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Sunday, January 09, 2005

More on Terri

I didn’t say enough in my last post on Terri Schiavo, so I will rectify that now. I mentioned her appearance as evidence that she’s not so vegetative as to, well, look it, but what’s more noteworthy is what attorney Barbara Weller describes as clear signs of Terri’s consciousness. I find this absolutely remarkable in light of what Michael Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, had to say to Larry King in an interview on Larry King Live, aired October 27, 2003:

SCHIAVO: Terri is in a chronic, persistent vegetative state.

KING: Meaning she has...

SCHIAVO: She has no awareness, no consciousness. She's in a contracted state. Her hands, her arms, her legs are contracted.

KING: We see now there, we see the eyes open. A smile. It looks like a smile.

SCHIAVO: Now, you've got to remember here, too, when the Schindlers show their little snippets of Terri, there's four and a half hours of tape. OK?

KING: This is edited?

SCHIAVO: This is edited. This is a tape where they snuck in against a court order after the judge said, do not photograph her.

KING: But she looks like -- right, she's not in a coma

SCHIAVO: Right. But you're missing half -- you're missing three-quarters of the other tape where her mother does the same thing, and she does nothing. Now, Terri makes the same noises for the last 14 years. She's made the same facial expressions. She blinks her eyes. She has normal sleep/wake cycles.

Now, the nurses have even testified in the trial that Terri makes those noises when nobody's in the room.

KING: I see.

FELOS: Larry, that's one of the controversies in this case, that people see these videos and say, oh my God, here's a person that's aware. Terri has the classic symptoms of a patient in a vegetative state. If I can have just a couple of seconds. There is the article, the seminal article on that is "The Medical Aspects of the Persistent Vegetative State." And what it says here is: "Patients in a vegetative state are usually not immobile. They may move their trunk and limbs in meaningless ways. They may even occasionally smile, and a few may even shed tears. Some utter grunts, or on rare occasions moan or scream. These motor activities may misleadingly suggest purposeful movements." And that's the case with Terri.

From later in the interview:

KING: Do you think that the thing that hurt your side the most, frankly, is that she looks aware? In other words, if you look at her, she looks like...

SCHIAVO: Sure, if you look at her. To a layperson, yes. That's what she looks like. But like I said, they show snippets of a four and a half hour tape. I can show you portions of tape, tapes that Terri does nothing.

FELOS: You know, Larry, this is the simplest way to explain it. Terri opens her eyes and closes her eyes. If her eyes are closed, and you say, Terri, open your eyes, nothing will happen. But if you say it enough times, maybe on the 50th time and you say, Terri, open your eyes and her eyes will open. If you take a little tape and just show the 50th time, someone would look at that and say, oh, my God, she's aware. But those tapes doesn't show the other 49 times.


KING: Can pictures gone in. Could CNN send in cameras and video her for a while? I mean, she's...

SCHIAVO: I mean, you can get the court tapes and watch those if you like.

KING: Could we go tomorrow?

FELOS: Terri has a right to privacy. Michael has tried to protect that. SCHIAVO: I have fought so long to keep her out of the public eye. I mean, I cannot believe that her parents would...

FELOS: We asked the judge not to release the four hours of videotapes. The last thing in the world Terri would have wanted is to have people see her in her -- in this condition.

SCHIAVO: Can you imagine? In this condition, everybody sitting looking at her?

Now, clearly, somebody isn’t telling the truth. I'd like to know who made the videotape and when. What exactly were the circumstances of the taping? What part or parts of the tape were watched in the courtroom?

If Terri's so clearly vegetative, then why are Michael & Felos so adamant that folks not see her or videotape her? To protect her dignity?! Puh-lease!

KING: Are the parents lying or wishful thinking?

SCHIAVO: I just think they're grasping at straws. I think they're being fed information that...

KING: And what, Michael, is their motive?

SCHIAVO: What their motive is?

KING: In order to keep their daughter alive. They don't have a motive, do they?

SCHIAVO: Probably just to make my life hell, I guess.

Sheesh! He thinks it’s all about him?! Well, yes, it is, to him, but I mean, to the Schindler’s? Of course he knows that’s not the case, but admitting so would screw up his story. He can’t admit that the Schindlers may actually – can you imagine -- love their daughter, because then he’s admitting that there’s some humanity in Terri worth loving enough to honor the fact that she’s alive. Which would amount to changing his story.

I’m thinking Michael’s mad because though there’s nothing left in it for him except his idea of (personal) honor, he still has to maintain his story. Things have been dragging out for him and he’s resentful.

Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer all rate way up there in Creep Factor. I suppose they need as much prayer as Terri does.

**edited for clarity


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