Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Autopsy Results In: Terri Schiavo Died of Dehydration

Yup, that's right! We are shocked here at the Underground Logician. Terri Schiavo died of dehydration. The very thing they used to cause her death, dehydration, was the actual cause of death. Talk about cause and effect. I wouldn't have known this without the vast wisdom of our post-modern priest of profundity, the Pinellas County Medical Examiner. Interestingly, there was no sign of heart attack; there was no sign of an eating disorder; and her vision center was dead, so she was blind. Her brain has half the size of a normal human being's brain at the time of death (Ooooo, that's bad when you only have half a brain. Maybe it's a good thing they killed her, eh?)

Now since this autopsy was closed to independant reviews, I am skeptical. You watch and see how the pro-deathers will use this autopsy to justify Michael Schiavo's actions. Something will be said that since she had half a brain, she was half a person. She should have been allowed to die. Maybe some of you hold that belief. If you do, your sense of justice has atrophied.

Here's a little blurb from todays Inside Page:

Commenting on the autopsy report, Fr. Frank Pavone, who was with Terri Schiavo in the final hours and moments of her life and has called her death a murder, said: "No details of this autopsy change the moral evaluation of what happened to Terri. Her physical injuries and disabilities never made her less of a person. No amount of brain injury ever justifies denying a person proper humane care. That includes food and water.
"A person with a 'profoundly atrophied' brain needs profound care and love. Terri did not die from an atrophied brain. She died from an atrophy of compassion on the part of her estranged husband and those who helped him to have her deliberately killed."

Amen, Fr. Pavone.

One of the questions not answered in this "deific study" is how she got into this physical condition in the first place. What? Scientists, the demigods of our age who give us infallible "studies," do not know how this happened? I'm disappointed!

Hmm. I bet there's someone who DOES know how she got this way...Oh, Michael!


At 7:58 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I think there's another way to view this. (I came to this view in a discussion with a very close friend of mine who is a prominent scientist and a Christian.)

Terri may have been blind and half of her brain may have been gone from the very beginning. And it may cause many people to say that Michael was justified in killing her, since she truly was dead/gone completely.

But Michael did not know all this before the autopsy, did he? True, he had the catscans of her brain, but we still know so little of the brain and the way that it can re-route information and functionality. Perhaps there would be no way that her brain could reroute effectively under her conditions, I am no neurologist and I don't claim to be.

But we are losing sight of the bigger picture.

Many years ago, Terri would simply have died. We now have the ability to artificially sustain life. When is it too much? Where do we draw the line between someone who can be kept alive, and someone who is the living dead?

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

I question that the level of our technology is what kept Terri alive, whereas under "normal" circumstances she would have died. It sets up a false scenario that the feeding tube is an extraordinary measure.

Is this is the principle, then one could say that mammagrams are extraordinary measures and we should let women with early signs of breast cancer die; or we need to question the population that current reside in intensive care units; should we use the high level of technology to keep these people alive?

It is more of a question of justice in terms of metaphysics; is Terri a human being, and what does she deserve? That is why Fr. Frank Pavone's statement is so crucial. He is informing others that Terri, being a human being who is in dire need of love and care, ought never to have been murdered.

He's speaking as a Catholic, no doubt. But the Christian appeal to love our neighbor is based on a metaphysics that states that a human being, though brain damaged, is STILL A HUMAN BEING, and is ALSO our neighbor.

It's a matter of metaphysics...

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Excellent points, indeed. As my scientist friend and I discussed, only in this generation has the profession of bio-ethicist sprung up. It would never have had a home before.

As the Bible says, to him whom much is given, much will be required. I think it is incumbent upon us as a nation to carefully decide what policies should surround the medical advances that we have made.

At 7:15 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

What is the controversy here? Was there ever anyone who denied that? Thats what happens when you deny someone food and water.

What you didn't mention was the fact the autopsy confirmed what I have been telling you all along. She was in a vegetative state, and her brain damage was irreversible. There was no amount of "therapy" that was ever gonna make a damn bit of difference. She was (and I hate this term, but can't think of a better one at this early hour) a vegetable.

Time to let this one go, just as it was long past time to let Terry go.

