Skip to comments.‘Stop dehydration deaths,’ says Terri Schiavo’s brother in response to new brain scan
Posted on 02/05/2010 4:01:24 PM PST by wagglebee
St. Petersburg, Fla., Feb 4, 2010 / 08:32 pm (CNA).- Reacting to news of a breakthrough in brain scanning technology, Terri Schiavo's brother Bobby Schindler is calling for a halt to removing hydration from brain-damaged patients who are thought to be in a persistent vegetative state. An unscientific, inaccurate diagnosis of unresponsive patients is being used as a criterion to kill, Schindler charged.
Schindler was responding to news that researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Liège have used a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map a patients brain activity while he was asked to answer yes or no questions.
One patient, a 29-year-old man who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in a traffic accident, was able to communicate by willfully changing his brain activity, a press release from the MRC reports. He correctly answered questions such as Is your fathers name Alexander?
Dr. Adrian Owen and his team at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, England were the developers of the technique.
We were astonished when we saw the results of the patients scan and that he was able to correctly answer the questions that were asked by simply changing his thoughts, Dr. Owen commented. Not only did these scans tell us that the patient was not in a vegetative state but, more importantly, for the first time in five years, it provided the patient with a way of communicating his thoughts to the outside world.
Dr. Steven Laureys of the University of Liège, a co-author of the study, said the scans were the only viable method for the patient to communicate since his accident.
Its early days, but in the future we hope to develop this technique to allow some patients to express their feelings and thoughts, control their environment and increase their quality of life.
The three-year study conducted fMRI scans on 23 patients diagnosed as being in a vegetative state. The technology detected signs of awareness in four of the cases, 17 percent of the participants.
The fMRI technique can decipher the brains answers to questions in healthy participants with 100 percent accuracy but has previously not been used for a patient who cannot move or speak.
Dr. Martin Monti, another MRC co-author of the study, said the advance could help with clinical questions and would allow patients to say if they are feeling any pain.
The new study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Allan Ropper, a neurologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, wrote an editorial accompanying the study. According to HealthDay News, he said that people are going to have to grapple with the meaning of brain scans that show consciousness or residual consciousness.
It has to do with what you think life is and what is a meaningful life. Those are social, cultural and theological questions, he said.
He also cautioned against giving false hope to families, noting the small percentage of the responsive patients. All the studys patients had suffered traumatic brain injuries, not damage from oxygen deprivation.
Speaking of the 29-year-old patient, Monti said it is still the case that we managed to give him, to a little extent, a voice. In a sense there was a very positive outcome. We managed to interact. This is an extremely exciting thing."
CNA sought comment on the issue from Bobby Schindler of the Terri Schiavo Foundation.
His sister Terri, who was severely brain damaged from oxygen deprivation, was at the center of a 2005 legal dispute in Florida. She was denied nutrition and hydration by court order in a case between her blood relatives and her husband.
Schindler said the study backs other findings about the unscientific, inaccurate diagnosis of a persistent vegetative state (PVS) and shows how it is often wrong when diagnosing people with severe injuries.
As in the case of my sister, theyre using this diagnosis as a criterion to kill.
Schindler said his family had asked a judge for similar testing for Terri but it was denied.
If the technique was easy to conduct and available, he said, it would have given a better understanding of her condition. Why not ask, especially when it is going to end someones life?
Asked whether the case offers insight into how unresponsive patients should be treated, he replied:
Nobody should have to earn the right to hydration. We should do everything we can to care for these people, regardless of how responsive or unresponsive they are.
Schindler lamented that people are being indoctrinated to see killing as an act of compassion.
We are morally obligated to care for these people, Schindler told CNA.
They should stop any further dehydration deaths, because were learning how inaccurate the PVS diagnosis is.
Discussing the other patients who could not communicate, he said families of unresponsive patients should continue to treat them with love and compassion.
But the patients condition should never justify removing food, hydration or basic care, he stressed.
Schindler also noted that improvements on science are possible and could improve unresponsive patients functioning.
We should never come to the conclusion that someone is better off starving to death, he told CNA.
He was critical of news reports that claimed the new technology would not have helped Terri Schiavo, saying some stories were written as if these doctors want to go out of their way to justify Terris death.
If you read these articles, it seems they always have this caveat: lets not jump to conclusions with Terri Schiavo and say these tests would have proven she wasnt in the conditions the doctors said she was in.
