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What if There Is Something Going On in There? - (Terri Shiavo - erring to the side of caution)
New York Times Magazine ^ | 9/28/03 | CARL ZIMMER

Posted on 10/22/2003 9:04:44 AM PDT by KosmicKitty

Daniel Rios is 24 years old, with wavy black hair, a thick mustache and a glassy stare that seems to look both at you and through you. One day almost four years ago, while he was taking a shower, a blood vessel ruptured in his brain, and he collapsed on the bathroom floor. After emergency surgery, he lay in a coma for three weeks. When he finally opened his eyes, he could not speak or move his body; his head simply lolled. In the months that followed, the doctors monitoring him at the Center for Head Injuries at the J.F.K. Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, N.J., saw few signs that he had any meaningful mental life. Sometimes he looked as if he were crying. Other times his eyes would follow a mirror passed before his face. On his best days he was able to close his eyes on command. But those days were rare. For the most part he lay unresponsive, adrift in a neurological twilight.

One morning just over a year after his accident, Rios was taken to the Sloan Kettering Institute on Manhattan's East Side. There, in a dim room, a group of researchers placed a mask over his eyes, fixed headphones over his ears and guided his head into the bore of an M.R.I. machine. A 40-second loop of a recording made by Rios's sister Maria played through the headphones: she told him that she was there with him, that she loved him. As the sound entered his ears, the M.R.I. machine scanned his brain, mapping changes in activity. Several hours afterward, two researchers, Nicholas D. Schiff and Joy Hirsch, took a look at the images from the scan. They hadn't been sure what to expect -- Rios was among the first people in his condition to have his brain activity measured in this way -- but they certainly weren't expecting what they saw. ''We just stared at these images,'' recalls Schiff, an expert in consciousness disorders at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. ''There didn't seem to be anything missing.''

As the tape of his sister's voice played, several distinct clusters of neurons in Rios's brain had fired in a manner virtually identical to that of a healthy subject. Some clusters that became active were those known to help process spoken language, others to recall memories. Was Rios recognizing his sister's voice, remembering her? ''You couldn't tell the difference between these parts of his brain and the brain of one of my graduate students,'' says Hirsch, an expert in brain imaging at Columbia University. Even the visual centers of Rios's brain had come alive, despite the fact that his eyes were covered. It was as if his sister's words awakened his mind's eye.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: brainfunctioning; coma; prolife; righttolife; schiavo; terri; terrischiavo; terrischindler; terrishiavo; vegetativestate
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No matter where one stands one the Terri Shiavo case, I found this article to be compelling evidence that she may have much more brain function than many of the "experts" have stated. I feel that we have no choice than to err to the side of life because none of us really know what she would have preferred or what she really understands at this point.

Please go easy on me if this has been posted before, (I did search and didn't find it), or if I have in someway posted incorrectly. This is only my 3rd time!

1 posted on 10/22/2003 9:04:45 AM PDT by KosmicKitty
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To: KosmicKitty
Outstanding (first) post. I hope Ms. Shiavo's parents are aware of this research, it sounds like some of the techniques they describe could benefit her.
2 posted on 10/22/2003 9:10:00 AM PDT by Steelerfan
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To: KosmicKitty
Mike Siegal, a local talk show host here in the Seattle area, discussed Terri's case this morning. One caller made this same point. What if she's normal on the "inside" but just can't communicate it to anyone? We may never know, but there are enough facts to err on the side of caution. Thank God for Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature!
3 posted on 10/22/2003 9:12:43 AM PDT by Softballmom
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To: Softballmom
Or what if she is like a small child or baby on the inside (having suffered some damage).

