Law#Other_laws_and_corollaries Consider this my counter-rebuttal. Watts' Theorem aka "The Gordon Rule" --GordonWattsDotCom 18:01, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Ha, ha, ha. I thought exactly the same thing when I read that. Actually, it's his second offense. He periodically brings up Dred Scott, too, an equally viable case for Godwinism. We needed that lift, Fox. Duckecho 16:49, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Given, Gordon. By contrast, I'm a former Tyco employee. And based on my experiences there, I can attest to the adage: "There are lies, damn lies and then there's statistics." LOL. But in seriousness, if you're undermine a standard of truth, you need to suggest an alternative. Don't leave us hanging on, waiting for one. :-] --ghost 15:46, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
FuelWagon, please try to be serious. Your friend Duckecho had apparently not heard of Lobner, so he automatically dismissed all 456 of the Google-reported web pages about Lobner and his work as illegitimate. The second of those 456 Google hits was a Science Digest article, which I suspect you realize is a legitimate and credible source. (Or perhaps you are not old enough to remember Science Digest, but I know that Duckecho is.)
If you have any reason to believe that "eminent British neurologist John Lorber" was not well-respected in his field, or that the cases he reported were not just as he reported them, then please share that information. Otherwise, the continual unsupported argumentum ad hominem grows tiresome. NCdave 22:25, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm amazed. You're doing right f'ng now. this very moment, I am watching a master in action. Actually, this is even better than selectively ignoring facts, this is preemptively creating stuff. I never said anything to the effect of "Lorber was not well-respected". Not one jot. Not one snausage. But your jedi-like powers are able to manifest that into reality from nothing. It's like watching gandalf create light from darkness. What I did say, and you were successfully able to ignore, was that Lorber is irrelevant. You're doing independent research saying that Lorber's findings have anything to do with Terri Schiavo. You've manifested yourself a degree in neurology to be able to make some sort of 'expert testimony' that Lorber's patient has anything at all to do with Terri Schiavo. It doesn't. But I'm debating a master, and my guess is you will manage to ignore my words (even though I bolded/italicized some) and invent something else to respond to that I never even said. Really, I am in awe. You're like Keanu Reeves in "the matrix" when he's doing bullet time moves. You are the chosen one. Here, have a cookie. FuelWagon 22:37, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Sorry if I didn't make it clear what the point was of mentioning Dr. Lorber's work. The point is to demonstrate that mere 50% brain atrophy does not make a person a vegetable. Dr. Lorber treated and studied hundreds of patients with far more severe brain atrophy than that, many of whom exhibited little or no apparent neurological impairment. In fact, many of them exhibited above average intelligence -- despite having much less brain mass than Terri had. That's why Lorber is relevant.
That's also presumably why Drs. Thogmartin and Nelson did not say that Terri was in a PVS: Terri's brain, though severely abnormal, nevertheless was sufficiently intact, particularly in the frontal areas, to make consciousness very plausible.
But tell me, Fuelwagon, if you did not mean to ridicule Lorber and his work, then what was your point when you wrote, "Oh, man, now that is funny. Anytime someone starts talking holograms, it's a good bet that someone is talking out their posterior"?
It sounded to me like you were ridiculing the article's description of Dr. Lorber's findings. I'm glad that was not your intent, but, then, what was your point?
Do you admit or dispute that Dr. Lorber studied patients who had less than 10% of a typical person's brain mass, yet exhibited above-average intelligence? NCdave 04:08, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I neither admit, nor dispute anything about Lorber's credentials. HE IS IRRELEVANT. None of the key players mention Lorber, so this is you as an editor making a comparison that the Schindlers et al never made. You are bringing in irrelevant information. He could have powers to reanimate dead tissue, but as far as I can tell, NO ONE BUT YOU mentioned him, and none of the actual players mentioned him, therefore he is OUT of the article. FuelWagon 05:10, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The section on the autopsy is not a section for arguing for or against the credibility of the litigants. patsw 17:07, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Correct. Unfortunately, NCdave's behavior is consistent with someone who is baiting for a fight, for no other purpose than to get attention. It's kinda sad. This is how he seems to choose to make him feel better about himself.--ghost 17:17, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I started this section, with a prediction that the autopsy report would show that Felos/Cranford et al blatantly misrepresented Terri's condition. I didn't realize that it was being released as I was typing, but that is the topic of this section, and the autopsy report does prove that Felos/Cranford/etc. lied about Terri's condition. NCdave 21:00, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Took the coroner long enough didn't it? I'm not glad that Schiavo suffered so much damage, but I do hope the findings of the autopsy put all this nastiness to rest once and for all. Wjbean
The autopsy was conducted in early April, I believe. There are probably legal and procedural reasons for why the results were not released until today. Khanartist 17:24, 2005 Jun 15 (UTC)
If I'm not mistaken, the delay was at the request of Michael Schiavo.--ghost 17:38, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The autopsy report includes many subreports from various specialists and laboratories. The subreport from the neuropathologist wasn't finished until June 8th. The coroner wrote his summary on June 13th, and it was released two days later. Blame the day on the neuropathologist, who wrote a detailed nine page summary with fourteen references. -O^O

The autopsy has an internal inconsistency: "complications of anoxic encephopathy" (i.e. loss of oxygen to the brain) on one page and on another page "dehydration". I guess we get to pick apart what "mechanism of death" and "cause" mean and why they are not one and the same. patsw 17:40, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This is my understanding of the legal distinctions:
Cause of Death = the underlying injury or disease that ultimately led to death.
Manner of Death = Natural, Suicide, Homicide, Accident, Unknown.
Mechanism of Death = the actual biological or chemical process that led to death.
Hope this helps -O^O

Suggestions on Wording

  • Add "(loss of oxygen to the brain)" to Anoxic Encephalopathy
  • Remove "The only medical evidence..." -- here the autopsy report is talking about what they didn't find, or neutrally reword it to "No evidence was found to indicate an eating disorder". patsw 18:09, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I wouldn't say "No evidence was found" because there was some, it was just minor. Her post-resuscitation potassium level and history of remote weight loss appear to be the only evidence that indicate that she may have had some type of eating disorder. -O^O 18:20, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That wasn't a finding of the autopsy, it was to explain why among all the possible things they didn't find, they mention they sought but didn't find evidence of an eating disorder in the autopsy. The same reasoning could be applied to say, for example, there was 'just minor' evidence of strangulation, namely it provides another explanation for the undisputed loss of oxygen to the brain. patsw 19:20, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm taking a break for a few hours to let the page solidify. You should make your changes if you think the improve the article, after all, everyone is an editor here. I think that maybe we are trying to say different things. The coroner’s report summarizes both the autopsy itself, as well as her complete medical record. It is correct to say that no evidence whatsoever of an eating disorder or strangulation were found in the autopsy itself.
However, looking at the report, we can see how the coroner treats the two separate questions. He does mention that her medical record gives very weak support to the idea that she had an eating disorder, with the only evidence being the potassium level and history of weight loss. He seems to basically reject the eating disorder, but he does make a point of mentioning the above evidence, and to point out that it is weak.
For strangulation, he makes a stronger case for the answer being "no". He points to all the examinations and radiographs that were done immediately after her collapse, and points out that they found nothing. He also points out that the autopsy would be unlikely to find anything this far down the line.
So, I guess my point is, you could honestly say that the "autopsy" found no evidence of either. But when you read the complete report, he seems to give a more resounding "no" to strangulation than he does to bulimia. However, even the bulimia he seems very reluctant to accept. -O^O 19:40, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

NCdave thrashing the talk page

Cripes. NCdave is in his death throes over this autopsy report, and has vomited up just about every old conspiracy theory he's come up with since this whole thing started. Can we start deleting his crap on sight? Give him a sub-page to rant on? It is impossible to get anything productive done when he's dumped a bucket of crap on the talk page and I can't read anything by any of the real, working editors. FuelWagon 22:35, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It's pretty obvious that he won't accept any evidence that doesn't support his POV, isn't it? -- ChrisO 22:51, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, but it don't make it any easier having to put up with his asinine self. FuelWagon 23:12, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Your personal attacks are in violation of Wikipedia policy, and your discomfort with the facts that I post does not make them less factual.
You may not like the fact that Michael Schiavo took nearly 8 years to "remember" that Terri had expressed a preference for death, but it is undisputedably true.
You may not like the facts that four independent witnesses contradicted that recollection in sworn testimony or affidavits, and that his belated recollection was inconsistent even with his own 1992 sworn testimony, but that is true, too.
You may not like the fact that GAL Pearse concluded Michael Schiavo's belated recollection was not credible, but that is also true.
You may not like the fact that dozens of unbiased doctors disputed the correctness of the PVS diagnosis which Felos/Greer/Cranford advanced, but they did.
I do not seek to censor you. I do not trash you or call you names. I seek only to make the article truthful and balanced. Right now it is grossly inaccurate and massively biased.
If you think that something I have written is in error, please feel free to identify the mistake. But please hold the insults, and refrain from advocating the censorship of those with whom you disagree. NCdave 06:31, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Cardiac arrest

For everyone's reference, here are the definitions:
  • cardiac arrest. n. Sudden cessation of heartbeat and cardiac function, resulting in the loss of effective circulation.[18]
  • heart attack. n. Sudden interruption or insufficiency of the supply of blood to the heart, typically resulting from occlusion or obstruction of a coronary artery and often characterized by severe chest pain. Also called myocardial infarction.[19]
  • myocardial infarction. n. abbr. MI See heart attack.[20]
NCdave 21:42, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

At least twice in her life she had a heart stoppage which is called Cardiac arrest, and this is sometimes also called a "heart attack" by nondoctors. The first time may have been due to throwing up or caffeine. The second time was caused by lack of water. Both times damaged her brain to the point of some thinking she was legally brain dead. The second time, keeping the body alive in spite of being brain dead was not done 20:34, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)\

Do you have a cite for that? The autopsy found no evidence of it. patsw 21:00, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC) is exactly right. No cite needed. His (or her) statement is based on Terri's well documented history. He's saying the first cardiac arrest was when she collapsed in 1990. The second cardiac arrest was on 30 March when she died. He (or she) just sort of went around the horn to state it. Evidence of the first arrest is in the Humana Hospital Discharge Summary. Evidence of the second arrest is that an autopsy was performed. They don't autopsy live people. Duckecho 00:14, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Patsw meant that the autopsy found no evidence that she ever went into cardiac arrest prior to her death. I.e., there was no sign of a cardiac arrest in 1990. NCdave 07:22, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
God, you still haven't read that report, have you? It said no such thing. It said there was no evidence of myocardial infarct (heart attack). Cardiac arrest is not the same thing. No wonder all of this is so hard for you. And, no, Patsw did mean heart attack. He demonstrated several times that he was as confused about it as you are. Duckecho 07:43, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The brain damage is from lack of oxygen to the brain. The lack of oxygen is from a lack of blood flow. The lack of blood flow is from the heart stopping. Read up on the relevant nouns and verbs. Its like a set of dominoes falling with one causing the other. 21:21, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Also exactly right. Duckecho 00:14, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC), it was never established that the lack of oxygen was from a lack of blood flow. It could also have been due to asphyxiation.
It also is not necessarily true that a lack of blood flow to the brain is caused by the heart stopping. Terri's heart was beating (with some irregularity) when paramedics arrived. A lack of blood flow to the brain can also be caused by compression of the carotid artery, as in a police-style chokehold. Damage to the brain, in turn, can cause an irregular heartbeat.
If you accept the M.Schiavo/Felos POV, that Terri's heart stopped beating, which, in turn, caused her brain damage, then you should ask yourself what caused it to start beating again, after having been stopped for so many minutes? After all, we know that Michael, though he was trained in CPR, did not administer CPR. He left her lying facedown on the floor, which is how paramedics found her.
So which possibility do you suppose it was:
  • Either her heart never stopped beating, and her brain's oxygen deprivation was caused by something else, such as asphyxiation, or compression of the carotid artery,
  • or else (due to low potassium) her heart spontaneously stopped for a prolonged period of time (at least four minutes), but then, after her brain had been very seriously damaged, her heart spontaneously started up again.
So, and Duckecho, do you understand why Drs. Thogmartin and Hammesfahr have doubts about the low potassium explanation?
Unlike those doctors, you two are sure that is the correct explanation. So please tell me, what do you think caused her heart to restart, after being stopped for so long? NCdave 07:22, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
4.250.l98.67 your speculation about "may have been due to" isn't part of the record -- But since it is a obviously biased statement in favor of Michael's POV, you have found a cheerleader in Duckecho and perhaps the others who are determined to introduce that POV to the article. If you have a cite that she was medically determined to be "brain dead" in February 1990, that would be useful to add here. patsw 12:50, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Whoopsie. Let's not paint me with that brush. Although I may not have been as clear as I could have been, I was referring to the instances of cardiac arrest as being correct. I don't and haven't ever used or countenanced the phrase brain dead. And I wasn't rising in support of the may have been, either. Duckecho 13:15, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"Her cardiac arrest was a consequence and not a cause of the loss of oxygen to the brain." Your edit summary. You couldn't have it more backwards. Cardiac arrest is a stopping of the heart. When the heart stops, the blood flow stops. When the blood flow stops, oxygen isn't carried to vital organs, such as the brain. What caused the heart to stop is the hypokalemia (low potassium). What isn't known is how the potassium level got to be that way. Duckecho 13:15, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Thogmartin found that (low potassium) explanation unpersuasive. He agreed with Dr. Hammesfahr than the low potassium reading could have been due to the treatment she received after her collapse.
What caused the brain damage was a lack of oxygen. That much is undisputed. But there are quite a few ways that her brain could have been deprived of O2. NCdave 06:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Except that cardiac arrest is undisputed. Well, except maybe by the world's authority on Terri Schiavo's murder, which would Duckecho 07:34, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

One explanation is a heart stoppage, that isn't the only explanation, and there was no evidence of full cardiac arrest. NCdave 06:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I can't wait to hear this. Only you would attempt to claim that there was no evidence of full cardiac arrest. First you should read up on cardiac arrest. You won't, because you know everything. For the real world, among the symptoms of cardiac arrest, however, is ventricular fibrillation detectable by lack of pulse. You'll probably claim there was no evidence of defibrillation which obviously is evidence of cardiac arrest (since there is no circulation in v-fib). But the Humana Hospital discharge summary indicated defibrillation had been done "several times" when in transport. Do you know why they did it several times? Because in every one of the times but the last, she didn't convert from v-fib to normal sinous rhythm. In fact, she still may not have had normal sinous rhythm since, as also reported in the discharge summary, she was spiking PVCs. I'll bet you know what PVCs are, don't you? (hint: it's not plastic pipe.) For the real world they are premature ventricular contractions. It's not the same as v-fib, because there is some rhythmic heart muscle contraction, but the electrical system timing isn't right and it affects circulation. Just like the ignition timing on your car. If it's enough degrees before or after the correct timing point, your engine doesn't generate the power it's supposed to—will even run rough, or not at all. She was also tachycardic, meaning high heart rate with associated low blood pressure. In fact her systolic pressure on admission was only 90. Do you know what all that means? Of course you do. It means she was in the peak of health—just stopped in for a cold one—be seein' ya', fellas. But for people in the real world, that means she had been in cardiac arrest, and even after she was converted she wasn't getting good blood circulation. However, the damage had already been done. Duckecho 07:34, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Please don't make up stuff that I didn't say. I read the Humana Northridge discharge summary, so I am well aware that she was defibrillated. But do you know that that same report indicates that the doctors there were obviously puzzled as to the cause of her condition? She was reported to have been found "gasping for air" and having "difficulty breathing." She also had severely lowered blood pressure, but if she was gasping for air then her arrhythmia was not, at that time, severe enough to cause the brain damage that she sustained. So either her heart function had spontaneously improved by then, or else the causation went in the other direction: i.e., with her brain damage causing her arrhythmia, rather than vice-versa. NCdave 20:47, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Another explanation is strangulation, but, though she had a remarkably stiffened neck, there was no other evidence of strangulation, and, in particular, there were no visible choke marks observed. NCdave 06:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

No evidence, and yet, you keep trying to promote it. A couple of months ago you were promoting it so hard I almost gave up my day job to go on the road singing its praises. Duckecho 07:34, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Please don't make up stuff that I didn't say. NCdave 20:47, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Another explanation is smothering with a pillow (which would leave no choke marks). NCdave 06:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

What about petechia? Strangulation (or in the pillow case—sorry—asphyxia) is almost always accompanied by petechia. That's generally how strangulation is diagnosed. Duckecho 07:34, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

But not asphyxiation or compression of the carotid artery, as far as I know. If you believe that either would cause petechia, please cite your source. NCdave 20:47, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I heard former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman say on the radio that a police-style chokehold, which compresses the carotid artery, could also do it, without leaving marks. NCdave 06:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, there's a source. Duckecho 07:34, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

What, you don't think he knows what he is talking about, either? NCdave 20:47, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Normally, sweet charity would lead one to lean toward the innocent explanation. However, Michael's well-documented hot temper, and his suspicious behavior and numerous subsequent contradictions about what happened that morning, suggest otherwise.
The bottom line is that, as Thogmartin noted, and as I've been repeatedly attacked here for saying, the cause of her injury is unknown. That's the truth, and that's what the article should say. NCdave 06:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

That's not why you're repeatedly attacked. Duckecho 07:34, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I was certainly attacked for changing the article to say that the cause of her injury was unknown. (Does everyone now agree that I was right about that?) NCdave 20:47, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Autopsy and oral feeding

from page 34 of 39 of the autopsy report: FuelWagon 22:39, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Could Mrs. Schiavo eat by mouth? The neuropathologic findings, oropharyngeal anatomic findings, and medical records clearly indicate that Mrs. Schiavo would not have been able to consume sustenance safely and/or in sufficient quantity by mouth. In fact, the records and findings are such that oral feedings in quantities sufficient to sustain life would have certainly resulted in aspiration. Swallowing evaluations and speech pathology evaluations repeatedly record that Mrs. Schiavo was a high risk for aspiration and not a candidate for oral nutrition/hydration. Although in her early rehabilitation, she received speech pathology services, she was later repeatedly evaluated and determined not to be a candidate for speechldysphagia therapy. According to medical records, she had been treated in the past for aspiration pneumonia. Thus, Mrs. Schiavo was dependent on nutrition and hydration via her feeding tube. Claims from caregivers of past oral feedings are remarkable, and, based on the autopsy findings and medical records, these feedings were potentially harmful or, at least, extremely dangerous to Mrs. Schiavo's health and welfare. Mrs. Schiavo's postmortem lung examination had findings that could be considered consistent with aspiration of secretions; however, her decline and dehydration over almost 2 weeks could also have played a role in these findings.

