Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Comments from Florida Representatives to my emails

Thank you for contacting Rep. Stargel's office regarding TerriSchiavo. When this issue first came up in 2003, he was the HouseSponsor for the bill that has enabled Terri to continue to live and heis again actively involved with other legislators and attorneys as welook for a solution to Terri's situation. We are carefully seeking ananswer that will stand up in court and also would be a long lastingsolution for many families. Please know that Terri and her family arein our thoughts and prayers and please continue to pray for guidance forus as we seek an answer.
Rachel Barnes Legislative SecretaryDistrict 64Rep. John K. StargelP.O. Box 2009Lakeland, Florida 33806 Office (863) 413-2877SC: 515-1047Fax (863) 413-2879Email: rachel.barnes@myfloridahouse.gov

Dear James,
Thank you for writing to share your thoughts on the situation facingTerri Schiavo. Please know that I share your concern both about Terriand about the precedent this sets for others with disabilities. I spokewith the Governor this month, and I know that he is exploring alloptions available to him under the law.
Unfortunately, unlike the courts and the executive branch, theLegislature does not have the legal authority to directly intervene.However, I joined with several of my colleagues to co-sponsor HB 701,which would change the law to protect people in Terri's situation. HB701 was approved in the HealthCare Regulatory Committee last Tuesdaywhich is a step in the right direction.
I am greatly concerned about this matter, and I will do everything inmy power to see that the laws of Florida recognize and value thesanctity of human life.
In the meantime, I ask that you join my wife, Nina, and me in prayingfor Terri and her parents.
Warm regards,
Trey Traviesa

Thank you for emailing my Legislative Office. I always appreciate hearing the opinions of others on issues we debate in the Florida Legislature.

As you can imagine, my office receives a significant amount of email every day. The volume of email we receive prevents us from being able to respond to everyone, I do try to personally respond to as many emails as I can. Please be sure to include your physical or mailing address in your email communications, so that I may properly and directly respond to you. Email messages that do not include an address may not receive any further response.

Again, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your views. Rest assured that I will keep your views in mind as I vote on issues in Tallahassee. If there is anything my staff or I can do to assist you with any concerns you may have, please feel free to contact us.


Julio Robaina
State Representative
6741 S.W. 24th Street
Suite 19
Miami, Fl. 33155
Ph: 305-442-6868

Thank you for emailing my Legislative Office. I have always appreciated hearing the opinions of my constituents regarding issues we debate in the Florida Legislature.
As you can imagine, my district office receives significant amounts of emails on a daily basis, due to the high volume and because I personally respond to as many emails as possible, your response may take a minimum of one week. Please be sure to include your mailing address in your email communications and I will properly and directly respond to you.
Again, thank you for sharing your views. Please rest assure that I will keep your concerns in mind should I have the opportunity to work on these important issues during the next legislative session. If there is anything my staff can do to assist you, please feel free to contact us.
Representative Marco Rubio
Majority Leader, District 111
6427 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, Florida 33144
Phone: 305-442-6939
Fax: 305-442-6941

Thank you for contacting me by e-mail. I value your comments and suggestions. It is, however, impossible to respond to every e-mail due to the high volume that I receive each day. For example, during this past session I received hundreds of e-mails each day.

I want you to know, however, that each e-mail is read by me or my legislative assistant and is replied to when possible. If you do not receive a personal reply, know that I am still grateful that you wrote. It is vitally important that I hear from my constituents on legislative matters if I am to properly represent you. I am honored to serve as your Representative in the Florida House from District 37. I will continue to work hard to serve you in the best way that I can. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity.

You may access information on bills or download Senate or House calendars by visiting the legislature's web-site at


Once again, I would like to thank you for participating in the legislative process. In order to ensure a personal response, please provide your full name and mailing address.

