Skip to comments.Doctor: Schiavo Autopsy Conclusions Flawed
Posted on 06/19/2005 6:04:50 PM PDT by wagglebee
Dr. William Hammesfahr, nominated for a Nobel Prize for his work in Medicine, has been recognized by agents for Medicare, the federal government, and others for new approaches to helping the brain injured.
Dr. Hammesfahr has been identified in helping patients with chronic brain injuries from many causes actually leave long term disability, and return to work.
Dr. Hammesfahr was identified the first physician to restore deficits caused by stroke.
Dr. Hammesfahr has released the following statement in response to the autopsy report on Terri Schindler Schiavo:
We have seen a lot on the autopsy of Terri Schindler Schiavo in recent days, that I feel needs to be addressed. To ignore these comments will allow future 'Terri Schiavo's' to die needlessly after the wishes of clinicians and family are ignored.
Considering that there were so many physicians and therapists who were willing to step forward to treat Terri Schiavo, from university based practitioners to those in private practice, it clearly shows that the mainstream medical community across the board, those involved in treating patients, knew that they could help Terri.
The record must be set straight. As we noted in the press, there was no heart attack, or evident reason for this to have happened (and certainly not of Terri's making).
Unlike the constant drumbeat from the husband, his attorneys, and his doctors, the brain tissue was not dissolved, with a head of just spinal fluid. In fact, large areas were "relatively preserved."
The purpose of the therapies offered by so many, from major universities, brain injury centers, and from private practice physicians, is to improve and restore quality of life, and function, which the mainstream medical community clearly tried to get to her.
I have had a chance to look at Dr. Nelson's analysis of the brain tissue, and essentially, as a clinician, these are my thoughts.
The autopsy results confirmed my opinion and Dr. Maxfield's opinions, that the frontal areas of the brains, the areas that deal with awareness and cognition were relatively intact. To use Dr. Nelson's words, "relatively preserved." In fact, the relay areas from the frontal and front temporal regions of the brain, to the spinal cord and the brain stem, by way of the basal ganglia, were preserved, thus the evident responses which she was able to express to her family and to the clinicians seeing her or viewing her videotape. The Spect scan confirmed these areas were functional and not scar tissue, and that was apparently also confirmed on Dr. Nelson's review of the slides. Dr. Maxfield's estimates of retained brain weight were apparently accurate, although there may have been some loss of brain weight due to the last two weeks of dehydration.
Dr. Maxfield and myself both emphasized that she was a woman trapped in her body, similar to a child with cerebral palsy, and that was born out by the autopsy, showing greater injury in the motor and visual centers of the brain. Obviously, the pathologists comments that she could not see were not borne out by reality, and thus his assessment must represent sampling error. The videotapes clearly showed her seeing, and even Dr. Cranfoed, for the husband, commented to her that, when she could see the balloon, she could follow it with her eyes as per his request.
That she could not swallow was obviously not borne out by the reality that she was swallowing her saliva, about 1.5 liters per day of liquid, and the clinical swallowing tests done by Dr. Young and Dr. Carpenter. Thus, there appears to be some limitations to the clinical accuracy of an autopsy in evaluating function.
With respect to the issue of trauma, that certainly does not appear to be answered adequately. Some of the types of trauma that are suspected were not adequately evaluated in this assessment. Interestingly, both myself and at least one neurologist for the husband testified to the presence of neck injuries. The issue of a forensic evaluation for trauma, is highly specialized. Hence the wish of the family to have observers which was refused by the examiner.
Ultimately, based on the clinical evidence and the autopsy results, an aware woman was killed.
s/Dr. W. Hammesfahr
[Dr. Hammesfahr was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1999. The Nomination was for work started in 1994. In 2000, this work resulted in approval for the first patent in history granted for the treatment of neurological diseases including coma, stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, hypoxic injuries and other neurovascular disorders with medications that restore blood flow to the brain. It was extended to treat successfully disabilities including ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Tourette's and Autism as well as behaviorally and emotionally disturbed children, seizures and severe migraines.]
I've heard all of the criticism of Hammesfahr's qualifications, but it seems to me that the autopsy results were just a little too "cut and dry".