Thogmartin might be right that she could not have been adequately fed and hydrated by mouth. But he was almost certainly wrong in his belief that the Jell-O snacks she was surreptitiously given by caregivers were harmful. At least one of those caregivers testified that she gave Terri those snacks because Terri obviously enjoyed them, and that certainly would not have been the case if Terri had choked on them. Nor is there any indication that Terri ever reacted badly to receiving Holy Communion.

The Jell-O snacks were given to Terri quite a few years ago. Perhaps Terri's condition worsened over the years (certainly her physical condition did). As far as we know, after Michael put her in Felos's hospice, five years ago, there were no more surreptitious oral snacks. But she did manage to swallow small bits of Holy Communion wafer without difficulty, even in the hospice.

When was Terri supposed to have been treated for aspiration pneumonia? Surely not recently! This is the first I've heard of that. Michael infamously denied her treatment for UTIs since more than a decade ago, and it is my understanding that he has not allowed her to receive antibiotics for anything for more than a decade. Everything I've read has said that she swallowed her own saliva without difficulty, several pints per day. So, when was this aspiration pneumonia supposed to have occurred, anyhow, and how was it supposedly "treated?" Does anyone know? NCdave 07:46, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Autopsy and brain condition

from page 16 of 39 of autopsy report: FuelWagon 22:44, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Brain weight is an important index of its pathological state. Brain weight is correlated with height, weight, age, and sex. The decedent’s brain was grossly abnormal and weighed only 615 grams. That weight is less than half of the expected tabular weight for a decedent of her adult age of 41 years. 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 vegetative state.

Bulimia (again)

I thought we had pretty well resolved that identifying bulimia as a cause of the hypokalemia was undocumentable. I know we had, because I took the lead in changing the article to reflect that (by taking it out). The autopsy report further proves that bulimia as a cause isn't supportable. That's not to say it wasn't the cause, but the only evidence to support it, says the ME, is the serum potassium levels on admission to Humana, and they could very well have been depressed due to other causes, particularly in Terri's resuscitation and treatment. User:Neutrality has put it back in. I'm going to wait a bit for others' thoughts on it, and if no one strongly disagrees with me, I'm taking it back out. Duckecho 00:45, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Appropriately qualifying it would make more sense since it's the best theory going and big bucks were paid on evidence that it was the case. And if bulimia normally wouldn't have left evidence, a lack of evidence can't now be counted against a conclusion reached earlier by experts in front of judge and jury. 07:04, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Big bucks were paid on evidence that it was the case. Can you cite a source that confirms this? I couldn't. The only material extant from the malpractice trial that I could find is a brief snippet purporting to be from Michael's testimony that supports his reason for studying nursing (and it's a suspicious source). There is nothing available that indicates bulimia was found as fact at that trial. This is exactly why we editors agreed to leave it out in the first place. Duckecho 13:00, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
For the sake of accuracy, "long thought to have been induced by bulimia" should be "incorrectly thought to have been induced by bulimia", (if this appears in the introduction at all). patsw 12:34, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That wouldn't be accurate, either. The best one can do is explain that the cause of the collapse is unknown due to lack of evidence, but there are some good guesses, such as bulimia, etc. --Viriditas | Talk 12:49, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
(in response to Patsw) I don't think that's any better. Thogmartin didn't rule it out—I believe he said the evidence to support it isn't conclusive. Duckecho 13:00, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thogmartin ruled myocardial infarction out: Mrs. Schiavo's heart was anatomically normal without any areas of recent or remote myocardial infarction. Overall, the cause of her loss of oxygen to the brain is undetermined but myocardial infarction is ruled out, as most major newspapers are reporting today, including the New York Times[21]. If there is another means by which bulimia could lead to a loss of oxygen to the brain without causing a myocardial infarction, it isn't discussed in the autopsy. patsw 13:18, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"You end up with a 26-year-old that used to be heavy, that now lost the weight, is reveling in her thinness now, enjoying her life, and doesn't want to gain the weight back," Dr. Thogmartin said. "And if that's a bulimic, there's a lot of bulimics out there. It's just not enough." patsw 13:18, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You're going to have to learn the difference between myocardial infarct (heart attack) and cardiac arrest. This is now the third time I have pointed this out to you. It was cardiac arrest that caused the loss of oxygen to the brain. She did not have a heart attack. I don't recall anyone ever claiming she had a heart attack. Please drop the heart attack angle. Take some time to learn the difference. Overall, the cause of her loss of oxygen to the brain is undetermined. That isn't correct. It's been known from the beginning that she was in cardiac arrest and that was what caused the lack of oxygen. It's even known what caused the cardiac arrest—hypokalemia. What isn't known is how she came to be hypokalemic. That's where the speculation about bulimia comes in. But myocardial infarction is ruled out. That's true. I don't know of anyone claiming she had a heart attack, except you. Why is that? Duckecho 13:48, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Since the bulimia theory and quotes from the autopsy report are mentioned later in the article, my preference would be just to leave out bulimia from the opening statement, and just to have "caused by cardiac arrest". "Suspected of having been induced by an eating disorder" raises the question "who suspected this?" The coroner's report seems to discourage that theory. I'm not an advocate of the Michael-strangled-Terri theory, but that was also "suspected" by some people, including at least one medical doctor. I imagine there would be an uproar if someone put in "suspected of having been induced by attempted strangulation". Surely it's more neutral to omit speculation from the opening, especially when we don't identify the people who held these suspicions? I recall reading somewhere that Wikipedia policy doesn't really favour agentless passives. The theories and documents can be dealt with adequately later. Any objections if I take it out? Ann Heneghan 17:13, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I was referring to "In 1992, Mr. Schiavo, on behalf of Mrs. Schiavo and himself, brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the obstetrician who had been treating Schiavo for infertility, claiming that the doctor's failure to diagnose Schiavo's eating disorder caused her current condition. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found that Schiavo had been bulimic and that the obstetrician's failure to diagnose this condition had caused her hypokalemia and subsequent cardiac arrest." and someone's later comment (whether true or not I don't know) that bulimia would not have been expected to leave evidence to be found at this autopsy. So if big bucks were paid based on a jury's findings after hearing experts and further evidence wasn't expected to be found in the autopsy, then finding no evidence neither adds to nor subtracts from the jury's conclusions that the doctor's failure to diagnose her eating disorder was contributory to her cardiac arrest. Am I missing something? 18:57, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Scare quotes around "undetermined"

Can the person who added the scare quotes explain why they are there? It looks like editorializing on the coroner’s verdict. patsw 12:34, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

They're now gone. Duckecho 13:48, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

1991 Bone scan report

That whistling noise you hear is the sound of one of the blogosphere's pet talking points in their Michael-abused-Terri theory crashing and burning after a thorough debunking by the autopsy report. At best the bone scan report likely started from a false premise (probably a misunderstanding of the description of the brain injury) that there had been head trauma and devolved from there. Key word: osteoporosis. Duckecho 00:57, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

If only we could be so lucky. My guess is that at least some of the more extreme knuckleheads will claim the doctors who performed the autopsy are in on the conspiracy with Felos and Greer. Never underestimate the power of a moron with a conspiracy theory. FuelWagon 13:56, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"Never underestimate the power of a moron with a conspiracy theory." LOL. That's classic. I'm having that printed as a bumper sticker...want one?--ghost 22:39, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The 1991 bone scan was just one year after Terri's injury. Fourteen years later, after thirteen years of bed rest with no physical therapy of any sort, and (my guess) no bisphosphonate treatment (more neglect!), yes, Terri had severe osteoporosis -- of course. But it is no surprise that the injuries seen in her 1991 bone scan have long since healed, and that fact is not evidence that they didn't occur. To believe that the injuries never occurred you must believe that the 1991 bone scan never occurred, either. The autopsy didn't find evidence of trauma 15 years ago, but lack of evidence in an autopsy fifteen years later is not proof that her bones were never injured. (But lack of evidence of heart muscle damage does mean that her heart wasn't damaged 15 years ago.)
(One need not be an "extreme knucklehead" or "moron" to fail to forget the existance of that 1991 bone scan. Why do the M.Schiavo partisans here continually resort to name-calling and personal attacks?) NCdave 08:00, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
One could be considered, however, an "extreme knucklehead" or "moron" for failing to note that the 1991 bone scan is explicitly discussed in the autopsy report (see page 32). Moreover, the report also note that [d]uring her initial hospitalization, [Schiavo] received twenty-three chest radiographs, three brain CT scans, two abdominal radiographs, two echocardiograms, one abdominal ultrasound, one cervical spine radiograph, and one radiograph of her right knee. No fractures or trauma were reported or recorded. Why do the axe-grinders and conspiracy theorists have so much trouble with reality? --Calton | Talk 08:45, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Autopsy Report

So now that the autopsy report has been published/released, is there anyone that still disputes the findings asserted therein? Or can we actually get a few of the constantly-disputed issues settled? Proto 13:59, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The biggest problem I see right now is volume. After more than two months of judicious tinkering to get to a pretty decent article we have now been subjected to a barrage of edits (> 60 as of the time in my sig since the autopsy report came out less than 24 hours ago), most of them drive-by with no participation in talk or consensus from others. And a lot of the edits have recklessly undone some careful work previously arrived at by some excellent colloquy. It's going to take weeks to undo the mess that's been left. One moron thinks we need to leave broken links in the article. Another placed an "update" tag on the article less than 30 minutes after the release of the autopsy report. Most of the editors have not been seen before on this article in the more than three months I've been involved with it. Duckecho 14:16, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Proto, that would be nice. I won't hold my breath though. Never underestimate the power of an idiot with a conspiracy theory. Duck, I think we're seeing a bunch of the "murder" conspiricists rage against the report, fight it, deny it, anything to hold onto their belief that Michael was an evil dragon to be slain and they were on the side of good and just and right. I'd say give it another couple of days and maybe it'll calm down. In the mean time, just revert any driveby crap that gets put in. FuelWagon 14:22, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Problems that we've already seen: using the autopsy report to attack or speculate on the credibility of statements of witnesses or medical personnel, and reading into the report conclusions that lack the context of a time frame. For example, we don't know the rate of the degeneration of Terri's ability to see. All the autopsy reports is that she was blind at the time of her death, so it cannot be concluded anyone who reported Terri's ability to track motion with her eyes is "a liar". The report doesn't "prove" Terri was in a PVS, but shows the condition of her brain was consistent with a diagnosis of PVS, etc. Going forward, the problem will be understating/overstating what's in the report. Frankly, at this point I'm just as concerned with the POV-pushers from Michael's side as I am from the Schindler's side. patsw 14:46, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

patsw, that's a bit of a persecution complex. The history since the autopsy report came out shows two edits that refer to credibility,
"This meant that Schiavo was physically unable to respond to visual stimuli, despite assertions to the contrary." [22]
"He also said that she would be unable to eat or drink if given food by mouth as was requested by her parents." [23]
The first is a stretch to say that it attacks credibility when it follows right after the sentence that Terri was occipitally blind. Hey, whaddya know, she is blind. Crying "we don't know she was that way when so and so examined her" is really a stretch. 90 minute exam, 30 seconds of eye contact. Could just as easily be random motions. You completely ignored my Ouija board analogy, I noticed.
The second is quoting Thogmartin at his press conference. cries of NPOV violation for that are just plain silly. Of course you removed both comments. [24] with the explanation "Just the autopsy report in this section, refrain from speculating on how it affects anyone's credibility". Uhm, yeah, a doctor who examined terri's body can't be quoted at a press conference, we really need to stick to what's strictly in his autopsy report. Yeah, right. Nice try.
Meanwhile, we've had at least two direct attacks of vandalism by folks who think Terri was murdered. "pinko commie freaks ===SCUMBAGS MURDER CHRISTIANS=== and scumbnag "doctors" condone genocide of the christain race and all the hard working blue color americans there pinko freaks further alienate themselves from" [25] and "who was murdered by Florida's Judge George W. Greer" [26]
So, we've got two edits that vaguely refer to credibility issues, but one is quoting a doctor at a press conference and the other is expanding on the facts in the autopsy report. And we've got two vandalism attacks by people who are obviously unhinged and think we're all out to murder Terri. Yeah, somehow, I'm not feeling these are equivalent. FuelWagon 15:31, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I would say that the autopsy report doesn't so much prove Terri Schiavo was in a PVS; it confirms she was in a PVS. At some point you have to accept a document as being correct. The autopsy writers were very careful not to commit themselves to anything that wasn't 100% verifiable and accurate, they stated facts rather than theories (as an autopsy report should). I think anyone who disputes the official autopsy’s findings automatically gains themselves the title of crank. Once the furor over the release of the report has calmed down and the page has been edited by consensus to reflect the autopsy findings, we'll see if anyone other than the cranks disputes the article then (and - praise Allah - the POV tag being removed). I'm probably being a big dumb idealist, though. Proto 15:38, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
There's a POV tag? Actually, it's been gone for a while. The one crank who kept lobbying for it (and edit warring over it) pretty well neutralized his argument when he said, "the article [was] far from neutral" and "far from accurate" but his idea of a compromise was to settle for the POV tag. Hmmm, so it's inaccurate but we're not going to label it as inaccurate? Wow. You can't argue with that kind of logic. The best, though was when the peer review found it reasonably neutral and outside readers called it 1337 (I had to look that up; I guess I'm just not hip, but apparently it's a good thing). Even the mediator said you couldn't miss that both sides of the question were represented in the article. Duckecho 16:00, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The autopsy report pretty much puts the final nail in the coffin that contains "kill Terri" conspiracy theories. Praise the...whatever. I think that once the conspiracy theorists have calmed down a bit and/or have a new conspiracy theory to scramble after this article will attain front-page status. Though I'm in no position to pass out kudos I'd like to just the same. This has been a monumental effort requiring patience rivaling Job's. Wjbean 16:16, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The autopsy found no evidence of strangulation and no evidence of bulimia. People emotionally committed to either explanation for her collapse are therefore disappointed. Although completed long before the autopsy was made public, Silent Witness : The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo's Death by Mark Fuhrman ISBN 0060853379 is going to be another source of theories regarding her collapse. patsw 18:01, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Weight of Terri's Brain

