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Has the Schiavo case Become a Political Football?

 
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:20 pm
JustWonders wrote:
Foxy - I heard a veteran hospice nurse (18 years) say yesterday that she's never seen the feeding tube removed in cases like this. She practices in California and said that the tube is always left in place and the nutrition/hydration is gradually reduced over a period of time.

To her, this was much more humane. She said she can't imagine why this wasn't done in Terri's case.

Also interesting, is that she said in California it's not necessarily a spouse that has the authority to make these life or death decisions. The patient's doctor(s) determine this by evaluating who they think is closest to the patient, has their best interests, etc. She said sometimes it's a spouse, other times it's the patient's parents.

That sounds like two sensible and pragmatic ideas.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:25 pm
Foxfyre wrote:

The thing that even Asherman is overlooking here is that this same husband has apparently refused to allow her to be treated with any of the $1.7 million awarded to her; rather he seems to be using it for lawyers to persuade judges to allow him to kill her..


It was not 1.7 million. It was a total of 1 million, with $700,000 in a trust for Ms. Schiavo's care. That money is long gone. Care is estimated to be between $80,000 and $500,000 per year. The money is gone.

(the links to those details re the amounts have been posted many times at A2K)

What in the world is Mr. Schiavo's motivator, other than love?
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:26 pm
God help me if if I ever have a relative who 'loves' me like this guy loves.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:28 pm
That's a useful response if you believe in a god.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:32 pm
ehBeth wrote:
It was not 1.7 million. It was a total of 1 million, with $700,000 in a trust for Ms. Schiavo's care. That money is long gone. Care is estimated to be between $80,000 and $500,000 per year.

To ask a dreary question, who is paying that up to $500,000 a year? Insurance, or the state, or is the husband or family presently coming up with that rather unfathomable annual sum?
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:34 pm
I've been asking that question for a couple of days, nimh.

Oh, and the amounts not that odd. I see hospital bills from the U.S. on a nearly daily basis. When we hear one of our guys is in a U.S. hospital, we immediately put $$$ to reflect a cost of $8000 - $10000 per overnight. At $80000, it would be fairly limited hospice-level care. Which does not, from my reading, appear to be what Ms. Schiavo has been receiving.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:40 pm
This is a decidedly 'religious right' site and the numbers posted here are somewhat different, but the allegations that the money has been spent on lawyers and not on medical care is pretty apparent and attributed to secondary sources. Other than the amount (which is less in this article), the othe facts mesh with other information I've looked at.

Quote:


What's his motive? He has not disclosed his wife's life insurance policy. If he divorces her, he doesn't get it?
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:43 pm
Quote:
$5,000-a-month
that's a pretty good deal
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:44 pm
Oh here's the link to my above post
http://www.family.org/cforum/fosi/bioethics/facts/a0027736.cfm
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:48 pm
Even though those in a persistent vegetative state lose their higher brain functions, other key functions such as breathing and circulation remain relatively intact. Spontaneous movements may occur, and the eyes may open in response to external stimuli. They may even occasionally grimace, cry, or laugh. There has never been a documented case of someone recovering after having been in a persistent vegetative state for more than 3 months. However, the journal Brain Injury reported the case, of a 26-year-old woman who, after being diagnosed as suffering from a persistent vegetative state for six months, recovered consciousness and, though severely disabled, is largely cognitively intact. However, it is generally agreed that if a patient doesn't become responsive before six months, his or her prognosis is extremely poor. A report on PVS by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council finds that "patients in a state of post-coma unresponsiveness may emerge from it to become responsive," that "the probability of emergence becomes progressively less over time," and that "there is general agreement that emergence is less likely in older people, and in the victims of hypoxic brain damage." Terri Schiavo is the way she is because oxygen was cut off to her brain for 14 minutes; in other words, she suffered severe hypoxic brain damage.

So is Terri Schiavo still alive? The odds are way against it. It's time that her long-suffering parents and the grandstanding politicians let her go in peace.




Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent."
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:51 pm
ok for all you lawyers out there, here is my understanding of the current situation, congress is about to pass a bill specifically ordering the fed courts to accept jurisdiction if/when a petition for review is submitted to the court specifically by the parents of terri schiavo to which the court is ordered to accept the petition which in effect means that the court must accept defined petition-open the proceedings and then reject such petition on the grounds of consitutiional violation of separation of powers between the judicial branch and legislative branch, correct or not?
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pragmatic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:54 pm
I was just about to post a new topic on this issue of Ms Schiavo and then i saw this topic - phew! I would feel like the biggest fool on earth if I had done what someone else had done.

