Haleigh Poutre is Not Terri Schiavo

An altogether excellent piece by Cathy Young in the Boston Globe:

To put it simply: Haleigh Poutre is no Terri Schiavo. Schiavo had been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, and had undergone a barrage of tests showing that she had no higher brain functioning and no consciousness — a fact on which all unbiased medical experts agreed. (Her case had also undergone repeated court review.) Haleigh had been in a vegetative state since Sept. 11. After the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that she could be taken off life support, the girl began to show improvement.

***

The ”save Terri” brigade turned a tragedy into a macabre circus. Politicians such as Representative Tom Delay, a Texas Republican, and pundits such as Fox News’s Sean Hannity embraced patently absurd claims that Schiavo was able to communicate and even talk. They made wildly misleading claims about the medical credentials of ”experts” who said Schiavo could be conscious. They asserted that Schiavo’s coma may have been caused by abuse from her husband, Michael.

With their cries of ”medical terrorism” and their comparisons to Nazi Germany, these so-called champions of life created an atmosphere in which some of their supporters made death threats not only to Michael Schiavo but to judges and legislators who had been on the ”wrong” side of the dispute.

This kind of support is the last thing Haleigh Poutre needs. Haleigh’s cause should be championed — by those who have the moral authority and the credibility to speak about it. This case raises many disturbing issues, from the efficacy of child protection to care for comatose patients. It deserves to be in the spotlight; it does not deserve to be turned into Terri Schiavo II.

I have only excerpted a little bit- make sure you read the entire column, as it is spot on and well worth your time. Cathy also has more, here, at her own website.






116 replies
  1. 1
    Doug says:

    Too bad the “Save Terri” wingnuts cried “wolf” like they did. That makes it harder for the legitimately close cases to be put into the proper perspective.

  2. 2
    stickler says:

    “Legitimately close?”

    Close enough for what? Stupid, circus-like intervention by pig-ignorant politicians pimping a horrific case for cheap campaign photos?

    Close enough to put the family through the trauma of foaming, snake-handling sermons by Pharisees in cheap suits?

    Close enough to merit the appearance of Sean Hannity at the bedside, calling for the State Patrol to liberate the holy innocent child?

  3. 3
    John says:

    Yeah, the stupid bastards wanting to protect human life. How dare they. We should aways err on the side of pulling the plug. Bunch of Jesusfreaks. These vegs are wasting resources.

  4. 4
    scs says:

    Terri .. had undergone a barrage of tests showing that she had no higher brain functioning and no consciousness

    Yup she sure got a lot of PET scans and MRI’s. Multiple times! Oh wait… no… never mind. She never got any of those. Michael didn’t want to give her a PET scan. Oh well. So much for the barrage of tests.

  5. 5
    scs says:

    See this is why you shouldn’t get your medical science from a Boston Globe columnist. If you want a good unbiased version of the situation from the media, look up Dr. Sanjay Gupta articles in Time and CNN. He is a former, and current actually, neurosurgeon who gave much commentary on this issue. I tried to look them up but these articles are getting harder to search for for some reason. Anyway, from memory, he said and wrote repeatedly, there is no way to test definitively for cognitive ability with ANY current test or even an autopsy. He said from her CAT scans, it was unlikely she had cognitive ability, but it was not able to be determined by the CAT scans alone. He said an MRI or PET scan would have given a clearer picture.
    If you can’t trust, him, then I give up.

  6. 6
    Andrew says:

    scs for Surgeon General!

  7. 7
    ppGaz says:

    Whatever scs says, that’s what I think about this.

    She’s done the research, understands the issues, has paid her dues, and plays a mean game of bridge.

    Okay, I made up the bridge thing.

  8. 8
    John Cole says:

    Hrmm. Sanjay Gupta:

    GUPTA: I heard that as well…. Again, there is no specific scan that’s going to tell you for sure that someone is in a persistent vegetative state…. None of her brain was getting enough blood flow for awhile. So parts of her brain did die. And that is something that would be evident on a CAT scan. But exactly how profound an impact that’s going to have on somebody is something that can only be told clinically, meaning you actually have to examine the patient. I should point out I’ve never examined Terri Schiavo nor have I looked at her scans. But everything that I’m hearing from the doctors that have say that she fits the clinical diagnosis of a persistant vegetative state….

    Yes, he does sound quite reasonable. What else does he have to say:

    GUPTA: Well, I think, again, because there is no absolute blood test or brain scan that’s going to gell you for sure, it sounds to me–and I’ve been following this case along–that a few of the doctors have disagreed, at least a little bit…. It is a difficult problem even for doctors to try and get their arms around. You see someone opening their eyes, you see someone maybe even looking at you, responding like if you were to clap your hands really loud on their right of their head they might turn their head toward you. All of those things to the lay person mean, hey, that person is awake and aware. But as we probe deeper, as we look to see what is reflex and what is real, we find that in fact these are all just reflexes, that there is nothing there above just the basic human reflexes.

    Very reasonable, indeed. I could even take some more of this:

    WOODRUFF: And Sanjay, do you know of any instance where someone with that clinical diagnosis returned to normal, or reversed that condition?

    GUPTA: No…. To be even more clear on this, once it passes beyond one year in terms of someone without any recovery from a persistent vegetative state, the appropriate term at that point is permanent vegetative state…. It is called permanent vegetative state because there have been no known cases for someone to return to having any function.

    Terri Schiavo was like that for 15 (FIFTEEN) years. For the slow people:

    15 > 1

  9. 9
    scs says:

    Okay, I made up the bridge thing.

    I do play a mean game of bridge. Well, I used to when I was a kid, with my aunt. A little rusty now.

  10. 10
    scs says:

    It is a difficult problem even for doctors to try and get their arms around

    It is called permanent vegetative state because there have been no known cases for someone to return to having any function.

    Donald (Bob) Herbert? Okay, I said I thought you would think he was fair. And I was right. He did say lots of stuff like that (your side). However, he ALSO talked about how it is impossible to say with any definitiveness about the cognitive abilities based on any scans and how an autospy is not ever definitive. Try and see if you can look up those statements as well.

  11. 11
    scs says:

    John, just out of curiousity, what is your opinion on articles I have seen on recent research that finds cognition patterns through PET scans on patients thought of as PVS. Does that change your opinion on anything?