I'm wondering what the relevance is of the comparison of Terri's brain weight with Karen Ann Quinlan's. I don't claim any medical expertise, but wouldn't the brain of someone who had gone for nearly two weeks without any food or water lose a lot of weight regardless of what it weighed the day the tube was removed? Karen Ann Quinlan died of pneumonia, not of starvation and dehydration. I wonder why the autopsy report didn't compare weight with for example Nancy Cruzan. I appreciate that it was part of the published report, but since it seems to be an unfair and irrelevant comparison, I don't really think it should figure in the article, unless the following sentence clarifies that Karen Ann Quinlan had not had food and water cut off for thirteen days. Ann Heneghan 17:36, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Well, I'm not a medico, either, but I'm pretty sure that when a highly regarded pathologist puts it in the report it has relevance. Moreover, while a case might be made for some small reduction in weight due to dehydration, the effect of dehydration has more to do with electrolyte imbalance that ultimately leads to final cardiac arrest than with loss of any significant body mass. A death by starvation would have been more likely to result in loss of body mass (possibly some brain), but the report is clear that she didn't die of that—that there was evidence of fatty tissue contraindicating malnourishment. More to the point, arguing about the different manners of death masks the true significance of the brain weight. It was less than half normal. The vast majority of that loss did not occur in the last thirteen days of her life. That's verified by earlier CT scans (and also rebuts speculation by Patsw that maybe she had a lot of vision right up to the end). In any event, one certainly cannot try to attribute more than a few grams (if one can at all) of the 220 grams difference between Quinlan and Schiavo to the different mechanisms of death. Even more to the point, the issue of the brain isn't even about that difference. It's about severe atrophy. It was significantly more severe than Quinlan who everyone acknowledges was in a PVS. It's about not only the size in comparison to a normal adult of that age (even accounting for 13 days of no nourishment or hydration), but the state of the remainder; think neurons. Finally, I'm going to ask you what I'm asking everyone who raises these questions—have you read the autopsy report? Duckecho 18:16, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think I made it clear that this was just a query. I don't claim any expertise, but just feel, based on common sense, that one would lose a lot of weight in all parts of the body if one did not eat or drink for thirteen days. Yes, I know she died of dehydration, not starvation, but in she did undergo both, and both would have caused a weight loss. I would have felt more comfortable if the report had either made a comparison with the brain of Nancy Cruzan, or had specifically stated that the thirteen days of starvation and dehydration would have had little effect on the weight of the brain. I don't think Patsw said or implied that she had "a lot of vision". All that he seems to have said about her vision on this page is, "we don't know the rate of the degeneration of Terri's ability to see . . . . it cannot be concluded anyone who reported Terri's ability to track motion with her eyes is 'a liar'." And yes, I have read the report. Of course. Ann Heneghan 20:50, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"it seems to be an unfair and irrelevant comparison" Why? Because the doctor performing the autopsy made the comparison? Perhaps we should go fishing for a doctor who DIDN"T examine the body and keep fishing until we find one that compares brain weights with the one YOU want. FuelWagon 18:21, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
FuelWagon, I am quite sure that the wording of my post was clear, and that unless someone was actually trying to be confrontational, he would understand that my reason for feeling that it might be an unfair and irrelevant comparison was not because the comparison was made by the doctor who performed the autopsy, but because Karen Ann Quinlan did not suffer the weight loss that would be expected from thirteen days of starvation and dehydration. Ann Heneghan 20:50, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I've spent some time since I first saw Ann's comment to find out how 13 days of dehydration affects the mass of the brain rather than arguing here, or if Terri's pre-dehydration weight is recorded so that can be compared to her post-dehydration weight. patsw 18:40, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps we can narrow it down with some deductive reasoning. We know Terri was around 120 pounds in 1989. Given that she was still drinking lots of iced tea around the time of her collapse, it's fair to assume she was still fighting the weight and it also seems fair to assume that she was around 120 then, too. For the next 15 years it's also reasonable to postulate that her nutrition was adjusted to maintain an approximately stable weight. It's hard to imagine her gaining weight in her condition. Her weight at autopsy was 112 pounds, so she probably lost something on the order of eight pounds in those two weeks if we're willing to accept a stable 120 up until the time of the PEG tube removal. That's an approximate 7% loss. Even if we were to extrapolate directly that overall loss to the brain mass (which, based on ghost's enlightening comments below, doesn't seem reasonable) we can conclude she would have begun with ≈658 grams of brain mass, still significantly less than Quinlan's. None of this has any foundation in medicine, nor are there citable sources to confirm these numbers (other than her 120 in '89, her tea consumption, her brain mass at post of 615 grams, and her body weight at post of 112) but it seems a reasonably productive exercise in order to at least approximate the validity of comparison. Duckecho 02:50, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I believe this is answered on page 13 of the PDF file, which says: "At autopsy, the brain weighed 615 grams. A total of 645 milliliters of cerebrospinal fluid (weighing 678 grams) were recovered upon opening the skull and exposing the brain." This would fit with the 2002 CT scan, which showed that a large area of brain tissue had been replaced by fluid. Note that the weight of the brain and cerebrospinal fluid were close to being the same - that missing 50% of brain mass was presumably replaced by the fluid. -- ChrisO 20:57, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Ann, I'm no more of a Dr. than most of the other editors. That said, the body works to protect the central nervous system at the expense of all other parts of the body, including the heart. For examples of this, look into hypothermia. Although Terri's dehydration had an undeniable effect on her body, the brain is the last place where we should expect to see a reduction in tissue fluid. Thus, it makes sense that measuring the mass of the brain would give the pathologists a clearer picture of it's pre-dehydration condition than a similar procedure would for any other organ (for example the liver).--ghost 22:57, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable, ghost. I'd be happier with a clarification from a doctor on that matter, but, for the moment, I accept that the 13 days of dehydration might not have had as much of an effect on the weight of her brain as on her overall weight. Thanks. Ann Heneghan 22:53, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Nurses Law and Johnson

Ann Heneghan says in her edit summary of a recent edit, "[a]lso, Nurses Law and Johnson DID report (suspicions of) wrong-doing." They made reports? Can you provide a citation that confirms that? Duckecho 18:30, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The nurses' affidavits, including Nurse Iyer's, were available on and on Both sites seem to be shut down now, although Terrisfight is due to reopen as an educational site at some stage. As I said in an earlier posting, many affidavits were originally available as a scanned pdf file, so that you could see that lawyer's stamp, etc. Some of them were later changed to html files. Although the websites are down, I have the three documents on my hard disk, as I saved them recently. Only the Johnson affidavit is in pdf format in the copies that I have, although I think that I saw the others in pdf format at some stage.
Nurse Johnson's sworn affidavit is dated 28 August 2003. It is stamped with Patricia Anderson's official seal. Nurse Johnson says that she worked at Sable Palms Nursing Home for about two years, and she believed that the events she was mentioning took place around 1993. She says:
I learned. . . that the husband, as guardian, wanted no rehabilitation for Terri. This surprised me, as I did not think a guardian could go against doctor's orders like that, but I was assured that a guardian could, and that this guardian had gone against Terri's doctor's orders. . . . Once I wanted to put a cloth in Terri's hand to keep her hand from closing in on itself, but I was not permitted to do this, as Michael Schiavo considered that to be a form of rehabilitation.
That last bit seems to back up a similar accusation made by Nurse Iyer. Nurse Johnson ends by saying that she became so disillusioned as a result of all this that she quit her job.
Nurse Law's sworn affidavit is dated September 2003. She says she worked at the Palm Gardens nursing home from March 1997 to mid-summer 1997. She says:
I was personally aware of orders for rehabilitation that were not being carried out. Even though they were ordered, Michael would stop them. . . . On one occasion Michael Schiavo arrived with his girlfriend, and they entered Terri’s room together. . . . After they left, Olga told me that Terri was extremely agitated and upset, and wouldn’t react to anyone. When she was upset, which was usually the case after Michael was there, she would withdraw for hours. We were convinced that he was abusing her, and probably saying cruel, terrible things to her because she would be so upset when he left. . . . Several times when Michael visited Terri during my shift, he went into her room alone and closed the door. This worried me because I didn’t trust Michael. When he left, Terri was very agitated, was extremely tense with tightened fists and some times had a cold sweat. . . . Michael would override the orders of the doctors and nurses to make sure Terri got no treatment. . . . When Terri would get a UTI or was sick, Michael’s mood would improve.
The copy of the Law affidavit on my hard disk is in html, not pdf. However, as I said before, I saw many affidavits in pdf form originally, before they disappeared from the websites. Also, we know from Greer's report [27] that such an affidavit did exist, that it was in favour of the Schindlers' case, and that Greer simply dismissed it as incredible, without calling as witness any of the people mentioned in the affidavit (Olga, or Ewan Morris) who might have backed up her testimony.
I make no claims as to the truthfulness of these nurses, other than to point out that they had less motive for lying than Michael Schiavo, his brother, and his sister-in-law. My edit summary was simply to state that it was incorrect for the article to state that "none of the other workers at Palm Garden or any medical staff reported any wrong-doing." Ann Heneghan 23:11, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You are partially correct. Such an affidavit(s) did exist. There was a total of 4 from staff members. So, the sentence is not fact.
That said, Judge Greer addressed the issue of the affidavits being incredulous, in part because the contradicted one another and previous testimony. He noted numerous other problems with the testimony in the link Ann provided. Therefore, we should handle any reference to them with very large grain of salt. In fact, a salt lick may be more appropriate.--ghost 23:37, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I have to quibble with you, Ann. The statement in the article that you excised said, "..and none of the other workers at Palm Garden or any medical staff reported any wrong-doing." Report in this context and in the commonly understood sense of the word means to tell authorities in a timely manner that something is wrong. By your admission, one's idea of timely was five years after the fact and the other's was ten years after the fact. That is not reporting. That is something else. If they had reported (in the commonly understood sense of the word with regard to wrongdoing) within a reasonable period, e.g. the next day, the next week, maybe even within thirty days, I would agree that the statement is suspect. But a ten or even five year period means they didn't report any wrongdoing, nor did anyone else. I'm afraid your case for excising the referenced sentence doesn't pass muster. Duckecho 00:06, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I have looked up the verb "report" in the Oxford English Dictionary. There is absolutely nothing that implies that the verb "to report" means to tell authorities "in a timely manner". Can you find any dictionary that gives such a definition? The only justification for putting that bit in would be if you added something like "within a five-year period". If you state, without clarification, that none of the medical staff "reported" any wrongdoing, you are inserting something which is false, inaccurate, and misleading. It implies that there were no other statements to support Iyer's testimony. Think of a statement like, "My wife is a spinster" or "My sister is an only child". The meaning of "wife" contradicts the meaning of "spinster"; the meaning of "sister" contradicts the meaning of "only child". Both sentences startle you, don't they? Now think of this sentence: "She reported it twenty years later." That doesn't startle; there is absolutely no lexical contradiction. You may think that the nurses should have reported it earlier. You may think that the fact that they didn't do so undermines their credibility. Nevertheless, you cannot say that they didn't report it. Otherwise, you might as well state that Michael "never reported" Terri's end-of-life wishes. After all, that report was many years after the fact. Ann Heneghan 00:41, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Your linguistic experience serves you ill here. Perhaps the word is used differently in the UK, but here report in the context of reporting an act to the authorities absolutely does imply in a timely manner. For example, my Merriam-Webster source lists as one usage: "to make known to the proper authorities <report a fire>." It strikes me that there's quite the nexus between reporting a fire and in a timely manner as there's not much point in reporting time sensitive events if one doesn't do it early enough to intervene in the event. I would suspect that reporting a robbery, attempted murder (hmmm, that might have applied here), rape, would all be things that would be pointless if your version of its meaning were universal. "Oh, I meant to tell the police about that rape that happened ten years ago." In this country, believe it or not, there are many places that make "failure to report a crime" an unlawful act, so yes, there absolutely is an implied in a timely manner to our version of the word. Duckecho 02:11, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Take it out, leave it in, doesn't matter to me. We're looking at the last gasps of breaths of the great conspiracy. No one reported a problem until YEARS later, when the Schindlers went fishing for affidavits. (meanwhile, didn't Wolfson report the nursing home employees all said Michael was a great guardian?) And all those fishing affidavits read like the Salem witch trials, casting doubts, making accusations, but not a single shred of hard evidence. Iyer's affidavit is hilarious where it says "it could be medically possible that Michael was injecting Terri with insulin" 5 times. Not a hard accusation, just "possible". And not a single shred of hard evidence to back it up. Whatever. Some people want to chase ghosts. As a side note: The paragraph in the article mentions Law. But who the heck is Johnson someone mentioned above? The article says 4 speech therapists and two nurses, Law and Iyer. Is she a therapist, or did the article miscount nurses? FuelWagon 00:43, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

She was a CNA who worked at Sabal Palms nursing home for about two years, and took care of Terri. I have seen her affidavit, in pdf form, but do not know whether or not it was presented in court. Ann Heneghan 00:23, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I was referring in the previous bulimia section to "In 1992, Mr. Schiavo, on behalf of Mrs. Schiavo and himself, brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the obstetrician who had been treating Schiavo for infertility, claiming that the doctor's failure to diagnose Schiavo's eating disorder caused her current condition. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found that Schiavo had been bulimic and that the obstetrician's failure to diagnose this condition had caused her hypokalemia and subsequent cardiac arrest." and someone's later comment (whether true or not I don't know) that bulimia would not have been expected to leave evidence to be found at this autopsy. So if big bucks were paid based on a jury's findings after hearing experts and further evidence wasn't expected to be found in the autopsy, then finding no evidence neither adds to nor subtracts from the jury's conclusions that the doctor's failure to diagnose her eating disorder was contributory to her cardiac arrest. Am I missing something? 18:59, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yes, you are missing something. The jury found negligence on the part of OB/GYN in not ordering the tests which would have detected a potassium imbalance alleged to have been caused by bulimia. The jury did not need to find that Terri was in fact bulimic to find this liability. patsw 20:09, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That may be true, but it doesn't mean they didn't. We don't know that they found that she was bulimic or that they didn't, since so far as I am aware, the transcript, order, or other results of that trial are not in the public domain. Duckecho 01:41, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Also, as far as I'm aware, the doctor who was found guilty of malpractice appealed and won the appeal. Ann Heneghan 20:23, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
From the Terri Schiavo Timeline Terri Schiavo is awarded $250,000 in an out-of-court medical malpractice settlement with one of her physicians. Michael brings a medical malpractice suit against the obstetrician who had been treating Terri for infertility. Jury finds the obstetrician had not properly diagnosed Terri's condition. The case is appealed. The medical malpractice suit against Terri's obstetrician is settled before an appeal is decided. Terri receives $750,000. Michael receives $300,000. FuelWagon 02:15, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Then where did the money come from? There was an out of court settlement with one doctor prior to trial, but I don't believe that's where the $750K/300K came from. My understanding is that the doctor who was found guilty at trial (to the tune of several million $) appealed and then settled with the Schiavo's before the appeal was heard. And it's my understanding that's where the $750K/300K came from. Do you have something different? Duckecho 01:41, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, this is more minutia. Yes, accuracy is important. But I can't fathom why anyone would spend so much time arguing against bulimia unless they wanted desperately to keep the "michael strangled terri" conspiracy alive. FuelWagon 02:15, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Dead is a matter of definition

"Quill stressed that, despite a lack of evidence of any electrical activity in her cerebral cortex, Schiavo is not technically brain-dead.

"In brain death the cortex is not functioning -- as in Terri Schiavo's case -- but also the base of the brain isn't functioning," he explained. Neurologists agree that shutdown of both the cortex and the base of the brain constitutes "a medical reason to stop treatment," he said.

However, the base of the Schiavo's brain still functions, and although "there's still a lot of discussion, there's no consensus at all [among experts] that this constitutes death," Quill said.

This means patients like Schiavo hover in an ideological and medical limbo, somewhere between life and death." [28]

On the other hand here is a case of a brain dead woman being kept alive "A 26-year-old pregnant woman with cancer whose brain function ceased last month is being kept alive with a respirator in hopes she can have a very premature baby who has a chance to survive. Susan Torres, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), lost consciousness May 7 when an undiagnosed brain tumor caused a stroke while she dined at home. Her husband, Jason Torres, says doctors told him Susan's brain functions have stopped." [29] 19:16, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The autopsy report referenced in the article near the end says

"8. What was the cause and manner of death? Mrs. Schiavo suffered a severe anoxic brain injury. The cause of which cannot be determined with reasonable medical certainty. The manner of death will therefore be certified as undetermined."

Am I the only one that sees this as saying medically speaking maybe she died 15 years ago? After all, if she was alive till killed by dehydration, then where is the uncertainty? 20:48, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

No, you're not. You've come to the crux of one of the tragic paradoxes surrounding this case for many of us. If Terri did "die" 15 yrs ago, then why the controversy? If she didn't "die" until March 31st, 2005, then was the removal feeding tube truly the cause of her death? You may have to answer that one for yourself. BTW, you may wish to become a registered User.[edit] Your questions add value.--ghost 23:12, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Please don't pressure people to become logged-in users. Doing so or not doing so doesn't make anyone more or less a participating "member" in the editing of Wikipedia--the principle of which is that anybody can edit it. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 11:33, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Please don't make this page a discussion board for what defines death. As Tony just said anyone can edit it but Death already has a page. patsw 12:22, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I don't see why we can't handle this question with a little more compassion than that, Patsw. This Anon user is asking a legitimate question for which there may never be an answer. All I suggested is that we all need to answer such things for ourselves. But there's no need to slam the question.--ghost 13:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Life Prolonging Procedures

