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Rest In Peace Terri Shaivo

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Feb 10, 2005
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Southern Manitoba
Terri Schiavo Dies, Ending Seven-Year Legal Fight (Update1)
March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged U.S. woman who became the focus of a national debate as her parents and husband fought over keeping her alive, died this morning, 13 days after doctors removed the feeding tube that was sustaining her.

Schiavo, 41, died in her hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida. She had been unable to care for herself since her heart stopped in 1990, leaving her in what doctors said was a persistent vegetative state.

Michael Schiavo petitioned courts for seven years to allow his wife to die, saying she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, disputed that and fought Schiavo at every turn.

Congress and President George W. Bush became embroiled in the issue, taking the extraordinary step of enacting a law that allowed a federal review of the case. The Supreme Court and other federal courts repeatedly refused to intervene.

Michael Schiavo asked for an autopsy so the public can understand ``the full and massive extent of the damage'' to his wife's brain, his lawyer told reporters on March 28. The lawyer, George Felos, said he announced plans for the autopsy in response to questions over why Schiavo was having her cremated.

National Attention

The family battle drew national attention after Michael Schiavo, his wife's legal guardian, succeeded in getting a court order to remove the feeding tube. Two congressional committees tried to intervene, seeking to hold hearings and threatening that anyone interfering with Terri Schiavo's ability to attend --- by removing her feeding tube, for example -- would be breaking the law. The House Government Reform Committee planned to convene in her hospice.

A Florida judge denied a House request to delay removal of the tube until the hearings could be held and ordered it removed on March 18. Two days later, Congress rushed back to Washington from a recess to pass a bill allowing the Schindlers to file a federal case. Bush signed the bill in the early morning hours of March 21, setting off a series of federal court fights on an emergency action to reconnect the tube. Late last night, the U.S. Supreme Court again refused to intervene.

`Bashful' Child

Theresa Marie Schindler was born on Dec. 3, 1963, in Pennsylvania, the eldest of three children. On their Web site, the Schindlers described her as a ``charming, yet decidedly bashful'' child who loved the piano and had a talent for art.

In her youth, Terri struggled with her weight, at one point weighing more than 200 pounds. Friends and family told CNN that she always had a ready smile and a big laugh. She shied away from attention and desired a simple life with family, they said.

Terri Schindler and Michael Schiavo met in community college and married in November 1984, just before her 21st birthday. In one of the few interviews Schiavo gave during the controversy he told CNN he fell in love at first sight.

``She had this persona, this aura about her that just attracted you,'' Schiavo said. ``A beautiful smile, I mean, just shy and outgoing at the same time.''


In 1986 the couple moved to Florida, where Terri Schiavo worked as an administrator for Prudential Life Insurance Co. and Michael was a manager in a restaurant, according to a 2003 report filed by a court-appointed officer charged with reviewing the case.

By 1990, Terri Schiavo's weight had dropped to 110 pounds. Her diet or possibly a case of the eating disorder bulimia might have contributed to the cardiac arrest that damaged her brain, according to the court guardian's report.

Schiavo said he and his wife were trying to start a family at the time of her collapse. They had sought help from a fertility specialist, according to the report.

By all accounts, Schiavo at first believed his wife could recover and was devoted to her care. Within four years, he said he had largely given up hope and began ordering doctors not to treat his wife for infections. During that time, the Schindlers started seeking custody of their daughter.

Schiavo began petitioning the courts to allow his wife to die in 1998, fought at every step by her parents. By that time, he had begun a relationship with a woman he remains with today. The couple have two children. In a Supreme Court motion, the parents cited his new family in arguing that Schiavo shouldn't be his wife's guardian.


As part of their quest, the Schindlers shared pictures of Terri Schiavo before her collapse, bringing her image into the homes of millions of Americans. They also sent out later videotapes in which she appeared to respond to family members.

Supporters of the Schindlers' case such as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, himself a doctor, pointed to the videos as evidence that Terri Schiavo was aware of her surroundings. Other neurologists said they found no evidence of brain activity and called the reactions unconscious movements; 19 Florida judges agreed over the years.

At the end, Terri Schiavo's family continued to offer the world different pictures. Her sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, told reporters that she appeared to be asking for help to live. Felos, Michael Schiavo's lawyer, said he saw no discomfort when he visited the patient.

``Mrs. Schiavo's appearance, to me, was very calm, very relaxed, very peaceful,'' Felos told reporters on March 28.
Got this from a Human Events email:

Two Cents: Starving and Dehydrating to Death Has Become 'Painless'
On Monday, March 28, an article appeared in the New York Post that really got my dander up. It was short piece (less than 150) words by Dr. Eric Braverman of the PATH Medical clinic in Manhattan.

In the item titled "Fading Away Slowly but Painlessly," Dr. Braverman states, without equivocation, that Terri Schiavo would feel no pain has her body succumbed to court-ordered denial of food and water.

Dr. Braverman's piece began: "Terri Schiavo's time is growing short -- and there are a number of ways she could die. Fifteen years ago, the part of her brain that controls thought, feeling and pain died. Now, other parts of her body are starting to fail because of the lack of food and water."

He then went on to briefly describe how she could die and how that process could appear. The good doctor then closed by stating assertively: "She will not feel any pain. Her brain has no ability to process it."

Reading this, a statement that ran contrary to most of the news I had heard about Terri's condition, I decided to call Dr. Braverman's office. He wasn't in, but his receptionist took my message and gave me his email address.

So I sent him the following:


Dr. Braverman,

My name is Chris Field. I am the Editor of Human Events Online. Human Events is the nation's oldest conservative weekly.

I read your short piece in the New York Post this morning titled "Fading Away Slowly but Painlessly" (http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/41879.htm) and have a few questions for you. I tried contacting you at your PATH Medical office but was told you were not in today. Your receptionist gave me your email address.

Here are my questions, your answers to which I would like to publish:

1) You assert that the portion of Terri's brain that processes pain is dead. If that is true, why has she been on morphine during the starvation and dehydration process?

2) If Terri has not felt pain for the last 15 years, how could this be construed as a "mercy killing" (as some pro-"pull the plug" advocates have termed it)?

3) If Terri cannot feel pain, why did anyone worry about keeping her on a mattress in the hospice or preventing bed sores or changing her clothes and sheets?

4) Had someone stuck her in the eye with a needle or physically abused her in anyway before the removal of the feeding tube, would you have advocated for any type of punishment for such abuse? Or does the inability to sense pain negate any potential criminal activity in such a case?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.



You'll be encouraged to know that Dr. Braverman actually called me back, and we had three separate phone conversations. Perhaps next week I'll let you know what he said.

Of course, I didn't change his mind, but I did let him know a few important things about the Schiavo case of which he was previously aware when he wrote his piece that left no room for doubt.

Scary -- having not even close to all the facts yet insisting that an innocent woman die and that she won't feel it. That's why so many of us said that we should err on the side of innocent human life.
katrina said:
She is in God's arms now.

AMEN!! i can only hope she is happy, smiling and enjoying the wind in her hair and the softness of grass beneath her feet in heaven!!!
what a truly tragic story!!

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