Rep. David Simmons
District 37

407-262-7520 District Phone
407-262-7522 District FAX
346-7520 Suncom

850-488-2231 Capitol Phone
888-635-4508 FAX
278-2231 Suncom

Thank you for your compelling email regarding the Terri Schiavo case andHouse Bill 701. First and foremost, please know that Terri, her family,and her supporters are in our thoughts and prayers.
Please be assured that we are exploring all of our legal options. TheLegislature will continue to study the issues raised by the courts andconsider viable alternatives that would establish a more clear-cutpublic policy in Florida, so that individuals like Terri are not caughtup in a legal quagmire. We must underscore the value of human life inthe laws of Florida, a goal I am committed to reaching.
House Bill 701 which relates to Nutrition or Hydration to sustain lifeis one of the options that the Legislature is considering. This billpassed the Health Care Regulation Committee on Wednesday, March 9 by avote of 7-4. It is on the agenda for the Judiciary Committee on Monday,and on the agenda for the Health & Families Council on March 15. I amnot a member of any of these committee, however I appreciate your inputfor this important issue and will keep it in mind when to bill come tothe House Chamber for a vote.
In the meantime, please encourage your family and friends to openlydiscuss this issue, and consider your own desires for medical care andtherapy should you confront this issue personally.
Again, thank you for making me aware of your concerns for life and itssanctity.
Sincerely,Mark MahonState RepresentativeDistrict 16
-----Original Message-----From: jrmyrickfl@netzero.com [mailto:jrmyrickfl@sprintpcs.com] Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 9:36 AMTo: Mahon, MarkCc: jrmyrickfl@netzero.comSubject: From 'Write Your Representative' Website
James Myrick
02/15/05 9:36 AM
To the Honorable Mark Mahon;
Do the right thing:
Please co-sponsor, and support, HB701, the Florida Starvation andDehydration of Persons with Disabilities Prevention Act.
James R. Myrick904-387-1437

Thank you for your compelling email regarding the Terri Schiavo case.First and foremost, please know that Terri, her family, and hersupporters are in our thoughts and prayers. I have supported Terri Schiavo in the past and will continue to supporther. Please be assured that we are exploring all of our legal options.The Legislature will continue to study the issues raised by the courtsand consider viable alternatives that would establish a more clear-cutpublic policy in Florida, so that individuals like Terri are not caughtup in a legal quagmire. We must underscore the value of human life inthe laws of Florida, a goal I am committed to reaching. In the meantime, please encourage your family and friends to openlydiscuss this issue, and consider your own desires for medical care andtherapy should you confront this issue personally. Again, thank you for making me aware of your concerns for life and itssanctity. Sincerely yours, Representative Larry Cretul

Thank you for your e-mail. I will certainly review this bill, as I am not aware of it. I will however be looking for family input into anydecision making process.
Representative Audrey GibsonDistrict 15101 E. Union St. Ste 402Jacksonville, FL 32202(904)353-2180
-----Original Message-----From: jrmyrickfl@netzero.com [mailto:jrmyrickfl@sprintpcs.com] Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 9:34 AMTo: Gibson, AudreyCc: jrmyrickfl@netzero.comSubject: From 'Write Your Representative' Website
James Myrick
02/15/05 9:34 AM
To the Honorable Audrey Gibson;
Do the right thing:
Please co-sponsor, and support, HB701, the Florida Starvation andDehydration of Persons with Disabilities Prevention Act.
James R. Myrick904-387-1437

Mr. Myrick,
Your e-mail regarding Florida Starvation and Dehydration of Persons withDisabilities Prevention Act was received by our Office. It is our customand a courtesy to allow each legislator, who represents a particulardistrict, the opportunity to be of service to his/her constituents. Inorder to determine the appropriate legislator, I will need you toprovide your residential address which was not included in your e-mail.
Please respond to this e-mail with your residential address. Thank youfor your time and understanding.
Hank O. Rogers
Legislative Assistant to
Representative Audrey Gibson, District 15
101 E. Union Street, Suite 402
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

Thank you for your e-mail message. Because I receive such an overwhelming number of daily e-mails, I send this automatic response to verify receipt of your correspondence. Unfortunately it is not always possible for me to personally respond so I use this medium primarily to obtain opinions from my constituents regarding legislative issues. However, it is important that your name, address with zip code and phone number be on your e-mail in the event that I need to contact you.
Should you require more information or assistance, please contact me at the numbers given below. My staff and I will be happy to assist you.
Toll Free 1-888-861-9761; (904) 727-3600; Fax 904-727-3603
9485 Regency Square Boulevard, Suite 108, Jacksonville, FL 32225-8145
(850) 487-5030; Fax: 850-487-5844
Suite 302, The Capitol, 404 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. Your thoughts are important to me and help keep me well informed. Please be assured I will take note of your comments and appreciate both your input and your activism.