The long quote which appears in the article from Perry Fine which denies that Terri did not feel pain as she was dying of dehydration is not balanced by a opinion from a expert who holds the opinion that Terri did feel pain with his or her reasons for holding this opinion. I will add some balance to this section. patsw 12:22, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I could be wrong, but I've read that paragraph five times now and each time I read it I come away with the impression that Fine didn't deny that Terri did not feel pain, he denied that she did feel pain. I would be grateful if someone would help me out with my understanding of it. Those double negatives can be tricky for comprehension. He also implies that people shouldn't assume that because their own stomach growls when they haven't eaten in a few hours that someone in a terminal condition has the same experience. Duckecho 15:31, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I agree that with Patsw that it's not balanced. I also question the relevance of what Fine's patients told him. One of the questions about this whole tragic case is whether or not Terri Schiavo really was in Persistent Vegetative State. (Bear in mind that many doctors disagreed, and also that a 1996 article in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal claimed that diagnoses of PVS are wrong 43% of the time.[30]) Anyway, let's assume for the moment that she was. So then the question is whether or not PVS patients experience pain, hunger, or thirst. Percy Fine said, "What my patients have told me over the last 25 years is that when they stop eating and drinking, there's nothing unpleasant about it. In fact, it can be quite blissful and euphoric." Was he actually talking about PVS patients? Hardly, since they were able to talk to him and describe their sensations. So their experience has nothing to do with what Terri would or would not have felt during those thirteen days. If Terri was not in a PVS, the removal of her tube would have been illegal, as far as I know. If she was in a PVS, the testimony of Percy Fine's non PVS patients is irrelevant. (It's like saying, "Patients with measles don't have sore throats. And just to prove it, many of my chicken pox patients have told me that they had lovely sensations in their throats.") Ann Heneghan 13:34, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Correction—[o]ne of the whether Terri...really was in a PVS. I don't see how it's a question at all. It was medically diagnosed by at least three attending physicians (not walk-through observers or distant reviewers of four minutes of suspect video), it was legally adjudged as such in a court of law with evidence, direct testimony and cross examination, and the autopsy report said its findings were consistent with a diagnosis of PVS. What alternative answer are you holding out for? That's a rhetorical question. Your own POV shrieks the answer. Duckecho 15:31, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
As I pointed out elsewhere on this page, the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal found that 43% of PVS diagnoses are wrong [31]. At the court hearing, three of the doctors who had examined her said that she was in a PVS, and two of the doctors who had examined her said she wasn't. In a murder case, a jury verdict with a 3:2 ratio would not be accepted. The autopsy report said that its findings were not inconsistent with a PVS diagnosis. It did not confirm the diagnosis. So, yes, it is a question. I'm not claiming that my answer is the correct one; I am merely stating that it is a question. Ann Heneghan 19:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Please make sure you put 'expert' in parenthesis, as every non-crank, unbiased expert worth their salt held the same opinion as Fine. Proto 12:35, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Well, as I said above, I don't see the relevance of Fine's evidence concerning patients who can't have been severely brain damaged (since they were able to make statements to him) but who may have reached a stage where their bodies could no longer digest food. In any case, isn't it a bit POV to make a statement that any experts who think Terri might have suffered are cranks, biased, and not worth their salt? Such a statement seems to rule out the possibility of discussion. (Anyone who says the emperor has nothing on is either a liar or unfit for his office?) Ann Heneghan 13:34, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Of course it's relevant. It's well known in medicine that patients in a terminal condition do not experience discomfort once hydration and/or nutrition is discontinued. If fact they often discontinue it themselves. What Fine's patients reported is an elegant analog to Terri Schiavo's condition and an effective rebuttal to those who attempt to project the hunger pangs experienced by a normal healthy individual after a few hours to what a patient in a terminal condition must feel after several days. Duckecho 15:31, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
But Terri wasn't in a terminal condition (see my comments below) so it's not relevant. Ann Heneghan 19:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Au contraire..
  • FS Title XLIV, Chapter 765, §101(17): "Terminal condition" means a condition caused by injury, disease, or illness from which there is no reasonable medical probability of recovery and which, without treatment, can be expected to cause death.
  • Also useful is FS Title XLIV, Chapter 765, §101(4): "End-stage condition" means an irreversible condition that is caused by injury, disease, or illness which has resulted in progressively severe and permanent deterioration, and which, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, treatment of the condition would be ineffective.
  • And, because I'm sure you'll bring it up, FS Title XLIV, Chapter 765, §101(10): "Life-prolonging procedure" means any medical procedure, treatment, or intervention, including artificially provided sustenance and hydration, which sustains, restores, or supplants a spontaneous vital function. The term does not include the administration of medication or performance of medical procedure, when such medication or procedure is deemed necessary to provide comfort care or to alleviate pain.
Your comments below reflect your apparent familiarity with the laws in the UK. Familiarity with the statutes of the State of Florida are frequently useful in discussing the Terri Schiavo case. Duckecho 20:20, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Contraire, Monsieur: Ann is right when she says But Terri wasn't in a terminal condition..., and you should be familiar with the statutes as well:
Yes, Duck, it is true that the State law defines terminal as "a condition caused by injury, disease, or illness from which there is no reasonable medical probability of recovery and which, without treatment, can be expected to cause death," however there is no time-frame, such as "6 months to live." Would you or I not be terminal by this "broad" definition?? After all, NONE of us are expected to live forever, lol. I'm going to "un-indent" to fit more in and show you wrong by the four classic methods:
  • Method 1: The legal definition of "terminally ill" is not proscribed by state law to include a time-table, but FEDERAL law does define it: “prognosis is for a life expectancy of 6 months or less if the terminal illness runs its normal course.” 42C.F.R.§418.22(b), as defined by 42C.F.R.§418.3(b). Does the federal definition really supercede the state's? YES! “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Art. VI, Paragraph 2, U.S.Const., commonly known as the "Supremacy Clause." Case law also supports this: "It is well settled law that “a state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid federal statute” and that a conflict will be found either where compliance with both federal and state law is impossible or where the state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress. Edgar v. Mite Corp., 457 U.S. 624, 631 (1982). Accord: Stone v. City and County of San Francisco, 968 F.2d 850, 862 (9th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 1050 (1993), which held that “otherwise valid state laws or court orders cannot stand in the way of a federal court's remedial scheme if the action is essential to enforce the scheme.” Even if state law had set a time-period, it would probably have to take 2nd place to federal law, with the only exception possible exception being if the hospice didn't receive federal funds and was exempted from this section; it no doubt got federal funds, so this federal law applies. Nonetheless, state law is silent on the time-table, and thus federal law, whether or not it applied before, controls.
  • According to "method 1," the "legal" method, Terri was not terminal. That she lived lots longer than "6 months" is proof positive that she was not terminal. "Terminal" people die real fast -no matter what type of treatment they get, which leads to the common definition:
  • Method 2: The dictionary definition of "terminally" ill is real easy: shows that it is "[O]f, at, relating to, or forming a limit, boundary, extremity, or end." If Terri was expected to live for another 51 or so years, she was not "at the end," which leads to the case law, or court rulings that defined her condition:
  • Method 3: The court's rulings: are known to have found that Terri would likely live for another 51 years or so. This alone is sufficient to prove she was not terminal (because nothing significant happened to Terri's health since the medical malpractice trial and subsequent the admission of Terri to a hospice -which, according to State Law 400.6095(2), restricts that "[A]dmission to a hospice program shall be made upon a diagnosis and prognosis of terminal illness by a physician...")
  • As if that was not enough, (Method 4 here) let me point out that some have argued that Terri must be terminal if she could not survive without food. This is classic Circular logic! OBVIOUSLY, she would be "terminal" if you had a court ruling that said "starved her." (Note: I said "starve," not "remove feeding tube." The two are not the same; since Terri had not had any swallowing tests in like the last DECADE, we don't know if she could swallow on her own or not.) But let's say that a prisoner was on death row, and he was scheduled to die: Would that make him "terminally ill?" NO!@ Of course, not! He is terminally ill based on his physical condition, not on a court's ruling. (Proof of this is the fact that we don't starve prisoners -even if they are "terminal," by your definition by virtue of having been on death row, and thus we can't do that to Terri, who is even less guilty, not having been charged with a crime.) Thus, Terri Schiavo may (or may not?) have been dependant on a feeding tube to eat, but she was NOT expected to die anytime soon. That's why they had to starve her. Had she truly been terminal (as Ann eloquently points out), there would have been no need to starve her, so under common law, or whatever you want to call it, Terri was not truly terminal.--GordonWattsDotCom 15:24, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

My favorite method, as you may guess, is method 1, the legal definition, but NONE of the definitions support your hollow claim that Terri was terminal.--GordonWattsDotCom 15:24, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

First of all, the Florida Statutes are relevant in discussing whether or not the removal of Terri's feeding tube was legal or illegal. If the Florida laws allow the removal of feeding in such a case, and the removal took place in Florida, then it would be wrong for me to say that it was illegal, based on my experience of law elsewhere. However, there is no reason why Wikipedia should adopt the Florida definition of terminal, although it could say that she fitted the Florida definition of terminally ill (assuming that she did). Supposing in the laws of a particular country outside America it's legal for a man to have sex with his son's wife, even if she does not consent. The law allows a man complete control over his daughter-in-law's body, so it's not rape according to the law of that country. If you were writing an article about such a case, would you say that "it wasn't rape"? Or would you simply say that it was legal in that country? Florida's definition of terminal is relevant to the legality of her death; it does not prove that she was terminally ill.
Secondly, I have read the definitions you (Duckecho) provided (thanks). I presume that the bit you are going by is the bit about the condition which without treatment can be expected to lead to death. I can understand that people might think that performing surgery to insert the tube is "treatment"; some might even call it extraordinary treatment. But the tube was already in place. Putting food into it and perhaps cleaning it is not treatment, any more than sterilizing and filling a baby's bottle is. And the tube was doing its work: it was feeding her, and she was digesting her food properly. It didn't cure her brain damage. Supposing someone you loved had an accident and had to have a hand amputated and undergo a kidney transplant. Let's say that the kidney transplant is successful, but - surprise surprise - it doesn't make her hand grow back on again. What would you think of carrying out an operation to REMOVE this kidney on the grounds that the donor kidney was "treatment"? There is no reason to suppose that Terri would have died in the next few months or even years if the tube had not been removed. If we're talking about whether the death of this Catholic Florida woman was legal in Florida, then the Florida Statutes are relevant. If we're talking about whether she was terminally ill, then the Florida definition is no more relevant than the Catholic one or the Oxford English Dictionary one. Ann Heneghan 23:17, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
However, there is no reason why Wikipedia should adopt the Florida definition of terminal... Excuse me? We're going to base articles on wiki-law and not the law of the land? You're just arguing for the sake of arguing. First of all I have never used the phrase terminally ill. In the State of Florida, where Terri lived (and I live), was injured, and died, and whose law is relevant to her case regardless of where the reader or the server is, or what church she goes to, the condition she was in is defined as a terminal condition. Secondly, the whole point of the matter is the discontinuation of life prolonging procedures (popularly referred to as and synonymous with life support), also defined in the statutes. Florida citizens have a constitutional right to discontinue life prolonging procedures, or any medical treatment, for that matter. She could not speak for herself so her guardian, who was aware of her wishes, petitioned the court to confirm her wishes (since the Schindlers disputed his knowledge) and act upon them as she would have wished. If the Schindlers hadn't butted in, we wouldn't even be talking about this. You can theorize all you want about what would have happened to her in Innisfree or what might have happened were she a Druid, but it's all irrelevant. And by the way, the PEG required invasive surgery to install, it required invasive surgery to remove subsequent to the grant of the three petitions, it required invasive surgery to reattach on the two occasions when a stay was granted, it required invasive surgery to remove and repair on a couple of occasions, and if you read the autopsy report you'll note mention of a healing ostomy in the abdominal cavity which was where it was before being removed. That's enough. This discussion is pointless. Duckecho 23:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Even by Florida's definition of terminal Terri wasn't terminal, since her brain injury was not expected to cause death. Terri came under Persistent vegetative state classification in order to qualify for a death order. One can be correct on the details (i.e. Michael wins so Terri dies) but wrong on the big picture: Florida law ought to be reverted the way it was at the time of Terri's collapse, namely that food and water are not a "life-prolonging procedure" but ordinary care (which could have been provided by the Schindlers at their expense for the remainder of Terri's natural life). Florida should be amended to the include the requirement of most other states, that a health care proxy authorizing the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration be written, dated, signed, and witnessed. patsw 00:15, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Terri wasn't terminal, since her brain injury was not expected to cause death. Really? I thought it was pretty well demonstrated on 31 March that her brain injury did cause her death ("Cause of Death: Complications of Anoxic Encephalopathy" says right there in the ME's report). She couldn't eat. She couldn't eat because of her brain injury. That was expected to cause death. She was on life support as a result. When that life prolonging procedure was discontinued, as predicted, she died. Kindly keep your opinions about what you think the law should be where I live to the state where you live and let us both be grateful they're not the same. The Schindlers had already demonstrated their capacity to provide ordinary care once for awhile and bec[ame] overwhelmed with her needs I believe is how it's stated in the article. What transpired between 1990 (I think it was) and 2005 that makes you think they were any more equipped to cope with her needs than they were in 1990 (when they had Michael around to help and were 15 years younger)? Did you happen to consider, given the 50 year life expectancy people like to throw around (well, so long as that pesky life prolonging procedure was kept going, anyway—she certainly couldn't have on her own), what the Schindlers would be doing with their project when they were say, 85? Didn't think so. Duckecho 11:23, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Speaking as a 25+ year resident of Florida, I respectfully disagree, believe the state of the law was correct and proper at the time our courts ruled on this matter, and fear (while my fears are not at all relevant to WP perhaps they are in Talk) your view will prevail not because it is correct but because it will be held politically expedient. Flawiki 00:54, 2005 Jun 22 (UTC)
Hm, so Perry Fine said his patients told him they experienced euphoria. Therefore they were conscious. And Terri, who was PVS, and completely unaware, would experience.... what? Assuming Terri WAS conscious (a shout out to all my conspiracy peeps out there, word) then Perry Fine's quote directly applies because his quote was referring to conscious patients, and if Terri was conscious, she'd have the same experience. So, if Terri had a hundred grams of neurons and wasn't aware of anything, then this is all moot. If she did have some sense of consciousness, then Perry's quote should apply. And from that line of reasoning, Perry's quote actually represents the point of view of the Schindlers, since Percy is talking about aware patients. If we want to have BOTH points of view, the PVS point of view would say "since Terri was PVS, she was unaware of any sensations at all". This is grasping for straws. Did you read the autopsy report? half the mass of a normal brain, and many sections had NO NEURONS. What was left of her brain was degenerated, non-thinking, tissue. And we're STILL arguing that she was aware? SHE WAS BLIND, for pete's sake, and people still want to argue that she made eye contact? What a load of bunk. Some people still insist that the emperor really is wearing clothes, even after the rest of the world is finally admitting that he's naked as a jaybird. FuelWagon 14:13, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure if you intend it as a rhetorical question when you ask if I've read the autopsy report. In case you missed it, I have already answered that question on this page. [32] You seem also to have missed my point, but perhaps I didn't make it clearly enough. I'll try again. Terri Schiavo had severe brain damage, but her body was healthy. She was forty-one. She was not terminally ill. If her nutrition and hydration had not been cut off, she could have lived for years. The basis for the claim that she couldn't feel pain or hunger or thirst was that her brain was damaged, not that her body was nearing the end, and shutting down. Therefore, if we had evidence of what other PVS patients (assuming that she was PVS) felt or didn't feel while being starved and dehydrated to death, it would be relevant. (If you're interested in what a patient diagnosed as PVS felt when the tube was taken out, try a Google search for "Kate Adamson" + PVS or have a look here.[33]) We have doctors who dispute that a PVS patient would feel nothing. We have doctors who dispute that Terri was in a PVS. And we have the British Medical Journal saying that 43% of PVS diagnoses are wrong.[34] But the question of what she would or wouldn't feel has always been based on the existing damage to her brain, not to her body. I am assuming that Percy Fine's patients who told him about these blissful experiences were not in PVS. I am assuming, however, that they did have damage to their bodies. Otherwise, why were they his patients, and why did they stop eating? Now it is possible that when the body is in its final stages, it may become impossible to digest food. That was not the case with Terri. Such patients may stop eating, but still not be brain damaged. That was not the case with Terri. They may then be able to tell the doctor what it feels like. That was not the case with Terri.
I do not think that Dr Fine was talking about physically-healthy, young or middle-aged people who stopped eating - and saying that they felt no pain, hunger, or thirst. Do you think he was?
I do not think he was talking about PVS patients, since he claimed that they later described their feelings to him? Do you think he was?
I am assuming, therefore, that he was speaking of people whose bodies were damaged so that they were physically dying. Terri was not dying. She died because her food and hydration were cut off, just as you would die if yours were cut off.
So - and I'm trying to make this as clear as possible - my arguments above were that the experiences of people with damage to their bodies but not their brains can not be used to prove something about what people with damage to their brains but not their bodies would experience. Ann Heneghan 15:01, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The case of Kate Adamson is fascinating, and thought provoking. Thanks for the material, although I think her website is a much better link. I started doing a complex logic chain, and realized that it was silly. Kate is your counter-expert. Quote her, or better summarize her, and provide a link to her site. 'Nuff said.--ghost 15:37, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Good grief. Kate Adamson may have been diagnosed in a PVS, but clearly she was not in a PVS since she would have been unable to recover had she been. It's a tautology. So any experience she claims to have had as a PVS patient cannot be applied to someone in a PVS because she wasn't. Given a severely atrophied brain less than half normal size and few neurons, is it your (Ann's) serious contention that Terri wasn't in a PVS? Further, Terri was in a terminal condition. See the relevant Florida Statute for the definition. Your (Ann's) assertion that she could have lived for years is not only the same kind of speculation you (Ann) frequently carp about, but in the face of the terminal condition definition, isn't even true. And as I said above, Fine's patients' experiences are a perfect analog to Terri's case. Duckecho 15:50, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No, it is not my serious contention that Terri wasn't in a PVS. It is my serious contention (and the serious contention of many others) that she may not have been. The diagnosis was seriously disputed. Since, as I've said several times - and nobody seems to have commented on it - the British Medical Journal found that 43% of PVS diagnoses are incorrect [35], then I think a comparison with Kate Adamson can be made. Both women were diagnosed as being in a PVS. Both had their feeding tubes removed. The comparison ends because one had the tube reinserted and was given therapy, while the other died of dehydration. Terri certainly wasn't in a terminal condition under an Irish or British definition. I confess I'm not familiar with the relevant Florida definition. Perhaps you could provide a link for me, please? And yes, I still state that she could have lived for years. In fact, at the malpractice trial, when Michael was begging for all this money so that he could take care of her and provide therapy for her, her estimated lifespan was, if I'm not mistaken, another fifty years. The award was based on that estimate. Why remove the tube if she was terminally ill? After all, if you're terminally ill, you're going to die soon, whether you're treated or not. Ann Heneghan 19:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Okay, I'll rephrase—is it your serious contention that if given some sort of treatment and therapy Terri could have recovered? The ME confirmed in the autopsy report you say you read that she couldn't have. Nor could she have learned to swallow (enabling her to get off the life prolonging procedure. Why was she on a life prolong procedure if she had a life expectancy of fifty years? I mentioned the BMJ report in another area. The report doesn't say that Terri was misdiagnosed. The only serious disputes about the diagnosis of Terri's PVS were lay disputes by the Schindlers and uninformed disputes by physicians who didn't have all of the data and hadn't made examinations (or were pontificating well out of their area of expertise). See above for the relevance of your Irish and British definitions. At the malpractice trial the full import of Terri's condition was not known, and any estimates made then of her life expectancy are curious snippets but of no relevance to her condition twelve years later. Terminal condition is the operant phrase. She was. Duckecho 20:20, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I found a short mention of Adamson discussing her period when she was diagnosed PVS and felt pain during dehydration ('torture' she called it) and added it to the article. patsw 16:22, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, and I just cut that bullshit out. Could you be any more emotionally loaded? un-fucking-believable. Go advocate somewhere else. keep this shit off wikipedia. FuelWagon 16:32, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Alright, that did it. I'm cutting any emotional tear-jerker crap on sight. I just cut the Schindler's comment that Terri was "fighting like hell", since that's assuming she friggen consciously aware, and I cut Felos's comment that she was "peaceful". This is all bullshit. We're sticking to the facts. No more he said, she said crap. And if you pull another stunt like that patsw, I'll cut it on sight, so knock it off. You want to tell a tear-jerker story, you do it on your own personal blog or something. we're not doing it on wikipedia. FuelWagon 16:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The crap about "fighting like hell" assumes Terri was conscious and aware, it's out. The crap about Adamson is comparing apples to oranges. It compares a consciously aware person with someone who was PVS. It's a nice tearjerker argument for the conspiracy theorists, but it doesn't belong in a wikipedia article. If you want to put it on your personal blog, go for it. This is turning into nothing but emotional arguments. and it all needs to get cut. FuelWagon 16:49, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

