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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Terri's Autopsy

Y'know what? Terri Schiavo died of ... drum roll ... DEHYDRATION. The announcement was made today that she had severe brain damage - which we already knew.

Look here to read the official autopsy report. It's in pdf.

The report does specify that Terri's brain was quite atrophied. I'm not a doctor, but I wonder how much of that may have been the result of dehydration.

In any case, I don't see how this news changes the moral status of what was done to Mrs. Schiavo. As Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life states, Terri didn't die of an atrophied brain. She died of the atrophied compassion of her husband.

We'll hear a lot, I'm betting, about the Persistent Vegetative State (PVS). reports that, "In a March 31 article in MedPage Today, Dr. Michael De Georgia, head of the neurology/neurosurgery intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, warned his readers against a PVS diagnosis, saying that it "cannot be confirmed by autopsy." Dr. Mouhammed Kabbani, a neurologist at the University of Missouri, concurred, saying "an autopsy can show the degree of brain damage and how much brain tissue survived the injury", but that "it cannot by any means tell about the patient's clinical status."

Again, remember that the dear woman was not brain dead. She was not dying (anymore than any of us). She was not in pain. No machines were keeping her alive artificially. She was severely brain damaged. I'm glad we got that cleared up.

Thanks to for reporting on this.

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Anonymous said...

Pastor Scott,

Willful ignorance is never a wise thing. It is painfully clear from reading your post that you don't know what PSV is nor are you interested. You are right about one thing--you're not a doctor.

Do me a favor. If, God forbid, my wife should be stricken by a condition that puts her in a persistent vegative state and if, after all medical options have been exercised it is determined that she is beyond recovery and if I decide to exercise HER wish not to continue living in such a state... well, pardon the expression but stay the hell away, Pastor.

If you or anybody in congress or anyone associated with the entirely misnamed "pro-life" movement comes anywhere near my family's pain and suffering let me emphatically say now that you are not welcome. Stay away. Period.

I trust medical science more than I trust you, Pastor. God help those who put their faith in you. They will need better guidance than what they are getting. I will pray for them.

Anonymous said...

I am an active Christian and I am appauled at the way our faith as a whole has handled this situation. Michael spent many years trying to save her dispite doctors telling him she was gone. When he finally came to terms with that everyone attacked him.

For the record the brain size reduction did take into account the lose of mass from dehyrdation, which is minor, it was STILL 1/2 the size they expected. This means her brain was for all practical purposes DEAD!

My wife and I have discussed this extensively, not just amongst ourselves but with our pastor. We believe God can heal, having seen many miracles in my life, I know it is fact. However sometimes God does not.

Our plan for this is simple. For 1 year we will keep faith. We will work with all we have to recover the lost loved one in such a condition. If after one year there is no improvement we will setdown with our pastor and friends and then ask for support to be removed.

From a religious viewpoint there is a simple question. During the time she was kept alive by machines, yes an invasive feeding tube is a MACHINE, was her soul allowed to be free of this body and be with God? I mean you contend she had not died.

Is not the TRUE suffering here keeping a soul away from God so we can have a frail housing of clay be around a bit longer?

Darin said...

"I trust medical science more than I trust you, Pastor."

Methinks your problem with trust isn't with the Pastor.

BTW, if you trust the doctors more than God (of course, Pastor isn't God, so you don't have to write that one), who are you praying to?

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