We don't know what is going on in there, just that something "is". That is why we should always err on the side of caution.
4 posted on 10/22/2003 9:16:18 AM PDT by najida (He who is without baggage can cast the first Samsonite.)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
I know you have been following this closely, will Ms. Shiavo's parents or guardian be able to overule her husband and get her access to the types of tratments discussed in this article?
5 posted on 10/22/2003 9:18:56 AM PDT by Steelerfan
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To: KosmicKitty
Good job!
6 posted on 10/22/2003 9:20:09 AM PDT by slimer ("The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.")
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To: Steelerfan
Her HINO no longer has control over her lack of care.
7 posted on 10/22/2003 9:23:49 AM PDT by ET(end tyranny) ( Deuteronomy 32:37 -- And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,)
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To: KosmicKitty
What an interesting article! Thank you so much for posting it!

I am glad someone is doing studies like this, rather than giving up on these people.

8 posted on 10/22/2003 9:29:55 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: Miss Marple; KosmicKitty
Ditto!
9 posted on 10/22/2003 9:34:26 AM PDT by Eastbound
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To: Softballmom
A couple of Reader's Digest articles come to mind: The Butterfly in the Diving Bell was "written" by a stroke victim who could only blink his eyes to communicate. The Long Sleep of Gene Tipps dealt with a guy who suddenly awoke from a 20-year state of diminished consciousness.

Robin Williams starred in a movie, I think the title was Sleepers, about people who were able to come for brief periods "into the sunlight," yet who remembered the kindness of family members during their times in the shadows.

As a Christian, I wonder how people in such a condition process the awareness of God's presence.

10 posted on 10/22/2003 9:34:33 AM PDT by TomSmedley ((technical writer looking for work!))
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To: KosmicKitty
Why is this excerpted? Has the NYT been added to the must-excerpt list? This is fascinating, and worth saving in its entirety.
11 posted on 10/22/2003 9:48:28 AM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: KosmicKitty; Coleus; cpforlife.org; Mr. Silverback; sfRummygirl; nickcarraway; floriduh voter; ...
Bump! Fascinating read! From NYT, no less.
12 posted on 10/22/2003 9:58:04 AM PDT by cgk (Bennett / Krauthammer: "When in doubt, you MUST opt for Life")
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To: GovernmentShrinker
It looks like it's excerpted because it's 6 pages long.
13 posted on 10/22/2003 9:59:18 AM PDT by cgk (Bennett / Krauthammer: "When in doubt, you MUST opt for Life")
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To: GovernmentShrinker
Why is this excerpted? Has the NYT been added to the must-excerpt list? This is fascinating, and worth saving in its entirety.

Sorry, I wasn't sure if the NYT was on excerpt list. So, I erred to the side of caution :-)

Mea Culpa!

14 posted on 10/22/2003 10:00:50 AM PDT by KosmicKitty (There are no atheists in the foxholes!!)
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To: ET(end tyranny)
>>Her HINO no longer has control over her lack of care.

I just saw an interview with Terri's dad this morning. Not old footage, but actually done this morning. He says Terri still does not have a guardian ad litem, and the family is still not allowed to see her or access any information.

I'm afraid Michael Schiavo still has control over her care, and lack of it.
15 posted on 10/22/2003 10:01:04 AM PDT by Graymatter
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To: KosmicKitty
The final quote of the article says it all:

''He was pushing us to go to a higher level,'' Fins said. ''He's aware of himself, he's happy, but it took a lot of skill to see it. If he ended up in a nursing home and started doing things like this, no one would have noticed.''

16 posted on 10/22/2003 10:02:35 AM PDT by cgk (Bennett / Krauthammer: "When in doubt, you MUST opt for Life")
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...
`
17 posted on 10/22/2003 10:14:26 AM PDT by Coleus (Only half the patients who go into an abortion clinic come out alive.)
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To: Coleus
Bump!
18 posted on 10/22/2003 10:16:42 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Miss Marple
Last night, praying after I left FR, I was mulling over the information slant which has been given this story by the media. I believe that we in the pro-life (from any perspective) movement ought to be grateful for this case no matter the outcome. The most useful outcome from our perspective, though, is that, after all of this, Terri is able to undergo sufficient therapy and recovers enough to communicate somehow... in any way. If that miracle occurs, we can then look back on this, and point to the skepticism of so many of the world's (Satan's?) agents expressed, and have them be condemned by their own words and stories.