I found this part telling.
Well, this is just dead wrong. Terry is dead and her husband was wrong.
I'm sure the judge is pleased with himself.
Poor woman. I can hardly stand thinking about how horrible her final days were. A horrible ending to a horrible 15 years.
God bless her soul.
Can someone refrsh my memory as to what year the balloon tape was made? It's obvious she had some sight at that point in time.
10 minutes until the Starvation Nation crowd shows up...
Psychology and the brain is still firmly in the theoretical. It is not even certain if the soul resides in the brain.
Dr. H was NOT nominated for a Nobel prize. Not officially, anyway.
When asked to bring his nomination to court, he couldn't do it. He had a friend nominate him and it wasn't through the official committee.
The Nobel Committee has asked that he stop using his "nomination" on his letterhead.
He also advertises in the National Inquirer, accepts cash only and is considered an alternative medicine doctor.
When asked in court to provide evidence of his assertion that he's cured people like Terri, he couldn't do it.
11 minutes and 4 seconds actually.
Just thinking of that theory makes my brain hurt ;)
It is not even certain if the soul resides in the brain.
It's just my personal belief, that it resides in the heart.
And at least that, we know, was intact.
You may be right, but I would like to see a real doctor's opinion. Have any doctors criticized the results other than Hammesfahr?
This probably waaay more than you'll ever want to know, and it's courtesy of another freeper with regard to the research:
"World Renowned Nobel Prize Nominee" - He is neither of those things.
His reputation among his respectable peers is that of a quack and a fraud.
He has been confronted with this multiple times, and asked to cease and desist even by the congressman who wrote the letter! Yet, he dishonestly persists in claiming to hold that honor.
Upon what does he base this claim?
At the request of the VP of the Chiefs of Police group in Gulfport, FL, his local Congressman, Mike Bilirakis, wrote a letter asking them to consider him for a "Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine."
1. There there is no such thing as a "Peace Prize in Medicine"
2. Bilirakis is not even on the panel of people who can nominate anyone. Nor are Chiefs of Police.
( This is what it takes to nominate someone for the distinction he claims. )
Nevertheless, Dr Hammesfahr, who is an alternative medicine neurologist, continues to knowingly and fraudulently claim to be a Nobel Prize Nominee. He very recently pretended in a KGO radio interview to be surprised to discover that he wasn't an actual Nobel prize nominee, and unaware that his congressman's letter was meaningless.
But, he has been aware for years:
At the 2002 trial, he was asked to bring a the official letter of confirmation he claimed to have in his possession, along with everything else to support his claim. He claimed he forgot to bring it. The facts were very clear then as he was drilled on the subject - including his previous pretense that he would look into it.
He also said he just could not locate the records or remember names or details about the supposedly "numerous" people in Terri's condition he claims to have treated with success. No doubt, had he actually achieved the feat he claims he could achieve with Terri, he would have deserved a Nobel Prize. Too bad he forgot to tell anyone when or to whom he did it. "It" was impossible to get out of him under oath.
He would make Clinton proud. (I'll provide a link to the testimony Monday)
His claim that, if a patient can swallow saliva they do not need a feeding tube, is a lie. First of all, he knows Terri failed the swallowing tests taken in the first 3 years, while she was in the midst of good therapy. (The last one, after three years, said no more tests were necessary.) He also admitted on the stand that that swallowing saliva is very common even among PVS patients. Especially those whose heads tilt back like Terri's
(It is a common condition of neck spasticity called opisthotonus - a contraction of the neck muscles just like her other muscles - it goes along with her spasticity and seizures caused by the anoxic brain injury. I'll hunt down a link asap.)
His continual use of the "Terri had no heart attack" (he knows she had cardiac arrest), relies on peoples' ignorance of the difference to cast doubt on the cause of Terri's collapse. Once caught in that, he tried to say she didn't have cardiac arrest, because he doesn't think her heart "stopped". It didn't need to "stop".
This is all only part of the available evidence of his deceitful character.
Even Glenn Beck, a major supporter of the Schindlers, ended his interview with him, apologizing to his audience for having him on, after he refused to be straightforward.
