Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 11, 2005

Could Terri Schiavo be cured?

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:46 pm

Could Terri Schiavo be cured? Terri Schiavo suffered brain damange due to oxygen deprivation (for which the underlying cause is unknown) in 1990. On her husband’s orders, she has had essentially no medical treatment for the resulting brain damage since 1993 (unless you consider food and water through a tube to be “medical treatment”), under the theory that she is in a “persistent vegetative state” with “no hope of recovery.”

However, several other people with similar oxygen deprivation and similar levels of brain damage have recovered from conditions similar to, or even worse than, the condition Terri Schiavo is in now.

For example, Rus Cooper-Dowda, was ruled to be in a persistent vegetative state and nearly had her feeding tube pulled (just like Michael Schiavo an the judge want to do to Terri). She tells the relevant part of her story here – about how she was awake and conscious but unable to communicate as she heard her husband and the doctors discuss removing her feeding tube and letting her “die with dignity.” With the help of sympathetic nurse, she managed to stop it, recovered, and went on the have a baby, divorce the husband who wanted to pull the tub, finish a second master’s degree, re-marry, and work at various jobs (including counseling disabled people). Ironically, years later the Social Security Administration called her to tell her they were stopping her monthyl benefits because she was dead … and she had a heck of a time (and spent a lot of money) convincing them she was still alive.

More recently, two children with similar conditions have been partially cured — that is, their brain damage has been partly reversed — through hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

This article tells the story of two children who have been helped by hyperbaric oxygen, one of whom was in a condition almost identical to Terri’s (emphasis added.):

After receiving immunization shots when she was 3 years old, Emily experienced a severe allergic reaction called post-vaccinal encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain or central nervous system. Children have a less than one in one million chance of acquiring the condition. At one point she began having seizures more than 75 times a day before slipping into a coma for 83 days.

She spent her 4th birthday in the Cleveland Clinic, paralyzed and placed on a feeding tube. Medication delivered intravenously eventually stopped her seizures.

Throughout the ordeal the Pages incurred an unbearable load of medical costs. With six other children to care for, the family lost their home and both their cars in 1998.

Although doctors told Emily’s parents to start looking for nursing homes in which to place their daughter, they refused to relinquish hope.

In September the family organized a spaghetti benefit dinner for Emily so they could travel to the same clinic as the Lawvers [whose story is told earlier in the article] for hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well as TheraSuit therapy the following month. They also opened a donation account at the Dover-Phila Federal Credit Union.

From September to October community members contributed $13,900, completely covering the family’s medical costs.

One week after the treatments, Emily’s movements were no longer spastic. She no longer has seizures and can sit in a chair without restraint.

She also took her first steps in six years.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Barbara. “It’s a miracle.”

Doctors at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron said and nuclear medicine specialists in California confirmed that brain damage to Emily’s cerebellum will be completely repaired with 100 oxygen and TheraSuit treatments and that she will be able to walk and talk once again.

Barbara said that at the spaghetti benefit dinner Emily, with tearful eyes, verbally expressed her gratitude on stage by holding the microphone near her Dynabox, a device from which she speaks.

“Thank you all,” Emily said.

Did you hear that? Her brain damage will be completely repaired.

That means if they tried this with Terri, she might be able to (a) tell us what happened that day she collapsed, and/or (b) find out how her husband has taken up with another woman while he tries to get her legally killed.

No wonder he wants to make sure she never gets any therapy.

Businessman Offers $1 Million to Keep Terri Alive

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:48 am

One of the many disturbing things about the Terri Schiavo case is that in 1992, her husband Michael Schiavo won $1.3 million in a malpractice case. $300,000 was for him, and $750,000 was to be put in trust to pay medical expenses toward Terri’s rehabilitation. (The rest went to the lawyers.) Since then, Michael has refused to allow any rehabilitation therapy — and even ordered that there be no curative treatments, even antibiotics if Terri got an infection — and has instead used the money to pay for lawyers to argue for her food and water (whether delivered by feeding tube or by mouth) be cut off. (Details here.)

If there’s any money left when Terri dies, Michael gets to keep it (i.e., inherit it as her next of kin) and use it for whatever he wants. This has of course prompted speculation that, despite promising the court in 1992 that he wanted to “spend the rest of his life” trying to find a cure for Terri (shades of O.J.?), that he is really just cutting off food and water to get the money. The fact that he’s living with another woman and has had two children with her (despite refusing to divorce Terri) does not exactly make him look any better. The fact that as soon has the money for Terri’s therapy was in the bank in 1993 he contracted with a funeral home for her cremation doesn’t help, either.

Anyway, the notion that Michael’s just in this for the money leaves an opening to save Terri by paying him ransom for her!

Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred has announced that a client of hers has donated $1 million, to be paid to Michael Schiavo if he agrees to keep Terri alive.

I’ve disagreed with Allred on virtually every public position I’ve heard her take, but if she makes this work, I’ll take it all back!

UPDATE (3/11/05 2:52pm):

Michael Schiavo’s attorney George Felos says he has rejected the offer, and called it “offensive.”

