Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Update: Terri Schiavo
When I came into her room and said "Hi, Terri", she would always recognize my voice and her name, and would turn her head all the way toward me, saying "Haaaiiiii" sort of, as she did. I recognized this as a "hi", which is very close to what it sounded like, the whole sound being only a second or two long. When I told her humorous stories about my life or something I read in the paper, Terri would chuckle, sometimes more a giggle or laugh. She would move her whole body,
upper and lower. Her legs would sometimes be off the bed, and need to be repositioned. I made numerous entries into the nursing notes in her chart, stating verbatim what she said and her various behaviors, but by my next on-duty shift, the notes would be deleted from her chart.
Every time I made a positive entry about any responsiveness of Terri's, someone would remove it after my shift ended. Michael always demanded to see her chart as soon as he arrived, and would take it in her room with him. I documented Terri's rehab potential well, writing whole pages about Terri's responsiveness, but they would always be deleted by the next time I saw her chart. The reason I wrote so much was that everybody else seemed to be afraid to make positive
entries for fear of their jobs, but I felt very strongly that a nurses job was to accurately record everything we see and hear that bears on a patients condition and their family. I upheld the Nurses Practice Act, and if it cost me my job, I was willing to accept that
Now I am no doctor, but it sure sounds like Terri operates at a level above "vegetable." In addition, Ms. Iyer testified that she believes Terri's husband was injecting her with insulin in an effort to kill her:
When Michael visited Terri, he always came alone and always had the door closed and locked while he was with Terri. He would typically be there about twenty minutes or so. When he left Terri would be trembling, crying hysterically, and would be very pale and have cold
sweats. It looked to me like Terri was having a hypoglycemic reaction, so I'd check her blood sugar. The glucometer reading would be so low it was below the range where it would register an actual number reading. I would put dextrose in Terri's mouth to counteract it. This happened about five times on my shift, as I recall. Normally Terri's blood sugar levels were very stable due to the uniformity of her diet through tube feeding. It is medically possible that Michael injected
Terri with Regular insulin, which is very fast acting, but I don't have any way of knowing for sure.
This only confirms what I said earlier, that Michael Schiavo is not the loving husband the MSM is making him out to be. Can we really trust him to make decisions in the best interest of Terri? It is just amazing that the SAEN editorial board failed to mention any of this when they argued today to let Terri die.
Apparently Terri has in fact received rehabilitation in the past (15 years ago), from the Guardian Ad Litem report:
In late Autumn of 1990, following months of therapy and testing, formal diagnoses of persistent vegetative state with no evidence of improvement, Michael took Theresa to California, where she received an experimental thalamic stimulator implant in her brain. Michael remained in California caring for Theresa during a period of several months and returned to Florida with her in January of 1991. Theresa was transferred to the Mediplex Rehabilitation Center in Brandon, where she received 24 hour skilled care, physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapies.
Despite aggressive therapies, physician and other clinical assessments consistently revealed no functional abilities, only reflexive, rather than cognitive movements, random eye opening, no communication system and little change cognitively or functionally. On 19 July 1991 Theresa was transferred to the Sable Palms skilled care facility. Periodic neurological exams, regular and aggressive physical, occupational and speech therapy continued through 1994.
I don't know how to square this with what the nurse says in her affidavit, but I can say that this does not change my stance on Terri's fate. Her parents say they want to care for their daughter and I say let them. In addition, the Guardian's report has this to say about Michael, and his motives in this case:
Michael's decision not to treat was based upon discussions and consultation with Theresa's doctor, and was predicated on his reasoned belief that there was no longer any hope for Theresa's recovery. It had taken Michael more than three years to accommodate this reality and he was beginning to accept the idea of allowing Theresa to die naturally rather than remain in the non-cognitive, vegetative state. It took Michael a long time to consider the prospect of getting on with his life - something he was actively encouraged to do by the Schindlers, long before enmity tore them apart. He was even encouraged by the Schindlers to date, and introduced his in-law family to women he was dating. But this was just prior to the malpractice case ending.
Again, I don't know how to square this with the what the nurse said, but again, it doesn't change my views on what should happen to Terri. I am surprised, very surprised to hear that Terri's parents encouraged Michael Schiavo to date other women, not that it excuses his behavior.