This "world renowned" doctor, who is listed at quackwatch.com and advertised in the National enquirer, has never published in any respected medical journal (check pubmed). He claims to have had his work "peer reviewed," yet the "peers" are a few friend$ who work with him. http://www.hnionline.com/results_peer_reviewed_and_publis.htm
His patent is merely the use of common vasodilators to increase blood flow to the brain. Though the medical community says it is hogwash, he gets away with it with the board by listing his treatment as experimental upfront. It has had anecdotal success in a certain segment of patients. The only thing close to a study he did was on whiplash and some other highly functional patients.
Yet, he touts this treatment as a cure-all for everything from ADD to PVS. He bases his claims of success treating ADD on his treatment of 2 adult sisters who said they improved after taking the pills along with doing other therapies that would improve them as well.
Here is a typical example of this man's deceitfulness. Remember - Terri, without doubt, had cardiac arrest (see above), which is different from a Heart Attack (MI). Cardiac arrest is 50% more likely to occur if potassium is as low as a 3.5 Terri's was a 2.0. Heart attack is a totally different thing. Keeping this in mind, read this section of a transcript
HAMMESFAHR: I'd like to go back to the potassium for a second, because he talked about the potassium and about the diet pills issue or some other drugs.
COLMES: Sure. Sure.
HAMMESFAHR: But the medical record clearly shows that there has never been a heart attack. Potassium causes damage by causing heart attacks, so we know the potassium is not an issue.
Right now we have a woman who had a collapse with no known cause. No evidence of infection, heart attack, respiratory failure or anything. The only thing found in the emergency room is a damaged neck.
Now, he is either totally clueless about common physiology, or he is making a concerted effort to deceive people into believing Michael strangled her.
I would also add, that if Hammesfahr only saw a stiff neck like Terri's in one patient, it only goes to more proof that he's lying about seeing many PVS patients - he never has brought forward any proof, though it was so critical he do so.
There was and is nothing about Terri's neck that was or is unexpected for anyone in her condition.
2002 Trial Transcript
Multiple web sites investigating him
Most people who are interested in such matters would say that it does not.
Aristotle said that "the soul is the form of the body." The Catechism of the Catholic Church keeps this formulation. The soul is immortal, but while it is in the body it is the form of the whole body, and is also the principle of life.
It is a modern assumption that somehow we live only in our brains. But in fact the presumption through most of history was that the soul is "tripartite." There's a pretty good account of this in C. S. Lewis's book "The Discarded Image." In another of his books, "The Abolition of Man," Lewis speaks of modernists as "men without chests," because they no longer regard the heart, the traditional center of courage, magnanimity, and the other virtues.
We are our souls, but we also are our bodies--our whole bodies, not just our brains. The whole human being is a combination of soul and body. The traditional presumption is that, if the brain is damaged, the mind persists until the soul leaves the body--i.e. until the body dies, the soul leaves, and the cells start to rot. The mind is essentially a function of the soul, and if the brain is damaged then it cannot communicate through the body. But it is still in there.
I'm not saying that all this is scientifically demonstrable, but it is a lot closer to the known scientific facts than the very limited idea that we live in our heads, own our bodies, and drive them like cars.
The thing is, even if it was uncertain that Schiavo was aware, the right thing would have been to err on the side of caution and not proceed with the barbaric two-week murder by starvation and dehydration.
I wonder how much pressure there was on the doctor who performed the autopsy to reach certain conclusions. Also, who determined who was going to perform the autopsy?
Also, who determined who was going to perform the autopsy?
It is standard practice for the county Medical Examiner (in this case, Pinellas County, Florida) to perform autopsies on those who die in that county.
Thank you Dr. Hammesfahr, you are the best!
To answer your question, the only 2 doctors in the last 15 years (including 9 neurologists) who said she wasn't PVS after actually examining her in person were both alternative medicine docs hired by her parents:
- A radiologist, Maxwell(who couldn't accurately define PVS or distinguish it from coma in the trial)
- and the above mentioned and much discredited Dr. Hammesfahr.