Let them have their little party now, using words like "comatose" and "brain dead" and even worse. Now that Terri is going to be given a true Law Guardian to do some real fact finding, I am confident the truth will come out. I honestly don't know what that truth will be, but IF IT IS that she can recover at all, this could be a real turning point case for the whole pro-life movement, and everything which they are saying now will be weapons turned against them.

I, obviously, am praying that God see fit to grant this miracle.

I also, am asking Blessed Mother Theresa, who was pro-life above all, to pray and petition He whose side she is now at for this special boon.

19 posted on 10/22/2003 10:17:04 AM PDT by AFPhys (((PRAYING for: President Bush & advisors, troops & families, Americans)))
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To: Coleus; floriduh voter; summer
ping!
20 posted on 10/22/2003 10:30:07 AM PDT by Calpernia (Innocence seldom utters outraged shrieks. Guilt does.)
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To: najida
No one should judge someone's quality of life. It's not up to us to judge. She is not brain dead. She is able to breath on her own. She simply can not feed herself or communicate. Much like a newborn and many severely handicapped people--handicapped people who DO think and feel.

This whole case angers and saddens me. God bless Terri.
21 posted on 10/22/2003 10:30:12 AM PDT by Gophack
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To: Sparkles
Good Article PING!
22 posted on 10/22/2003 10:31:27 AM PDT by tazman3
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To: Gophack
I think we are in agreement.

What I am saying is that whomever she is now, may not be like who she was before. But she still "is". She may be like a baby that dozes and recognizes family, she may be like a kid dreaming of ponies. She may come and go. I don't know.

And it isn't a bad thing. Just different. And no reason to starve her.
23 posted on 10/22/2003 10:33:33 AM PDT by najida (He who is without baggage can cast the first Samsonite.)
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To: cgk
Over 20 years ago, I had a duel college major of Biology & Psychology with a focus on the human brain & the chemical aspect of the brain & behavior. While I ended up changing majors a few scant bio classes short of graduating in this field, the one thing that I learned was just how LITTLE is known about the human brain. There is NO way we can have any knowledge of what happens when someone enters a state like that which Terri is in. Heck, we don't even know everything that's going on inside our heads!
24 posted on 10/22/2003 10:40:35 AM PDT by KosmicKitty (There are no atheists in the foxholes!!)
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To: Steelerfan; phenn
Thank you for the post and the ping, Steelerfan.

See #15. Our fight isn't over. As of this morning:


Contact these most helpful people, please, and let them know that Michael Schiavo is calling the shots re. Terri, preventing her family from seeing her or getting medical updates, acting as media contact (ghoul!) and the hospital is following his orders:

Bob Marshall:           bob.marshall@trincomm.org

Speaker Johnny Byrd:     speakerbyrd@myfloridahouse.com

Sen. Jim Sebesta:             sebesta.jim.web@flsenate.gov

Senator Daniel Webster:  drawdy.ann.so9@flsenate.gov  (Senator Webster’s email is to his aide)