  12. 12
    Barbar says:

    Here’s a hint: the patients thought of as PVS remain thought of as PVS even after a PET scan.

  13. 13
    ppGaz says:

    Nobody should ever be allowed to die. Some test, some procedure, some treatment might someday make a difference. So no matter the cost, no matter the pain and agony, no matter the suffering of the patient or of the family, no matter the ruination of lives or the burdens, nobody should ever be allowed to die.

    Anything less is a Culture of Death. Do you want to live in a Culture of Death? I don’t.

  14. 14
    ppGaz says:

    What good is a declaration that says what a person wants if they are ever brain dead. How can anyone know what they will want on the day they are declared brain dead?

    What if I say, okay, if I am ever brain dead, go ahead and let me die. Because, on the day that I am actually brain dead, I could change my mind.

  15. 15
    ppGaz says:

    Suppose they diagnose me as brain dead? How will they know that I’m not just kidding?

  16. 16
    ppGaz says:

    Let me tell you, this DougJ thing? It’s easy once you get the hang of it.

  17. 17
    ppGaz says:

    Okay, the tape of Terri reacting to the balloon?

    If you play it backward, it sounds like she is saying:

    “I’m brain dead. You brought me a fucking balloon?”

    Seriously, check it out.

  18. 18
    scs says:

    Let me tell you, this DougJ thing? It’s easy once you get the hang of it.

    Yeah, he should pay you to sub for him when he’s on vacation.

  19. 19
    neil says:

    After five in a row, you’re cut off.

  20. 20
    ppGaz says:

    he should pay you to sub for him when he’s on vacation.

    He pays me to sub for you when he’s on vacation.

  21. 21
    scs says:

    Okay John, I don’t know where you found your quote. I just looked on CNN and Time for Sanjay Gupta and Terri Schiavo and saw about 4 entries each, all of them not really related to the subject I was interested in. But I know I saw Gupta dozens of time on CNN and often on Larry King and in the morning shows and he frequently talked about the unreliabilty of any tests to tell you definitively what’s going on in the brain. It makes sense after all, consciousness is software as well as hardware, and CAT scans and autopsies only can check the hardware. But I will continue to search.

  22. 22
    ppGaz says:

    the unreliabilty of any tests to tell you definitively what’s going on in the brain.

    There is only one definitive, foolproof test:

    The blog post.

    It’s right about 100% of the time.

    Seriously. Look it up.

  23. 23

    I cannot believe scs is still arguing the Schiavo thing even after the autopsy proved the PVS diagnosis.

    It’s over… Learn to admit you were wrong and move on with your life.

  24. 24
    scs says:

    Here’s a little food for thought. From the British medical journal The Brain

    Residual cerebral activity and behavioural fragments can remain in the persistently vegetative brain

    This report identifies evidence of partially functional cerebral regions in catastrophically injured brains. To study five patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) with different behavioural features, we employed -PET), MRI and (MEG) responses to sensory stimulation.

    Each patient’s brain expressed a unique metabolic pattern. In three of the five patients, co-registered PET/MRI correlate islands of relatively preserved brain metabolism with isolated fragments of behaviour….. MEG recordings from three PVS patients provide clear evidence for the absence, abnormality or reduction of evoked responses. Despite major abnormalities, however, these data also provide evidence for localized residual activity at the cortical level.

    Each patient partially preserved restricted sensory representations, as evidenced by slow evoked magnetic fields and gamma band activity. In two patients, these activations correlate with isolated behavioural patterns and metabolic activity. Remaining active regions identified in the three PVS patients with behavioural fragments appear to consist of segregated corticothalamic networks that retain connectivity and partial functional integrity. …A single patient who suffered severe injury to the tegmental mesencephalon and paramedian thalamus showed widely preserved cortical metabolism

    The specific patterns of preserved metabolic activity identified in these patients do not appear to represent random survivals of a few neuronal islands; rather they reflect novel evidence of the modular nature of individual functional networks that underlie conscious brain function. The variations in cerebral metabolism in chronic PVS patients indicate that some cerebral regions can retain partial function in catastrophically injured brains.

    Are they really just vegetables?

  25. 25
    scs says:

    Okay, do you believe me now when I said that there can be some function in the cortex of PVS patients? Read the above article otherwise. Terri had a severely damaged brain, we all agree. But even a severely damaged brain MAY have a possibility to have some function. The best way to ascertain that was with a PET scan. She never got it.

  26. 26
    ppGaz says:

    The best way to ascertain that was with a PET scan. She never got it.

    Why would they need to scan her pet?

  27. 27
    scs says:

    Honestly, I think you all owe me an apology for all of your stupidity and insults. I was just stating the obvious that medicine now realizes that bedside observations of PVS patients may not be sufficient anymore, due to the further understanding of the hidden possible functioning of damaged brains. I’m fairly certain that almost none of you were aware of that fact previously, as the Boston Globe probably never got into it much.

  28. 28
    ppGaz says:

    Family: Doctor, our beloved mother hasn’t had a brain wave in 15 years. What can we do?

    Doctor: I’d like to run some more tests.

    —//

    “Keep hope alive.” — Jesse Jackson

  29. 29
    ppGaz says:

    Sorry, kid, I’m in a Persistent Unapologetic State.

  30. 30
    ppGaz says:

    Mr. Potatohead: Doctor, can you do anything for me?

    Doctor: I’m sorry, you’ll always be a vegetable.

  31. 31
    ppGaz says:

    Mr. Potatohead: Why do I feel so awful?

    Doctor: Your x-ray is showing a tuber.

  32. 32
    ppGaz says:

    Mr. Potatohead: I’m so appreciative of everything you’re doing for me, nurse.

    Nurse: You are such a sweet potato.

  33. 33
    scs says:

    Gawd ppGaz you are on FIYAH tonight.

  34. 34
    scs says:

    I much prefer the time you spend being funny than the time you spend cranky. You sure you haven’t started drinking again?

  35. 35
  36. 36
    ppGaz says:

    School night, I have to turn in.

    Later.

  37. 37
    Pb says:

    After the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that she could be taken off life support, the girl began to show improvement.

    This is another fine example of the court system providing people with incentives to recover. Just imagine if they had ruled the other way–without an incentive to recover, she would have just stayed on the government dole, siphoning off our hard-earned tax dollars along with all the other limousine PVS welfare queens with their lattes and their feeding tubes!