James E. “Jim” King, Jr.
Florida Senate District 8

Thank you for your e-mail. Unfortunately, I am unable to respond to you personally because of the large volume of e-mail which I receive at this address. My staff and I will be periodically reviewing the e-mails and will attempt to respond to as many as possible.
The Legislature will meet in session from March 4th through May 2nd. You may access information on bills or download Senate and House calendars by visiting the legislature's website at http://www.leg.state.fl.us/. If you are a constituent of Senate District 5 and need assistance, please call my district office at (904)573-4900 or toll free at (866)365-2124.
Thank you for your patience. Senator Stephen R. Wise District 5

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Florida Catholic

The following is a link to the "Florida Catholic" editorial concerning Terri Schiavo:
Read it yourself and form your own opinions. I have mine.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The following is a link to the "Florida Catholic" editorial concerning Terri Schiavo:
Read it yourself and form your own opinions. I have mine.
I sent the following message to the "Florida Catholic:"

Dear Catholic Person, I read your "op-ed" in the Florida Catholic. It was replete with errors of fact and ripe with implication. I did not think it belonged in a Catholic publication that purports to present a pro-life position.

Perhaps you didn't know any better, but that is no excuse. Go to http://www.terrisfight.org/ and you can read the actual court documents and afidavits from seventeen medical professionals.

Just what do you mean by "true mediation" and "peaceful resolution?" That statement implies that the Schindlers should just shut up and let go...
Here are the facts taken from http://www.terrisfight.org/:
In 1990, Terri Schindler-Schiavo collapsed in the home she shared with her husband, Michael Schiavo. The cause of her collapse is unknown to this day.

Terri fell into a coma but awakened from her comatose state weeks later. She was left in what medical professionals call a "locked in state" with limited abilities to communicate or move.
During the first months that followed Terri's mysterious collapse, she made progress. Medical practitioners noted her efforts to speak and her responsiveness.

To this day, Terri remains disabled. Though she is responsive to stimuli, interacts with her environment and her loved ones and is capable of communicating in limited ways, she is a disabled and vulnerable adult - requiring protection, therapy and the route to recovery.
Terri receives food and water by way of a gastric feeding tube. There are many amongst us and in all walks of life who receive assisted nutrition and hydration.

Terri has not received meaningful therapy since 1991 on the orders of her estranged husband.
In 1998, Terri's estranged husband petitioned the circuit courts of Pinellas County, Florida to end her life by removing her feeding tube. If her husband is successful, Terri will die of dehydration and starvation over the course of 10 to 14 days. While there are laws in place to protect her from such things, the courts have decided that her wish would be a death from dehydration and starvation as opposed to therapy and rehabilitation.

Press Release
For Immediate ReleaseMarch 5, 2005 - 3.30pm ET (GMT-5)

Attorneys for Bob and Mary Schindler have filed 17 affidavits in support of their motion asking Judge Greer to let medical evaluations be performed on Terri in light of recent advances in medical technologies. The affidavits are from various experts in the medical field. They are urging that Terri be evaluated based on the fact that new evaluation and therapeutic technologies can significantly impact brain damaged and disabled persons. Many of them have stated that there is strong likelihood that Terri is in a minimally conscious state.

