Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sworn Affidavit Says That Schiavo May Not Be In A PVS and a Further Challenge to Death Penalty Hypocrites.

This is the sworn affidavit of Dr. William Polk Cheshire, Jr., M.D. in which, as excerpted by KLJ at The Corner says:

This neurologist who Jeb Bush mentioned in his press conference earlier today, William Cheshire, says outright that he believes that "it can be ethically permissible to discontinue artificially provided nutrition and hydration for parsons in a permanent vegetative state." But having "met and observed Ms. Schiavo in person" he doesn't believe this should be happening to Terri Schiavo.

He states that "There remain, in fact, huge uncertainties in regard to Terri's true neurological status." She hasn't been fully evaluated by a neurologist for three years, he says, has not had an MRI or a PET. And some of the technology to determine if a patient is in a minimally conscious state has only emerged in the last few years. "New facts have come to light in the last few years that should be weighed in the neurological assessment of Terri Schiavo."

He writes that Terri Schiavo “demonstrates a number of behaviors that I believe cast a reasonable doubt on the prior diagnosis of PVS.” Among these observations, he pinpoints: “Her behavior is frequently context-specific. For example, her facial expression brightens and she smiles in response to the voice of familiar persons such as her parents or her nurses…Several times I witness Terri briefly, albeit inconsistently, laugh in response to a humoroius comment someone in the room had made. I did not see her laugh in the absence of someone else’s laughter.”..

There is a remarkable moment in the videotape of the September 3, 2002 examination by Dr. Hannesfahr that seemed to go unnoticed at the time. At 2:44 p.m., Dr. Hammesfahr had just turned Terri onto her right side to examine her back with a painful sharp stimulus (a sharp piece of wood), to which Terri had responded with signs of discomfort. Well after he ceased applying the stimulus and had returned Terri to a comfortable position, he says to her parents, “So we are going to have to roll her over….” Immediately Terri cries. She vocalizes a crying sound, “Ugh, ha, ha, ha,” presses her eyebrows together, and sadly grimaces. It is important to note that, at that moment, no on is touching Terri or causing actual pain. Rather, she appears to comprehend the meaning of Dr. Hammesfahr’s comment and signals her anticipation of pain. This response suggests some degree of language processing and interpretation at the level of the cerebral cortex. It also suggests that she may be aware of pain beyond what could be explained by simple reflex withdrawal.

…Terri Schiavo demonstrates behaviors in a variety of cognitive domains that call into question the previous neurological diagnosis of persistent vegetative state. Specifically, she has demonstrated behaviors that are context-specific, sustained, and indicative of cerebral cortical processing that, upon careful neurological consideration, would not be expected in a persistent vegetative state.

Based on this evidence, I believe that, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, there is a greater likelihood that Terri is in a minimally conscious state than a persistent vegetative state. This distinction makes an enormous difference in making ethical decisions on Terri’s behalf. If Terri is sufficiently aware of her surroundings that she can feel pleasure and suffer, if she is capable of understanding to some degree how she is being treated, then in my judgment it would be wrong to bring about her death by withdrawing food and water….

…How medicine and society choose to think about Terri Schiavo will influence what kind of people we will be as we evaluate and respond to the needs of the most vulnerable people among us. When serious doubts exist as to whether a cognitive impaired person is or is not consciously aware, even if these doubts cannot be conclusively resolved, it is better to err on the side of protecting vulnerable life…

OK then, here's the challenge to those fervant death penality opponents who are hypocritically demanding that Terri be executed because it suits their pro-death, anti-Red State leanings: If you believe that condemned killers should be able to appeal time and again for up to 20 years on the basis that some scrap of evidence could surface that proves the innocence of the condemned and it would be tragic to wrongly execute an innocent man, why are you so adamantly opposed to allowing Terri a full examination with CURRENT technology so as to remove any doubt as to her condition?

Hmmm? A trial with multiple witnesses, a judge and jury, multiple appeals isn't good enough to kill a murderer, but the word of a worthless sack of manure husband is more than good enough to snuff a sick woman?!?


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