  38. 38
    scs says:

    Awww don’t leave, I was just getting warmed up. I’ve only been here for the past 24 hours. This Terri thing still really burns me up…

  39. 39
    Steve says:

    The only truly dishonest person in this scenario is the one who claims “gee, if only you had given her this ONE additional test, I swear I’d be satisfied at that point!” At least Terri Schiavo’s parents had the fundamental honesty to admit that even if her arms and legs all became gangrenous and were amputated, they’d still want her to live as long as possible in that limbless, brainless state.

    The basic tragedy of the whole Schiavo case is that a nation of people who got about 5 minutes’ worth of information from watching cable news suddenly decided that they, personally, were entitled to have all their unanswered questions answered before anyone could let this poor woman die. Whereas in reality, there was a decade of court litigation and a decade of examinations by countless doctors. Even if, horror of horrors, they didn’t do an invasive procedure to remove metal from her brain and do an MRI just because some anonymous person on the Internet wasn’t satisfied yet!

    Bottom line, the world doesn’t always owe YOU answers, particularly when a situation has absolutely nothing to do with YOU.

  40. 40
    rachel says:

    Well, that’s just sad and disgusting; the piece of garbage that put her in a coma seemed to have been the only one who didn’t want the hospital to pull the plug because he’d probably have been charged for murder if they did. Meanwhile all those dopes that worked themselves into a lather over Terri Schiavo–who was as likely to recover as I am to fly to the Moon by flapping my arms–have got nothing to say in defense of a little girl who may actually have a chance. That, more than anything, shows the depth of their sincerity for Terri’s state; not quite as deep as a parking-lot puddle.

    Oh, well. Those “Champions of Life” didn’t give a shit about Haleigh Poutre before she was beaten nearly to death, just like they don’t now, so at least they’re being consistent about *that* this time.

  41. 41
    Ancient Purple says:

    Honestly, I think you all owe me an apology for all of your stupidity and insults.

    I will apologize to you as soon as you pledge that you will NEVER interfere with family decisions (as prescribed by law) regarding dying with dignity. Not for anyone, scs.

    99.999% of people who would be in a state like Terri Schiavo would want the plug pulled because no one wants to spend 60 years living like that because it isn’t living. It is body existence. The other 0.001% are simply scared of dying under any condition for reasons known only to them.

    You want my apology? You and the rest of the “culture of life” clowns pledge to stay out of my life and the lives of every one else forever.

    Mind your own fucking business.

  42. 42
    scs says:


    gee, if only you had given her this ONE additional test, I swear I’d be satisfied at that point!”

    What you think you can read my mind? I WOULD have been satisfied with a PET scan near the time of her death. You got a problem with that?

  43. 43
    scs says:

    Steve, a PET scan could have been done with the implants in her head. A quick and easy scan, with the possiblity to be very informative. We give them to practically all brain damaged patients today. Just not for Terri.

  44. 44
    scs says:

    99.999% of people who would be in a state like Terri Schiavo would want the plug pulled because no one wants to spend 60 years living like that because it isn’t living

    Okay let’s be honest about that. But let’s not kid ourselves that we knew to the best of our ability that she was not minimally conscious instead of PVS before her death. According to the law, minimally conscious people cannot be allowed to die. If you didn’t care whether she actually met the criteria, then fine. But don’t pretend that we definitely knew. Admit that it wouldn’t have mattered to you.

  45. 45
    Ancient Purple says:

    Okay let’s be honest about that. But let’s not kid ourselves that we knew to the best of our ability that she was not minimally conscious instead of PVS before her death. According to the law, minimally conscious people cannot be allowed to die. If you didn’t care whether she actually met the criteria, then fine. But don’t pretend that we definitely knew. Admit that it wouldn’t have mattered to you.

    No, you need to not kid yourself. No matter what, you would be on this forum “championing” the cause of Terri Schiavo. The doctors, courts and husband made the decision. You may not like it, but that is the law and we are a nation of laws, not of “but just one more test.”

    I will not shy away from stating flat out that it wouldn’t have mattered to me because I and almost every single person I know would never want to live a life where we had just minimal consciousness. Unlike the vile “culture of life” clowns, I prefer quality of life over quantity of live, any day of the week. I would rather have 40 wonderful years of living than 80 years of being like Terri Schiavo, even if she was minimally conscious.

    Again, if you want my apology, then pledge to never darken my doorstep with your “just one more test” schtick.

  46. 46
    scs says:

    Again, if you want my apology, then pledge to never darken my doorstep with your “just one more test” schtick.

    First of all, I am asking for an apology to all the people who said I was an idiot because they thought I didn’t know anything about medical science and PVS. They refused to believe the latest info that PVS was not always being a “vegetable” because they didn’t inform themselves on the latest medical research, as shown in some of the articles I linked to. They really should apologize for that.

    I am glad that you admit that minimally conscious or PVS is a technicality to you. That is someone being honest for once on here. But, this one more test schtick is not really a schtick – it’s a pretty basic test. In fact, it’s probably THE TEST, and Terri never got it. I just think it’s wrong that a husband and the courts can deny someone the most basic care and I think it’s a bad precedent. I say do what you can to learn about a person’s condition before you allow them to die. If that is a culture of life idea, then I am proud to claim it. Wouldn’t you want your spouse to have the best diagnostic tests they could before you killed them? I would. Sad that Michael didn’t.

  47. 47
    stickler says:

    Honestly, I think you all owe me an apology for all of your stupidity and insults.

    The Pharisee speaks the truth!

    All we owe SCS is complete and total abnegation. We are wrong to think we control our own bodies. We are wrong to think that we are free from the meddlesome interference of bluenose pecksniffs who watch too much James Dobson. And who control the “Republican” majority in the House of Representatives.

    Remember, to hidebound inquisitors like SCS, free will is a sin.

    Just one … more … test …

    And the pendulum swings. And swings. And swings.

  48. 48
    scs says:

    Just one … more … test

    It’s called how about one test?

  49. 49
    scs says:

    I ask you all a few questions before I go.

    Would you want your spouse to have the best diagnostic tests he or she could before you allowed her or him to die?

    Would you yourself want the best diagnostic tests you could before your spouse allowed you to die?

    I would love to hear an honest answer to those.

