Different River

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

March 31, 2005

Statement from the Schindler Family

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:02 pm

The Schindler Family has released a statement, which is quite eloquent given the circumstances. Click here.

National Heath Care — Woman pulls her own teeth

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:53 pm

Think about this next time someone proposes that the U.S. adopt national health care along the British (or Canadian or Hillary or…) model.

The British health care systen, the National Health Service (NHS) provides free health care to all Britons. This includes dental services. Or at least, purports to. But there is waiting list. In Scarborough, North Yorks, the waiting list for a dentist is 3,000 people long.

Valerie Halsworth, 64, has a gum disease that causes her teeth to loosen, get infected, and painful, and need to be pulled. She is one of the 3,000 people on the waiting list. So, in the last few months, she has pulled out 7 of her own teeth.

She added: “The only way to get rid of the pain from my teeth was to pull out the infected ones.

“I had a few pints of lager then screwed up my face, put the pliers against the tooth and yanked. It’s lucky I like milk pudding and mashed potato.

When the government provides free health care, you get what you pay for.

Addendum: Tony Blair’s response: “I can’t suddenly just produce more dentists. We have to train them. I can’t force them from the private sector into the NHS.”

Which is exactly why national health care doesn’t — and can’t — work.

Convicted of mercy killing

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:45 pm

No, not of Terri Schiavo. A soldier was court-martialed, and found guilty of putting a “gravely wounded” (AKA terminal) enemy soldier out of his misery.

WIESBADEN, Germany (AP) – A military court on Thursday found a U.S. Army tank company commander guilty of charges related to the shooting death of a wounded Iraqi last year.

Capt. Rogelio “Roger” Maynulet, a 30-year-old from Chicago, stood at attention as the verdict was read. The charge – assault with intent to commit voluntary manslaughter – carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Maynulet violated military rules of engagement by shooting a man who was wounded and unarmed. Maynulet, 30, maintained that the man was gravely wounded and that he shot him to end his suffering.

UPDATE (4/1/05 4:20pm):

There is a more detailed article here.

Blackfive has some insightful comments here. The discussion in the comments is also interesting. I don’t know if I agree with any of it, but it’s interesting.

Also, Blackfive reports that he has been sentenced to be discharged from the Army. No word on the type of discharge.

In Memoriam, Theresa Schindler Schiavo

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:34 am

Terri Schiavo passed away. It happened at about 9:50 am Eastern Time. The long legal fight to ensure her death has succeeded.

And, the fight continued until the end:

(CNSNews.com) – After 14 days without food or water, Terri Schiavo died around 9:50 Thursday morning – shortly after her parents issued an emotional plea to be at her hospice bedside in her final moments of life.

Terri’s husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, denied the Schindler family’s final request to be with Terri as she took her last breath.

(Linked on BlogsForTerri.com)

Terri has passed away, but the issue brought to the fore in her case have not. Every disabled person in the country — and anyone can become disabled — is in more danger now than they were a year ago.

However, there is some measure of good news: The guardian of Donna Matincheck of Berks County, Pennsylvania, has withdrawn a petition to end her life by starvation. She will continue to receive sustenance through a feeding tube.

I’ll have more to say later, as will, I’m sure, nearly everyone else.

UPDATE: Credit where it’s due: Dave Schuler reported this earlier than I did in a comment to the previous post.

After 20 Years of Silence, Brain-Damaged Woman Begins Talking

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:57 am

I know that Judge Greer and Dr. Cranford and Michael Schiavo all say this can never happen. But it has happened — only not when they withhold food and water:

After 20 Years of Silence, Brain-Damaged Woman Begins Talking

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) – For 20 years, Sarah Scantlin has been mostly oblivious to the world around her – the victim of a drunken driver who struck her down as she walked to her car. Today, after a remarkable recovery, she can talk again.

Scantlin’s father knows she will never fully recover, but her newfound ability to speak and her returning memories have given him his daughter back. For years, she could only blink her eyes – one blink for “no,” two blinks for “yes” – to respond to questions that no one knew for sure she understood. [When Terri Schiavo does this, they call it "reflexes." --DR]

“I am astonished how primal communication is. It is a key element of humanity,” Jim Scantlin said, blinking back tears.

Sarah Scantlin was an 18-year-old college freshman on Sept. 22, 1984, when she was hit by a drunk driver as she walked to her car after celebrating with friends at a teen club. That week, she had been hired at an upscale clothing store and won a spot on the drill team at Hutchinson Community College.

After two decades of silence, she began talking last month.

On Saturday, Scantlin’s parents hosted an open house at her nursing home to introduce her to friends, family members and reporters.

Dressed in a blue warm-up suit, she seemed at times overwhelmed by the attention. She spoke little, mostly answering questions in a single word.

Is she happy she can talk? “Yeah,” she replied.

What does she tell her parents when they leave? “I love you,” she said.

Scantlin still suffers constantly from the effects of the accident. She habitually crosses her arms across her chest, her fists clenched under her chin. Her legs constantly spasm and thrash. Her right foot is so twisted it is almost reversed. Her neck muscles are so constricted she cannot swallow to eat.

A week ago, her parents got a call from Jennifer Trammell, a licensed nurse at the Golden Plains Health Care Center. She asked Betsy Scantlin if she was sitting down, told her someone wanted to talk to her and switched the phone to speaker mode:

“Hi, Mom.”

“Sarah, is that you?” her mother asked.

“Yes,” came the throaty reply.

“How are you doing?”


“Do you need anything,” her mother asked her later.

“More makeup.”

“Did she just say more makeup?” the mother asked the nurse.

Here’s what they say cannot possibly happen:

or, Bradley Scheel, said physicians are not sure why she suddenly began talking but believe critical pathways in the brain may have regenerated.

“It is extremely unusual to see something like this happen,” Scheel said.

And here’s how therapy for patients who allegedly have”no hope of improvement” can have a hope of making them improve:

The breakthrough came when the nursing home’s activity director, Pat Rincon, was working with Scantlin and a small group of other patients, trying to get them to speak.

Rincon had her back to Scantlin while she worked with another resident. She had just gotten that resident to reply “OK,” when she suddenly heard Sarah behind her also repeat the words: “OK. OK.”

Staff members brought in a speech therapist and intensified their work with Sarah. They did not want to get her parents’ hopes up until they were sure Sarah would not relapse, Trammell said.

Was she “aware” of anything for all those years when she couldn’t communicate and they thought she was completely unconscious, like they think Terri is?

Family members say Scantlin’s understanding of the outside world comes mostly from news and soap operas that played on the television in her room.

On Saturday, her brother asked whether she knew what a CD was. Sarah said she did, and she knew it had music on it.

But unfortunately they don’t seem to have calendars in nursing homes…

But when he asked her how old she was, Sarah guessed she was 22. When her brother gently told her she was 38 years old now, she just stared silently back at him. The nurses say she thinks it is still the 1980s.

I found this story linked here, where there is a theory as to why Michael Schiavo wants Terri to starve.

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