Schindler told CNA that more doctors were on record saying that Terri could have been helped with some of the technology available. They believed that she wasnt in a vegetative state.
He also advocated the elimination of the term vegetative state from common use, saying it is dehumanizing and devalues the person and his or her inherent moral worth. In his view, PVS diagnosis should also not be used as a criterion for ending someones life because of how often it is wrong.
Schindler said he describes unresponsive patients as persons with brain injuries.
I dont know why I have to label them as being a vegetable. I think it leads to an existing prejudice against these types of people, he told CNA.
They supported Terri's murder, now they are trying to justify it.
They will still want them to die.
They are blood thirsty.
How many perfectly healthy babies get aborted?
Had I been in Terry’s condition I would want to die and I have made my family aware of this.
That said,I don’t think I could make the decision for anyone else.
How remarkable that technology is overtaking the Left's ability to use semantics to mislead people.
It's a shame that more people don't know latin. Foetus means offspring.
I agree. I have asked my family to pull the plug. I dont want to lay around with someone changing my diapers and not having the ability to communicate.
Starve me or shoot me I dont care, but I dont want to live in that condition.
I’v taken care of all of the legal stuff so when God wants me to go I want to go. No artificial anything with the exception of palliative care.
Thread by NYer.
March for Life - January 22, 2010
On Friday, January 22, 2010, a crowd estimated at half a million marched up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court. It was the annual March for Life and it commemorates the 1973 Blackmun Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade which legalized abortion throughout nine months of pregnancy.
Over half the marchers were under 37, so they were there to protest a decision which could have cost them their lives. They are survivors of Roe v Wade. Over 50 million of their peers have lost their lives to that decision, literally a third of the generation which surged past the Capitol Building to stand in protest before the Supreme Court. A living tsunami, they held signs like All Politics are Local; they begin in the Womb. They listened in silence to Dr Alveda King, niece of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., express regret over her two abortions, and assure them that her uncle was indeed pro-life. But there were very few members of the press present.
Deep in the crowd, there were dissenters. A tiny band of counter protesters, about a dozen in number, circled tightly in front of the cameras with their blue Keep Abortion Legal signs. They were members of another generation, the legacy of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, women who had burned their bras with Gloria Steinem, and they were there to celebrate choice. One of their members doggedly walked against the swell of humanity climbing Capitol Hill, looking like a salmon swimming against the spring freshet to spawn. Except that her message was one of sterility, inundated by the tide of fecundity. Did she catch the irony?
This years March for Life, following on the heels of Democrat electoral upsets in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia, was the largest ever. It occurred in the year when polls reflect a sea change of opinion against abortion, yet the mainstream media either blacked out or downplayed the event. No news cameras besides Fox and EWTN were visible, and no photographers took aerial shots of the Mall full of marchers, the way they had during the Inauguration, when even the seagulls were impressed at the crowds. Comments were muted and photographs were of individuals, not crowds. Both the NARAL huddle and the sea of humanity were given equal play on the mainstream media, like Krista Gesamens Whos missing at the March for Life; young women. CNN anchor, Rick Sanchez, openly wondered which group was larger. Jill Stanek writing for Breitbarts Big Journalism, took Gesaman to task for her characterization of March for Life participants as geriatric. Young women were present in the hundreds of thousands. Only the Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney, admittedly pro-abortion, stated that the crowds were young (much to his chagrin) in his piece, Young activists adding fuel to anti-abortion side.
The left must suppress the truth that the pro-life movement is on the march and that they have hundreds of thousands of reinforcements in order to preserve their chances for big gains under the most pro-abortion president in US history. They just missed a chance for a health care reform bills that would have enshrined Planned Parenthood within the federal government, and their future looks pretty grim now that the next generation has arrived. Are they aware how tenuous is ther hold over the information which reaches the American public? Its the quiet before the tsunami. Generation Life is coming, and they use the New Media blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube to spead the word that Americans are majority pro-life and we are going to end abortion someday soon.
Thread by Servant of the Cross.
By now, most Americans have heard about the famous Tim Tebow advertisement Focus on the Family will air during the Super Bowl. The ad reportedly features Tebow and his mother Pam and her story about how she decided against an abortion. But few people have hear Tebow's father discuss the story of Tim's birth.
As most people know, Pam Tebow got sick with dysentery while on a missions trip to the Philippines and her doctors suggested she consider an abortion because of the medication she was taking while pregnant with Tim.