 
Senator Tom Lee:             lee.tom.web@flsenate.gov
~~~
jeb@myflorida.com

jeb.bush@myflorida.com

25 posted on 10/22/2003 10:52:53 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl (“Praises be to God, it's finally safe to come out again.” ~ Haider Saffa, Iraqi tool salesman, 10/6)
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To: KosmicKitty
Nearly as evil as Michael Shiavo's so far unsuccessful attempts to murder his wife has been his largely successful quest to deprive her of contact and stimulation from her loving, caring family. He has imprisoned and tortured her in a private, internal solitary confinement, and he deserves a special kind of hell for what he has done to her.
26 posted on 10/22/2003 10:56:58 AM PDT by MainFrame65
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To: KosmicKitty
I feel that we have no choice than to err to the side of life because none of us really know what she would have preferred or what she really understands at this point.

One of the FL state legislators who lobbied for passage of Terri's Law, spoke of her grandmother. The doctors told the family that granny was in a 'vegetative state'and would never recover. They recommended disconnecting the feeding tube. The family agreed. Ten days later, they changed their minds and had the tube reinserted. Three years later, granny 'woke up' from her vegetative state and shared so many stories with the legislator.

OR ... how about this true story?

Mother wakes up after 16 year coma


by Tim Cornwell
THE dramatic revival of a mother of four after 16 years in a catatonic state has left US medical experts groping for an explanation.
Patti White Bull, 42, a New Mexican woman who fell into a coma during childbirth, sat up dressed herself and asked to go to the mall this Christmas, according to her family and nursing staff.
“I’ve never seen anything like this” said Elliot Marcus an anaesthesiologist and long term care specialist who has monitored her condition at an Albuquerque nursing home. “I can’t come up with a medical explanation.”
Mrs White Bull’s first words in more than 16 years, spoken while staff at the Las Palomas Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre were arranging her bed, were “Don’t do that” Marcus told the local Albuquerque Journal newspaper.
Mrs White Bull fell into a semi vegetative state after complications during a caesarean section when her son Mark, now 16, was born.
A blood clot lodged in her lung, she stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating.
While she was resuscitated she apparently suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen, and for the next 16 years lay in bed fed through a tube.
Mrs White Bull has begun to swallow solid food, including chicken and pizza and her speech is clear but limited while her hands have also loosened.
A brain stem blockage was offered as one reason for the recovery.
Another view was she had been interacting for some time in ways that people had not noticed .

27 posted on 10/22/2003 10:58:43 AM PDT by NYer ("Close your ears to the whisperings of hell and bravely oppose its onslaughts." ---St Clare Assisi)
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To: AFPhys
I also, am asking Blessed Mother Theresa, who was pro-life above all, to pray and petition He whose side she is now at for this special boon.

Excellent! Blessed Mother Teresa needs a 2nd miracle, to be canonized. Terri's feeding tube was removed on the feast day of her name sake - St. Teresa of Avila.

I have asked St. Maximilian Kolbe's help. He exchanged his life for that of another prisoner in Auschwitz and was placed in the Starvation Chamber, where he died. He must have great sympathy for what Terri has endured.

28 posted on 10/22/2003 11:07:54 AM PDT by NYer ("Close your ears to the whisperings of hell and bravely oppose its onslaughts." ---St Clare Assisi)
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To: MainFrame65
Nearly as evil as Michael Shiavo's so far unsuccessful attempts to murder his wife has been his largely successful quest to deprive her of contact and stimulation from her loving, caring family.

What has gotten me the most agiatated about this whole thing is how absolutely and totally mean the husband is!! I might even believe that he thinks he's doing what she would have wanted (okay, it would be a big stretch to really believe that), but to keep her from her family & her religious providers is just beyond incomprehensible!! If he really loved his wife and really wanted what was best for her, how could he do this!!

Trying to look at this whole situation objectively, there's no way someone could say keeping Terri and her family apart is doing "what Terri would have wanted". No sir, that one act casts no doubt of guilt on all of the husband's behavior for me!!

29 posted on 10/22/2003 11:23:38 AM PDT by KosmicKitty (There are no atheists in the foxholes!!)
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To: KosmicKitty
Thanks, great read! Bump
30 posted on 10/22/2003 12:03:02 PM PDT by reflecting
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To: KosmicKitty
Given that you're new, I need to warn you about the trolls who will pop in. Definition:

http://www.hyperdictionary.com/dictionary/troll

