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February 19, 2005

Misdiagnosis of the vegetative state: retrospective study in a rehabilitation unit

Topics: Terri Schiavo's Life Counts

The key messages that can be derived from this study include:

1.  Many patients who are misdiagnosed as being in the vegetative state are blind or have severe visual handicap; thus lack of eye blink to threat or absence of visual tracking are not reliable signs for diagnosing the vegetative state.

2.  Any motor activity, no matter how slight, that can be used for communication by the profoundly disabled patient should be identified at an early stage and repeated at regular intervals.

3.  Identification of awareness in the presence of profound and complex neurological disabilities requires the skills of a multidisciplinary team experienced in long term management of disability due to brain damage.

None of these things have been done for Terri Schiavo!

This study that has important implications in the Terri Schiavo case, was undertaken to identify the number of patients who were misdiagnosed as being in the vegetative state and their characteristics, a retrospective study of the clinical records of the medical, occupational therapy, and clinical psychology departments was conducted in a 20 bed unit specialising in the rehabilitation of patients with profound brain damage, including the vegetative state.   

In the study, it was determined that of the 40 patients referred as being in the vegetative state, 17 (43%) were considered as having been misdiagnosed; seven of these had been presumed to be vegetative for longer than one year, including three for over four years. Most of the misdiagnosed patients were blind or severely visually impaired. All patients remained severely physically disabled, but nearly all were able to communicate their preference in quality of life issues--some to a high level.

The results of the study indicate that the vegetative state needs considerable skill to diagnose, requiring assessment over a period of time; diagnosis cannot be made, even by the most experienced clinician, from a bedside assessment. Accurate diagnosis is possible but requires the skills of a multidisciplinary team experienced in the management of people with complex disabilities. Recognition of awareness is essential if an optimal quality of life is to be achieved and to avoid inappropriate approaches to the courts for a declaration for withdrawal of tube feeding. 

Cross posted at BlogsForTerri

Posted by Hyscience at February 19, 2005 4:07 PM

If the United States Government can’t do something about these A.C.L.U. & these Communists Judges (Judge George Greer) then maybe it time for Americans to start thinking about taking our country back, if nothing else but by vigilantly justice?

Posted by: Gene Wilkinson at March 19, 2005 12:50 AM

Ever since the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed a respirator to be removed from Karen Ann Quinlan and the U.S. Supreme Court declared that feeding tubes are medical treatments just like respirators, heart-lung machines, dialysis and antibiotics, it has been crystal clear in U.S. law and medical ethics that those who cannot speak can have their feeding tubes stopped. The authority to make that decision has fallen to those closest to the person who cannot make their own views known. First come husbands or wives, then adult children, then parents and other relatives.

If there is no living will, the state must default to a spouse (above all others) in determining what the person would have wanted.

The decision about Terri’s life does not belong to the U.S. Congress, President Bush, Rep. Tom Delay of Texas, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the Florida Legislature, clerics in Rome, self-proclaimed disability activists, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, conservative commentators, bioethicists or Terri’s parents. The decision is Michael’s and Michael’s alone.

Posted by: jjb at March 22, 2005 7:34 PM

why is it ok to put a defenseless woman under the care of a known abuser and stalker. and how can this judge allow this? does mr schiavo have another secret insurance policy out on his wife that nobody knows about?? why had he been able to shirk his responsibility to help his wife get better or to take care of a disabled person under his care? he stopped rehab 2yrs after accident and right after money verdict in which he testified that the money would be used for terri's FUTURE medical care and rehab.
If there is no living will how can they allow this? terri's best friend testified that she expressed that she did not agree with what happened with kathleen quinlan case SHE WAS AGAINST IT and judge greer strict that testimony on a minor technicality when later on in fact it was his error. HMMMM

Michael schiavo is a joke for a husband. Why hasnt her parents lawyers brought charges of neglect against him? under fl law he suppose to not with hold food or water? why has judge greer allowed mr schiavo to not submit the annual care report for years? or that he threw out testimony that contradicts mr schiavo, his brother and sister in law who are the ones who testified that she said she did not want to be kept alive.
why was mr schiavo allowed to verbaly abuse the staff and terri herself at the hospitals and nursing homes?

Posted by: runt at March 22, 2005 9:13 PM

My daughter asked me today if she is required to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school in light of the Terri Schiavo case. I told her that she is absolutely NOT required to say the Pledge, and I told her that I have no intention of saying it ever again myself. We both decided that the day we say the Pledge is the day Terri says the Pledge, or is, at least, given the therapy to try.

Posted by: Bridget Burrows at March 24, 2005 7:16 PM

Amazing, We prosecute Dr. Kevorkian and praise Micheal. What a jole of a husband. At least Dr. K. used leathel injection rather than long term suffering!

Posted by: Tim at March 26, 2005 10:09 PM

This is a disgrace beyond belief. What a cruel and barberous country we are. In Texas we put people that starve horses in jail, yet in our same country it is ok to starve a helpless invalid to death. It is no coincidnce this is playing out over Easter. God is watching and there will be retribution on us for allowing this. Shame on us. Shame on all of us.

All that was necessary in Germany for Hitler to take power was for everyone to sit around and say, "well, what can I do about it". How do we take our country back?