More affidavits are expected to be filed next week in support of the Schindler's motion.
Affidavit of Dr. Ralph Ankenman, MD
Affidavit of Dr. Pamela Hyikn, SLP
Affidavit of Dr. Beatrice Engstrand, MD
Affidavit of Dr. Jill Joyce, Phd
Affidavit of Dr. Alyse Eytan, MD
Affidavit of Dr. Philip Kennedy, MD, Phd
Affidavit of Dr. Harry Sawyer Goldsmith, MD
Affidavit of Dr. Kyle Lakas, MS, CCC, SLP
Affidavit of Dr. Jacob Green, MD
Affidavit of Dr. Richard Neubauer, MD, PA
Affidavit of Dr. Carolyn Heron, MD
Affidavit of Dr. Ricardo Senno, MD, MS, FAAPMR
Affidavit of Dr. David Hopper, PhD
Affidavit of Dr. Stanley Terman, MD, Phd
Affidavit of Dr. Lawrence Huntoon, MD
Affidavit of Dr. J. Michael Uszler, MD
Affidavit of Dr. Richard Weidman, MD

This site maintained and hosted by volunteers.Copyright 2004 Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation4615 Gulf Blvd #104-103 - St Petersburg Beach, FL 33706
A Visit With Terri Schiavo
Attorney Barbara Weller
This past Christmas Eve day, 2004, I went to visit Terri Schiavo with her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, her sister, her niece, and Attorney David Gibbs III. The visit took place at the Woodside Hospice for about 45 minutes just before noon.

When I knew I was going to visit Terri with her parents, I had no idea what to expect. I was prepared for the possibility that the Schindlers love their daughter and sister so much that they might imagine behaviors by Terri that aren't actually evident to others. The media and Mr. Schiavo clearly give the impression that Terri is in a coma or comatose state and engages only in non-purposeful and reflexive movements and responses. I am a mother and a grandmother, as well as one of the Schindlers’ attorneys, and I could understand how parents might imagine behavior and purposeful activity that is not really there. I was prepared to be as objective as I could be during this visit and not to be disappointed at anything I saw or experienced.

I was truly surprised at what I saw from the moment we entered the little room where Terri is confined. The room is a little wider than the width of two single beds and about as long as the average bedroom, with plenty of room for us to stand at the foot of her bed. Terri is on the first floor and there is a lovely view to the outside grounds of the facility. The room is entered by a short hallway, however, and there is no way for Terri to see out into the hallway or for anyone in the hallway to observe Terri.

From the moment we entered the room, my impression was that Terri was very purposeful and interactive and she seemed very curious about the presence of obvious strangers in her room. Terri was not in bed, but was in her chair, which has a lounge chair appearance and elevates her head at about a 30-degree angle. She was dressed and washed, her hair combed, and she was covered with a holiday blanket. There were no tubes of any kind attached to her body. She was completely free of any restraints that would have indicated any type of artificial life support. Not even her feeding tube was attached and functioning when we entered, as she is not fed 24 hours a day.

The thing that surprised me the most about Terri as I took my turn to greet her by the side of her chair was how beautiful she is. I would have expected to see someone with a sallow and gray complexion and a sick looking countenance. Instead, I saw a very pretty woman with a peaches and cream complexion and a lovely smile, which she even politely extended to me as I introduced myself to her. I was amazed that someone who had not been outside for so many years and who received such minimal health care could look so beautiful. She appeared to have an inner light radiating from her face. I was truly taken aback by her beauty, particularly under the adverse circumstances in which she has found herself for so many years.

Terri’s parents, sister, and niece went immediately to greet Terri when we entered the room and stood in turn directly beside her head, stroking her face, kissing her and talking quietly with her. When she heard their voices, and particularly her mother's voice, Terri instantly turned her head towards them and smiled. Terri established eye contact with her family, particularly with her mother, who spent the most time with her during our visit. It was obvious that she recognized the voices in the room with the exception of one. Although her mother was talking to her at the time, she obviously had heard a new voice and exhibited a curious demeanor. Attorney Gibbs was having a conversation near the door with Terri’s sister. His voice is very deep and resonant and Terri obviously picked it up. Her eyes widened as if to say, “What’s that new sound I hear?” She scanned the room with her eyes, even turning her head in his direction, until she found Attorney Gibbs and the location of the new voice and her eyes rested momentarily in his direction. She then returned to interacting with her mother.

