Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Teresa Schiavo (part two)

In the report Dr. Wolfson calls Teresa by Theresa and Terri and it is a little misguiding. But his report is what we can go by to get around the media and its vision of what is happening. Below are a few quotes from the report.

“A particularly disarming aspect of persons diagnosed with persistent vegetative state is that they have waking and sleeping cycles. When awake, their eyes are often open, they make noises, they appear to track movement, they respond to deep pain, and appear startled by loud noises. Further, because the autonomic nervous system those brain related functions are not affected, they can often breathe (without a respirator) and swallow (saliva). But there is no purposeful, reproducible, interactive, awareness. There is some controversy within the scientific medical literature regarding the characterization and diagnosis of persons in a persistent vegetative state. Highly competent, scientifically based physicians using recognized measures and standards have deduced, within a high degree of medical certainty, that Theresa is in a persistent vegetative state. This evidence is compelling.

Terri is a living, breathing human being. When awake, she sometimes groans, makes noises that emulate laughter or crying, and may appear to track movement. But the scientific medical literature and the reports this GAL obtained from highly respected neuro-science researchers indicate that these activities are common and characteristics of persons in a persistent vegetative state.”

“Being with Theresa, holding her hand, looking into her eyes and watching how she is lovingly treated by Michael, her parents and family and the clinical staff at hospice is an emotional and experience. It would be easy to detach from her if she were comatose, asleep with her eyes closed and made no noises. This is the confusing thing from the lay person about persistent vegetative states.”

In the personal letter to Gov. Jeb Bush Dr. Wolfson writes, “This has been a challenging and intensive engagement, and I am available, should you believe it to be of value, to offer any additional insight or explication in the matter.” Now I am sure that when someone explained to Gov. Bush just what explication means it was redundant.

- Chris Mansel

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