Getting Away With Murder?
We have evidence that something may have happened pretty ugly the night that she collapsed. ~ Suzanne Vitadmo, Terri Schiavo's sister
It sounded like she had been crying, I asked her if she was OK. She said she had a fight with Michael. He was extremely upset with her because she had spent $80 on her hair. ~ Jackie Rhodes recalling her last conversation with Terri
The patient has a history of trauma. ~ Dr. W. Campbell Walker
The trauma can be from an auto accident, the trauma can be from some kind of beating that she obtained from somebody somewhere. It's something that should have been investigated in 1991 when those findings were fresh. ~ Michael Baden former chief medical examiner for New York City
The reason she's in the state she's in is because there was a period of time, maybe five minutes or eight minutes, when not enough oxygen was going to her brain, that can happen because the heart stops for 5 or 8 minutes, but she had a healthy heart, from what we can see. ~ Michael Baden
They are truly withholding food from a person who is awake, alert, and can eat and swallow. ~ Dr. William Hammesfahr
To enter the room of Terri Schiavo is nothing like entering the room of a patient who is comatose or brain-dead or in some neurological sense no longer there. ~ Dr. William Polk Cheshire Jr.
As I looked at Terri, and she gazed directly back at me, I asked myself whether, if I were her attending physician, I could in good conscience withdraw her feeding and hydration. No, I could not. I could not withdraw life support if I were asked. I could not withhold life-sustaining nutrition and hydration from this beautiful lady whose face brightens in the presence of others. ~ Dr. William Polk Cheshire Jr.
On three or four occasions, I personally fed Terri small amounts of Jello which she was able to swallow and enjoyed immensely. ~ Heidi Law CNA
I know that Terri did not receive routine physical therapy or any kind of therapy. I was personally aware of orders for rehabilitation that were not being carried out. Even though they were ordered, Michael would stop them. ~ Heidi Law
On one occasion Michael Schiavo arrived with his girlfriend, and they entered Terri’s room together. I heard Michael tell his girlfriend that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and was dying. After they left, Olga told me that Terri was extremely agitated and upset, and wouldn’t react to anyone. When she was upset, which was usually the case after Michael was there, she would withdraw for hours. We were convinced that he was abusing her, and probably saying cruel, terrible things to her because she would be so upset when he left. ~ Heidi Law
No therapy per husbands orders. Dr's orders over ridden. Patient kept in isolation, no stimulation. ~ Carolyn Johnson
Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri’s death. Michael would say “When is she going to die?,” “Has she died yet?” and “When is that bitch gonna die?” These statements were common knowledge at Palm Gardens, as he would make them casually in passing, without regard even for who he was talking to, as long as it was a staff member. Other statements which I recall him making include “Can’t you do anything to accelerate her death - won’t she ever die?” When she wouldn’t die, Michael would be furious. Michael was also adamant that the family should not be given information. He made numerous statements such as “Make sure the parents aren’t contacted.” ~ Carla Sauer Iyer RN
Michael Schiavo always had an overbearing attitude, yelling numerous times such things as “This is my order and you’re going to follow it.” He is very large and uses menacing body language, such as standing too close to you, getting right in your face and practically shouting. ~ Carla Sauer Iyer
Any time Terri would be sick, like with a UTI or fluid buildup in her lungs, colds, pneumonia, Michael would be visibly excited, thrilled even, hoping that she would die. He would call me, as I was the nurse supervisor on the floor, and ask for every little detail about her temperature, blood pressure, etc., and would call back frequently asking if she was dead yet. He would blurt out “I’m going to be rich!,” and would talk about all the things he would buy when Terri died, which included a new car, a new boat, and going to Europe, among other things. ~ Carla Sauer Iyer
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 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 my belief that Michael injected Terri with Regular insulin, which is very fast acting. ~ Carla Sauer Iyer
A conscious [cognitively disabled] person would feel it just as you or I would. They will go into seizures. Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucus membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. They feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. Imagine going one day without a glass of water! Death by dehydration takes ten to fourteen days. It is an extremely agonizing death. ~ Dr. William Burke
Unfortunately, having worked for 13 years in Africa, where the most common cause of death in children is dehydration from gastroenteritis, I have seen hundreds if not thousands of patients with dehydration and some of them so far gone, that despite resuscitation attempts, they died.
As dehydration begins, there is extreme thirst, dry mouth and thick saliva. The patient becomes dizzy, faint and unable to stand or sit; has severe cramping in the arms and legs as the sodium and potassium concentrations in the body goes up as fluids go down. In misery, the patient tries to cry but there are no tears. The patient experiences severe abdominal cramps, nausea and dry-heaving as the stomach and intestines dry out.
By now the skin and lips are cracking and the tongue is swollen. The nose may bleed as the mucous membranes dry out and break down. The skin loses elasticity, thins and wrinkles. The hands and feet become cold as the remaining fluids in the circulatory system are shunted to the vital organs in an attempt to stay alive. The person stops urinating and has severe headaches as their brain shrinks from lack of fluids. The patient becomes anxious but then gets progressively more lethargic.
Some patients have hallucinations and seizures as their body chemistry becomes even more imbalanced. This proceeds to coma before death occurs. The final event as the blood pressure becomes almost undetectable is a major heart arrhythmia that stops the heart from pumping. ~ Dr. David Stevens
How the hell should I know we never spoke about this, my God I was only 25 years old. How the hell should I know? We were young. We never spoke of this. ~ Michael Schiavo to girlfriend Cindy Shook
But this is not about them, it's about Terri. And I've also said that in court. We didn't know what Terri wanted, but this is what we want. ~ Michael Schiavo to Larry King
How did they know she would want this? How did they know she wouldn't want to go on? ~ Terri's comment to Diane Meyer about removing a respirator from Karen Ann Quinlan
If you establish and apply the principle that you can kill 'unproductive' fellow human beings then woe betide us all when we become old and frail! If one is allowed to kill the unproductive people then woe betide the invalids who have used up, sacrificed and lost their health and strength in the productive process. If one is allowed forcibly to remove one's unproductive fellow human beings then woe betide loyal soldiers who return to the homeland seriously disabled, as cripples, as invalids. If it is once accepted that people have the right to kill 'unproductive' fellow humans--and even if initially it only affects the poor defenseless mentally ill--then as a matter of principle murder is permitted for all unproductive people, in other words for the incurably sick, the people who have become invalids through labor and war, for us all when we become old, frail and therefore unproductive.
Then, it is only necessary for some secret edict to order that the method developed for the mentally ill should be extended to other 'unproductive' people, that it should be applied to those suffering from incurable lung disease, to the elderly who are frail or invalids, to the severely disabled soldiers. Then none of our lives will be safe any more. Some commission can put us on the list of the 'unproductive,' who in their opinion have become worthless life. And no police force will protect us and no court will investigate our murder and give the murderer the punishment he deserves. ~ Cardinal Clemens von Galen, delivered on Sunday, August 3, 1941, in Münster Cathedral
Cast of Characters
Terri's Fight Silent
Not Dead Yet