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Terri Schiavo Still in Danger (October 31, 2003)

What the Mass Media Aren't Telling You About Terri Schiavo
Click here for some new links to stories with the untold facts about the Terri Schiavo case.

Dear friends,

As you probably have heard by now, the Florida Legislature and Governor Jeb Bush came up with a last-minute solution to rescue Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman whose husband has been seeking to have her killed by withholding food and water from her. "Terri's Bill" was passed on October 21 and shorter thereafter, Jeb Bush issued an executive order requiring that Terri once again receive food and water.

This is not the first time Terri has been starved and dehydrated. It's just the most publicized. There will be no end to the attempts to kill Terri until the basic way her case is handled changes. We need to pray -- and contact the Florida legislatures and Jeb Bush to demand that:

1. A new guardian should be appointed for Terri. Her current "guardian" is her husband, who has been living with another woman for 10 years and is expecting his second child with her, is poised to inherit hundreds of thousands of dollars once Terri dies, and who has denied Terri ANY rehabilitation treatment for over 10 years. Add to this the suspicious circumstances of her "collapse" which led to her inconsistently responsive state (which is NOT a "persistently vegetative state"), and it's clear that either Terri's parents or at the very least a totally disinterested party should be acting as guardian.

2. Terri start receiving therapy immediately. It is a disgrace that the money provided for her therapy in the malpractice suit has instead been used to seek "legal" ways to take her life for the past 10 years. The judge who supported the husband in preventing Terri from receiving therapy should also face the consequences of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the clear intent of the malpractice settlement. Terri needs therapy to help her learn to swallow on her own (thus removing any excuse for stopping her food and water), as well as for her extremely atrophied body. Specialists have testified that educational and speech therapy would also help Terri function better, and this should also be started immediately.

3. A criminal investigation should be launched into the circumstances of Terri's "collapse," starting with a complete X-ray workup and whatever other tests would be helpful.

4. The withdrawal of water (hydration) from any patient for any reason should be made illegal in Florida (and everywhere else, for that matter). You can't do this to a dog or a condemned serial murderer. The only reason for doing it is to "medicalize" the killing of people who the government and their "loving" relatives want to get rid of. If the "loving" relative were to simply shoot the unwanted disabled relative with a gun, everyone would see that as murder. A slow death by thirst is much more painful. How is the fact that such deliberate murder occurs in a hospital setting, which the public associates with objectivity and healing, make it any better than if the victim was found with their mouth duct-taped shut and in a closet of the "loving" relative? Same exact results, same exact motives.

5. The withdrawal of food (nutrition) should only be legal in the case where the patient, who is conscious, in sound mind, and legally competent, requests it in writing and before disinterested witnesses (not nurses, doctors, lawyers, or relatives), and when his or her physical state is such that the digestion of food causes complications or pain (e.g., the last stages of stomach cancer). And in all such cases that the patient should DAILY renew such request, or have it automatically revoked.

Until all the above comes to pass, neither Terri Schiavo nor any of the rest of us are safe.

To find out how to contact the media and members of the Florida government, click here and then click "How You Can Help" in the left-hand menu.

What Is the Background of This Story? or, What Have the Major Mass Media "Forgotten" to Tell You?

It's been a real eye-opener seeing how the mass media handled this case. Forget the NY Times/Jayson Blair fiasco -- here we have what appears to be deliberate, editorially controlled suppression of the basic facts the public needs to know about this case.

If you've only been following the story in major newspapers or major news networks, read on!

According to the terrisfight.org website:

Terri's Situation
Terri was 26 years old when she suffered brain damage from a sudden collapse.  Terri receives her food and water by means of a feeding tube. Terri's other bodily functions are physically stable. Terri smiles, laughs and cries. Terri recognizes voices and responds. At times, she vocalizes sounds, trying in her best way to speak. Terri is not a brain dead vegetable as characterized by her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo nor a houseplant as implied by his attorney.  Terri is not on a respirator or any artificial life support. She is a living human being and needs to be granted an opportunity to recover. Terri has not had any progressive rehabilitation or arousal therapy in more than ten years.

In a trial initiated by Michael Schiavo, Circuit Court Judge, George W. Greer, issued a verdict delivered on February 11, 2000. Judge Greer granted authorization to discontinue Terri's feeding tube. Judge Greer's verdict will cause Terri to die in 10 to 14 days. Terri's death will be by painful starvation.

Background

In a malpractice lawsuit, Terri's husband personally received over $300,000 for his loss of consortium. Terri was awarded $750,000 from this suit and an additional $250,000 from a separate malpractice lawsuit. The money was awarded to Terri for her care and rehabilitation and to be placed in a Medical Trust Fund.  Terri's husband received his personal award money and Terri's medical fund money in early 1993. From the date he received the award money in 1993, Michael Schiavo has denied Terri any rehabilitation treatment. Michael Schiavo has confined Terri to a nursing home (currently, Terri is in a Hospice facility) where she is 'maintained.'

Her husband has directed that Terri only be sustained in a nursing home which is contrary to the intent of the award money.  Michael Schiavo has on two occasions unsuccessfully attempted to end Terri's life by instructing her caretakers not to medicate Terri for potentially fatal infections. The first occasion occurred less than nine months after her husband received the malpractice award money.

Some Facts

  • Terri has no will. Should she die, her husband will inherit what is left of Terri's $750,000 medical fund.

  • Terri's husband lives in a house with Jodi Centonze. He openly admits that he has been engaged to this women for over seven years, have recently given birth to a baby girl, and has announced plans to marry her when Terri is no longer alive.

  • Since receiving the award money in 1993, her husband has ceased and prohibited any new or aggressive treatment for Terri. He has only maintained Terri at a nursing home (currently, Terri is in a Hospice facility). He has totally ignored or denied rehabilitation therapy that could possibly assist Terri's recovery.

  • Since 1993, Terri's husband has consistently and deliberately withheld all medical information and data from Terri's family. Over the past eight years he has ordered Terri's caretakers not to reveal any medical or neurological information

  • Michael Schiavo will not permit any doctor to examine Terri other than the doctors he selects.

  • As Terri's legal guardian, her husband has used her medical fund money to offset the legal costs when his guardianship of Terri was initially challenged and to pay the current legal costs to have Terri's life ended.

  • Terri responds regularly to the presence of her parents and friends. Her husband's doctors testified Terri's cognizant responses to Terri's parents and friends are simply a reflex action.

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