Skip to comments.Terri Schiavo's CT scan – another physician’s opinion
Posted on 04/01/2005 11:52:28 PM PST by FairOpinion
The amount of medical misinformation put out about Terri Schiavo has been truly stunning. The testimony of Terris physicians who believe that some recovery is possible has been largely dismissed. Judge Greers court and the media in turn, have focused only on the pessimistic interpretations of the raw data of her CT scan.
A physician at a credible physicians website has analyzed Terris CAT scan and concludes that it has been grossly misrepresented. There is some cerebral atrophy, but it is a completely inaccurate to characterize it as bag of water. Furthermore, the author states that
the most alarming thing about this image, however, is that there certainly is cortex left. Granted, it is severely thinned, especially for Terri's age, but I would be nonplussed if you told me that this was a 75 year old female who was somewhat senile but fully functional, and I defy a radiologist anywhere to contest that.
In one of the definitive court battles in 2002, five physicians examined Terri to determine if therapy would be of further benefit. Two chosen by Terris parents believed that she was not in a persistent vegetative state and that some recovery was possible. Two chosen by Michael Schiavo held that she had no chance of recovery, as did the neutral physician appointed by the court. This 3-2 decision was key in the 2003 attempt to pull her feeding tube.
One of Michael Schiavos medical experts was the right-to-die advocate Dr. Ronald Cranford, who has been an expert in a number other key court cases on our nations slippery slope to euthanasia, including those of Nancy Cruzan and Robert Wedlund. But Dr. Cranford has made serious errors in other cases when prognosticating about the prospects of neurological recovery. Frederica Mathewes-Green states that Sgt. David Mack, who was shot in the line of duty as a policeman, was diagnosed by Cranford as
"definitely...in a persistent vegetative state...never [to] regain cognitive, sapient functioning...never [to] be aware of his condition."
Twenty months after the shooting Mack woke up, and eventually regained nearly all his mental ability. When asked by a reporter how he felt, he spelled out on his letterboard, "Speechless!"
In fact, the entire field of diagnosing persistent vegetative state or PVS is fraught with inaccuracy. Recent studies have shown the rate of misdiagnosis to be as high as 37% or even 43%. PVS is a clinical diagnosis, meaning that it depends on the subjective judgment of the examining physician. Experts in the field cannot even agree on the usefulness of diagnostic imaging.
Dr. Ronald Cranford himself was upset about the articles showing the inaccuracy of diagnosis and prognostication about PVS. Childs and Mercer, authors of one of the studies citing the difficulties of diagnosing PVS, took Cranford to task for zealously promoting the concept of the "permanent vegetative state" despite the evidence of its problematic nature, and the regularity with which some patients recover from it .
The nomenclature of persistent vegetative state was coined in 1972 by Jennett and Plum in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The original article, Persistent Vegetative State: A syndrome in search of a name seems to have succeeded in its task as reclassifying severely cognitively disabled humans as non-persons - something akin to vegetables in the minds of many. Public perception of this highly-charged term predisposes many to dismiss the lives of human beings as no more significant than plant life. It is a brilliant, if chilling, masterstroke of propaganda, one which has been swallowed hook, line, and sinker.
This reclassification of non-terminally ill people has allowed for their dehydration and starvation deaths in Britain with a doctors recommendation, and in many states in the USA with the familys wishes (or a patients own advance directives). The medical literature is rife with arrogant pronouncements in editorials of learned journals, such as life itself not being of benefit to someone in the PVS state. The echoes of current bioethics doublespeak resound in these journals.
In some respects the persistent vegetative state is more a political than a medical diagnosis, as it allows its unfortunate victims to lose their right to life and be medically killed through withholding food and water. It is unfortunate that some of the experts on the side of the Culture of Death seem to have had the upper hand in Terris fight, and have been portrayed by the media as reasonable and responsible members of the medical profession, rather than the zealots which, in fact, some of their own medical colleagues have branded them.
Cranford (Deathford) stated that Terri's EEG was flat, zero recording, then shouted that he was absolutely certain she was in PVS and would never recover. ... A flat EEG is indicative of brain dead, and the death merchant contradicted himself with his next assertion of PVS. Actually, I don't doubt that Cranford got a flat EEG ... someone should explain that chord attached to the machinery and the necessity of it being plugged into a power outlet to record signals, or perhaps it would help to show him that the little tags are to be placed upon the patient's head, not the pillow under the head.
Thank you for posting this.