She refused, gave birth, and son Tim led the Florida Gators to a national championship and won the Heisman Trophy.
During a time with slightly less national attention focus on his family, Bob Tebow talked with Sports Illustrated about his son's famous birth story.
"Have you heard the story of Timmy's birth?" he told the magazine.
"When I was out in the mountains in Mindanao, back in '86, I was showing a film and preaching that night. I was weeping over the millions of babies being [aborted] in America, and I prayed, 'God, if you give me a son, if you give me Timmy, I'll raise him to be a preacher,'" he recalled.
Shortly afterwards, Bob and Pam gave birth to their son, their fifth child, after what turned out to be a difficult pregnancy.
"The placenta was never properly attached, and there was bleeding from the get-go," Bob told SI. "We thought we'd lost him several times."
He told the magazine the part of the story that many publications haven't included in their coverage of the ad and the Tebow family -- namely, that Pam contracted amebic dysentery early in the pregnancy and that put her in a temporary coma.
Then, after refusing the abortion, Pam gave birth to Tim on August 14, 1987 and named the baby Timothy Richard Tebow.
"All his life, from the moment he could understand, I told him, 'You're a miracle baby,'" Bob told Sports Illustrated in July 2009. "'God's got a purpose for you, and at some point I think He's going to call you to preach.'
He concluded: "I asked God for a preacher, and he gave me a quarterback."
Thread by me.
London, England (LifeNews.com) -- Top bioethicist Wesley J. Smith says the new study showing active brain activity in patients who are supposedly in a vegetative state or a minimally conscious state has a bearing on the Terri Schiavo case. He says the judge who allowed her husband to kill her should have ordered similar tests.
The study found that patients in such unconscious states were able to respond mentally to yes and no questions by thinking of different things that activate brain activity in certain areas.
The patients showed they were very aware because they could answer all sorts of personal questions and do so accurately.
Smith recalled the Terri case in reaction to the study and pointed out how "she had been diagnosed as PVS and the courts refused to allow that determination to be shaken during the ordeal."
"Indeed, when it was clear that Terri would be lying in bed for a year pending appeals, the family begged Judge Greer to permit sophisticated brain scanning that had never been used on her before," he recalled. "It couldn't have hurt her, and it might have shown something. But stubbornly, he refused. I will go to my grave believing the judge knew what he didn't want to know."
Smith says both the Schindler family and others who observed Terri said she could "react, particularly, that she could hear and respond to loving talk (as in the famous photo of her smiling broadly as she is greeted by her mother or her opening her eyes wide on request.)"
He said that "thanks to Judge Greers intransigence we will never know what her brain scan would have shown."
Smith says those who point to Terri's autopsy to supposedly show she had no brain activity can't really rule out that she did not have any brain activity.
"The report said her brain was consistent with either a PVS or minimally consciousness, and moreover, that such decisions are clinical, not subject to being decided upon autopsy," he said.
In comments to the New York Times, Nicholas D. Schiff, an associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College, said the study should have a significant impact.
This should change the way we think about these patients, he said. I think its going to have very broad implications.
Smith worries that it won't have that kind of impact.
"The bioethics mainstream has rejected the equality/sanctity of human life for the so-called quality of life ethic," he writes today.
"It began with the odious advocacy of Joseph Fletcher in the Hastings Center Report back in 1972, claiming that the inability to communicate meant that one had lost humanhood (now called personhood). Thus today, not only unconscious but conscious patients are dehydrated to death in all fifty states and it is shrugged off as medical ethics," Smith explains.
Ultimately, for Smith: "Conscious or unconscious, people should not have to earn the right to receive basic sustenance. What we did to Terri Schiavo was a blight on the legal system and bioethics. Pretending otherwise won't make that stain go away."
May God with Tim Tebow and his family and the hearts and minds of all of the Super Bowl viewers of this ad ... and you for promoting life and faith on FR.
Thread by rdl6989.
A patient who suffered a heart attack on a hospital ward died because clerical staff had mistakenly inserted a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation form into his medical notes.
Peter Clarke was not treated by doctors after going into cardiac arrest as a nurse had spotted the form in his files and, even though it was blank and had not been filled in, told other ward staff he should not be revived.
The blunder emerged at an inquest into the incident at Derby Hospitals NHS Trust, where bosses revealed staff had been routinely placing the forms alongside medical records before they had been correctly signed and witnessed by senior doctors. . .
Thanks for your kind words.