Posted by: Robert Hill at March 27, 2005 12:42 AM

I heard someone say that America has lost its soul. I couldn't agree more, but it lost it long time ago and this doesn't surprise me because if we can allow for an unborn child to be murdered and call it a "choice", and simultaneously hunt down and prosecute a mother who throws her newborn baby in a trash bin, then why would we have compassion for a grown woman who hasn't been able to communicate and feed herself? Why has death become THE choice; is it because it relieves one of responsibility? Why do people sympathize with an adulter and a coward, who abandoned his wife in her greatest time of need and is torturing her to death, yet we imprison Saddam for the same atrocities? Is it any wonder that the world looks at us with disdain? We have become a society of hypocrites and it pains me to watch this great country be taken over by a handful of subversives. All of our technology advancement is done in the hopes of prolonging life not destroying it and yet if you're "pro-life", you're labeled as a fanatic. Imagine that, everyone celebrating LIFE!! We've not only lost our soul, but our heart, our vision, our morals, our ethics, and eventually we'll destroy ourselves, if we haven't already.

Posted by: Elka Harms at March 27, 2005 3:45 AM

How can Greer and Michael Schiavo get away with this??? These people do not have souls; they are heartless with absolutely no compassion! This has been a 15 year murder of a woman, a wife! Why can't many people see that this is wife-abuse in its most extreme?? I say jail Michael Schiavo and Greer...they are the brain-dead ones! Put THEM in jail, deny them food and water, human companionship and medical attention and see how they fare!

Posted by: Terri Marie Vicario-Sturgeon at March 27, 2005 2:28 PM

Michael Schiavo, Judge George Greer and Atty
George Felos are ghouls who are terminating
an innocent soul who has done nothing wrong.
This despicable act is sanctioned by the court
justice system and many politicians despite
allegation of physical abuse of Terri by her
husband. The sad part is that the polls
(truth or fiction ?) show a vast section of
our population supports the husband's action. America has lost its soul.

Posted by: Bert Bisnar at March 27, 2005 5:51 PM

My wife and I have uncovered this murder plot that George Greer, Michael Schavio, and the attorney are doing. They have covered up their sins by executing Terri. Now here is what you people in Florida can do now about this: seek the arrests of George Greer, Michael Schavio, and the Attorney for Michael Schavio and lets put these corrupt jerks behind bars for good.

Posted by: Michael Morey at March 27, 2005 8:00 PM

Satan is running rampant. His demons, Michael, Greer and Felos may think they're benefitting by torturing Terri (for money) but they will reap what they are sowing.

Posted by: J. Geary at March 27, 2005 9:35 PM

Don't tell me there is no pain or suffering from lack of food or water.I have been there in world war 11.We all need to get used to having our feeding tube pulled,as has been done too us by Gatt and Nafta. Do you feal the pain yet?Job exporting,High gas prices,inflation,depleted uranium on our troops,illegal flooding of our borders,no justice in our courts.And now we have Terri."Help"

Posted by: Renn bodeker at March 28, 2005 12:39 AM

It is clearly apparent to me after educating myself on the issues surrounding this hideous situation that Michael Schiavo is responsible for the state that his wife is in. Why couldn't he let her have a divorce and cut her loose? This 15 year drama is preferable to a divorce?

Had she been able to divorce him, I'm sure she wouldn't be where she is at today. What kind of man does this to the person that he is supposed to love,honor and cherish, "in sickness and in health til death do us part"? Michael is Florida's idea of a competent guardian? What the hell is wrong with this state? What kind of drugs are these people on?

It is unfortunate for America that the complete facts surrounding Terri Schiavo have not been exposed in the main stream media. It begs to ask the question "why?" Who gains from protecting "Michael the Murderer"?

I can only hope that Terri will find a way to seek justice from beyond the grave. SHE DESERVES IT!!! God bless you and your family Terri.


Also, a bit of advice for Jody Centonze or whatever the hell his current girlfriend's name is: GET A CLUE, RUN LIKE HELL, YOU'RE NEXT!

Posted by: Loretta T at March 28, 2005 8:46 PM

How could this beautiful country and people become so heartless as to exploit and explain away the least required of humane protect the weak and vulnerable... and instead traumatize the masses with the sight of a handicapped young woman being starved to death? No better than the abortions being explained away with shallow, hollow words. No matter how civilized a nation is, a nation is only as civilized as the full extent of demonstration of their collective compassion.

Posted by: Sharon at March 28, 2005 10:09 PM

This brings on the newest in jokes regarding the Floridians.
It is bad enough they cannot vote properly, but to allow this whole thing with Terri to happen, shows the true investigative force for what is it. Can we say DUH?
And let's not forget the Cuban child, where Clinton aided that child to back to Cuba.
Has our countries intelligence quotient dropped so very dramatically, has the moral decay enveloped our minds into mush. Or is it just that state of Florida? I bet the highest IQ there is Terri, and that's why they are murdering her.
Michael, I dont know how you sleep at night. But I venture to hope if Terri could haunt you, I sure hope she does. May you always dream of her. Sweet dreams, and Oh, let Luke's scripture be carried out. That all things willl come to the light. Your time is dwindling. May Vindication beyond the grave occur.
Terri Rest In Peace, if God wills you to return to Him by the hands of murderers.

Posted by: Pat at March 29, 2005 8:42 PM

Since removing the feeding tube of Terri, does this mean that they will not place one in the Pope. They are both human beings, just one is more ( or used to be) famous than the other. I would worry about all these small children and adults that need a feeding tube to survive.

I do believe that we are all equal, but now I am scared about what may happen in the future.

Posted by: Virginia at April 1, 2005 4:57 PM

Since removing the feeding tube of Terri, does this mean that they will not place one in the Pope. They are both human beings, just one is more ( or used to be) famous than the other. I would worry about all these small children and adults that need a feeding tube to survive.

I do believe that we are all equal, but now I am scared about what may happen in the future.

Posted by: Virginia at April 1, 2005 4:57 PM

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