Ill informed, they jump in and feign ignorance and try to slow down the discussion by making it necessary to have to explain what has been gone over again and again. I have a standard reply:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1003808/posts?page=42#42

I even tried to forstall it by posting this:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1004572/posts?page=45#45

Then there is the long review of the particulars:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1003606/posts?page=41#41

I apologize for wasting everyone else's time with this - just trying to avoid going over covered ground ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
31 posted on 10/22/2003 12:18:37 PM PDT by walford (Dogmatism swings both ways)
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To: reflecting
I read a book a quite a while ago, and have been searching for the title and can't find it.

A young woman in the Northeast had a brain event, I think it was an aneuyrsm.
She was presumed to be in a persistent vegetative state for years. Her family essentially abandoned her so no one was in trying to stimulate her. The nursing home was doing the typical flip and suck minimalist care.

She woke up, was fully awake and concious and nobody noticed, she was awake for about 6 years. Finally during a routine state ordered eval somebody noticed.

Ended up she typed a book on a laptop with a pencil in her mouth. She detailed the brutality and insensitivity of her nursing home care.

When I was precepting new nurses in ICU one of my demands was you always speak kindly and treat respectfully everyone, coma or not. You do not know the impact you are having on people. They may know your every word and touch.
32 posted on 10/22/2003 12:34:22 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (TasmanianRed)
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To: AFPhys
My mother had three brain surgeries in the space of 6 months for a meningioma. After the third surgery, she underwent brain swelling and lay in a drug-induced coma for 30 days. She remembers hearing conversations during that time (some of which were dirty jokes told by the nurses and trust me, my mother wouldn't make up dirty jokes) and was aggravated at some of the staff for being slow to care for her.

She has recovered except for a balance problem which has left her unable to walk. Otherwise, she is sharp as a tack.

Because of this experience she had, and because of research like this, I believe that people with these problems should be cared for with love and patience, diligently looking to call them back to consciousness.

May Blessed Theresa intervene in Teri's case, to the joy of all who value life.

33 posted on 10/22/2003 12:37:57 PM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: KosmicKitty
Good Job. After working 20+ years in just about every area of nursing, I know the human mind and the body are still largely a sacred mystery. I have seen people live though things that had 99% probablity of death. I've seen people die in 4 days from a stumped toe.

The medical profession's job is to care, tend and nurture within the limits of human knowledge. They are not all knowing and any pretense of this is just arrogance.
34 posted on 10/22/2003 12:41:50 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (TasmanianRed)
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To: KosmicKitty
I loved the article you posted.
Here is a copy of the letter I sent to all the senators in Florida earlier this week. I don't kid myself into thinking it made a difference to them but it made me feel better to send it:

I have just learned that the Florida senate plans to meet in the morning about Terri Schiavo. If you believe there is any chance that extensive physical, speech, and occupational therapy could help this woman please vote to have her feeding tube replaced and do whatever possible to get her the help she needs. I've only recently become aware of this case. Eight years ago after my son's birth we were told to put him in an institution because he would never walk, talk, play or smile. We brought him home from the hospital and started therapy immediately. He is now is the second grade and just made the Principal's honor roll. He does all the things we were told he wouldn't and so much more. I know that not every case turns out like ours but I do know that doctors can be wrong and that therapy can make a huge difference.
Thank you
35 posted on 10/22/2003 12:49:49 PM PDT by helen crump
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To: Miss Marple
Amen!

and, thank you for the additional data many can use regarding your experience and your mother's.
36 posted on 10/22/2003 1:05:55 PM PDT by AFPhys (((PRAYING for: President Bush & advisors, troops & families, Americans)))
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To: AFPhys
"everything which they are saying now will be weapons turned against them."

Liberals never accept the blame for anything, especially their own words proven wrong, even played back to them from a tape...

I too, thank the Lord for the miracle, of just overcoming the obstacle of the Florida courts!
37 posted on 10/22/2003 1:14:17 PM PDT by spoiler2
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To: KosmicKitty