When her mother was close to her, Terri’s whole face lit up. She smiled. She looked directly at her mother and she made all sorts of happy sounds. When her mother talked to her, Terri was quiet and obviously listening. When she stopped, Terri started vocalizing. The vocalizations seemed to be a pattern, not merely random or reflexive at all. There is definitely a pattern of Terri having a conversation with her mother as best she can manage. Initially, she used the vocalization of “uh’uh” but without seeming to mean it as a way of saying “no”, just as a repeated speech pattern. She then began to make purposeful grunts in response to her mother’s conversation. She made the same sorts of sound with her father and sister, but not to the same extent or as delightedly as with her mother. She made no verbal response to her niece or to Attorney Gibbs and myself, but she did appear to pay attention to our words to her.

The whole experience was rather moving. Terri definitely has a personality. Her whole demeanor definitely changes when her mother speaks with her. She lights up and appears to be delighted at the interaction. She has an entirely different reaction to her father who jokes with her and has several standing jokes that he uses when he enters and exits her presence. She appears to merely “tolerate” her father, as a child does when she says “stop” but really means, “this is fun.” When her father greets her, he always does the same thing. He says, “here comes the hug” and hugs her. He then says, “you know what’s coming next---the kiss.” Her father has a scratchy mustache and both times when he went through this little joke routine with her, she laughed in a way she did not do with anyone else. When her father is ready to plant the kiss on her cheek, she immediately makes a face her family calls the “lemon face.” She puckers her lips, screws up her whole face, and turns away from him, as if making ready for the scratchy assault on her cheek that she knows is coming. She did the exact same thing both times that her father initiated this little routine joke between the two of them.

The interactions with her family and our appearance in her room appeared to require some effort and exertion from Terri. From time to time, she would close her eyes as if to rest. This happened primarily when no one was paying particular attention to her, but we were talking among ourselves. After a few minutes or when one of the visitors approached her and started to talk directly to her again, Terri would open her eyes and begin her grunting sounds again in response to their conversations. Although I approached her, leaned close and stroked her arms and spoke to her, she did not verbally respond to me.

Terri’s hands are curled up around little soft cylinders that help her not to injure herself. I understand that these contractures are likely very painful, although there was a time when Terri was receiving simple motion therapy when her hands and arms relaxed and were no longer as constricted. When the therapy was discontinued by order of her guardian and the court, the contractures returned. These contractures would apparently be avoidable if Terri were given the simple range of motion therapy she previously received. It is very sad to observe firsthand these conditions that make her life more difficult, but that would be correctable with little effort.

When we were preparing to leave, the interactions with Terri changed. First, she went through the joke routine with her father and the “lemon face.” When her niece said goodbye to her, Terri did not react. Nor did she react to me or to Attorney Gibbs when we said our goodbyes to her. When her sister went to her to say goodbye, Terri’s verbalizations changed dramatically. Instead of the happy grunting and “uh uh” sounds she had been making throughout the visit, her verbalizations at these goodbyes changed to a very low and different sound that appeared to come from deep in her throat and was almost like a growl. She first made the sound when her sister said goodbye and then, amazingly to me, she made exactly the same sound when her mother said goodbye to her. It seemed Terri was visibly upset that they were leaving. She almost appeared to be trying to cling to them, although this impression came only from her changed facial expression and sounds, since her hands cannot move. It appeared like she did not want to be alone and knew they were leaving. It was definitely apparent in the short time I was there that her emotions changed—it was apparent when she was happy and enjoying herself, when she was amused, when she was resting from her exertion to communicate, and when she was sad at her guests leaving. It was readily apparent and surprising that her mood changed so often in a short 45-minute visit.

I was pleasantly surprised to observe Terri’s purposeful and varied behaviors with the various members of her family and with Attorney Gibbs and myself. I never imagined Terri would be so active, curious, and purposeful. She watched people intently, obviously was attempting to communicate with each one in various ways and with various facial expressions and sounds. She was definitely not in a coma, not even close. This visit certainly shed more light for me on why the Schindlers are fighting so hard to protect her, to get her medical care and rehabilitative assistance, and to spend all they have to protect her life.