  50. 50
    Ancient Purple says:

    I am glad that you admit that minimally conscious or PVS is a technicality to you. That is someone being honest for once on here. But, this one more test schtick is not really a schtick – it’s a pretty basic test. In fact, it’s probably THE TEST, and Terri never got it. I just think it’s wrong that a husband and the courts can deny someone the most basic care and I think it’s a bad precedent. I say do what you can to learn about a person’s condition before you allow them to die. If that is a culture of life idea, then I am proud to claim it. Wouldn’t you want your spouse to have the best diagnostic tests they could before you killed them? I would. Sad that Michael didn’t.

    So, my Living Will, my health care proxy, my advance care directive, my video tape where I expressly say three (3) times that if I am in a condition like Terri Schiavo, I want the feeding tube pulled, means nothing to you and I should be forced to endure a live of quantity instead of quality?

    My future spouse, like myself, has made it abundantly clear that if we are ever like Terri Schiavo, we want to die. Die. Dead. Jacob-Marley-Dead-As-A-Doornail dead. Pushing up daisies dead.

    Now, will you honor the wished of me and my future spouse, scs, or should I simply sock away money now to have my estate hire lawyers to keep you as far away from me and my family as possible?

  51. 51
    scs says:

    Would you give her the right tests before you pulled the plug? If you did that, then fine, pull it. But don’t pull it before you have all the best information you can.

  52. 52
    Pb says:

    rachel,

    Those “Champions of Life” who opportunistically whined about Terri Shiavo in the days before her death didn’t give a shit about Tirhas Habtegiris before she was killed against her will, just like they don’t now that she’s dead, but no one ever accused them of being consistent.

  53. 53
    Steve says:

    What you think you can read my mind? I WOULD have been satisfied with a PET scan near the time of her death. You got a problem with that?

    No, for the record, I don’t believe you, no matter how much you huff and puff and act all indignant. If they had given her the test on top of every other test they ran, and the results were the same, all the nutjobs would have ranted and raved about how that isn’t good enough and there’s some OTHER test that they’d give her if they really cared. And from the way you’re acting I see no reason to believe you wouldn’t have swallowed that line as well.

    The amazing thing is, you act like you have all these concerns and no one can hear your anguished pleas, when in reality there has never been a medical case so closely scrutinized and there hopefully never will be again, by the grace of God. Over the course of 15 years, applications were constantly made to the court to give her an MRI and every other conceivable exam. In every case, the court patiently did its job, reviewed the evidence, and determined if the test was the right thing to do. So the fact that someone out in blogland still isn’t satisfied really isn’t relevant.

    The fact is, if they had stopped to answer “just one more question” for each and every person who felt like they didn’t, personally, have enough information to be ok with her dying, and felt like they, personally, somehow had a right to weigh in on this private situation, Terri Schiavo would have been hooked up to that machine for another 15 years. I understand you will never, ever be at peace with the decision that was made, even though the autopsy has made everything moot at this point, but at the end of the day it still wasn’t your goddamn decision. The doctors don’t do tests just to satisfy anonymous people on the internet.

  54. 54
    stickler says:

    Would you give her the right tests before you pulled the plug?

    Because, no matter what you, your doctor, and your spouse have decided, Mullah Dobson and his Inquisitionettes are going to be very interested in putting your misery on TV, radio, and the Internet. And woe betide you and your family if they find your decisions wanting.

    Your life is not your own. There exists a legion of wingnuts and (ill) paid shills in cubicles across this land, who are anxious — or at least paid to seem anxious — that you worry about making very personal decisions. Look: there’s a shill right here on this site, posting bullshit on your very own tax dollar. (Nobody here thinks SCS could be so wilfully stupid and tenacious for free, do they?)

    Separation of church and state? Very much 1806. Irrelevant, outdated. New policy: haven’t you heard?

    No, get used to a revivification of the jolly Prohibition corpse. No birth control for you! No sedatives for you! No whiskey for you!

  55. 55
    scs says:

    No, for the record, I don’t believe you

    You’re wrong man. It would have been enough for me as I believe one good PET scan would have clearly shown what extent, if any, of the functioning left in her cortex and would have answered anyone’s doubts. I believe in the ability of the PET scan and the MRIs as, as we can see from some of ther research I linked to, they can be very powerful tools to figure out what is going on in the brain. Anyway, you know nothing about me. I have no problem with killing people. I am pro-choice and mostly right-to-die. I don’t think that Michael had a right-to-kill though. I thought he should have given her the best tests that we have, like we require anyone else to do, before he allowed her to die, that’s all. So sue me.

  56. 56
    scs says:

    Nobody here thinks SCS could be so wilfully stupid and tenacious for free, do they?)

    Actually it’s called being self-employed and kind of slack. I have a lot of free time. I WISH I got paid for this.

  57. 57
    scs says:

    By the way, neither one of you answered my questions above? You chicken?

  58. 58
    Pooh says:

    “Congratulations, Darrell, SCS, you have a beautiful baby Freeper!”

  59. 59
    tzs says:

    SCS== troll

  60. 60
    Ancient Purple says:

    Would you give her the right tests before you pulled the plug? If you did that, then fine, pull it. But don’t pull it before you have all the best information you can.

    scs, let me explain this to you AGAIN in slow, plodding steps because you obviously don’t get it.

    Regardless of how the test were to come out – whether it show PVS or minimally conscious – I and my future spouse want the plug pulled. Yanked from us and the wall socket. No more us. The end. Finis.

    Got it?

    See, here is the difference between you and me: I don’t want to live a life of Depends and feeding tubes and having mommy bring me a balloon as my source of entertainment for the day. Again, that is not living. That is existing. Unfortunately, it is existing in a world where people think that coming up to you and making baby sounds when you are 32 years old is somehow stimulating and meaningful to you when you are PVS or minimally conscious.

    Regardless of what your concerns are, I don’t want to live a life like that. Ever. For even a minute. I want my body to expire.

    In the meantime, I guess I will sock away money to make sure that my wishes are followed and lawyers by the droves are there to tie up your resources and your time so that you will learn a lesson to MYOFB (mind your own fucking business).

  61. 61
    Krista says:

    It would have been enough for me as I believe one good PET scan would have clearly shown what extent, if any, of the functioning left in her cortex and would have answered anyone’s doubts.