Seems like there are alot of different fling-fling responses...the football is existing not only btwn the family, the public and the politicians but also btwn the members of A2K...which I guess are the public.

I think its hard to say anything from my side - firstly I am an outsider from the family so I really don't know how they feel and why they are so emotionally differing from each other...and secondly I am in a different country altogether, watching the issue from the media (which can be famous for distorting things, not offence to those in the area) and thirdly, I am a Roman Catholic, but I support many things which the church condemns.

I will continue to follow this thread and see how my opinion sways...- keep up the debate until the issue is resovled!
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:55 pm
Anyone else follow fox's link? It was interesting. Several of the numbers are in an opinion piece that uses other opinion pieces as references.

I think I'll trust the links that give the actual court decisions with numbers.
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pragmatic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:55 pm
Dyslexia - you are right. whatever happened to the PRACTICAL situation of the sep of powers? Where are all the US constitutional lawyers??
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:55 pm
Quote:
AFFIDAVIT

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF PINELLAS

BEFORE ME the undersigned authority personally appeared HEIDI LAW who being first duly sworn deposes and says:

1. My name is Heidi Law, I am over the age of 18 years, and make this statement on personal information.

2. I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Palm Gardens nursing home from March, 1997 to mid-summer of 1997. While I was employed at Palm Gardens, occasionally I took care of Theresa Schiavo. Generally, I worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift, but occasionally also would work a double shift, until 7 a.m. the following morning.

3. At Palm Gardens, most of the patient care was provided by the CNAs, so I was in a good position to judge Terri's condition and observe her reactions. Terri was noticeable, because she was the youngest patient at Palm Gardens.

4. I know that Terri did not receive routine physical therapy or any other kind of therapy. I was personally aware of orders for rehabilitation that were not being carried out. Even though they were ordered, Michael would stop them. Michael ordered that Terri receive no rehabilitation or range of motion therapy. I and Olga would give Terri range of motion anyway, but we knew we were endangering our jobs by doing so. We usually did this behind closed doors, we were so fearful of being caught. Our hearts would race and we were always looking out for Michael, because we knew that, not only would Michael take his anger out on us, but he would take it out more on Terri. We spoke of this many times.
5. Terri had very definite likes and dislikes. Olga and I used to call Terri "Fancy Pants," because she was so particular about certain things. She just adored her baths, and was so happy afterward when she was all clean, smelling sweet from the lotion her mother provided, and wearing the soft nightgowns her mother laundered for her. Terri definitely did not like the taste of the teeth-cleaning swabs or the mouthwash we used. She liked to have her hair combed. She did not like being tucked in, and especially hated it if her legs were tightly tucked. You would always tell when Terri had a bowel movement, as she seem agitated and would sort of "scoot" to get away from it.

6. Every day, Terri was gotten up after lunch and sat in a chair all afternoon. When Terri was in bed, she very much preferred to lie on her right side and look out the window. We always said that she was watching for her mother. It was very obvious that her mother was her favorite person in the whole world.
7. I worked side-by-side with another CNA named Olga and could tell that she and Terri were especially close. Olga took a definite personal interest in Terri, and Terri responded to her. I could tell that Terri was very satisfied and happy with Olga's attentions to her.

8. When Olga was talking with Terri, Terri would follow Olga with her eyes. I have no doubt in my mind that Terri understood what Olga was saying to her. I could tell a definite difference between the way Terri responded to Olga and the way she reacted to me, until she got used to my taking care of her. Initially, she "clammed up" with me, the way she would with anyone she did not know or was not familiar or comfortable with. It took about the fourth or fifth time taking care of her alone, without Olga, that Terri became relaxed and cooperative and non-resistant with me.

9. Terri reacted very well to seeing a picture of her mother, which was in her room. Many times when I came on duty it would be lying face down where she could not see it.

10. At least three times during any shift where I took care of Terri, I made sure to give Terri a wet washcloth filled with ice chips, to keep her mouth moistened. I personally saw her swallow the ice water and never saw her gag. Olga and I frequently put orange juice or apple juice in her washcloth to give her something nice to taste, which made her happy. On three or four occasions I personally fed Terri small mouthfuls of Jello, which she was able to swallow and enjoyed immensely. I did not do it more often only because I was so afraid of being caught by Michael.
11. On one occasion Michael Schiavo arrived with his girlfriend, and they entered Terri's room together. I heard Michael tell his girlfriend that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and was dying. After they left, Olga told me that Terri was extremely agitated and upset, and wouldn't react to anyone. When she was upset, which was usually the case after Michael was there, she would withdraw for hours. We were convinced that he was abusing her, and probably saying cruel, terrible things to her because she would be so upset when he left.
12. In the past, I have taken care of comatose patients, including those in a persistent vegetative state. While it is true that those patients will flinch or make sounds occasionally, they don't do it as a reaction to someone on a constant basis who is taking care of them, the way I saw Terri do.