I realize that Terri has good days and bad days. There are obviously days when she does not interact with her family, as they had previously told us. There are also apparently days when Terri is even more interactive and responsive to them than she was on the day I visited. Since this visit I am more convinced than ever that the Schindlers are not just parents who refuse to let go of their daughter. There really is a lot going on with their daughter and potentially, it seemed obvious to me, Terri could improve even more with appropriate care and 24 hour a day love that can only come from a dedicated family. As I watched her, my foremost thought was that on the next day, Christmas, Terri should not have been confined to her small room in a hospice center, nice as that room was, but that she should have been gathered around the Christmas dinner table enjoying the holiday with her family.

MEDIA: Call the Gibbs Law Firm Media Director, Mr. Keith Brickell, at O:727-399-8300 or C:727-458-4824 to arrange an interview with Attorney David Gibbs III or Attorney Barbara Weller. He can be reached by email: kbrickell@gibbsfirm.com.

The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation is the official organization responsible for speaking on behalf of the Schindler family. For more information and background on the case, visit the foundation’s website at www.terrisfight.org.
Return to Terri's Fight
Copyright 2005 Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation4615 Gulf Blvd #104-103 - St Petersburg Beach, FL 33706

MYTH: Terri is PVS (Persistent vegetative state)FACT: The definition of PVS in Florida Statue 765.101:Persistent vegetative state means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:

(a) The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of ANY kind.
(b) An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.
Terri's behavior does not meet the medical or statutory definition of persistent vegetative state. Terri responds to stimuli, tries to communicate verbally, follows limited commands, laughs or cries in interaction with loved ones, physically distances herself from irritating or painful stimulation and watches loved ones as they move around her. None of these behaviors are simple reflexes and are, instead, voluntary and cognitive. Though Terri has limitations, she does interact purposefully with her environment.

MYTH: Terri does not need rehabilitation FACT: Florida Statute 744.3215 Rights of persons determined incapacitated:
(1) A person who has been determined to be incapacitated retains the right (i) To receive necessary services and rehabilitation.
This is a retained right that a guardian cannot take away. Additionally, it does not make exception for PVS patients. Terri has illegally been denied rehabilitation - as many nurses have sworn in affidavits.

MYTH: Removal of food was both legal and court-ordered.FACT: The courts had only allowed removal of Terri's feeding tube, not regular food and water. Terri's husband illegally ordered this. The law only allows the removal of "life-prolonging procedures," not regular food and water:

Florida Statute 765.309 Mercy killing or euthanasia not authorized; suicide distinguished. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.

MYTH: Many doctors have said that there is no hope for her.
FACT: Dr. Victor Gambone testified that he visits Terri 3 times a year. His visits last for approximately 10 minutes. He also testified, after viewing the court videotapes at Terri’s recent trial, that he was surprised to see Terri’s level of awareness. This doctor is part of a team hand-picked by her husband, Michael Schiavo, shortly before he filed to have Terri’s feeding removed. Contrary to Schiavo’s team, 14 independent medical professionals (6 of them neurologists) have given either statements or testimony that Terri is NOT in a Persistent Vegetative State. Additionally, there has never been any medical dispute of Terri’s ability to swallow. Even with this compelling evidence, Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, has denied any form of therapy for her for over 10 years.

Dr. Melvin Greer, appointed by Schiavo, testified that a doctor need not examine a patient to know the appropriate medical treatment. He spent approximately 45 minutes with Terri. Dr. Peter Bambakidis, appointed by Judge Greer, spent approximately 30 minutes with Terri. Dr. Ronald Cranford, also appointed by Schiavo and who has publicly labeled himself “Dr. Death”, spent less than 45 minutes examining and interacting with Terri.