    Residual cerebral activity and behavioural fragments can remain in the persistently vegetative brain

    Residual cerebral activity…I have residual moisture on my drinking glass, but it’s not going to do me a damn bit of good if I’m dying of thirst. Honestly, even if there was some residual cerebral activity, is that any kind of a life? Would that provide any kind of hope for improvement? She was in that state for 15 years, and her doctors all said it wasn’t going to get any better.

  62. 62
    The Other Steve says:

    In the meantime, I guess I will sock away money to make sure that my wishes are followed and lawyers by the droves are there to tie up your resources and your time so that you will learn a lesson to MYOFB (mind your own fucking business).

    Sadly this is a good point. If you’re not going to die a clean death, you need to have millions in the bank to cover the lawyer fees to keep the bleeding hearts like scs out of your fucking life.

    Maybe there ought to be some kind of insurance for this?

  63. 63
    Paul L. says:

    Regardless of how the test were to come out – whether it show PVS or minimally conscious – I and my future spouse want the plug pulled. Yanked from us and the wall socket. No more us. The end. Finis.

    After the two weeks of starving to death, Of course.
    In my case, I WANT TO LIVE!!!!!!!!!.

    Put that in your living will. Where is your proof that Terri S wanted to die? Other Michael’s sayso that she said so after seeing a TV movie?

    Scs, I see where they started the personal attacks and calling you a republican shill. It is SOP.

    Those “Champions of Life” who opportunistically whined about Terri Shiavo in the days before her death didn’t give a shit about Tirhas Habtegiris before she was killed against her will, just like they don’t now that she’s dead, but no one ever accused them of being consistent

    You still on that? Of course you only care about her as a club to beat up on “Champions of Life”? What did your side do? Did your side try to raise money to help her? Is your side doing anything to change the law to avoid this in the future? Oh wait Socialized medicine. That is the answer.

  64. 64
    Faux News says:

    SCS:

    I would pull the plug on you immediately. What? I’m not a family member? Oh, that’s too bad. You see my religous values dictate that you go to meet Jebus when I say so, not your family or doctors. I promise when your brain is that of a jellyfish, I won’t leave you plugged into Gerber Food machine for more than 48 hours. Praise Be!

  65. 65
    Barbar says:

    SCS, you’ve got to be kidding me. Show me a single example of a PET scan being used to overturn a diagnosis of PVS.

    If scientists do PET scans to study the difference between men and women, does that mean that you shouldn’t be too hasty in deciding someone’s gender and should always do a PET scan first? NO.

    So why are you misinterpreting scientific studies?

    A dishonest idiot. Please stop. If you can’t help being stupid you can at least shut up.

  66. 66
    Steve says:

    Where is your proof that Terri S wanted to die?

    Because a court found it to be the case as a matter of law, after hearing all the evidence from both sides, even pursuant to a statutory scheme that directed him to err on the side of life. And the judgment was repeatedly and consistently upheld by the appellate courts.

    The point is, we have a procedure to resolve these situations fairly and relatively privately. The law does not mandate that a person be kept alive until each and every guy who watches CNN or surfs the Internet is sufficiently convinced of her wishes. It’s none of your goddamn business.

  67. 67
    Paul L. says:

    Steve Says:

    Where is your proof that Terri S wanted to die?

    Because a court found it to be the case as a matter of law, after hearing all the evidence from both sides, even pursuant to a statutory scheme that directed him to err on the side of life. And the judgment was repeatedly and consistently upheld by the appellate courts.

    The point is, we have a procedure to resolve these situations fairly and relatively privately. The law does not mandate that a person be kept alive until each and every guy who watches CNN or surfs the Internet is sufficiently convinced of her wishes. It’s none of your goddamn business.

    Translation: I have none.

    the judgment was repeatedly and consistently upheld by the appellate courts

    However, they was no new finding of fact (trial de novo) in the appellate courts.
    We have a procedure for foster children. But that did not keep Haleigh Poutre from being beaten.

  68. 68
    ppGaz says:

    In my case, I WANT TO LIVE

    Maybe this isn’t the best place to try to file your living will, dude. A lot of people here are ready to pull your plug now, and you really look fine.
    How will it go over when you are really sick?

    I’m just saying.

  69. 69
    Ancient Purple says:

    Translation: I have none.

    And no amount of proof would have deterred people from demanding that Terri Schiavo be kept alive no matter what.

    Even if she had a Living Will and a video tape expressing her wishes, there were people who were rallying around her who said they would try to keep her alive despite her wishes.

    That’s great that you want to live, Paul. Tell me, who should be burdened with the cost of keeping you alive and cared for 24/7 for the next 50 years?

  70. 70
    Steve says:

    Translation: I have none.

    Research the case yourself, halfwit. The judge wrote a 15-page opinion meticulously laying out all the evidence of Terri’s intent. My point that there is no requirement to independently persuade you that the evidence exists remains valid.

    However, they was no new finding of fact (trial de novo) in the appellate courts.

    Of course there was no new finding of fact in the appellate courts. That’s why they call them appellate courts, not trial courts. When a defendant is sentenced to death, do they get a trial de novo in the appellate courts? Does their execution get held up until each and every random person on the internet is convinced that enough evidence exists of their guilt?

    Scs said “just one more test.” You say “just one more trial.” Thank god they didn’t keep that poor woman hooked up to the machines for 15 more years just to try and persuade people like you.

    Do you really believe there was any chance that after 15 years she was just going to magically wake up? People tried to claim she could follow a balloon with her eyes and all that, and then an autopsy proved she was FUCKING BLIND. Are you people ever going to realize you were played for total suckers???

  71. 71
    SeesThroughIt says:

    All of Steve’s posts in this thread have been totally on point. This pretty much sais it all:

    The basic tragedy of the whole Schiavo case is that a nation of people who got about 5 minutes’ worth of information from watching cable news suddenly decided that they, personally, were entitled to have all their unanswered questions answered before anyone could let this poor woman die.

  72. 72
    Lines says:

    Why does Paul L. hate the law of Spousal Privaledge, and therefore hate America?

  73. 73
    Steve says:

    I appreciate the compliment.

  74. 74
    ppGaz says:

    Lines is right. Bush and Frist have trampled the Sanctity of Marriage.

  75. 75
    ppGaz says:

    Steve, your recent slap to Paul L. is one of the best fact bombs and best arguments I’ve seen in a long time.

    Kudos.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    ppGaz says:

    Michael Schiavo

    Give it up, man. You are trolling an experienced panel here.