FuelWagon, could I request that you please stop your foul language and your abusive tone. You are giving Wikipedia a very bad reputation. Wikipedia policy asks for courtesy. You seem to violate it on a regular basis. Other people seem to be able to revert edits and to discuss disagreements without being so aggressive and insulting. Ever since I joined Wikipedia, I have been struck by the hostility, aggressiveness, and sometimes revoltingness of many of your contributions. Leaving aside some of your disgustingly graphic mentions of body parts, I have to say that I consider your edits with phrases like "Listen you little punk", "Listen jerk", "Listen you moron", "You're and idiot" to be completely contrary to Wikipedia policy on Civility and Wikiquette. The Terri Schiavo subject is a very controversial one. We need to be able to keep calm in order to work together. I am seriously requesting that you try to change your behaviour. Ann Heneghan 17:27, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Oh, and as far as the "little punk" comments go, I'm pretty sure I reserved those for a couple of special individuals. And I stand by those statements [36]. Of the time I spend on wikipedia, I probably spend 10 to 20 minutes on the Terri Schiavo talk page for every 1 minute I'm doing actual work on the Terri Schiavo article because of people like NCdave. The guy is a menace. I'm also pretty sure that I haven't directed similar comments towards you, but I could be mistaken. You strike me as sincere in your point of view but willing to negotiate to find someplace neutral. NCdave, on the other hand, is incapable of negotiating and can't seem to separate hearsay/fantasy from facts. FuelWagon 21:55, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
For the record, yes, I acknowledge that you have not directed any such comments towards me. Ann Heneghan 23:17, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The Adamson interview was a leading, biased, irrelevant, tear-jerker argument. I cut it, and cussed about it on the talk page. You REVERT it, and then ask me to talk nice so I don't "give wikipedia a bad rep". What about giving wikipedia a bad rep for having emotional arguments and tear-jerker pleas in its articles? I may talk trash on the talk page, but you will NEVER see me put leading, biased, irrelevant, emotional pleas on an article. FuelWagon 18:02, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Abusive edit summaries are not highly regarded under Wikipedia policy. And they are completely unnecessary. Ann Heneghan 19:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the information, Ann. And for your information, inserting leading, biased, irrelevant, tear-jerker content into articles is not highly regarded under Wikipedia policy too. And just how abusive is "nice try"? should I thank patsw for inserting emotionally laden content that I have to cut out? insert expletive of choice here. FuelWagon 20:09, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
One sentence with the opinion of unnamed neurologists (linked to USA Today); one sentence on the experience of Kate Adamson (linked to The Weekly Standard). By the way, Kate Adamson was diagnosed with PVS at the time and that was considered to be a sufficient justification by itself to remove her feeding tube in 1995. The reason her story has received so much attention in 2005 it precisely because of its similarity to Terri Schiavo's case. patsw 18:24, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
One statement of fact from a neurologist that PVS patients do not experience pain. (and vast sections of article devoted to the dispute about her PVS diagnosis). Compare that with an irrelevant mention of Adamson saying it felt like TORTURE (no emotional loading here), and you immediately bring along the assumption that Terri was NOT PVS and oh my god, she was tortured. The article has sections dealing with the dispute about her diagnosis. Bringing in Adamson here is an underhanded way of disputing the dispute in an emotionally charged way. And Michael killed Terri's cats, so he must not have loved her. Whether or not Terri was PVS is handled in its own entire section, and has finally gotten to a point of neutral point of view, just the facts, etc. Now you slip in this Adamson quote that does NOTHING but INSERT DOUBT from an emotional argument that maybe Terri wasn't PVS. It received so much attention in 2005 because people who want to dispute medical diagnosis point to a one in a million example where the doctors were wrong, and therefore maybe Terri's diagnosis was wrong. This isn't reporting facts. This is casting doubt on the majority medical decision by pulling on heartstrings. FuelWagon 18:40, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
One in a million? I'm not saying that the British Medical Journal [37] estimate of 43% is correct. But since such a highly-regarded, peer-reviewed journal gives such a fact, I think most people would agree that the real figures are probably much higher than one in a million. Kate Adamson was lucky in that she had the tube reinserted. (The statistics for that happening are probably much lower than for the diagnosis actually being wrong.) Ann Heneghan 19:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Unbelievable. That's what I get for reading your links. If you'll note, the opening says she survived "one in a million" odds. If adamson survived one-in-a-million, then the implication is that Terri could too. That is the underlying implication. That the case for Adamson and Terri are somehow similar or related. FuelWagon 20:05, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Actually, it was ghost, not I, who provided that link. I think the "one-in-a-million" refers to the chances of surviving after doctors have taken out the tube, not the chances of a misdiagnosis. Ann Heneghan 23:17, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Oh, and I read your British Medical Journal report. It wasn't specific, but I get the impression that the patients they evaluated had been diagnosed by a SINGLE doctor. Terri was examined and diagnosed by 8 doctors. So, the chance for a misdiagnosis on Terri would be much lower. The odds of the 6 doctors who said she was PVS being wrong is a lot less than the odds of a single doctor being wrong. Even if you throw out the biased docs, you've got 4 who say she was PVS and none against. So, this report may be misrepresenting Terri's situation of multiple doctors over the years diagnosing her. FuelWagon 20:21, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Adamson said what she said, it is real, certified Wikipedia fact -- and it was more widely reported than the Perry "no pain" statement. In March 2005 and now it is still a matter of wide interest: "Do patients diagnosed as PVS feel pain as they are being dehydrated to death?" Two opposing statements backed up by links, so let the reader make a judgment on their own. As for me, I'd give more weight to the experience of Kate Adamson who actually lived through it. If Fuel Wagon or anyone finds an account of a patient diagnosed with PVS who recovered and reported euphoria during their seventh day of being denied water, that would be a useful addition to this section for balance. patsw 19:06, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Let the reader decide? Oh my god. And we should put in the fact that Michael had Terri's cats put to sleep and let the reader decide on that too? Give me a break. This has nothing to do with the fact that PVS patients don't feel pain. This is an attempt to insert doubt that Terri was PVS at all. Crying "let the reader decide" is a nice way of saying "yeah, this doesn't belong, but the reader can figure that out". This has NOTHING to do with any of the actors involved (Terri, Michael, Schindlers). This is an outside event. And you want to bring it in to cast doubt on the PVS diagnosis in an emotionally laden way. The article already covers the dispute about the diagnosis. And you want to bring in a "yeah but" tear jerker. If you'll notice, I TOOK OUT THE PART ABOUT "EUPHORIA", so your claims that Adamson's interview counter's that is MOOT. The "euphoria" quote is gone. The only thing there is the fact that PVS patients don't feel pain. You're arguing against an old version of the article. FuelWagon 19:15, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think some of patsw and Ann's arguments are logically sound, at least at first glance, but I see 2 issues here:
  • You're not arguing that PVS patients don't feel pain from removal of nourishment, you're arguing that a person who is incorrectly diagnosed as such might feel pain. While that may certainly be true, it's no longer a valid comparison, as it requires multiple unspoken additional assumptions not being dealt with in the current section. I'm not the logical fallacy expert that so many web pundits are, but isn't that 'begging the question' or something along those lines?
  • One of the hardest problems to deal with is the constant inclusion in an article of valid, defensible individual counterpoints that nonetheless, when added to almost every statement in an article, substantially shift the tone of the article to a particular bias. This is why so many seemingly innocuous points turn into brawls here, and I think both 'sides' know this. I think if we could ever acknowledge it, we'd be closer than this article has ever gotten to consensus.
Fox1 21:04, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Let the reader see both sides of the question if patients diagnosed with PVS can feel pain. I'm not asking that the unnamed neurologists statement be stricken, I'm asking for balance on a question on which there are two sides. If you would be satisfied with a statement supporting Adamson's experience from neurologists let me know. Otherwise, I believe the Adamson's own statement as a person diagnosed as PVS, dehydrated for several days, not in danger of death is a fact that's relevant, significant, etc. in the article for balance because Terri was diagnosed as PVS, dehydrated for several days, not in danger of death. If there's patient who recovered after a diagnosis of PVS and reported no experience of pain, hunger, or thirst (current wording) in their seventh day of dehydration that would be a good addition here, have you been able to find any? What problem do you have with a controversial matter for which there are two sides being presented in the article, and not merely the side of a controversial matter you agree with? patsw 21:24, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It is true that Kate Adamson was not PVS, and thus her comparison to Terri Schiavo is not totally equal, but both WERE diagnosed as such, and because of the denial of food and water, we will never know if Terri was similarly misdiagnosed, so Pat's suggestion for comparison is not a bad idea. Let me point out that Pat is very fair, and I am glad that some editors with my POV are as open-minded. For example, Pat says at one point "The autopsy found no evidence of strangulation and no evidence of bulimia. People emotionally committed to either explanation for her collapse are therefore disappointed," admitting that he is not a "strangulation" extremist. Additionally, when Pat says "The long quote which appears in the article from Perry Fine which denies that Terri did not feel pain as she was dying of dehydration is not balanced by a opinion from a expert who holds the opinion that Terri did feel pain with his or her reasons for holding this opinion. I will add some balance to this section," I can translate those double negatives for Duck: If Perry (or is it Percy) denied Terri was painless, then he admits Terri felt pain. Pat's wishes to include a viewpoint of a doctor who says that Terri felt NO pain, which is what he meant by "balance," shows he is not a "feed Terri" extremist, like we Pro-Lifers have been painted. Thus, we can assume Pat is being open-minded and not joking when he says "If Fuel Wagon or anyone finds an account of a patient diagnosed with PVS who recovered and reported euphoria during their seventh day of being denied water, that would be a useful addition to this section for balance." In conclusion, we can believe Pat is fair when he says that "I'm not asking that the unnamed neurologists [said to be quoted in USA today and saying Terri felt no pain], statement be stricken, I'm asking for balance on a question on which there are two sides." I'm not trying to paint Pat as a hero so much as I'm grouping several of his more noteworthy statements together. Thus, if and when I have a chance to commend Duck (or others) on some common sense, it should be apparent that I am not simply trying to get on their good side to get a favor or something.--GordonWattsDotCom 13:06, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"we will never know if Terri was similarly misdiagnosed" This is exactly why the Adamson comparison is POV. The article NEVER says "Terri WAS pvs". It specifically says "Terri was DIAGNOSED pvs". And it lists all the stuff that disputes the diagnosis. The video by the Schindlers, the affidavits by doctors who watched the video, Cheshire, yada, yada, yada. NO ONE IS SAYING THAT TERRI WAS PVS. No one is claiming the diagnosis has absolute certainty. The questions around this certainty are already covered by the facts of the Terri Schiavo case. Bringing in Adamson is an emotional plea, a way of getting in the last "yeah but she might NOT have been PVS". NO ONE IS CLAIMING AN ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN DIAGNOSIS. The article spends a lot of time covering the fact that the diagnosis is disputed. There is no "Terri was PVS" claim that needs to be balanced by mentioning Adamson. Bringing in Adamson doesn't balance anything that doesn't already show both sides of the Terri Schiavo case. The disputes around the diagnosis is already shown in excruciating detail. This isn't about balance, its about emotional pleading. FuelWagon 16:20, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"The article NEVER says "Terri WAS pvs". Actually, in the section "Initial Medical Crisis", it says, "eventually resulted in a persistent vegetative state (PVS)". So the article is still stating such things as fact, and has a long way to go before reaching NPOV. Ann Heneghan 23:17, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The section is about removing the feeding tube, not whether Terri was PVS or not. There is another section for the PVS diagnosis, and all the hairy details, all the different points of view, all the biases of all the players, etc. This section is about removing the feeding tube. And PVS patients do not feel hunger when their feeding tube is removed, they are completely unaware. You are disputing the DIAGNOSIS that Terri was PVS, which has its own section. "if patients diagnosed with PVS can feel pain" The DIAGNOSIS is irrelevant for this section. The fact is that PVS patients do not feel anything. The dispute of the diagnosis is handled in another section. This isn't about two sides being presented, this is about slipping in a dispute of diagnosis with an emotionally charged example. FuelWagon 21:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
How can I make this more clear? One sentence asserts one side of a controversy "Patients diagnosed with PVS cannot feel pain". For balance I will insert a sentence with a link "Patients diagnosed with PVS can feel pain". That's balance and NPOV. patsw 22:13, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You could make it more clear by quoting what is actually in the article. This is the current sentence:
Neurologists note that patients in a persistent vegetative state do not experience pain, hunger or thirst due to the removal of their feeding tube.
Note the significant lack of the word diagnosis anywhere in that sentence. This is from the life prolonging procedures section, and is about life support, removing feeding tube. The DIAGNOSIS of pvs is in another section. FuelWagon 22:30, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The article, as it currently stands, states, "Neurologists note that patients in a persistent vegetative state do not experience pain, hunger or thirst due to the removal of their feeding tube." There's also a link at the bottom to an article titled "Schiavo unlikely to experience pain, neurologists say". Other bits were removed today. I would suggest a little research to see if there are neurologists who dispute the claim that PVS patients don't feel pain etc. (I have read articles from or about doctors who disputed it, but I can't remember if they were neurologists or not.) If there are, then perhaps it could be changed to "Some neurologists note that . . . " or "Many neurologists note that . . . " I do think that the addition of the Adamson information was necessary to add balance to what was there this morning. I'd still be happy to have it in, but since some of what I objected to has now been removed, I could compromise. However, if there are neurologists who believe that PVS patients do feel pain, then it would be misleading to leave it simply as "Neurologists note . . . " Ann Heneghan 22:41, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

from [38]

There is a near-universal acceptance, in both medical literature and in legal cases of the proposition that PVS patients cannot feel pain.

with the following footnotes The 1996 guidelines issued by the BMA state (at p.58):

"It is widely accepted that PVS patients are unconscious and incapable of suffering mental distress or physical pain although many reflex responses remain."

The Multi-Society Task Force on PVS state (Part 2 at p.1576):

"None of these [i.e. reflexive responses] however, can evoke the experience of pain and suffering if the brain has lost its capacity for self-awareness. The perceptions of pain and suffering are conscious experiences: unconsciousness, by definition, precludes these experiences."

As the President’s Commission categorizes PVS under the heading ‘Permanent Loss of Consciousness’ (op.cit. p.180), it is not surprising that the issue of pain was easily resolved:

“If a prognosis of permanent unconsciousness is correct, however, continued treatment cannot confer such benefits [i.e. relief of pain]. Pain and suffering are absent, as are joy, satisfaction ...” [ibid. p.181]

The Institute of Medical Ethics Working Party on the Ethics of Prolonging Life and Assisting Death ‘Withdrawal of life-support from patients in a persistent vegetative state.’ The Lancet (1991) found that:

“Vegetative state patients are not suffering, because the mechanisms for suffering have been destroyed.” [ibid. p.97] and

”We agree with the American view that there is no remaining neurological mechanism to make pain or suffering possible, ...” [ibid.]