The real braindead person was Greer -- either that, or he is the most evil. because he was supposed to be impartial and he ordered the execution by brutal means of an innocent person.
Can you imagine, if we would do that to the terrorist prisoners?
He wasn't successful in the Wendlund case; I posted the newspaper account of the judge's ruling on that case, that was almost identical with Terri's - but with a very different outcome...and in California. It was, at that time, also a case that reverberated nationally - :
His wife was not successful in starving him to death because of the Judge - who happens to be a man I know well, and know to be a brilliant, compassionate, fair, honest and probably the personification of what we grew up thinking a judge would be. We could use someone like him on the Supreme Court.
He is now Presiding Judge at the San Joaquin County Superior Court.
This is from THE RECORD newspaper, Wednesday, December 10, 1997:
Judge rejects plea to end Stockton man's life support By Kimi Yoshino Record Staff Writer Robert Wendland should not be allowed to die by disconnecting the feeding tube that has kept him alive for four years, San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Bob McNatt declared Tuesday. The surprise ruling cut short a high-profile trial monitored by medical and legal scholars across the country. Judge McNatt said: ""If I must err, I am going to err on the side of caution. It is necessary that I choose life. ... I don't know at this point whether here today I am preserving Robert's life or whether I am sentencing him to life." "I feel that this is the absolutely wrong decision for all the right reasons," McNatt said. "I entertain a strong suspicion that Robert would have wanted to die." But McNatt said a strong suspicion is not enough evidence to end the 45-year-old Stockton man's life as requested by Wendland's wife, Rose Wendland,...and his court-appointed attorney, Deputy Public Defender Doran Berg. They did not -- and could not -- meet their clear and convincing burden of proof under California law, McNatt said." If McNatt had allowed Wendland's life-sustaining feeding tube to be removed, it would have been a first for a California court. No judge has endorsed withdrawing life support from a person in Wendland's condition, conscious but unable to communicate because of serious brain damage from a 1993 car crash. Wendland's mother, Florence Wendland, and sister Rebekah Vinson, who fought since July 1995 to keep him alive, met McNatt's decision with relieved tears. "We are on top of the world," Vinson said. "We are going to relax for the first time in 2 1/2 years." Rose Wendland, who testified that her husband did not have a living will but had told her he would not want to live without being a "father, husband and provider," sat in stunned silence and quickly left the Stockton courtroom without comment. McNatt described Rose Wendland as one of the most selfless and devoted wives he has seen, but he said that to rule in her favor, he would have to extend the bounds of California law. "If I must err, I am going to err on the side of caution. It is necessary that I choose life," McNatt said. "I am not ready to start down that slippery slope without some form of guidance." The ruling, which McNatt predicted would be appealed, came 1 1/2 hours after the court day usually ends and before Wendland's mother and sister presented their case. Elements of the case have been considered by the state Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. The case also has grabbed headlines in national magazines, won attention on Internet bulletin boards and aired on the TV newsmagazine "Dateline NBC."
A very similar case as Terri's - with very different results .............How I wished, these past weeks, that Terri had had her case brought before Bobby.
I'd like to see him put of for Supreme Court - it would be fun watching him confound those lib senators, which he could do with half his brain turned off
And it is absolutely essential to read the opinion of the doctor who examined the CT scan:
"First, if Terri's brain damage was due to oxygen deprivation, her enlarged ventricles would be by a passive mechanism -- which is not amenable to shunting -- not by obstruction of the egress of CSF. To me, the presence of a shunt indicates obstruction to the flow of CSF that needs to be circumvented. Obstruction to flow is hard to postulate given the mechanism of Terri's brain injury (oxygen deprivation).
It would NOT be hard to postulate, however, if she had BLOOD in her head at some point in the past. So did she? Was there a history of trauma? I would like to see the BONE SCAN taken of Terri that purportedly showed evidence of traumatic type osseous uptake!"
The evidence may indicate that Terri suffered brain damage not as a result of oxygen deprivation, but as a result of trauma to the head.
"If I must err, I am going to err on the side of caution. It is necessary that I choose life. ... "
This is a fair judge, unlike rabid Greer.
I hope DeLay gets a monster investigation in gear - Terri's murder cannot be allowed to just slip under the rug. WE all need to see to that.
Everyone of these criminals need to be held accountable - and it will have to done by people outside of that county - it's easy to surmise it's one spiderweb of complicity -
PING to more evidence and facts.
Excellent, thank you. Examples of Doctors diagnosis in this area are replete with failures. They are frequently wrong.