Life is tough. Sometimes tough decisions must be made. They've been made. Lets move on.

ps Having half a brain is no crime. Using half a brain is. Maybe we should euthanize Rush (who brags evry day he only uses half his brain)!

At 7:52 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

sorry, couldn't resist the Rush jab. And should have read all the commentary before i posted.

Terry had lost all of those things which make us human, or for that matter, animal. She had no cognitive ability. She could not think, even on the most primitive level. She had no awareness of her surroundings. She had no awareness, period. She had ceased to be "people". Which is why your mammogram argument is irrelevant.

Women with any stage of breast cancer deserve every bit of help modern medicine can provide. They are human, in terms of those things that make us human.

There comes a point in every life when heroic measures make no sense. And when one ceases live by any but the most rudimentary definition (yeah, tomatoes and amoebas "live", but I have no moral obligation to them), we have no moral obligation to keep them breathing.

We do however, have a moral obligation to help the families involved get on with their lives. These poor people have been used and manipulated by outsiders for purely political purposes for far too long. How about letting them get on with their lives?

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

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At 6:33 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

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At 6:35 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...


I am no fan of Rush (knee jerk conservative) or Bush (Poster Child of Alchoholic Brain Damage) but this isn't about them.

As I said elsewhere (in this blog somewhere?) hindsight is always 20/20. But with the facts of the case as we knew them to be, the questions still remain.

Just because we now know for certain that Terri was most certainly the living dead, doesn't mean that we knew what she was at that time. So the bio ethics questions still remain.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

People, we run risk of straining at gnats and swallowing camels. We fail to forget how she was while she was still ALIVE, how she responded to family, blind or not, there were many doctors who concurred with Dr. Hammesfar that she could have been rehabilitated, certainly impaired for the rest of her life, but not "living dead." She was a living human being that relied on a feeding tube since Michael refused any therapy for her swallowing.

I knew this would happen, trust the demogods of science and shitcan our common sense.

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...


You are correct that that was one dr's belief. But there also were opposing beliefs, so I want to be fair.

Would *I* have kept her alive in this particular instance? Yes, because I wouldn't want it on my conscience.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

I remember the first day of Sociology 201. It was taught by a wonderful professor, the late Dr. James Norris, a proud triple Domer (all three degrees from Notre Dame).

That first day he gave us a quiz. Thirty questions, all with apparent common sense answers. I had the best score in the class. I missed 22 out of thirty. Most people missed 28 to 30. It was a very valuable lesson. Trusting to "common sense" is almost always an invitation to disaster. It is never a substitute for good science.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

There are some conclusions that are being made here that are not a result of good science; she was too far gone for rehab, and she was living dead. Where science goes bad is when it overrides certain metaphysical realities, Terri was a human being. Metaphysics is what supports science; it defines the limits of science. Science does NOT define metaphysics. Science cannot and does not have the capacity to define when an embryo becomes human; it doesn't have the full capacity to show when a human isn't a human unless the person is dead. The cause of Terri's death was NOT due to her brain condition; she had a limited capacity to function, but function she did. The cause of her death was completely artificial: the refusal of the state to feed and hydrate her. So, the conclusions of her autopsy changes NOTHING.

1. Her apparent irreversable brain damage is no justification of what was done to her. She was a very limited human being, BUT A HUMAN BEING.
2. There were parts of her brain that WERE functioning, especially her frontal lobes where she was very aware and cognizant of what was happening to her.
3. There is no science that could have predicted the RESULTS of rehabilitation, GWB. And, again, we going in circles, she wasn't given ANY rehab under orders of her husband for her ENTIRE twelve-year hospital and hospice experience.
4. This is a metaphysical issue, an issue of what Terri was, and how do we treat her. If she was human, we treat her with the dignity given to human beings.