It would appear that the definition of PVS is that they feel no pain. FuelWagon 23:01, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

That is correct. That's why the fact that Terri was routinely given analgesics in response to symptoms of discomfort from menstrual cramps is evidence that she wasn't in PVS.
It is also why the fact that her "exit protocol"[39][40] called for administration of analgesics in response to "symptoms of pain/discomfort" means that her hospice caregivers did not truly believe that she was in a PVS.
P = "in a PVS"
D = "in discomfort"
"P => -D" means that "D => -P"
Or, in English: if being in a PVS implies that one cannot be in discomfort, then it logically follows that being in discomfort implies that one cannot be in a PVS.
The hospice caregivers believed that Terri could experience discomfort, which is proof that they believed she wasn't really in a PVS. NCdave 08:18, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Mediator on duty

ghost asked me to mediate. What's going on? How can I help? -- Uncle Ed (talk) 17:55, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

Note the times on your two edits and my revert of Patsw's edit a minute later. It wasn't my intent to revert yours as I didn't know about them, but having seen your edits, it's just as well, as I don't think they're up to the standard that has been set in the editing of this article so far. Duckecho 18:38, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

What's a fact?

From way above:

the best NPOV standard is to assume that all rulings of the courts, not overturned, are considered fact for the purposes of this article.

I don't recall reading that in the Wikipedia:NPOV policy page. If a Louisiana court outlaws gravity, will that enable children to throw their unwanted vegetables into outer space? -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:11, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

Please, Ed, that's just absurd. Duckecho 19:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

In other words, a court ruling is a legal opinion. It is neither "true" nor "false". It may be binding on other parts of the government, particularly since it sets a legal precedent. But a court cannot make a false thing become true, merely by declaring it to be so. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:11, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

Of course not, but what can (and does) happen is a court makes a finding of fact (that's what they call it, you know). Now that initial finding of fact may, in some instances, not have been a good decision, i.e., may not have given proper weight to some evidence, may have erroneously dismissed otherwise credible testimony, may have hindered an advocates efforts by incorrect applications of law. Regardless of those things, the ruling is a finding of fact. But luckily for us in our legal system, that (and every) finding is subject to review by other courts. The beauty of the system is that such poor decisions wind up being overturned. Therefore one rogue judge outlawing gravity (please) does not, in the end, prevail with his ruling. Duckecho 19:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I wish they could, though. Imagine a court ruling that everyone in California be issued a college diploma. Would that mean they all had a college education? (Not if they didn't do the work.)

See above. Your example is an argument absurdum. Duckecho 19:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Okay, enough epistemology. What's the real issue here?

Are people fighting about whether Terry Schiavo "really" was dead? -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:11, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

No. Duckecho 19:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

(I wrote a paper in high school about the meaning of death.) There's:

  • alive and kicking
  • drowsy / drunk / hypnotized
  • unconscious
  • comatose
  • totally, legally, morally, officially dead (like the Wicked Witch in the film version of the Wizard of Oz

Not to make light of this, but, really people! Let's try to get a grip.

There's also:

I am unaware of anyone ever arguing that here. Duckecho 19:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • alive but unresponsive (except when doctors are out of the room)

What I'm getting at is that there are certain points of view (see Wikipedia:POV) about whether Terri might recover. The parents said yes, the courts and her ex? husband said no. And Wikipedia is expected to decide. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:11, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

He was not her ex (or estranged as one edit warrior tried to argue). Duckecho 19:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
But he had been living with another woman for ten years, and had two children by her. He was given legal right to make decisions for Terri by virtue of the fact that he was her husband. He was her husband because he went through a Catholic marriage ceremony with her. In a Catholic marriage ceremony, both parties promise to be faithful to each other for life. And I think many people would agree that being one woman's fiancé is a little inconsistent with the idea of being another woman's husband. Ann Heneghan 19:49, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yes, and the Schindlers encouraged Michael to date and "get on with his life". Nothing like leaving it all out of context. Are we going to regurgitate every piece of dirt that's been thrown around? FuelWagon 20:16, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The contention that the Schindlers encouraged Michael to date is unproven, but it is certainly true that they wanted him to divorce their daughter and let them care for her. However, all that is irrelevant to the argument that Duckecho started. Duckecho objected to the term "ex" in reference to Michael Schiavo's relationship to Terri.
The fact is that Michael had a new "fiancé" (his term), and he has two children by her. Here's a hint, Duckecho: if your woman has gotten engaged to someone else, then it is definitely time for you to start thinking of her as your "ex." Dude, it is over with you by then, for sure! But if she's also been living with her "new" fiancé for years, and has children with him, then it is way, way, past over, and if you don't think of her as your "ex" by then, then you need serious help. NCdave 11:00, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Grrr, No, they were married by virtue of a license to do so granted to them by the state government, which has provisions for dissolving this union only insofar as governed by official divorce proceedings or certain other legal actions. The fact that the state government allowed a catholic priest to act as a witness to the signing of the license concurrently with a catholic marriage ceremony is a matter of convenience and tradition, and carries no other weight. Imagine that, Americans don't understand the difference between religious and civil unions, didn't see that coming.
Fox1 20:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"Imagine that, Americans don't understand the difference between..." Fox1, Ann Heneghan is not American; she is Irish. See e.g., her page. Nonetheless, your point about the laws is a good point.--GordonWattsDotCom 14:11, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Oh... yeah, I didn't know that. I guess I continue to assume that this issue doesn't attract much attention internationally, my bad. In any event, if you discard the insinuation that I'm referring to Ann when I say that, it still holds true.
Fox1 15:21, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I guess I continue to assume that this issue doesn't attract much attention internationally, my bad. That's OK; we all make mistakes or miss something, but if I infer your insinuation correctly, I agree with you; you seem to insinuate that maybe Ann and definitely American Wiki editors should have been familiar with the American laws. She and most or all of the other editors (whether American or otherwise) are quite intelligent and able to look stuff up on the web. (That is why I thought you had a good point.) But with her workload at college, it is understandable that she missed a few of the finer points.--GordonWattsDotCom 15:58, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

No way. Wikipedia has to remain "neutral" on this point, as in "Neutral Point Of View Policy". We don't tell the readers what the truth is. We only report what the various advocates say. And the court is nothing more than an "advocate" in this context. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:11, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

No, the court has advocates who present the case. The court makes a decision. That is not advocacy. That is finding of fact. Arguing the case and representing the client's position is advocacy. Duckecho 19:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Whatever you and I want the courts to decide, it's not going to change what really is so. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:11, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, but what the courts decide, really is so. That's why we have a legal system so that when two people have differing opinions we get someone to decide it for them. Not everyone is going to agree with it, certainly not the litigant that did not prevail, but that doesn't alter the fact of the ruling. Duckecho 19:03, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
If you think that "what the courts decide, really is so," then you must agree with this decision? Naw, I didn't think so.
George Greer is a loose cannon, an activist judge with a 76% reversal rate on appeal (if you don't count the Schiavo case). So, if what he decided really was so, what does that make the courts who reversed his decisions? Is what they decided really so, too? Unlike the White Queen, I can't simultaneously believe two contradictory things.
Greer, and Greer alone, decided all the major points of contention about the facts in the case -- and neither a jury nor any other court ever heard testimony on those issues. He ruled recklessly, and with obvious bias, often displaying contempt for the law and the evidence. He is a bad judge. NCdave 08:48, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

what Wikipedia's position(s) should be

Wikipedia should not take a position. See Wikipedia:NPOV for details. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:15, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

Civility (and the lack thereof)

Okay, I got a taste of it right now.

article went through a lot of battles to settle on "diagnosed PVS"

Guys, ya gotta explain you edits better than that. Can't just revert someone's work with no explanation. Especially when it's such a hot issue. I can see why Mediation was called for.

What part of

American woman from St. Petersburg, Florida who became comatose and then spent the last 15 years of her life in a "persistent vegetative state" that some viewed as uncurable

did you object to? -- Uncle Ed (talk) 18:52, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

Ed, I don't object to saying Terri spent the last 15 years of her life in a PVS. But if we leave it like that, a lot of people will come in and change it. It has been going on for months now at least. After a LOT of go arounds, arguments, debates, and whatnot, we finally settled on saying she was "diagnosed PVS", because pro-schindler advocates don't want the article to state as fact that Terri WAS pvs, but they'll agree to say she was DIAGNOSED pvs. Really. Anyone who's been on this page for a while can tell you the battles we've gone through around this. And I could put this all in the edit summary, except that there is a word limit. FuelWagon 19:20, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't care for became comatose as a phrase but that may be personal linguistic style. Went into a coma and was comatose have a better sound to my (possibly tin) ear. Duckecho 19:23, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • She was only in a coma (or comatose) for a very short period of time (couple of months at most—it was there in the opening paragraph). Your wording implies that the coma was the persistent vegetative state. They are not synonymous. Duckecho 19:23, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Persistent vegetative state is incurable (not uncurable) by definition. Frankly I don't think anyone who came to accept the PVS diagnosis thought she was curable. Duckecho 19:23, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Moreover, saying ...that some viewed as uncurable [sic] implies that there was a legitimate position that it was curable. That isn't a legitimate position. I don't know that we are compelled to report untenable positions. Duckecho 19:23, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Three cheers for FuelWagon and Duckecho. Their edits are FAR superior to the others in current contention. Keep up the fight guys. And by the way, differences in "What is death for humans?" is the very essence of the Teri Schiavo controversy (in my opinion). Some think we are like a driver of a car with the car being body (brain and all). Others, like me, think we are the brain. No brain, no person. Both those who believed Teri as a person no longer existed and those who believed her soul was trapped in an unusable body agreed with the opinions that prevailed. 19:47, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for the kind comment. I'm flattered and blushing. Duckecho 20:09, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The diagnosis of PVS was disputed by the Schindlers and others who had contact with Terri -- no one disputes that she was severely brain-damaged but some claim that she could interact with her environment to the extent that a diagnosis of PVS was not accurate. A large part of the pleadings to courts in late 2004/early 2005 were an attempt to have the diagnosis changed to minimally conscious state, which under Florida law would likely have prevented Judge Greer from issuing an order that nutrition and hydration be withdrawn. The argument was since there was a possibility of misdiagnosis, that the error be made on the side of life, i.e. letting Terri live with tube feeding until her natural death.
A patient for whom there was no dispute as her condition of being in PVS was Nancy Cruzan. She died 12 days after her feeding tubes were removed. This ABC News article explains the difficulties in making the distinction between MCS and PVS. patsw 19:53, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Don't you mean to say Cruzan was starved to death? That's your usual description of permitting the feeding tube to be removed from a patient in a terminal condition. Oops. Sorry. That sounds a little condescending. I'll strike it out. Please disregard. Duckecho 20:31, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Recovery from pvs

From earlier talk:

an account of a patient diagnosed with PVS who recovered

How many PVS victims have ever recovered? -- Uncle Ed (talk) 19:15, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

That would be difficult to quantify. As one editor has reported, a study in a British medical journal postulates that 43% of PVS diagnoses are incorrect. So automatically, anyone recovering from a PVS that was incorrectly diagnosed doesn't get counted. Our own (wikipedia) article says "Few people have been reported to recover from PVS. Some authorities hold that PVS is, in fact, irreversible, and that the reportedly recovered patients were not suffering from true PVS." I would be extremely suspicious of any claim of a recovered PVS patient (correctly diagnosed). Duckecho 19:30, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Good point, Duck; it is things like this that show this matter is not so easily decided, even if you have a lot of doctors examining Terri. Since we know you were in favor of the PVS diagnosis for Terri, I am glad you are open-minded enough to accept the high misdiagnoses rate.--GordonWattsDotCom 11:12, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

More to the point : Could Teri Schiavo recover? The autopsy proves she could not have recovered. That some people are misdiagnosed with PVS and have recovered is beside the point. No one with ALL the characteristics of Teri have recovered. None. She was also missing a toe. How many people missing a toe have recovered? Irrelevant. We have to look at ALL the characteristics that made recovery impossible, not just "diagnosis of PVS" out of context. 19:54, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Duckecho, thanks for making the point that since a misdiagnosis of PVS is always possible, people can and do recover after being diagnosed PVS. Hence, removing their feeding tubes and allowing them to die removes the possibility of their recovery. True or false diagnosis? The only way to know is to let these patients live and if they recover, good, and if they die naturally, then they die. If they continue to live like Don Herbert for ten years with limited cognitive ability and then recover that's good too. People diagnosed with PVS are alive contrary to the opinion of
Correcting, the essence of the Terri Schiavo controversy is the protection of the life and dignity of people under guardianship and setting a high standard of proof when it comes to denying food and water to people who can no longer express their wishes. We don't yet dehydrate to death every patient with a brain injury from which they will not recover. patsw 20:33, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Correcting patsw, the essence of the Terri Schiavo controversy is protection of people from mob rule and witchhunts. The courts found that Terri was PVS and that she would not have wanted to be kept alive in that situation. The Schindlers admitted on record that if they were her guardians, they would not take her off of life support, even if Terri had left written instructions NOT to be kept on life support. So, they doctored 5 hours of video down into 5 minutes that appear to show her reacting. The rest of the video has disappeared, conveniently. They dragged this thing through the court system for nearly a decade. Challenging Michael's guardianship, which failed. Then challenging that Terri would want to be kept on life support and failing. Then challenging the diagnosis of PVS and failing. And when all that failed, they went to the mass media and waged a smear campaign against Michael and invoked the christian right to wage war against Michael, Greer, and Felos (all of whom have had their lives threatened by right-wing nut jobs who view themselves as the avenging angel), and calling upon the executive branches to intrude on the separation of powers to override the ten years of court rulings BECAUSE THEY WOULDN"T LET TERRI DIE, EVEN IF SHE WANTED TO. FuelWagon 21:18, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Worse, and this is documented in the Wolfson report (I forgot, was he bought and paid for, too?), they would have had multiple limb amputations performed on her in the course of perpetuating her body's existence had they been necessary due to disease—up to four of them. Duckecho 21:57, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"The only way to know is to let these patients live and if they recover, good, and if they die naturally, then they die." That's ignoring the law and living wills and any sort of sense of individual right to choose their own fate. But then, that's what this has been all about. The Schindlers think they know better than Terri what's best for her. FuelWagon 21:22, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Do you have a cite for a statement from the Schindlers that hypothetically they would have litigated a living will by Terri which would have directed that hydration and nutrition be withdrawn when she was diagnosed in PVS? The Wolfson report p.14 speaks of "intention" which is a very vague term. The Schindlers dispute they said this, and as mentioned earlier, they dispute the next sentence of the Wolfson report which states "they acknowledged that Theresa was in a diagnosed persistent vegetative state". patsw 22:01, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"intention" is very vague? wow. I don't know what to say to that. multiple amputations seems pretty clear, though, doesn't it? FuelWagon 22:34, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Nobody has suggested that Terri could have "recovered" completely. She had very substantial brain damage, which, short of a true miracle, could not possibly have been completely reversed. However, numerous medical experts were of the opinion that she could have been helped by proper treatment and therapy. In other words, the argument isn't over whether or not she could have recovered, it is over whether or not her condition might have improved with appropriate treatment.
Felos, M.Schiavo, and their handpicked doctors contended that Terri's cerebral cortex was entirely destroyed ("replaced by spinal fluid") and for that reason there was no hope that she could have responded to treatment. However, they lied. They had the CT scans (which they would not release, except for one carefully chosen shallow slice), to show them that her cerebral cortex was not entirely destroyed. Now the autopsy report has confirmed that they were lying (just like they lied about her condition being terminal, to qualify her for hospice and to defraud medicaid[41]). The postmortem analysis of Terri's brain by medical examiner and neuropathologist Dr. Stephen Nelson found that the frontal areas of Terri's brain, the areas responsible for cognition, were "relatively preserved."
The autopsy report reached no conclusion about whether Terry was conscious or vegetative, but the relatively good condition of her frontal lobes suggests both the possibilities that she was aware and the possibility that she might have responded to treatment.
In fact, some people function quite well with half or even more than half of their brains missing. For examples, Google for Christina Santhouse, Google for GAhad Israfil (and view a photo of him), and Google for the work of Dr. John Lorber. NCdave 05:24, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Significance of prescription bottles

The article states "a number of bottles of prescription medicine were found in the kitchen." That's rather vague and, as written, could describe half of the kitchens in the U.S. Were they empty, or just in a drawer? Anyone know? --Yath 20:21, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

That was in the article mid-April. I queried the significance of it at the time, and Professor Ninja took it out. It was put in again recently. I still don't see the significance, and think it should be taken out again - in fact, I'm going to take it out now. If it has some special significance then I think it should be discussed here before it goes back in. And if it has some significance, I think it would have to be made explicit in the article. Ann Heneghan 20:36, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Presumably it's an allusion to a possible medication-related cause for her collapse, but if the person who added it can't come out and state the possibility directly and then back it up, it shouldn't be there. Fox1 20:45, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No, it's a description of the intial scene, as described in the police report. --Viriditas | Talk 04:58, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Viriditas put it back in at Noon on the 16th [42]. On the one hand Viriditas' point "[i]n light of Thogmartin's recent statement that drugs were not ruled out nor capable of detecting diet pills or caffeine, add back key police report item that was removed" is well taken. I fear, however, that it incites speculation about what they might be. The answer, according to the ME was that there wasn't any way of knowing, and certainly weren't screened for other than the typical cannabis, morphine or heroin derivatives, etc., that would be typically suspect on admission for this type of case. My thought is leave it out, but since Ann wants it out, I may have to rethink this... Duckecho 21:34, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
If it has ANY relevance, it is probably when the autopsy doctor says something about the blood tests when Terri was first admitted to a hospital wouldn't have tested for this or that, but that the police report noted prescription bottles here and there. Then at least it is clear that the prescription bottles are a 'dead end' as far as empirical evidence is concerned. If you mention the bottles without the fact that no tests were made for those medications, then you mention bottles and leave it as some sort of implication that Terri overdosed or Michael poisoned her, or whatever, and it's left as an unanswered question. Mentioning that no tests were ever done for those medications would at least put the bottles in the context that any speculation of overdose/poisoning is just speculation and will likely never be known with absolute empirical certainty. But then, since it will never be known with any certainty, the relevancy seems low. It's almost like reporting "the trash hadn't been taken out". and the question "who cares?" comes to mind. FuelWagon 22:43, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The statement from the St. Petersburg police report (written by (Officer Philip Brewer?) is not intended to make a case or imply anything. The full quote from the report states: "Writer found nothing unusual inside the apartment. There were no signs of a struggle or anything that would indicate a crime had been committed. Various bottles of prescription medicine were present in the kitchen, however, only two were prescribed to Theresa." [43] In regards to Thogmartin's statement that drugs were not ruled out nor were the tests capable of detecting certain drugs, the passage from the police report is highly relevant. You will notice that I did not include "only two were prescribed to Theresa" so as to avoid any implications. We don't know how many bottles there were, and we don't know if the drugs belong to other people, which is why I only briefly mentioned it. I see nothing wrong with describing the scene of the initial emergency. --Viriditas | Talk 04:55, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Adamson Garbage