    What part of “ass whipping” do you not understand?

  78. 78
    Barbar says:

    That’s certainly sketchy. His wife enters a persistent vegetative state, and just like that, he gets married 16 years later? What a scumbag.

  79. 79
    MaryC says:

    I bet he had this woman on the side the whole time, which is why he was so insistent that Terri wanted to die. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. His motives were obviously suspect.

  80. 80
    scs says:

    scs, let me explain this to you AGAIN in slow, plodding steps because you obviously don’t get it…..Regardless of how the test were to come out – whether it show PVS or minimally conscious – I and my future spouse want the plug pulled

    Well that’s great that you feel that way Ancient. You don’t care if she minimally conscious before you pulled the plug. Now would you care that they tossed you in jail after you pulled the plug on your minimimally conscious wife because it is illegal to pull the plugs on minimally conscious people?

    God you think I am slow? You know my whole life, I have to deal with people stupider than I am, and I hardly EVER resort to calling people stupid. There’s no point because practically everyone in ordinary life I meet is less intelligent than I am- it’s nothing noteworthy. However I find it ironic here that I am being called stupid here constantly by people who are not very well informed on the very relevant issues. They try to make points that are patently, obviously just wrong, and they call ME stupid? That is beyond bizarre. Look I’d call you stupid for your ridiculous post here- but really, what’s the point?

  81. 81
    nyrev says:

    Of course. If he’d ever really loved her, he’d have castrated himself 15 years ago when it became obvious that Terri could never consent to sex again.

  82. 82
    scs says:

    Residual cerebral activity…I have residual moisture on my drinking glass, but it’s not going to do me a damn bit of good if I’m dying of thirst

    People tried to claim she could follow a balloon with her eyes and all that, and then an autopsy proved she was FUCKING BLIND.

    If you read the excerpt I included above, you will see it theorized that even PVS patients can retain some sensory feeling and some behavioral aspects.

    Each patient partially preserved restricted sensory representations, as evidenced by slow evoked magnetic fields and gamma band activity. In two patients, these activations correlate with isolated behavioural patterns and metabolic activity.

    Translation: Terri may have had some sensory ability left, if not her vision, then perhaps her hearing. We never heard she was deaf did we? We can also see by this excerpt that some sensory perceptions can be translated into behavioural function, i.e.- actions taken in response to sensation. I know you all think this is “stupid” but if you inform yourselves about the latest reseach, or only just read what I bolded for you above if you’re lazy, it is possible that Terri had some sensation, such as hearing, and some behaviors that allowed her to respond to changing stimuli, such as voices moving across a room. If you think this is not possible, I would love to see your reseach countering the article I’ve excerpted.

  83. 83
    Paul L. says:

    Of course there was no new finding of fact in the appellate courts. That’s why they call them appellate courts, not trial courts. When a defendant is sentenced to death, do they get a trial de novo in the appellate courts? Does their execution get held up until each and every random person on the internet is convinced that enough evidence exists of their guilt?

    Apples and oranges.
    Terri Schiavo is in a civil court.
    Defendants sentenced to death would be in criminal court.

    So it I have evidence of my innocence, I would get no trial de novo
    There should have been trial de novo given the following was not addressed at the first trial:

    “Michael filed a medical-malpractice lawsuit, during which he said he would care for her for the rest of her life, which, assuming proper care, would be a normal lifespan. He also presented at trial a medical-rehabilitation expert who had developed a plan to provide support for Terri to maximize her ability to respond to her environment.”

  84. 84
    Pooh says:

    Paul, you are wrong. You don’t get a ‘trial de novo’ because you didn’t bring something up the first time. Maybe if it’s ‘newly discovered’, but court filings are public records, and can hardly be called ‘newly discovered’.

    Findings of law are often reviewed de novo. Findings of fact, not so much.

    Careful what you are stepping in here, those look like nice shoes.

  85. 85
    John Cole says:

    Paul- First, embed your links (I fixed it). Second, there are so many lies in that damned article you should be embarassed for even linking it. I think this is my favorite:

    Dr. William Hammesfahr, a world-renowned expert in cases such as Terri’s — and a Nobel Prize nominee — testified that Terri is not in a PVS. He also testified that he believes he could help her improve her circumstances through proper medical treatment. Ten other physicians have testified or given statements that Terri is not unconscious. Judge Greer instead chose to believe contrary testimony by a doctor who rarely sees Terri and another doctor, who makes an avocation of testifying in cases such as Terri’s throughout the country, always on the side of dehydration.

    And the credentials of Wesley Smith, who wrote the article- lead wingnut at the Creationist Discovery Institute.

  86. 86
    Paul L. says:

    Paul- First, embed your links (I fixed it). Second, there are so many lies in that damned article you should be embarassed for even linking it. I think this is my favorite:

    John, Is the part I quoted a lie?

  87. 87
    Cyrus says:

    First of all, I am asking for an apology to all the people who said I was an idiot because they thought I didn’t know anything about medical science and PVS. They refused to believe the latest info that PVS was not always being a “vegetable” because they didn’t inform themselves on the latest medical research, as shown in some of the articles I linked to. They really should apologize for that.

    I made fun of you a little, if not as much as some people, but I don’t feel the need to apologize. I’m not a medical expert like some people around here, but the impression I got from the Schiavo story the first time around was that there was brain activity, just very little and no chance of improvement. Nothing you’re saying in this thread is a surprise. There’s an important difference between “some cerebral regions can retain partial function” that result in “localized residual activity”, and consciousness or “minimally conscious”, whatever the technical term means. So I really don’t care if her leg would kick if you hit her knee with a hammer.

    Would you want your spouse to have the best diagnostic tests he or she could before you allowed her or him to die?

    Would you yourself want the best diagnostic tests you could before your spouse allowed you to die?

    I would love to hear an honest answer to those.

    What does that have to do with getting the law involved?

    Schiavo and Poutre are complicated because one didn’t have a written living will and the other is a child with unusual and very sad custody issues. But at heart, the issue is very simple. Should living wills be legal? I think so. A person who is competent to make a decision about when and how to end their life should have the legal right to do so. And if so, then it’s inevitable (or at the very least, simplest and most likely) that a person they’ve authorized to make decisions for them also has that right when they’re incapable.

