Schiavo Autopsy Revealed Irreversible Damage

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An autopsy of Terri Schiavo settled a long time riff regarding the state of her condition. Results revealed massive irreversible brain damage that “no amount of treatment” could repair.

Schiavo Autopsy Revealed Irreversible Damage

Terri Schiavo became the unwitting center of a gut-wrenching national quarrel when her husband, Michael Schiavo, claimed to be acting according to her wishes when he sought to remove the feeding tube from his vegetative wife. Terri had collapsed in 1990 for unknown reasons, causing her heart to stop for several minutes. Medics were able to revive her, but due to the extended lack of oxygen to the brain, she remained in a doctor described “persistent vegetative state” until her death at the age of 41, on March 31st of this year.

Jon Thogmartin, the Florida medical examiner who performed the autopsy, said that Terri’s brain was irretrievable.

“There was massive neuronal loss,” said Thogmartin. “The damage was irreversible.”

The autopsy revealed that Terri’s brain was half the size it should be and that it was beyond treatment. It was also determined that Terri had been rendered blind since after her collapse in 1990.

The following 15 years was dramatic for all involved and climaxed early in 2005 with a story that attracted the attention of the media, the Catholic church, the White House, Congress, and masses of protestors.

Michael Schiavo began seeking the removal of Terri’s feeding tube in 1998 and was vilified by Terry’s parents, who fought the decision all the way to the Supreme Court in 2005. Schiavo insisted his wife would not want to kept alive this way and that most doctors had agreed that she was in a persistent vegetative state. Terry’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, claimed that as a Catholic, Terry would not have said that and believed that with proper treatment, Terry could be rehabilitated. The parents also claimed that physical abuse and possibly strangulation administered from Michael was the cause of Terry’s collapse, which Michael adamantly denied.

Michael eventually won the case for feeding tube removal as the Supreme Court refused to overturn previous rulings. Terry died of dehydration two weeks later.

For Michael Schiavo, vindication came upon autopsy revelations. Medical examiner Thogmartin said there was no evidence of abuse before or after her collapse. Thogmartin also disputed a 1992 civil trial ruling that

Terri was most likely bulimic, depleting her potassium levels to the point of collapse and cardiac arrest.

Saying that her condition was consistent with a persistent vegetative state was the only Thogmartin seemed to be able to say for sure. But he was long on what her condition was not. Thogmartin concluded that Terri was not bulimic, not abused, not able to see, and not recoverable.

The ruling that she was blind has confused some, as it appeared in one video that Terri could follow balloons with her eyes, part of the argument that she was at least minimally conscious.
Pamela F. Hennessy, spokeswoman for the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation in Clearwater, Fla., remained sympathetic to the parents’ plight.

“I don’t know if the Schindler family will ever have closure on this. At the end of the day, a judge told them to sit down, shut up and let their kid die.”

Schiavo Autopsy Revealed Irreversible Damage
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