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Do we know any Neurological facts about Schiavo

 
 
rayban1
 
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:41 am
The Terri Schiavo case has become such a "Political Football" that I have tuned it out until late last night. A woman and her husband appeared on Neal Cavuto and related a story about her having been declared in a vegetative state. She spoke and looked normal in every way but what was fascinating was hearing her describe what it was like being in her body and not being able to let anyone know that she was still there and alive.

My point here is that I have heard no mention of the result of any tests that proved that she is/was brain dead. It would be hard to comprehend that brain scans had not been conducted........what were the results. Could it be that her husband was too quick to make a decision about her actual condition.

Does anyone know any real details of her brain?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,213 • Replies: 11
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:44 am
sigh

Sorry, just have posted them a lot.

This woman sounds like she was "locked in", different from "persistent vegetative state."

Two of the best articles I've found, with citations to medical definitions and such:

http://www.reason.com/links/links102303.shtml
http://www.reason.com/links/links032205.shtml
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:48 am
Soz - I had read you had posted a lot of good links (did you see one I posted?).

The other threads are so long and entrenched in Manacheism, that I wonder if you might possibly post your other links here, if you find time?

(Or I will follow your trail of crumbs!)

But - I think they might set a better tone for this thread - cos the issues are way worth discussing calmly and rationally.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:50 am
Sure.

Why don't you re-post yours, too, this can be a gathering place for facts facts facts! (love the little buggers...)
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parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:50 am
There is no medical evidence of anyone ever being in a permanent vegetative state and recovering. If the woman was aware of her surroundings but unable to communicate then she was not in a vegetative state.

PVS means she has no upper brain function at all. Schiavo's medical records are private but the number of Doctors that have testified in court to her condition makes it pretty clear.

A medical definition of PVS
http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/921394859.html
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:54 am
Roughly in order:

Quote:
Judge Greer accepted the testimony of doctors who said Ms. Schiavo, 41, is in a "persistent vegetative state," meaning damage to her cerebral cortex has made her incapable of emotion, memory or thought.


Quote:
``It's so common, many hospitals don't require these kinds of decisions to be brought before an ethics panel anymore,'' said Laurie Zoloth, a professor of medical ethics Northwestern University.

American Medical Association guidelines bar doctors from performing euthanasia or participating in assisted suicide, but also require physicians to respect a patient's wishes to forgo care, even if it is life sustaining.

In cases where the patient is unable to communicate, the association recommends a spouse or closest relative be given the power to decide whether to withdraw life support. The guidelines allow physicians to discontinue treatment, even if the patient is not terminally ill or permanently unconscious.

Family disputes do happen, said Arthur Caplan, chairman of the department of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Almost none winds up in court.

Most find a way to agree on whether their loved one would have wanted to be kept alive artificially.

``If there is one single lesson to take out of this, it is to fill out a living will, and discuss it with your family,'' he said, referring to a document that specifies a person's end-of-life wishes.


http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Withdrawing-Life-Support.html?

Quote:
A persistent vegetative state is something different, "sort of like being in an awake coma," said Dr. David A. Goldstein of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. The patients' eyes are open, they have sleep-wake cycles, and it often appears that they are interacting with visitors, which makes it very hard on families.

The brain of such patients is functioning only at a very rudimentary level, said Dr. Kenneth V. Iserson of the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson. They cannot feel pain, express themselves or receive communication.

They may even have grimaces or smiles or other facial movements that look like they are reflecting emotions, but "there really isn't a significant relationship with the outside world," Goldstein said.

And the longer the state persists, "the less likely they are to come out of it," Keane added. Schiavo has been in this condition for 15 years, "and it is very, very unlikely she would wake up," he added.


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05078/474107.stm

Quote:
A persistent vegetative state, which sometimes follows a coma, refers to a condition in which individuals have lost cognitive neurological function and awareness of the environment but retain noncognitive function and a perserved sleep-wake cycle.

It is sometimes described as when a person is technically alive, but his/her brain is dead. However, that description is not completely accurate. In persistent vegetative state the individual loses the higher cerebral powers of the brain, but the functions of the brainstem, such as respiration (breathing) and circulation, remain relatively intact. Spontaneous movements may occur and the eyes may open in response to external stimuli, but the patient does not speak or obey commands. Patients in a vegetative state may appear somewhat normal. They may occasionally grimace, cry, or laugh.


http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/921394859.html

Quote:


http://www.reason.com/links/links102303.shtml
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:56 am
Colbalt post some of her brain scans on another site.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 10:21 am
Here's another good one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo

Most specifically in terms of your questions, rayban:

Quote:
Most of Schiavo's cerebral cortex has been completely destroyed, replaced by spinal fluid; Dr. Ron Cranford, a neurologist at the University of Minnesota assessed Schiavo's brain function in 2001 as part of a court-ordered assessment. He was quoted in Florida Today as saying "[Schiavo] has no electrical activity in her cerebral cortex on an EEG (electroencephalogram), and a CT (computerized tomography) scan showed massive atrophy in that region." [10] [11]

-snip-

Mr. Schiavo, and the doctors he has chosen to care for and evaluate her, such as Dr. Ronald Cranford, contend that she is indeed in a persistent vegetative state, that her occasional apparent responses are actually reflex or random behavior common to PVS patients, and that therapy would be fruitless. Accordingly, Schiavo halted most therapy for his wife in 1994, including speech and occupational therapy. In 1998 Mr. Schiavo initiated legal action to withdraw his wife's life support.


In 2002, a trial was held to determine whether or not any new therapy treatments would help Schiavo restore any cognitive function. A new computed axial tomography scan (CAT scan) was done, as was an electroencephalogram (EEG). The CAT scan showed severe cerebral atrophy.


Five doctors were selected: two by Schiavo's parents, two by Michael Schiavo, and one by the court. These five doctors examined Terri Schiavo's medical records, brain scans, the videos, and Mrs. Schiavo herself. The physicians were divided in their conclusions. The two doctors selected by Schiavo's parents (one of whom was a radiologist, not a neurologist; the other of whom made several claims about therapies supposedly developed by him which the court found spurious) supported their conclusion; the two doctors selected by Schiavo's husband and the doctor appointed by the court supported Mr. Schiavo's position. Greer ruled with the latter that Mrs. Schiavo was in a PVS and was beyond hope of significant improvement. [12]
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 11:01 am
Sozobe

Thanks for your last post------sounds very conclusive to me-----there is no hope.

I forgot to mention some very pertinent information about the other woman. Her vegetative state only lasted for 70 days. Her husband was there holding her hand and talking to her. She does talk about being taken off life support for I think 7 or 8 days and all the while she was screaming silently that she didn't want to die. I don't have an opinion one way or the other.......just trying report what I think I heard her say.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 11:03 am
Yeah, it definitely seems like the longer it lasts, the less hope there is. 6 months seems to be the outside window... and here it's been 15 years...
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 04:05 pm
Here is the article critiquing the concept of the Persistent Vegetative State:

http://www.thalidomide.ca/gwolbring/pvsilm.htm
0 Replies
 
drunkpunk
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 07:23 pm
i heard on NPR that her brain stem was pretty much dissolved into a liquid. but i didnt read every post or click on every link to know if this was already brought up. but i did want to reference the original post. why would you think that her brain hasnt been scanned. do you think that for 15 years she has just been sitting in a hospital/nursing home without having had medical tests done on her?
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