    You’re fixated on whether or not Mrs. Schiavo’s chance of recovery was nonzero. But even if there was a chance, so what? Some people might prefer to be kept around only if recovery was likely rather than merely possible, or only for a certain period of time regardless of the chances of recovery after that time. Deciding which of those rules I should go by, or another one entirely, is none of your business.

    To answer your questions, probably yes, but if nine generally reliable indicators out of ten say that I’m not recovering and the tenth would cost some ridiculous amount, I don’t think my ghost would blame my widow. And as for me getting the tests for her, it depends on what she tells me when I ask, and/or what I think she would want. Funny how that works. And again, that has nothing to do with the law.

  88. 88
    Ancient Purple says:

    However I find it ironic here that I am being called stupid here constantly by people who are not very well informed on the very relevant issues. They try to make points that are patently, obviously just wrong, and they call ME stupid? That is beyond bizarre. Look I’d call you stupid for your ridiculous post here- but really, what’s the point?

    Then call me stupid. I have thick enough skin to handle it.

    How sad, though, that you can’t even read what I said. I never said that I would be pulling the plug. I said that those were the wishes of myself and my future spouse.

    Unlike the clowns that rallied around Terri’s parents and tried to smear the judge who ruled in favor of Michael Schiavo (and his rulings upheld all the way up to the SCOTUS), I am content to let the law decide.

    You aren’t content to let the law decide because you have some complex that makes you believe that you are a bad person if you let someone die who is simply existing. Fine. Make your peace with your God and move on, but stay the hell away from me and my family.

  89. 89
    Cyrus says:

    Translation: Terri may have had some sensory ability left, if not her vision, then perhaps her hearing. We never heard she was deaf did we?

    No, we didn’t. But when Rochelle Ralkin, to make up a completely fictious talking head, says that Mrs. Schiavo could follow a balloon with her eyes when Mrs. Schiavo’s visual cortex was gone, it’s solid proof that Ralkin is either an utter moron or full of shit.

    That Mrs. Schiavo couldn’t see doesn’t by itself prove much about her. But it proves a whole lot about the people who claimed she could.

  90. 90
    Barbar says:

    scs — find me an example of a patient diagnosed with PVS whose diagnosis was changed due to a PET or fMRI scan.

    Once again — scientists might do PET scans to study differences between male and female brains. Only a total tool would conclude that you need to give a PET scan to a baby before you decide it’s a boy or girl.

    Seriously, this stuff about scientists being surprised to discover brain activity in PET scans is stuff YOU’RE MAKING UP. Scientists are doing brain scans because they want to know the difference between conscious and unconscious brains, that is true. You’re making up the stuff about them being astonished to find what they find. And no, the caption “Shocking results” in an illustration from an experiment where people’s wrists were electrically stimulated is not evidence of that.

    And for all the non-moonbats watching, I can’t help it, sometimes a troll gets under your skin.

  91. 91
    MaryC says:

    But how do we know? The human brain is still a mystery, and how do we know, beyond doubt, that this woman wasn’t trapped in her body, desperately wanting to live, but unable to express that? It’s macabre that so many of you are thinking, “When in doubt, pull the plug out.” You people are dangerous, really. What’s next, bioethics?

  92. 92
    scs says:

    scs—find me an example of a patient diagnosed with PVS whose diagnosis was changed due to a PET or fMRI scan.

    Barbar, I’m looking for you. However, everytime I do a search on “PVS, PET scan, and diagnosis”, I get thousands of “Terri” blog entries. All of those are biased opinion pieces and not reliable. I think however, you have the wrong idea somewhat on the “changing the diagnosis”. A PET or MRI scan is used to come to the initial diagnosis in the first place, not usually to ‘change’ the diagnosis. But perhaps it happened – I will keep looking.

  93. 93
    scs says:

    Seriously, this stuff about scientists being surprised to discover brain activity in PET scans is stuff YOU’RE MAKING UP. Scientists are doing brain scans because they want to know the difference between conscious and unconscious brains, that is true. You’re making up the stuff about them being astonished to find what they find.

    Barbar, research papers don’t usually have captions underneath them like comic books that say “researcher is very surprised here!” When researchers find something new, I am guessing they are surprised. Again, the original understanding of PVS was that it was “cortical death”, or unconsciousness – not being conscious of the surroundings. Part of being unconscious means no cognition. If a patient’s brains shows signs of ‘cognition’ during a scan, then they are not meeting the definition of unconsciousness. If they don’t meet the definition of unconsciousness, they do not meet the tradiional criteria of what is typically considered PVS. That is why they must have been so “surprised” to find out about this new evidence, medicine invented a whole new term to describe these people around 2001, “minimally conscious”. That’s a whole lotta surprise there.

  94. 94
    scs says:

    Here’s an interesting excerpt to in the meantime:

    http://www.cwu.edu/~chem/cours.....final.html

    This definition includes difficult to define terms such as awareness, and this problematic definition has led some people to question the validity of the syndrome. It has also lead to problems in the diagnosis of PVS. The crux of the problem lies in the determination of a person’s internal mental state using external proof. Different tests have been used in an attempt to determine criteria for its diagnosis, because in using conventional methods of observation of function it takes weeks to diagnose a patient as being in PVS. Glucose metabolism, EEG, CT scans, and positron-emission tomography (PET) have all been used to increase understanding and diagnostic ability for PVS. However, information from these tests have not been able to provide any conclusive diagnostic information. It is possible that these tests or a combination of them will be useful as diagnostic tools in the future, but more data must be collected before any determinations can be made.
    This lack of diagnostic certainty has led to the misdiagnosis of many patients as being PVS when they actually are not. One study showed that in a sample of 62 patients in nursing homes who were diagnosed with PVS eleven had been misdiagnosed and another study showed that eighteen of 49 patients were misdiagnosed (Borthwick).

  95. 95
    Barbar says:

    I think however, you have the wrong idea somewhat on the “changing the diagnosis”. A PET or MRI scan is used to come to the initial diagnosis in the first place, not usually to ‘change’ the diagnosis.

    Unbelievable. (OK, not really, this is scs after all.) If PET scans are usually used to diagnose PVS, then why would PET scans of PVS patients be surprising to scientists? Never mind the fact that PVS is defined clinically, and the fact that most PVS patients don’t receive PET scans (remember that link you told everyone to read yesterday?).

    But perhaps it happened – I will keep looking.

