Skip to comments.Schiavo autopsy vindicates husband
Posted on 06/15/2005 7:21:37 PM PDT by familyop
US examiner concludes that brain damage was irreversible
An autopsy on Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman whose condition sparked a legal, medical and political battle that divided America, has backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state before her feeding tube was removed.
The report, released yesterday by a medical examiner in Florida,found she had massive and irreversible brain damage, and was blind. It found no evidence she had been strangled or that Michael Schiavo, her husband, had abused her, as her parents had claimed.
But the cause of her collapse 15 years ago remains a mystery. The autopsy and postmortem found no conclusive proof that she had an eating disorder, as was alleged at the time, nor that a heart attack had caused the brain damage.
Jon Thogmartin, the medical examiner in Largo, Florida, said Ms Schiavo, 41, died of dehydration. He added that there was no evidence she was given harmful drugs or other substances before her death.
Ms Schiavo would not have been able to eat or drink if she had been given food by mouth as her parents had requested, he said.
"Removal of her feeding tube would have resulted in her death whether she was fed or hydrated by mouth or not," he told reporters.
Last night a lawyer for Ms Schiavo's parents said that, regardless of the autopsy findings, they continue to believe their daughter had not been in a persistent vegetative state.
David Gibbs told Associated Press they planned to discuss the autopsy with other medical experts and might take some unspecified legal action.
"We are, at this point, examining every option and no decisions have been made."
Ms Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 and court-appointed doctors ruled that she was in a persistent vegetative state with no real consciousness or chance of recovery.
She left no living will, but her husband and legal guardian claimed she had told him she would not want to live on in such a condition.
But Ms Schiavo's parents, Mary and Robert Schindler, contested the claim, saying that as a Catholic she would have wanted to live. They also claimed she was responsive and there was a chance she might recover.
During the seven-year legal battle, Florida legislators, Congress and President Bush all tried to intervene on behalf of her parents, but state and federal courts repeatedly ruled in favour of her husband.
Her feeding tube was removed on March 18 and she died 13 days later.
"The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain," Mr Thogmartin said. "This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons." She was blind, because the "vision centres of her brain were dead".
He said a review of hospital records from 1990 showed she had a diminished potassium level in her blood. But he said that did not prove she had an eating disorder, because the emergency treatment she received at the time could have affected the potassium level.
Bill Pellan, chief investigator for the medical examiner's office, said that Mr Thogmartin had reviewed police reports, medical records and other documents in trying to determine the cause of her brain damage.
During the long legal battle, numerous abuse complaints made to state social workers were ruled unfounded. Mr Schiavo has always vehemently denied the family's allegations.
The removal of Ms Schiavo's feeding tube triggered a final desperate round of legal and political challenges by Christian conservatives. Congress passed a measure empowering a judge to order reinsertion of the feeding tube.
Despite the autopsy findings, right to life campaigners yesterday continued to condemn the decision to remove her feeding tube.
Frank Pavone, a priest who visited Ms Schiavo's bedside and has called her death a murder, issued a statement saying: "No details of this autopsy change the moral evaluation of what happened to Terri.
"Her physical injuries and disabilities never made her less of a person. No amount of brain injury ever justifies denying a person proper humane care. That includes food and water."
it all depends , people looking at corps can draw any conclusions depending on their fantasies:
Cyclops Myth Spurred by "One-Eyed" Fossils?
for National Geographic News
February 5, 2003
Ever wonder where our worst nightmares come from?
For the ancient Greeks, it may have been the fossils of giant prehistoric animals.
The tusk, several teeth, and some bones of a Deinotherium giganteum, which, loosely translated means really huge terrible beast, have been found on the Greek island Crete. A distant relative to today's elephants, the giant mammal stood 15 feet (4.6 meters) tall at the shoulder, and had tusks that were 4.5 feet (1.3 meters) long. It was one of the largest mammals ever to walk the face of the Earth.
" Schiavo autopsy vindicates husband "
And yet from the same article-
" But the cause of her collapse 15 years ago remains a mystery."
Must be a British thing.
I didn't see the part where Sciavo's lawyer says they're going to release autopsy pictures of her brain. It's mentioned in the Fox article and I think in the CNN.com article as well. Pretty sick.
I wonder if her low brain weight had anything to do with the fact that she died of dehydration?
I saw the Coroner's press conference. He plainly stated that she died of dehydration. How, exactly, that "vindicates" the husband is beyond me.
You're about the 100th person to mention it. You know, I'd guess her level of dehydration and it's effect probably occured to the medical examiners too.
Has anyone considered that possibly 13 days of starvation and 15 years of no stimuli would have caused even any brain to shrink?
These are interesting keywords.
If Greer's brain were in a jar, it would be labeled "Abbe-normal". Too bad he's blind, I'd like him to read this:http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1423759/posts
Wasn't the lawsuit Michael won against the doctor who failed to recognize her eating disorder?
Appears many are on the same page of thought.
It seemed to me this news reporting was another try at justification of killing this lady.
Every time the "so called" husband is mentioned I feel like a screech on a chalkboard. What a husband he was. Wouldn't we all love to have a devoted spouse like him.
You and I differ on the motives of the people involved.
"I saw the Coroner's press conference. He plainly stated that she died of dehydration. How, exactly, that "vindicates" the husband is beyond me."
Politics couldn't have anything to do with it, not in Florida.
Have you read the report? Maybe they did. As for me, I'm not going to act like my own speculation on the weight of a woman's brain is remotely useful.
The MD giving the report today admitted he could not determine brain activity on a dead brain.
If she was blind as he stated, how could she be expected to recognize people or objects when tested for cognitive awareness of her environment?
(You and I differ on the motives of the people involved.)
Parents who are loving and willing to take on the responsibility of their daughter have the best motives I can think of. We will never know if a different outcome was possible.
We KNOW the "so called" husband motive was for her to die, to rid himself of this lady, but why? It was not because he wanted to move on with his life, he had already done that, so WHY?
I can see no motive from the President and Congress point of view. It is not like they gained any money as the "so called" husband did.
That's a laugh. The autopsy is irrelevant, because whether she would ever recover fully is not the issue.
It doesn't change a thing! It is still criminal to starve
a person to death when the person's family is willing to
care for her. It is downright unchristian!
There is a difference between dehydration and atrophy and the examiners are well aware of which is which.
I would think so...
...US examiner concludes that brain damage was irreversible ...
So what. That is not what is at issue. The issue is was it degenerating?
Not fast enough for Suncoast Hospice to avoid scrutiny under Medicare guidlines.
You watch. The investigation into Suncoast Hospice for Medicare Fraud is going to come out eventually. They were not operating within those guidlines.
Where were you today, young man?
I'm not surprised at the size of Terri's brain, after a month of dehydration.
They said Karen Carpenter's stomach was as big as a raisin when she starved herself to death. I suppose that was a bit of an exaggeration to scare all the anorectic young girls.
Avoiding these threads like the plague.
Good question. ??? I'm not a medical person.
I think her marriage should have been cut off before her medical care was cut off, but that's just me.
I see someone else got the "growing new brain cells"
link out before I could! And what was the biggest recent
medical discovery (according to Discover mag of Feb or
Mar or Apr of this year)? NEUROGENESIS. Got it?
When hypernatremic dehydration occurs, the brain shrinks.
The way I read the report, he defers to a diagnosis of PVS and merely states it is a clinical diagnosis made while the patient is alive.
You are right, of course. This is the kind of case that separates the wheat from the chaff, if you will.
How misleading is that title?????
But the cause of her collapse and the time lapse between IT and the call to 911 15 years ago remains a mystery
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