This situation and others like it that are not being paraded through the media is the consequence of pragmatism running shipwreck. We value people in accordance to their functionality, not their humanity. It is an appalling development of the culture of death that is in keeping with Roe v. Wade. Under the facade of "science," we are giving ourselves leeway as to decide what is human and what is expendable. There is no moral justification for this scenario, and because of that, there is no limit as to how far our "Brave New World" will go. This should scare the crap out of us.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Perhaps I need to define what I mean by common sense. It is not what is considered normal by the average person. The common sense I refer to sadly is an uncommon common sense. It's that natural trait that quickly becomes diminished when ones sells out for sophistication. For example, when people question if the fetus within a pregnant woman is human, even Humean epistemology would grant that in all of human experience, all pregnant women eventually give birth to humans. There is no human experience that shows that typical couples wait till after the first trimester to celebrate their pregnancy. There may be a few, but they would not be considered normal, perhaps insane would be a better description. Typical couples are not worried if the moms are going to have puppies. To even question the essence of a fetus as human or not is epistemically repugnant!

As in the case of Terri Schindler, one doesn't need the spin of "the right to dry-out humans" to see that while Terri was alive, she was a brain-damaged human being, but a human being at that! There is no justification for doing what they did unless they leave their senses for the purpose of a sophisticated agenda. Food and water are the ordinary means for ALL of life. This was NOT an issue of a brain dead person being kept alive by multiple machines. It is this sophistication to which I point that has jettisoned common sense.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Isabella di Pesto said...

The cause of her death was completely artificial: the refusal of the state to feed and hydrate her. So, the conclusions of her autopsy changes NOTHING. --U.L.

I submit that Terri Schiavo was kept alive "artificially" through medical science, i.e., a feeding tube, and she was on several different kinds of medications to prevent infections that normally occur when one is hooked up with a feeding tube for perpetuity.

Had she lived in the early part of the last century or the 1800's, she would have died long ago, naturally, as a result of her heart attack that cut off oxygen to her brain.

She was kept alive "artificially." She could not swallow food or water on her own. The tube kept her alive. The "artificial" feeding tube.

Medical science kept her alive.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Medical science is a great thing, isn't it? Simply inserting a tube, medically, a person can get the ordinary things to keep them alive, food and water! In addition, look at how they can rehab a person with brain damage, in some cases, a person worse off than Terri!

That being the case, look at the opportunity Michael missed that could have been a tremendous boon to medical science. He had the money, from what he gained from the lawsuit. We all could have marvelled at the gains in Terri's rehab. Instead, he wasted it on George Felos, trying to get the right starve her to death. What a waste.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Isabella di Pesto said...


There is no medical science that can regrow a radically deterioated brain. None.

Michael Schiavo is not the villain here. I am disturbed that you implied that he may have been complicit in her initial catastrophe. Really.

Hmm. I bet there's someone who DOES know how she got this way...Oh, Michael!

What evidence do you have to make such a implication? Where is the evidence that he caused her illness? Hmmmmmmm?

Tsk. Tsk.

On another matter, if all life is sacred and we should protect it at all cost no matter the condition of that life, how do you justify the slaughter of innocents in an elective war?

You're the logician here, please explain how one can condone elective wars, a war which the pope himself said was unjust, and and not be appalled at the loss of human life?

Surely if people believe Terri Shiavo had the right to life, even though she didn't know she was alive, didn't the Iraqi people who didn't elect to have the US invade them have some say in whether or not they should lose their lives in a war of "liberation?" Or is death the ultimate liberation?

Just wondering.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...


By the way, thanks for engaging in this!

1. Re: regrowing Terri's brain. That is beside the point.
2. Re: Michael is not villian. I'm saying he could be. If the autopsy showed no sign of heart attack, and the deposition of the EMT's who were on the scene states the when they arrived at Terri's home where she collapsed, the signs of abuse on her body and where she was located was suspicious; they called the police to investigate. This is public record.

3. Even if Michael did not cause her collapse, why the refusal of rehab, to the shock of the nurses involved? This is also public record.

4. You are making a moral equivalence between the Schiavo situation and the Iraq War, or rather in your terms, "the slaughter of innocents." Nice try, but it doesn't fit.

5. The pope is never a supporter of war. The church learned a valuable lesson from the Crusades. Be that as it may, the U.S. is in a position of methodical doubt, damned if they do go in, damned if they don't.

I know your frustration when you bring in the Iraq War. I'm a bit conflicted about it, although I am strong on self-defense. We could probably go back and forth, and I may even waver. That's where I'm at. As to the Terri situation, she was a human being that deserved much better than what she got. And her villainous husband, even though he may not have been the cause of her condition, I believe he finished her off; a villainy that is rare, in my opinion.


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