Felos also says he has rejected similar offers in the past, of as high as $10 million.

(How would you feel if your spouse rejected an offer of $10 million not to kill you — and you couldn’t get a divorce?)

Furthermore, Felos claims Michael Schiavo couldn’t order feeding now if he wanted to, since the judge has ordered all feeding to stop on March 18.

So now the guy who’s fought for 12 years to starve her claims it’s out of his hands and not his fault. Unbelievable!

Also, read the comments.

How to help kids in Iraq

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:06 am

Clayton Cramer received this e-mail from a colleague who is a National Guardman deployed to Iraq:

The Digital Desert Commo v.2 newsletter was written days before the historic Iraqi election in January. That turnout and atmosphere following the elections have brought an air of progress in our area. Our commendable infantry unit, G Troop 1/82 Cavalry Scouts, determined the local villages are secure enough to allow increased medical missions. Now it is time to resume fostering good relations and do some Humvee tailgate medicine.

A frequent question in email received is, “Is there anything that you need?” Actually, the Iraqi people, particularly the children, have the needs. Consider sending old outgrown children’s shoes (new shoes may promote muggings so the shoes can be sold at market), unwanted stuffed animals (small ones only and no pigs), new or used Matchbox cars, small spongy versions of soccer and basketballs, used or new colored pencils (crayons will melt) and hard candy.

For those in the medical profession, send unwanted topicals, antibiotics (especially pediatric) and Children’s Tylenol (liquid or chewable) from your offices. Unwanted examination equipment goes a long way: blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, reflex hammers, urinalysis strips, penlights… I’m working with Dr. Ali. His medical clinic is barren and with a little generosity, he will be empowered to help his people. The Army has bureaucratic resources, but if these supplies are unused or about to be discarded, why not provide some home grown assistance? If there is something in your office that you are not sure of sending, please email.

Please send what you can. Your contributions leave a can lasting impression, the fruits of which we may never see. Today’s adult Iraqi generation will wrestle with religious and tribal differences through its fledgling democratic process. Their children and children’s children will thrive as this positive revolution ripples forward. As these gifts are given, the people will always remember the standout colors of our American flag patch and the goodness that this symbol represents.

Postage is always a concern. Apparently, the Post Office has pre-paid boxes that ship regardless of weight.

Thanks for staying tuned.

DDC, Out!

CPT Patrick Castellano
Co C 145th SP BN / 116 BCT
APO AE 09368

Habeas Corpus for Terri Schiavo? (2)

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:34 am

Update: (3/15/05 2:03am) Corrected the House bill number.

Updating this post.

Representative Dave Weldon (R-FL) has officially introduced the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act of 2005 in the House, where it has the designation H.R. 1151. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) has introduced it in the Senate as S.539. It has six co-sponsores in the Senate so far.

According to this article, the bill is supported by 17 diabled-rights organization, plus the usual pro-life groups. It is on a fast track, and could be voted on and signed by March 18, in time for a habeas corpus petition to be filed on behalf of Terri Schiavo.

Habeas corpus is, among other things, the type of petition filed to get federal courts to review state death penalty cases. It is a right guaranteed in the constitution — but only to accused or convicted criminals. This bill would extend to disabled persons the same rights currently afforded all criminals, whether disabled or not.

In other news, the Florida judge has denied a request by the Department of Children and Families to investigate credible allegations of abuse

I feel compelled to point out that the judge has ordered that there be no attempt to give food or water to Terri by mouth even after the feeding tube is pulled.

Right now, Terri is not on any form of “life support” except that feeding tube — she breathes on her own, her heart beats by itself, and all her other bodily functions work normally. The only thing “artificial” is the feeding tube they put in in the hospital 15 years ago when she was sedated and could not eat.

The just has not only ruled that the feeding tube be removed, he has ordered that she be given no food to swallow, to make sure she dies even if she could eat normally and survive without the feeding tube.

This is not an order to remove artificial support; it is an order to kill by starvation.

If a convicted murder like Ted Bundy had been ordered to be executed this way, it would be an unconstitutional violation of the Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.” But if a completely innocent, but disabled person is ordered to be starved and dehydrated, well that’s just fine and dandy with the law as it stands now.

Call, Fax, or E-mail your Senators and Representative. Don’t bother to write a regular letter; it will take way too long get there since they still radiate everything to kill anthrax.

The Social Security Problem, Explained

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:00 am

Clayton Cramer has an excellent explanation of what’s wrong with Social Security here. Practically no technical jargon needed.

Comments on Comments

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:58 am

Maybe it’s just that I’m new at this, but I can never tell in advance what y’all are going to comment on… I thought this post (right below here, if it’s still on the main page) was awfully provocative, but … no response.

On the other hand, I didn’t realize that this one would hit such a raw nerve, let alone that this one would still be getting comments over a month after I posted it … and I mostly didn’t even write it! (People seem to be coming in from Google searches on the author’s name.)

This blogging thing is definitely an interesting experience!

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