MYTH: This is just a family battle over money. FACT: In 1992, Terri was awarded nearly one million dollars by a malpractice jury and an out-of-court malpractice settlement which was designated for future medical expenses. Of these funds, less than $50,000 remains today. The financial records revealing how Terri’s medical fund money is managed are SEALED from inspection. Court records, however, show that Judge Greer has approved the spending down of Terri’s medical fund on Schiavo’s attorney’s fees - though it was expressly awarded to Terri for her medical care. Schiavo’s primary attorney, George Felos, has received upwards of $400,000 dollars since Schiavo hired him. This same attorney, at the expense of Terri’s medical fund, publicly likened Terri to a “houseplant” and has used Terri’s case on national television to promote his newly published book.

MYTH: Michael Schiavo volunteered to donate the balance of the inheritance to charity. FACT: In October, 1998, Schiavo’s attorney proposed that, if Terri’s parents would agree to her death by starvation, Schiavo would donate his inheritance to charity. The proposal came after a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem cited Schiavo’s conflict of interest since he stood to inherit the balance of Terri’s medical fund upon her death. This one and only offer stated “if the proposal is not fully accepted within 10 days, it shall automatically be withdrawn”. Naturally, Terri’s parents immediately rejected the offer.

MYTH: Terri's Medical Trust fund has been used to care for her.
FACT: The following expenditures have been paid directly from Terri's Medical Trust fund, with the approval of Judge George Greer:
Summary of expenses paid from Terri’s 1.2 Million Dollar medical trust fund (jury awarded 1992)
NOTE: In his November 1993 Petition Schiavo alleges the 1993 guardianship asset balance as $761,507.50

Atty Gwyneth Stanley ...................$10,668.05
Atty Deborah Bushnell ...................$65,607.00
Atty Steve Nilson ............................$7,404.95
Atty Pacarek ....................................$1,500.00
Atty Richard Pearse (GAL).............$4,511.95
Atty George Felos ............................$397,249.99
Other 1st Union/South Trust Bank $55,459.85
Michael Schiavo .................................$10,929.95
Total ...................................................$545,852.34


James R. Myrick

Monday, February 28, 2005

Regarding Terri Schiavo:

No one will benefit in any way from Terri’s death. Take a stand! Bad laws are just that, they are bad laws, change them! Do the right thing. Allow Terri to continue to live.

Don’t we have laws that protect the handicapped? Isn’t Terri handicapped? Americans with cognitive disabilities like Ms. Schindler-Schiavo have rights. Congress decided that in 1990 when it passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Yet an “enlightened” few in society do not consider that Terri Schindler-Schiavo has any rights other than the “right” to die. We believe the ADA requires that she has a right to therapy and support. The government’s function is to protect its citizens. That protection extends to all, not just those considered hale and whole.

Terri was normal until her collapse. But what caused the collapse? Doctors who treated her at the Northside Humana ER theorized that it may have been caused by low blood potassium. When she was admitted, it was noted on her paperwork that she had a "rigid neck," which is sometimes indicative of strangulation. A recently released bone scan done in 1991, which details multiple traumas to her limbs, spine and torso including a broken femur and back. The radiologist who performed the scan noted, "This patient has a history of trauma." Why was an investigation not performed in light of the undisputable facts regarding her injuries?

Terri Schiavo is currently in the care of "The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast." All of Terri's medical care has been influenced by a Past Chairman of the Hospice's Board of Directors, George J. Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo, and self-described "right-to-die" advocate. Many of the Hospice nurses, volunteers, and doctors who are charged with the care, feeding, and unbiased medical evaluation of Terri Schiavo worked for George J. Felos.

As for Felos himself, instead of a lawyerly estate, his home looks like hippie villa USA, complete with crimson couch, bright green carpeting and a living room wall painted neon blue, according to the St. Petersburg Times. When he's not stirring up theta waves or practicing yoga, he invites friends over to chant "I am that I am … I am that I am …" while he bangs out a tune on his harmonium. Felos currently has ten “right to die” cases in his briefcase and just like Johnnie Cochran, Felos has a vested interest in the outcome, above and beyond a simple legal result and the half million he has already collected. He can elevate himself to national notoriety and be, like Jack Kovorkian, the one to see when you wish to eliminate an “undesirable.” Currently there is a petition online at: http://www.petitiononline.com/Felos518/petition.html for documenting widespread support of a formal complaint to the Florida Bar Association against attorneys George Felos of Dunedin, Florida, and Deborah Bushnell of Dunedin, Florida, for numerous aggravated violations of Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, section 4, Rules of Professional Conduct.