Our tax dollars support the Judicial System, and we pay for the courts, and the Courts have been used to murder Terri Schiavo, and justice demands that we must cry out, and demand that "Murder by the courts" be stopped now.
PING! An article relevant to your discussion.
Wendland was different. As was the Martin case where he testified that a man who could answer yes or no questions--including an affirmative response to the "do you want to live" question--was the functional equivalent of a PVS.
Wendland had more functionality that Terri. I believe he could distinguish colors and could write the first letter of his name.
The whole PVS debate is disingenuous because Cranford doesn't care if you're PVS or not-- if you're not functional enough to meet his definition of human you can be killed.
In 2001, a young San Francisco man by the name of Robert Wendland died. Mr. Wendland suffered profound physical and cognitive disabilities following an automobile accident in 1993. Mr. Wendland died of pneumonia while his mother continued to fight his wifes efforts to end his life via the removal of his feeding tube.
Some stunning and ominous parallels exist between Mr. Wendlands case and the case of Terri Schiavo and they merit consideration. Rose Wendland, Roberts wife, had petitioned the courts for the right to remove his feeding tube, stating that he had a right to live without tubes and medicines. She, like Michael Schiavo, argued that aggressive therapy was not in Roberts interest and that his death by dehydration and starvation would be peaceful and dignified.
Like Terri Schiavo, Robert Wendland demonstrated convincing abilities and awareness. It is said that he was able to negotiate a wheelchair through hospital corridors on his own. Yet, Rose Wendland insisted that he be let go, much to the opposition of Roberts own mother, Florence Wendland.
In startling likeness to Michael Schiavo, Rose Wendland denied her spouse therapy, kept him from public view and instructed his caregivers not to disclose any information about his condition to his own mother. Even the absence of an advanced directive bears similarity to Terri Schiavos case.
In the end, Robert Wendland died of pneumonia (A death some experts would later call exit protocol) even as his legal battle waged on.
And .. I believe it was Dr. Frist's colleagues who also agreed that Terri did not have PVS.
But I think it's FL law that says that if someone has PVS you can pull their feeding tube. I remember seeing something about that on some documents - but I can't remember all the details.
Excellent article, excellent references and discussion.
I keep forgetting that Cranford is a member of what used to be called "the Hemlock Society." I knew he was on the panel that defined PVS.
The evidence may indicate that Terri suffered brain damage not as a result of oxygen deprivation, but as a result of trauma to the head.
It's my opinion that Mikey vigorously pounded Terri's head like a punching bag when she first entered the hospital... and continued such pounding all throughout her hospice imprisonment !!!
Thanks Fair Opinion.. the CodeBlue article has been around a bit, is excellent, personally I tracked it down when I heard the media and court liars for hire and net pundits continually referencing Terri's cat scan as supposed proof of Terri having no brain function.
As an interesting correlative sidenote, some of the other experts have agreed, even on stations like CNN I caught about two (in addition to docs put on by Sean and other pro-Terri folks)
One I remember well. Dr. Sanjay Gupta from Atlanta was shown "normal brain" scan pic and "PVS brain" printed under the pic by the TV station (on Terri's scan). Sanjay objected vehemently, that that was an improper way to label the pic, somewhat shocking the media whore (ok.. talking head). It warmed my heart to see a doc with some integrity.
I am sure Dr. Davenport joins many distinguished physicians in her view of this..Below is a reminder of what some groups with the help of courts, may be trying to bring to the U.S. This was posted yesterday..Posting #1375676.
MEDICAL SCIENCE UNDER DICTATORSHIP
DR. LEO ALEXANDER
Science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship. Irrespective of other ideologic trappings, the guiding philosophic principle of recent dictatorships, including that of the Nazis, has been Hegelian in that what has been considered "rational utility" and corresponding doctrine and planning has replaced moral, ethical and religious values. Nazi propaganda was highly effective in perverting public opinion and public conscience, in a remarkably short time. In the medical profession this expressed itself in a rapid decline in standards of professional ethics. Medical science in Nazi Germany collaborated with this Hegelian trend particularly in the following enterprises: the mass extermination of the chronically sick in the interest of saving "useless" expenses to the community as a whole; the mass extermination of those considered socially disturbing or racially and ideologically unwanted; the individual, inconspicuous extermination of those considered disloyal within the ruling group; and the ruthless use of "human experimental material" for medico-military research.
This paper discusses the origins of these activities, as well as their consequences upon the body social, and the motivation of those participating in them.
A flat EEG is huge.