This is an INCREDIBLE article. Am copying and saving -- it will be valuable. Thanks for posting!
38 posted on 10/22/2003 1:20:45 PM PDT by shhrubbery!
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To: NYer
This is a picture of Patti White Bull, the woman who "woke up" after 16 years in a vegetative state.

From your post:

Mrs White Bull fell into a semi vegetative state after complications during a caesarean section when her son Mark, now 16, was born.

A blood clot lodged in her lung, she stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating.

While she was resuscitated she apparently suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen, and for the next 16 years lay in bed fed through a tube.

Mother wakes up after 16 years in vegetative state

39 posted on 10/22/2003 1:48:23 PM PDT by shhrubbery!
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To: najida
I wasn't disagreeing with you. I just happened to click on your post to put in my two cents!
40 posted on 10/22/2003 3:14:55 PM PDT by Gophack
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To: shhrubbery!
This is a picture of Patti White Bull

Thank you for posting the picture!!!

I have just watched the usual liberal spin on major stories, as given by CBS, NBC and ABC. No mention of previous success stories, like this one. No mention of the fact that Michael Schiave has now denied Terri's parents the right to visit her in the hospital. The stories on all the networks were labelled: RIGHT TO DIE. What about the Right to Live?

The battle lines have been drawn. Michael Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos will use this event and the liberal media coverage to gain sympathy for their cause. You are witnessing a watershed moment in US History. Terri Schiavo's case will become the "Roe v Wade" of euthanasia.

41 posted on 10/22/2003 4:38:19 PM PDT by NYer ("Close your ears to the whisperings of hell and bravely oppose its onslaughts." ---St Clare Assisi)
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To: KosmicKitty
Choosing life not euthenasia bump!
42 posted on 10/22/2003 6:28:47 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: KosmicKitty
I am so excited that you were able to get your hands on this article! I bumped into it the day after it was published, and had it sent to the Schindlers via Pamela Hennessey (she's the person on their website to contact). So they do know about this research. I tried to post it on one of the threads recently, but then I couldn't access it. I'm glad someone else was able to get the link to work. Good job!
43 posted on 10/22/2003 7:04:14 PM PDT by Ohioan from Florida
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To: KosmicKitty
About ten years ago, a teenage young man, a friend of my son, was shot in the head in a terrorist attack. He was in a coma and vegetative condition for over a year, during which time his family never left his side and his friends took turns sitting with him, singing and chatting as though he was just his normal self.

This boy did eventually have a full recovery, although it took many months of intensive therapy and the heartfelt prayers of his family and many friends. Much later, he confided to my son that he had "dreams" of his friends sitting by his bedside and singing, and he wanted to sing along but couldn't.

Happy ending: today this young man is completely recovered, is married and the father of a lovely family.

44 posted on 10/22/2003 7:12:06 PM PDT by Alouette (Neocon Zionist Media Operative)
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To: summer
Very interesting article. Check out post 3 also.
45 posted on 10/22/2003 9:56:16 PM PDT by amom
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To: cgk
Felos really unnerved me with this comment!

"The hysterical opposition to his case says so much more about us as a society." he said. "I think it says so much more about our fear of death than the sanctity of life."

46 posted on 10/22/2003 11:45:45 PM PDT by JustPiper (18 of 19 Hijackers had State issued Driver's License's !!!)
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To: JustPiper
Bump for a very interesting article.
47 posted on 10/23/2003 12:31:36 PM PDT by Steelerfan
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To: KosmicKitty
Many ppl in comas (or stroke victims) who appear to communicate little, can actually hear and comprehend their surroundings. Any hospice service will tell you to talk as you normally would around a patient - b/c they often hear and process conversations, but may not show any signs of comprehension.
48 posted on 10/23/2003 12:35:49 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: NYer
OT for the Catholic-curious: let's say my parents named me Catherine. How do I know which St. Catherine I'm named for?
49 posted on 10/27/2003 12:09:55 PM PST by Xenalyte (I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I'll defend to the death your right to stick it)
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To: TASMANIANRED
Okay, I'll ask: how does a stubbed toe kill someone?
50 posted on 10/27/2003 12:11:34 PM PST by Xenalyte (I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I'll defend to the death your right to stick it)
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