Many of the profoundly retarded cannot feed themselves but does this mean their quality of life is below some arbitrarily determined standard and their feeding should be stopped? How can any person decide for someone else when their quality of life falls below a certain standard? What are the criteria? Are they physical or mental? If the brain functions, but the body is defective, does that warrant annihilation? In that case, obviously all quadriplegics should go, and that would have included Christopher Reeve. But what if the body is completely functional, but the brain is defective? Is that the answer? That would encompass all the severely retarded, in the process saving the taxpayers lots of money as we could just shut down all the centers for the handicapped! In addition, when a person gets too old to function properly (let’s set up some tasks for the elderly to test them) well, get rid of them too!

What about the soldiers that have lost limbs and can’t feed themselves either? No hands? Uh-oh! You’re next on the list. No arms? Too bad! You know, while we are fixing up these problems let’s take a look at the unborn. “Mam, our ultrasound indicates that your baby may be deformed or possibly mentally challenged. I suggest we terminate the pregnancy.” What a relief, one less drag on society!

Doctors are very often wrong. How many times has the medical profession written someone off only to have them completely recover? John Travolta, in the latest Readers Digest tells an anecdote about a little girl he visited who was dying of cancer. She met him ten years later fully recovered. We all can vouch for similar stories in our encounters with hospitals and the medical profession. As we have been repeatedly told, medicine is a science until the answer is unknown and then it becomes an art.

Brain function doesn’t necessarily depend on the amount of brain available. Some persons have basic functionality with only a brain stem. Some people have recovered from comas after many years. But Terri is not in a coma, she has PVS (in a permanent vegetative state).
The end stages of diseases like Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's sometimes leave patients in PVS. 10,000 to 25,000 adults and 4,000 to 10,000 children live in PVS in the United States.

The locked-in syndrome has some similarities to PVS since the person is almost completely paralyzed. However, locked-in patients can often move their eyes purposefully, showing they are conscious and aware of their environment. They can communicate with those around them. Tragically, they are otherwise unable to move. There is really no established consensus, even in the medical field, as to what should count as the criteria of consciousness. Even if a patient shows no evidence of consciousness, there may still be some form of consciousness present. Even if the cerebral cortex is destroyed, medical evidence shows that other areas of the brain are involved in cognition and awareness. Even if there is no consciousness present now, that does not imply there is no potential for consciousness.

As to comas and PVS, how long should persons be in a coma or PVS before society (represented by another activist judge) decides that they should be terminated: one month, six months, one year, ten years, more? Is the presence or absence of life sustaining machines the deciding factor? “Forced feeding” is not what Felos, the lawyer, has described in an attempt to misrepresent the issues, it really consists of a tube being placed down one’s throat and unwanted and unnecessary foods funneled down the tube. Nourishment necessary to sustain life is not “forced feeding.”

Is the expense of Terri’s nourishment an issue? It costs less than a few dollars a day to keep her alive! A feeding bag and pump set can be purchased for a few hundred dollars, ex: http://www.mhsurgicals.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=156_159. The cost of Nutrional supplements are not an issue.

There are the legal hoops though which we must jump and then there is common sense and humanity. Michael Schiavo doesn’t have the right to terminate a life. In truth, his wife is no longer his wife. He left her long ago. Bad laws, in effect, are not laws at all. If an injustice is being perpetrated, we don’t have to stand by and let it happen. Evil flourishes when good people do nothing.

Maybe God sent us all a message with the recovery of another comatose woman a few weeks ago. Situations like Terri’s are convincing evidence that forces of evil (call it whatever you wish: Satan or apathy) prowl the earth. We can stand for life or death. We already have a higher law than any judge can fabricate: “Thou shalt not kill.”