    If you don’t even know if it happened or not, then why are you insisting that a PET scan might have changed Schiavo’s diagnosis?

    Too stupid to breathe.

  96. 96
    Barbar says:

    Barbar, research papers don’t usually have captions underneath them like comic books that say “researcher is very surprised here!”

    You idiot, you aren’t reading research papers, you’re reading descriptions of research. And those do have “why is this generally relevant” passages.

  97. 97
    scs says:

    You idiot, you aren’t reading research papers, you’re reading descriptions of research.

    Barbar, I’m really starting to be convinced you are a DougJ creation. The excerpt I linked to above is an excerpt of a research paper. What the hell are you talking about? Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I can’t be sucked into this today. Later.

  98. 98
    ppGaz says:

    Again I have to ask, why would they want to scan her pet?

    Why should pets have to suffer in these situations?

  99. 99
    Pooh says:

    It’s macabre that so many of you are thinking, “When in doubt, pull the plug out.”

    no, No, NO, NO! Nobody is saying that.

  100. 100
    scs says:

    If PET scans are usually used to diagnose PVS, then why would PET scans of PVS patients be surprising to scientists?

    Because, dear, if you read and COMPREHENDED the article, the PET scans are being used in different ways to recognize ‘cogitive patterns’. This is a new research technique. Before and presently, PET scans are used on patients to detect overall activity, or energy if you will, in the brain. PVS patients I believe, generally have less than half the activity of normal people. With this new technique of looking for cognition patterns however, reseachers were SURPRISED to find cognition patterns in some patients similar to normal people after being exposed to stimulation. THAT is what surprised them. Do you get it now? Really I have to go. Good luck learning about science.

  101. 101
    scs says:

    Again I have to ask, why would they want to scan her pet?

    Well they wanted to scan her CAT, but Michael didn’t let them.

  102. 102
    Barbar says:

    What the hell are you talking about?

    You are not reading research papers published in scientific journals. You are reading descriptions of published research, descriptions which summarize the results and place them in context. This is fine, but don’t pretend that it would be inappropriate for what you’re reading to describe researcher surprise. It wouldn’t be inappropriate at all.

    Remember “Shocking Results” yesterday, how you thought it was evidence of actual shocking results? Now you say that wouldn’t appear in a scientific study? How come your brain hasn’t exploded yet?

    And do you realize that I’m challenging assertions you’ve already made, and your response is that you’re going to do some research and find stuff to back it up? If you haven’t done the research yet then why are you making these assertions?

  103. 103
    Barbar says:

    the PET scans are being used in different ways to recognize ‘cogitive patterns’. This is a new research technique. Before and presently, PET scans are used on patients to detect overall activity, or energy if you will, in the brain.

    You. Are. Such. An. Idiot.

    How do PET scans recognize ‘cognitive patterns’?

    By measuring activity in different brain regions.

    This is not new.

    I LOVE how you make stuff up to justify your preconceived notions.

  104. 104
    MaryC says:

    no, No, NO, NO! Nobody is saying that.

    Yes, most of you are saying that! We don’t know what was going on inside of her mind, and yet so many people supported starving her to death! Criminals get a better shake than she did. If there’s reasonable doubt, they acquit, right? Well, there was reasonable doubt about Terri’s condition, but they starved her to death!

  105. 105
    Barbar says:

    Mary, why are you so sure that Terri is dead now?

    Haven’t you ever heard of Edgar Allan Poe?

  106. 106
    scs says:

    Barbar, now I KNOW you are DougJ. That last one got you.

  107. 107
    Barbar says:

    That’s a good rebuttal to my last two posts. “You’re DougJ!” Devastating.

  108. 108
    MaryC says:

    Barbar – how can you joke about this? I probably shouldn’t be surprised, though. You obviously have very little respect for other people or for life itself.

  109. 109
    SeesThroughIt says:

    It’s macabre that so many of you are thinking, “When in doubt, pull the plug out.”

    no, No, NO, NO! Nobody is saying that.

    But “culture of life” dingbats have to believe that everybody opposing them is saying that. Their poor little minds can only handle the most rudimentary binary thinking. Trying to explain an issue such as this to them is akin to trying to debate Wittgenstein with a ferret.

  110. 110
    Sojourner says:

    First of all, I am asking for an apology to all the people who said I was an idiot because they thought I didn’t know anything about medical science and PVS.

    You’re the idiot who still claims that Schiavo was visually tracking the balloon with her blind eyes.

    Yes, you’re an idiot. No apology necessary.

  111. 111
    Sojourner says:

    Well, there was reasonable doubt about Terri’s condition, but they starved her to death!

    Her autopsy conclusively confirmed the diagnosis of every respectable physician who reviewed the case.

    What reasonable doubt are you talking about?

    Ah, yes, another graduate of the Kansas science education program.

  112. 112
    chefrad says:

    “Haleigh Poutre is no Terri Schiavo.”

    Its true, but Bill Frist looked at her video and pronounced her to be a passable Jeff Sessions.

    Meanwhile, the Sotheby’s looked at Jeff Sessions and pronounced him an amphora jug.

  113. 113
    scs says:

    You’re the idiot who still claims that Schiavo was visually tracking the balloon with her blind eyes.

    Stop being such a god damned liar woman. Read what I wrote above.

  114. 114
    kennedy's bartender says:

    You (can’t wait to die crowd) make me ill. I hope you all end up in comas and then get your wishes to pull the plugs. Then as your about to pass on you regain enough feeling to realize your arrogance . Chappaquiddick to you all.

  115. 115
    Sojourner says:

    Stop being such a god damned liar woman. Read what I wrote above.

    Let’s not forget this gem.

    scs Says:

    Please. I am getting a little tired of this incessant drumbeat of criticism of Bill Frist for the comment he made about Terri Schiavo, turning him into the anti Christ practically. If you know anything about PVS, you know that PVS patients by definition cannot follow objects with their eyes. There was a video that we all saw in which Terri followed a ballon with her eyes. By definition, that means she is not PVS, perhaps instead minimally conscious. If a person is minimally conscious and otherwise in decent health, it is illegal to withdraw care.

    You really are delusional.

  116. 116

    Hey, I made this argument when this shit first came out!

    I said that Haleigh wasn’t in a PVS but merely a VS. The difference being Schiavo’s VS was designated as permanent.

    Damn, I’m good.

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