This just in: Revert to version by Ann. Text says "patients who recovered from being in a PVS" but Adamson was misdiagnosed as PVS, URL points to article that argues Terri is misdiagnosed, not that PVS patients feel FuelWagon 00:03, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

patsw, you inserted a blatant lie in the article, saying "patients who recovered from being in a PVS" in reference to Adamson. Only problem is that Adamson was NOT pvs. She was misdiagnosed. And the URL you provided argues that Terri was MISDIAGNOSED. The article does not argue that PVS patients can feel. Whether you get this through your head or not, I'm keeping this garbage out of the article. FuelWagon 00:06, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Here's the text:

Some neurologists note that patients in a persistent vegetative state do not experience pain, hunger or thirst due to the removal of their feeding tube. [44], while others, based in part upon the experience of patients who recovered from being in a PVS, hold that such patients experience pain.[45]

Adamson didn't RECOVER. She was MISDIAGNOSED. She was NOT PVS, and the weekly standard URL you give argues that maybe Terri was MISDIAGNOSED TOO. FuelWagon 00:09, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The doctors deciding to remove feeding tubes from patients like Adamson and Schiavo don't have labels on their charts that read "Correct Diagnosis-Will Recover" and "Incorrect Diagnosis-Will Not Recover". From the data at hand when making clinical decisions the diagnosis of PVS and the reality of PVS are the one and the same. That's why medical judgments are not certain. So Adamson's doctors didn't have omniscience - she was PVS as far as their protocols were concerned and she felt pain. So some patients in PVS (as far as anyone can tell when they remove the feeding tube) feel pain when dehydrated.
The main point is letting the reader decide if the USA Today-quoted neurologists or the Weekly Standard-quoted neurologists make more sense when it comes to the pain of dehydration. Balance. Let the reader see both sides of a controversy. patsw 00:43, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The reader can decide about the DIAGNOSIS in the section about Terri's DIAGNOSIS. But NO ONE claims that PVS patients can feel. If they can feel, they are aware, and if they are aware, they're not PVS. The section about diagnosis doesn't assume omniscience, it reports all the doctors who examined Terri and their diagnosis. That section doesn't claim with certainty that Terri was PVS, it lists the facts of what the doctors diagnosed her. But the section about life-prolonging procedures isn't going into her diagnosis, it's talking about all the ins and outs of removing her feeding tube, the various motions by the Schindlers, the law and how a feeding tube is considered life support, all that stuff. You're slipping in an attempt to dispute the diagnosis in the feeding-tube section. We now know with certainty that Adamson was misdiagnosed. We don't know with certainty that Terri's diagnosis was correct or incorrect. All we know is a bunch of doctors examined her and the great majority said she's PVS, and that's all covered in the diagnosis section. FuelWagon 01:03, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The bunch of doctors who examined Adamson all said she's PVS -- which why the sentence from neurologists in the Weekly Standard should appear to balance the statement from the USA Today neurologists. balance. Let the reader decide. If you believe this sentence with balance belongs in "Diagnosis" and not in "Long Prolonging Procedures", I'm not committed to its appearance in any one particular section. patsw 16:14, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
But you didn't put any of THAT in the article. You put in the interview piece where Adamson said it was torture to be taken off her feeding tube. You are appealing to pity. And you present Adamson as one specific example of a misdiagnosis and then make a hasty generalization that says all diagnosis are suspect. Find a statement by the American Neurological Association (I think that's the name) that says something about (un)certainty of diagnosis and put THAT in the article. But don't slip in a bleeding heart example of a misdiagnosis and expect it to pass as neutral. FuelWagon 14:51, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Second-guessing Cheshire

With the result of the autopsy and the findings that the Shiavo [sic] could not possibly have been watching him or anyone else, Cheshire's conclusions are now known to have been incorrect.

Does the entire article get rewritten with spelling errors and outrageous claims? Nothing is "now known" about those conclusions. "PVS is a clinical diagnosis arrived at through physical examination of living patients". That is not my POV but the coroner's in his report made on page 35 of the pdf. The autopsy doesn't identify when Terri lost her sight. patsw 00:16, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I've taken it out. I provided a link on 22 April to [an article] saying that an autopsy can't determine PVS. Nobody ever commented on it, and eventually it got archived. However, the autopsy report also made it clear that it could not confirm (or deny) the PVS diagnosis.
It was known at the time of Cheshire's examination that Terri's vision was damaged. Nevertheless, blind, or partially-sighted people often seem to look at people - not because of unconscious reflexes, but because they are aware of the people. Also, Cheshire's affidavit said a lot more than just that she looked at him. "His conclusions" (without clarification) do not all become incorrect because of the autopsy report. Ann Heneghan 00:38, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Well, I'm glad you both agree. After Cheshire says Terri "watched him" for half a minute, I reference a piece of the autopsy. FuelWagon 01:18, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
(Schiavo’s autopsy, performed April 1, 2005, two weeks after Cheshire's visit, found that because of extensive damage to her occipital lobes, Schiavo would have been cortically blind.)

The fact remains that Cheshire was wrong. He said that Terri watched him and we now know that to have been impossible. She was not only unable to see, but lacked any ability to sustain anything remotely resembling consciousness. I'm replacing the statement. --JonGwynne 06:41, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yes, Cheshire was short of the mark in his report. However, there is a more elegant way of making the case than couching it in nah, nah, nah, nah, nah terms. The version you removed (and moved) stated the facts neutrally. On the other hand, yours kicks and thrashes the reader with haughty indignation—could not possibly have been watching him—and then thumps them over the head with Cheshire's a liar or an idiot. I appreciate your effort and your sentiment, but we can illuminate the shortcomings of Cheshire's testimony in a better and subtler way that still lets the reader draw the conclusion that the report is flawed without bludgeoning them. Duckecho 12:39, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Jon Gwynne, I appreciate that you made an attempt to reword the subject phrase. However, it still has a POV slant to it. Schiavo’s autopsy, performed April 1, 2005, two weeks after Cheshire's visit... You're good up to there—factual, undisputed, supportable. ...supported the diagnoses of PVS... Now we're in rougher waters. The autopsy report said that there was nothing inconsistent with the PVS diagnosis, but it's a little short of confirming it. ...and found that because of extensive damage to her occipital lobes, Schiavo was... Okay to here, too, however, ...completely incapable of having responded... is much as I said before. Something is either incapable or it's not. It's close to an absolute condition. To add completely is not only redundant, it's inflammatory—POV pushing. It's not necessary or desirable. Cheshire described. Trust me, leave the original phrase regarding the autopsy report and the finding of cortical blindness adjacent to the paragraph describing Cheshire's claim and the reader will find the nexus between the absolute fact on the one hand and its contradiction of the claim on the other. For those who won't get it no amount of bludgeoning will get them to come around to your way of thinking. Again, I appreciate your efforts and your sentiment, but you can make the point subtly and the reader will go away not even realizing that Cheshire’s been sliced and diced until they think about it. That's effective writing. Duckecho 00:01, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I take your point about "completely" and think we can split the difference here. In this case, I believe it is important to literally point out that Cheshire was mistaken - because so many people (e.g. Gov Bush) put specific stock in his statements. The fact of whether his conclusions were correct/supported or not is central to the discussion of this point. It is different that, for example, talking about his motivations in this case. I would be inappropriate to literally point out that he was motivated to say and do what he did by his religious convictions mostly because only one person in the world knows why he did what he did and that's Dr. Cheshire. However, it is still appropriate to point out his religious affiliations and activities so that those who wonder why he might have done these things can see that it might have been for religious reasons. --JonGwynne 20:37, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
(Quoting Duck)"Okay to here, too, however, ...completely incapable of having responded... is much as I said before. Something is either incapable or it's not. It's close to an absolute condition. To add completely is not only redundant, it's inflammatory—POV pushing." I'm glad you're striving to be fair and get rid of POV-pushing, but I still don't buy Thogmartin's view of Terri being blind as "absolute fact" or your contention that Cheshire was sliced-and-diced. We don't know: He might have been right on most or all of his contentions about Terri's level of (or lack of) PVS, ability to see, etc.--GordonWattsDotCom 13:57, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
We have one doctor who said Terri was watching him. And we have another doctor who said Terri was cortically blind. We can report those two facts as is. But no one has come out and judged that the autopsy report is right and Cheshire is wrong, so we cannot report that. Since Cheshire and Thogmartin are both doctors, we can't dismiss one out of hand over the other. They both qualify as "expert testimony". If some plumber testified in court that Terri was watching him, then I think we could argue that we could take that out as incorrect information and rely on Thogmartin alone. But this is doctor-versus-doctor, and all we can do is report who said what. As it is now, Cheshire says Terri watched him, and then parenthesis point out the autopsy two weeks later says something different. So, the conflicting facts are present next to each other. That's all we can do and remain npov. FuelWagon 15:21, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Since I heaped praise upon patsw for his balanced and non-extremist POV, it is only fair that I give FuelWagon credit for not pushing his POV, even though he doesn't appear to me to always abide by this high standard. In rebuttal to JonGwynne, below, I must point out that ALL doctors have an opinion, and while I admit that Cheshire did not examine Terri as much as some doctors, I must point out that:
# Cheshire examined Terri a heck of a lot more than WE did;
And yet significantly less and necessarily in less detail than Thogmartin. --JonGwynne 20:27, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
# Cheshire is a whole heck of a lot more qualified than WE are (even with my double major in the sciences, biology and chemical science -with honors); and, lastly,
# Any lack of examination on his part is NOT his fault, but the judges' fault (judges, plural possessive), and let's recap.
# Thogmartin and crew were reporting their opinions too.
The autopsy results were based on direct testing and evaluation of information unavailable to Cheshire. --JonGwynne 20:27, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Besides, Cheshire may NOT have been wrong when he said Terri "looked" at him; Not only could she have turned and "looked" at him by sound cues (3-D hearing depth perception by use of her ears, which were not in question), but also we have found examples in which people with half a brain (or less) have been very successful in life, thus raising the possibility that TERRI could have been able to see, think, feel, etc. (I give credit to other editors, like NCdave who were more resourceful at finding -and posting -examples of cases of "half-brain, but aware and intelligent people," which I've seen in passing on the Internet.
There is no possibility that Terri was capable of even severely impaired thought or conscious action. The portion of her brain responsible for these functions was dead. Objective tests before and after her heart stopped beating confirmed this. --JonGwynne 20:27, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You are contradicting the autopsy report, JonGwynne, which stated that the frontal areas of Terri's brain, the areas responsible for cognition, were "relatively preserved." NCdave 05:45, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The converse is true also. I believe the medical literature has reported cases in which the brain looked fairly normal but the person was PVS. In fact, I don't have to go to the medical literature for that one: We have several editors who act and look "normal" but are really PVS. (Yuk, yuk yuk!)--GordonWattsDotCom 13:43, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Gordon, I think you have to accept that Terri was blind, and had no higher brain functions. The autopsy backed this up. I know it's difficult to admit this, but sometimes you have to accept you were wrong and move on. Proto 15:34, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Proto, you didn't get it; I was making an attempt at humor with the calling of several unnamed editors PVS. And, yes, your insinuation that Terri could be both PVS and blind is correct, but it not a provable fact. She moved around in the videos, and this meets or exceeds the state law definitions of PVS, by my plain reading. Had she been flat on her back and not making sounds, moving around, etc., I might be more inclined to believe you!--GordonWattsDotCom 15:58, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That's simply not true. Even to a layperson, it is clear that Cheshire was reporting his opinion and Thogmartin was reporting his findings based on analysis of tangible evidence. Of course Cheshire's findings can be dismissed, in fact... they must be. Either that or they should be removed entirely from the article as they are now known to be wrong. If you'll examine wikipolicy on neutrality, you'll see that it doesn't mean reporting everyone's opinions. --JonGwynne 17:20, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Proto, the autopsy report contained no conclusion about whether she was vegetative or conscious, and it did not state that Terri had no higher brain functions. In fact, to the contrary, it reported that the frontal areas of her brain were "relatively preserved."
The autopsy did conclude that Terri must have been blind, due to the much more severe damage to those areas of her brain, but that conclusion was plainly in error, because it was conclusively disproven by videotapes (and lots and lots of eyewitness testimony) of her responding to visual stimuli. Her vision was severely impaired, but not entirely gone. NCdave 05:45, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Dave, she was blind. It is medically impossible for someone without a visual cortex to see. Terri Schiavo had no visual cortex. Therefore she could not see. Being unable to see means ... get this ... blind. Ergo, Terri Schiavo was blind. I fail to see any logic in valuing a couple of minutes of video tape (culled and selectively edited from HOURS of footage) and the words of their parents (who, let us not forget, had an agenda) over a legal, properly-conducted, non-agenda autopsy. Terri Schiavo was blind, accept it and move on.
And Gordon, I'm pretty sure involuntary spasms and reacting to light are possible for those in a PVS. Plants can react to light; do they have a brain? Are they sentient? It was a very sad event, and I accept that the decision to end Terri's life by inaction was controversial, I didn't even agree with it myself, but I completely fail to understand why you guys are arguing over such unequivocal facts. Proto 12:18, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
JonGwynne, the fact is that Cheshire is an expert who had the advantage of making a behavioral diagnosis (not PVS) on the basis of behavior which he personally observed. His observations were certainly not "wrong," and his conclusion that Terri was at least minimally conscious was not disputed by Thogmartin. His observation that Terri noticed his arrival in her room, turned toward him and made eye contact, and continued to look at him for about 30 seconds, is simply a fact, duly noted by an impartial scientific observer. The fact that Terri had some remaining vision is thoroughly documented by the videotapes of her responding to visual stimuli. Thogmartin observed that there was severe damage to the regions of Terri's brain that are responsible for vision, but his conclusion that she must have been blind was provably wrong. NCdave 05:45, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You're simply mistaken. Cheshire didn't observe that "Terri noticed his arrival in her room, turned toward him and made eye contact, and continued to look at him for about 30 seconds". That isn't a fact or even anything close. This is because Cheshire had no way of confirming his assumption. He couldn't ask Terri if she noticed his arrival, he was forced to assume that she did because he had no way of confirming this. Ditto for her appearing to look at him. Just because someone's eyes are pointed in a certain direction, that doesn't mean they are seeing anything. The fact is that the autopsy report describes "multi-focal/global anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy". In plain English, that is the near-complete destruction of brain tissue caused by a lack of oxygenated blood flow to the brain - consistent with someone's heart stopping as the result of a heart-attack. The report also describes the "laminar necrosis", "transneuronal degeneration" and "Wallerian degeneration" observed by Dr. Nelson. Once again, in plain English, Terri was brain-dead. It isn't even really accurate to say that she was blind because that implies that there is something wrong with her vision while the rest of the brain is still working normally. Terri's wasn't. She wasn't just blind, she wasn't even sentient. --JonGwynne 00:05, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

So now there FOUR references in the article to her being blind (Introduction, initial medical crisis, PVS, and autopsy).
In the "initial medical crisis" the text has been changed. The documentation from 1990 which I've read doesn't refer to blindness. The 2005 autopsy indicates this was atrophy, i.e. occurring over a period of time. Therefore he text should be reverted to "The collapse also left her partially blind." which is not disputed and matches what was observed and reported in 1990 during the initial medical crisis. patsw 15:43, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The documentation from 1990 which I've read doesn't refer to blindness, followed by "[t]he collapse also left her partially blind." which is not disputed and matches what was observed and reported in 1990 during the initial medical crisis. Either there was blindness in 1990 or there wasn't. Which are you arguing for? If the statement that she was partially blind in 1990 is accurate, then in the light of the finding of cortical blindness, saying she was at least partially blind is certainly not incorrect. Atrophy doesn't mean that the process of deterioration was continuous from 1990 to 2005. Moreover, atrophy is a result of lack of use of tissue. The catastrophic brain damage in 1990 had virtually instantaneous effects on the ability of the brain to function. The tissue then deteriorated (or atrophied) from the lack of use. Consider a stroke in which the use of an arm is lost. The arm use loss is right away. However, the muscle tissue in the arm atrophies over time, even though the arm has been unusable since the stroke. It was entirely possible that total blindness was the case relatively shortly thereafter—1991, 1995, 2000. We don't know. But we do know that at the end she was blind, and at the beginning she was at least partially blind. What's the problem? Duckecho 17:43, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I weighed in on JonGwynne's recent edit. I think a little restructure improves the tone, without changing the content too much.--ghost 22:06, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Actually, we know that Terri was mostly blind, but we also know that she was not completely blind. NCdave 05:45, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No, she was completely blind. It is impossible to see without a visual cortex. Fact. Proto 12:21, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I see JonGwynne added back the text that I objected to a few days ago. The previous text was neutral in presenting Cheshire's findings and connecting them to the autopsy. The new text is the worst so far. It is even ungrammatical
Shiavo's autopsy (performed two weeks after Cheshire's visit) found nothing to contradict the diagnosis of PVS and found that because of extensive damage to her occipital lobes.
is an incomplete sentence and has a misspelling of Schiavo.
'Nothing to contradict the diagnosis of PVS' is a unwarranted characterization of the report which is clear in stating that PVS is not a pathological diagnosis. A partially blind person could have the reactions that Cheshire described. On a fundamental NPOV level, it's not the task of this article to attack the credibility of the participants. If we start to go down that road, then there is no end to the questions and contradictions raised. patsw 22:32, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You happened to read that before Ghost's subsequent edit completing the thought. I don't care for contradict, either. It's much more fair and factual to simply quote the report which found "nothing inconsistent with a PVS." So far as impeaching the parties is concerned, it seems reasonable to follow your paradigm and post Cheshire's summaries and then nearby, post the findings of the autopsy, and as I've said above to Jon, let the reader infer the nexus of inconsistency. What is it you always say, Pat, "let the reader decide?" Duckecho 23:05, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Duckecho, JonGynne's speculation on Cheshire's observation of Terri Schiavo belongs in a discussion board on the case (he's more than welcome to do so) - but if you want the article to incorporate everyone's pet theory of who knew what when and why they said what they said, then I got many JonGynne-style edits to make in the article. Like JonGynne, I have a lot of original research that I could offer, but it is not the policy of the Wikipedia to include it.