13. I witnessed a priest visiting Terri a couple of times. Terri would become quiet when he prayed with her. She couldn't bow her head because of her stiff neck, but she would still try. During the prayer, she would keep her eyes closed, opening them afterward. She laughed at jokes he told her. I definitely know that Terri "is in there."

14. The Palm Gardens staff, myself included, were just amazed that a "Do Not Resuscitate" order had been put on Terri's chart, considering her age and her obvious cognitive awareness of her surroundings.

15. During the time I cared for Terri, she formed words. I have heard her say "mommy" from time to time, and "momma," and she also said "help me" a number of times. She would frequently make noises like she was trying to talk. Other staff members talked about her verbalizations.
16.
Code:Several times when Michael visited Terri during my shift, he went into her room alone and closed the door. This worried me because I didn't trust Michael. When he left, Terri was very agitated, was extremely tense with tightened fists and some times had a cold sweat. She was much less responsive than usual and would just stare out the window, her eyes kind of glassy. It would take much more time and effort than usual to work her hands open to clean her palms.

17. I was told by supervisory staff that Michael was Terri's legal guardian, and that it didn't matter what the parents or the doctors or nurses wanted, just do what Michael told you to do or you will lose your job. Michael would override the orders of the doctors and nurses to make sure Terri got no treatment. Among the things that Terri was deprived of by Michael's orders were any kind of testing, dental care or stimulation. I was ordered by my supervisors to limit my time with Terri. I recall telling my supervisor that Terri seemed abnormally warm to the touch. I was told to pull her covers down, rather than to take her temperature. As far as I know, Terri never left her room. The only stimulation she had was looking out the window and watching things, and the radio, which Michael insisted be left on one particular station. She had a television, and there was a sign below it saying not to change the channel. This was because of Michael's orders.

18. As a CNA, I wanted every piece of information I could get about my patients. I never had access to medical records as a CNA, but it was part of my job duties to write my observations down on sheets of paper, which I turned over to the nurse at the nurses station for inclusion in the patients charts. In the case of Terri Schiavo, I felt that my notes were thrown out without even being read. There were trash cans at the nurses stations that we were supposed to empty each shift, and I often saw the notes in them. I made extensive notes and listed all of Terri's behaviors, but there was never any apparent follow up consistent with her responsiveness.

19. I discussed this situation with other personnel at Palm Gardens, particularly with Olga, and another CNA, an older black man named Ewan Morris. We all discussed the fact that we could be fired for reporting that Terri was responsive, and especially for giving her treatment. The advice among the staff was "don't do nothin', don't see nothin' and don't say nothin'." It was particularly distressing that we always had to be afraid that if Michael got upset, he would take his anger out on Terri.

20. I recall an incident when Olga became very upset because Terri started to get a sore spot, because it might lead to a bedsore. Michael was told about it but didn't seem to care. He didn't complain about it all, in fact, saying "she doesn't know the difference." When Terri would get a UTI or was sick, Michael's mood would improve.



FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NAUGHT.


Heidi Law, Affiant


STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF PINELLAS


Sworn to and subscribed before me this day of September, 2003, by HEIDI LAW, who produced a Florida Driver's License as identification.
Notary Public


My Commission expires:
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:57 pm
husker wrote:
Quote:
$5,000-a-month

that's a pretty good deal

.. a rather incredible number, in fact.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 05:58 pm
All those supposed constitutional lawyers are afraid of Bush and his gang.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 06:00 pm
And in spite of that affidavit, husker, the judge ruled as he did.
That tells ya something.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 06:05 pm
This is the second time I've seen a reference to the take of someone who once worked as a nurse or nursing assistance to ... Then there was the expansively quoted take of this "world-renowned neurologist" who claimed he knew how to cure Terri and turned out to never have worked with anyone in her state and have no documentation for the effectiveness of his "cure" on people in that state ... What I'm wondering is, what do the doctors who were actually responsible for treating Terri say?
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Mar, 2005 06:08 pm
Nimh writes
Quote:
a rather incredible number, in fact.


My mother in Law died January 15 on her 100th birthday in the Arlington TX nursing home where she had lived for more than a decade. This is an exceedingly nice home with top notch care. It cost about $3000/month to keep her there despite her needing staff assistance for all her needs the last several years.

The $5000 figure cited is more than reasonable for somebody who receiving minimal or no medical treatment and is only being kept clean and fed.
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