JonGynne is not citing a published dispute with Cheshire's observation but disputing it here himself. He gets two thumbs up because it follows the pro-Michael POV.

A general POV problem that many of the editors have is they are not detecting POV, original research, or entering into disputes (as opposed to reporting on disputes in the non-Wiki world) when it agrees with their own POV. patsw 01:49, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Why are you yelling at me? I've reverted it twice and edited it twice more, and so has Ghost; all trying to correct the POV pushing approach he's taking. And I've discussed it thoroughly twice here on Talk. If I (or Ghost) haven't gotten across to you yet that we're not, as you put it, favoring a pro-Michael POV in our edits then there's nothing else I can do. Geez, even your cheerleader Gordon thinks I'm fair. Duckecho 02:17, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

NCdave deleted two posts here. I have no clue why. Will reinsert them in a moment. FuelWagon 05:29, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Oh, that's weird. It was some sort of a Wikipedia glitch. I posted an addition to the Talk page, and when Wikipedia showed the page the addition wasn't there. It gave no indication of an edit conflict or anything, it just didn't show my addition. So I clicked "Back" and then clicked "Save page" again. This time my addition showed up. I didn't notice that it had also deleted three other people's contributions!  :-(
Thank you for fixing it. NCdave 06:04, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I modified the cheshire/autopsy bit again. The only facts that are related here are the fact that Cheshire said Terri watched him and the fact that the autopsy reported that Terri was blind. Both relate directly to Terri's sight just before she died. Both are complete contradictions of each other. The only thing we can do is report them both as opposing POV's. However, the bit about the autopsy not contradicting the PVS diagnosis is irrelevant to Cheshire's MCS diagnosis. "Not contradicting" is not the same as "proving PVS". It is a LACK of evidence. It neither supports nor contradicts Cheshire's MCS diagnosis, so it is irrelevant. It is a non-sequitor. FuelWagon 04:54, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Incorrect. It was Cheshire's contention that the PVS diagnosis was incorrect. The autopsy results dispute this. Also, Cheshire's incorrect assessment of the situation is relevant because it was Cheshire's opinion that formed the basis of action by various political figures. --JonGwynne 05:20, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Jon, "found nothing inconsistent with the diagnosis of PVS" is not the same as "proves Terri was PVS". All that statement says is that Terri COULD have been PVS. It doesn't rule PVS out, but it doesn't prove it either. We could report "the autopsy did not rule out PVS" right alongside "Cheshire said she was MCS", and the two statements do NOT contradict each other. So the autopsy report is irrelevant in comparison to Cheshire's diagnosis. FuelWagon 05:41, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Correct, and thank you for saying it, Fuelwagon.
Unfortunately, I heard CBS News make the same erroneous statement, flatly reporting that the autopsy proved she was in a persistent vegetative state. Sigh. NCdave 06:11, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
On the other hand, Cheshire said Terri could see. And the autopsy report comes out and directly states that she was blind. These two statements are mutually exclusive. Only one can be true. We can't report which one, but we can report the fact that both statements were made and by whom. FuelWagon 05:41, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You're missing basic logic here. 'not inconsistent with PVS' proves nothing either way. PVS and MCS are both POSSIBLE. the autopsy simply comes out and specifically says PVS was possible. But "not inconsistent with PVS" is not logically the same as "was PVS". It's like the statement "no evidence was found". that proves nothing either way, it just says that the examiners didn't find any evidence to support some idea. That doesn't disprove it. it just means no evidence was found. FuelWagon 05:41, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
And that Cheshire's assessment was used as an excuse by politicians is completely unrelated to any other diagnosis. 6 doctors diagnosed Terri as PVS. But we don't mention them with Cheshire's assessment, that's covered somewhere else. Nor do we need to mention the autopsy 'found nothing inconsistent with PVS', because that is also dealt with somewhere else. FuelWagon 05:41, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Is there any chance that we could drop this Cheshire/Thogmartin debate altogether? Cheshire's affidavit has significance for both sides of the issue. Those on the Schindlers' side view it as the white knight's grand arrival. Those on the Schiavos' side see it as yet one more blatant lie in the whole sad affair. First lets start from the proposition that while everyone has a bias about the case and the players, assume that everyone is acting in good faith and in concert with their training and experience in their field of expertise. I had an interesting colloquy with someone quite knowledgable on things neural and he pointed out to me that Cheshire is no charlatan. So perhaps we can dispense with the proposition that he manufactured a position either for the money or for a cause, or equally bad from a professional point of view, was wrong. More importantly, my friend pointed out just as has been here, Cheshire very easily could have observed eye motions that had the appearance to his trained eye of purposeful vision. We have to concede that he saw what he saw. That they may have been misinterpretations of chance movement is plausible, but there is not one of us here (in fact, possibly not all of us together) that has the training and experience of either Cheshire or Thogmartin, so let's move away from trying to impeach either one of them in their own areas of expertise. My position is going to be that trying to establish that Cheshire's and Thogmartin's findings contradict one another in an attempt to prove one or the other wrong doesn't belong in the article and I will probably revert any attempts to do so. Duckecho 17:24, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It is unclear whether or not ...

It is unclear whether or not Thogmartin was aware of this testimony or if the testimony itself is in dispute.

What's clear is that this is editorializing and speculating on the state of Thogmartin's knowledge of the record. If every conclusion made by a figure in the article has an added it is unclear if ... we will have chaos. To be honest, I can't even recognize what POV this is pushing. We have to start from the premise that Thogmartin, Pearse, Wolfson, and even Greer were familiar with the record unless something they later wrote is contradicted in the earlier record.

Note to readers: this article is chock full of things that are unclear, unknown, and unanswerable. patsw 15:59, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Boy, that's for sure! NCdave 06:05, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Autopsy requirement

Ann Heneghan's edit of the Autopsy section got caught in a revert I was doing, and was inadvertently reverted along with the other material. However the phrase "has the authority" does appear in that Section, but to disambiguate the paragraph, I'll just reword it to more accurately reflect the sentiment it's trying to convey. Duckecho 00:14, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I changed it back, without realizing that you were writing about it here. Section 1 of the Statutes says "shall . . . have performed such . . . autopsies" etc. Cremation falls under Section 1. Section 2 says "shall have the authority" in cases falling under Section 1. I'm not sure that my "is required" is the very best possible rendering of "shall", especially since "was required" is found earlier in the same sentence. If you find something equally or more accurate, fine. I'm off to bed now. Ann Heneghan 00:30, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I did some major reordering. The legal dispute section put all the legal disputes into one big block. I added subsections. There were also some legal disputes in other sections that I moved into the legal dispute section, such as the 2003 petition. I moved the piece describing PVS into the front of the section that first diagnoses Terri as PVS. And there were family dispute stuff sort of scattered throughout the article which I put next to each other (should be compressed and combined at some point). The section that was titled PVS was actually the section about various disputes about the diagnosis, so I retitled it, and combined all the stuff that was disputing the diagnosis there. The "diagnosis dispute" section seems to be a good place to put everything that WASN"T from one of the doctors who didn't actually examine Terri, such as Cheshire, and the doctors who watched the Schindler video and signed affidavits, the lawyer who claimed Terri said "Waaa", etc. I also tried to put the legal disputes in somewhat of a chronological order. Should probably do that with the family dispute stuff too. I didn't change any content, I just changed where it appeared in the article. FuelWagon 15:56, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Nice work. A glass of wine with you, sir; you have a good eye. This will make it that much easier when we set about massaging content for readability and better literary (in the encyclopedic sense) form. Thanks for your efforts. Duckecho 17:04, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
There's still a massive amount of bloat and repeated information, but the structure is definitely better. Good job. Proto 10:42, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Reducing size of main article (comments please)

I spotted that the 'government involvement' section had been moved to here, which seemed to me like an excellent idea.

Is there any reason why this could not be done with the 'Legal Disputes' and 'Diagnosis Disputes' sections? This would halve the size of the article, making it far more manageable. All each of the 2 sections would need on the main article would be a few lines in summary, such as -

:There have been many legal disputes associated with the case of Terri Schiavo, including the status of do-not-resuscitate orders, the applicability of the label of 'Persistent Vegetative State', legal petitions to prolong the hold on the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, and whether a feeding tube constituted a life-prolonging procedure. For details on the legal disputes associated with Terri Schiavo, please see Legal Disputes in the Terri Schiavo case.

And the same sort of thing for the Diagnosis Disputes section.


Proto 12:17, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

(Shakes head to clear fog from reading last 3days worth of bickering) I would recommend carefully handled article splits as a way to reduce Article size and the appearance of bias. Some of you may be familiar with my contributions to a similarly controversial article. We've had some success in trimming over 40% of the original file size, improving legibility, and reducing bias. But it's not a panacea. It requires the editing team to add one, or more, pages to their watchlists. Obviously, this opens us further to vandalism, but it's not as bad as one might think.
Another good option (and we may wish to use both) is using section links to redirect the reader within the article. For example, on the Diagnosis & Life Prolonging Procedures sections, we could reduce some redundancies by providing links back and forth between the sections. Also, using headers as a means to direct the reader to subarticles is helpful. Finally, I will (gulp) offer my time to help with this, if the team is in favor of splits. Please let me know if you have questions.--ghost 16:39, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think at least four of us are of a single mind on this. I have already printed out the article (19 pages!!) to better visualize its structure and how it can be improved, and am going over it with a red pen with a view to excising some material and tightening the narrative overall. I thought of the section links, too. I think it's a good idea. It also may be a way to cut down on the introduction a bit (a full page, printed out). Duckecho 17:28, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I may be a good idea to merge all the "disputes" into one new article like Disputes in the Terri Schiavo case, and see where it goes from there. Keep the sections in the main article, but only keep the main points. --Viriditas | Talk 05:59, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That could also work (one less page to watch compared to my idea) ... must be ruthless with the main points that get kept in though, as otherwise a bitchfest over what defines a 'main point' will ensue. Proto 08:58, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Reducing the POV

Existing wording:

Section -- Schindler Family
Schiavo's parents and siblings had battled her husband over her fate since 1998. Even though the courts consistently upheld the ruling that Schiavo would choose to have her life support discontinued, her parents used every legal measure available to prevent the disconnection of her feeding tube.


The parents of Terri Schiavo and her siblings had conflicts with her husband over her care since 1993. Even though the courts consistently upheld the ruling that Schiavo expressed to her husband, his brother, and sister-in-law she would choose to have artificial life support withdrawn, her parents litigated to prevent the disconnection of her feeding tube and to allow her to continue to live.

The factual change is that the disagreements over Terri's care started in 1993. patsw 13:37, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Looks ok to me, I'd add just one word and a set of brackets to make it clearer:

The parents of Terri Schiavo and her siblings had conflicts with her husband over her care since 1993. Even though the courts consistently upheld the ruling that Schiavo expressed to her husband, his brother, and sister-in-law (that she would choose to have artificial life support withdrawn), her parents litigated to prevent the disconnection of her feeding tube and to allow her to continue to live.

Proto 15:17, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think that paragraph needs attention, but what you propose just replaces one partially incorrect statement with another. They had certainly been battling about her care since '93, but the suspect paragraph (and your proposed) is referring to the discontinuation of feeding, which battle didn't begin until '98. I mentioned in a comment to FuelWagon above that we can begin massaging the article for readability and better literary form, and getting these sorts of paragraphs into a better chronological and contextual relationship (a need for which your suggestion highlights) is one of the goals of that massaging. Note that in the very next section to the one you're talking about it says that the Schindlers began challenging Michael's guardianship in '93. Duckecho 15:36, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Terri's therapy ended in 1992, when her parents ran out of money to pay for it (they were also paying to support Michael, who was unemployed). In fact, she had very little therapy after 1991. But after the malpractice award, Terri's family expected her therapy to resume, paid for from her medical trust account. However, at the beginning of 1993 Terri's parents had a big argument with Michael because he was refusing to resume her therapy.
Michael put a "Do Not Recessutate" order on her, forbade her from receiving any therapy or even treatment for infections. He showed by his actions as well as his words ("when is that bitch gonna die?") that he hoped she would soon expire. However, Michael did not contend that Terri had ever expressed a preference to die or not live with either a feeding tube or artificial life support.
(Note that at that time a feeding tube was not considered to be "artificial life support," anywhere.)
It wasn't until late 1997 or early 1998 (after he hired Felos) that Michael first claimed to remember such an utterance by Terri. Prior to late 1997 or early 1998, nobody ever suggested that she had said such a thing.
The proposed paragraph makes it sound as if Michael and the Schindlers litigated the question of Terri's intentions back in 1993. They didn't. In their litigation prior to 1998, that issue never came up, because Terri had no living will or health care power of attorney, and nobody ever suggested that Terri had ever said such a thing.
The claim that she had said such a thing wasn't made until Michael filed suit in 1998 to get her feeding tube removed, approximately eight years after her injury. NCdave 09:09, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Was Terri Receiving Medicare or Social Security Benefits?

Just curious. Duckecho 15:57, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

First order estimation would be "yes," since she was certainly disabled -and qualified. I seem to recall some of my online friends (the "save Terri" crowd) expressing difficulty in finding out if the hospice and/or Terri really did receive Federal benefits, and the general explanation was that it was confidential, but I don't know, so I'll stop at my first-order guess.--GordonWattsDotCom 17:04, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Records like this are covered by privacy laws and given (a) that Michael didn't release anything that wasn't required for a pleading before the court and (b) this wasn't litigated, it's safe to say this is another of those unanswerable questions. patsw 19:38, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Medicare was paying for her hospice care. See [46].
The $700,000 in medical malpractice money which was placed in trust for Terri's medical care and therapy was, instead, by order of Judge Greer, used to pay for Michael's legal expenses, in his fight to have her killed. (Yet another example of Greer shilling for Felos.) NCdave 05:58, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Cite please. If memory serves, the award was for damages. I don't believe it's customary to specify what use an award such as that will be put to. Can you find something that proves the award was required for medical care and therapy? Duckecho 11:36, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Good to see your level-headedness and neutral viewpoints are still with us, Dave. Welcome back. Proto 08:51, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. I've been distracted due to the death of a dear friend. She was a registered nurse, age 31, and one of the finest human beings I've ever met. By odd coincidence, my friend's death was probably due to complications from a head injury sustained in an assault by a patient, five years ago. She had severe health problems ever since that injury. She never complained, but she suffered from occasional seizures, frequent migraines, tachycardi, and continual pain, which was only partially mitigated by an electronic stimulator connected to electrodes in her brain. Yet she lived joyfully, pouring out her life in service to others, at every opportunity, quietly, in ways that many of her friends didn't even know about. The fruit of the Holy Spirit overflowed from her life, and the example of her love and faithfulness was an inspiration to me. I miss her very much, but I'm grateful to God for her friendship, and I rejoice in knowing what she heard Jesus say when she met Him in the sky: "Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!" NCdave 09:41, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC) (private email)

Request by Governor Bush to Investigate the Timeline

Gov. Jeb Bush asked a Florida prosecutor today to investigate what he said were varying accounts of the time that had elapsed between Terri Schiavo's collapse 15 years ago and the moment that her husband summoned help.
The governor's request to the Pinellas-Pasco County state attorney, Bernie McCabe, comes two days after the results of Ms. Schiavo's autopsy were made public. New York Times Jun 17

I thought this story would go somewhere on Monday or Tuesday and it hasn't. I suspect that it will go nowhere, and until it does, it doesn't need to be part of the article. patsw 23:41, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)