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June 15, 2005

Schiavo autopsy vindicates husband, impugns Frist

No surprises here. Terri Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state, Michael Schiavo didn't beat her, Nat Hentoff is a crackpot, and Bill Frist is a demagogic quack.

Schiavo's Brain Was Severely Deteriorated, Autopsy Says
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 12:32 p.m. ET
LARGO, Fla. (AP) -- An autopsy on Terri Schiavo backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding that she had massive and irreversible brain damage and was blind, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused.

Evidently, Bill Frist, M.D. didn't notice that his "patient" was blind:

Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin concluded that…her brain was about half of normal size when she died. …

Thogmartin says her brain was "profoundly atrophied" – and that the damage was "irreversable." He also says, "The vision centers of her brain were dead" – meaning she was blind.

Which makes Dr. Frist's expert "diagnosis" all the more outrageous:

Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a renowned heart surgeon before becoming Senate majority leader, went to the floor late Thursday night for the second time in 12 hours to argue that Florida doctors had erred in saying Terri Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state."

"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli." [Think Progress]

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Schiavo autopsy vindicates husband, impugns Frist:

» Schiavo Autopsy Report from bennellibrothers.com
So what have we learned: - There wasn't abuse by Michael Schiavo as all the wackos have claimed. - Dr. Billy Frist is [Read More]

» Schiavo State Was 'Irreversible' from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
An autopsy on Terri Schiavo found that she had massive and irreversible brain damage and was blind, [Read More]

» Of Evidence and Wingnuts from Lawyers, Guns and Money
Definitions of wingnuttery may differ, but "whatever Bill Frist says, in contradiction to many medical professionals and a number of fair trials, after spending an hour watching videotape must be true" is an easy case... [Read More]

» More bad news for the anti-choicers from Pandagon
There's really no pleasant way to address the entire Terri Schiavo mess. She was latched onto by rabid anti-choicers in a pathetic bid to bolster their case that they are "pro-life" when what they are is pro-control, mostly of women's... [Read More]

» Reactions to Terri Schiavo Autopsy Report from Agnosticism/Atheism
People are reacting to the Terri Schiavo autopsy report in predictable ways. Those who argued that she didn't have enough of a brain left to process higher-level reasoning have been proven right - she couldn't even process visual information anymore.... [Read More]

» Schiavo Autopsy Report from bennellibrothers.com
So what have we learned: - There wasn't abuse by Michael Schiavo as all the wackos have claimed. - Dr. Billy Frist is [Read More]

» =?utf-8?Q?Hannity=E2=80=99s?= Schiavo nurse may lose her license from Radio Left
Crooks and LiarsHC-Nurse-inTrouble1.jpg[Read More]

Comments

Suprise, surprise. Will we see much about this on cable news?

Quick! We've got to let Sean Hannity know about this! He's been terribly misinformed! And will the Nominee for the Noebell Peace Prize in Medical Inquiry be forced to relinquish his medal?

Surprise? No, not so much...

However, the more important finding to my mind is that there was no pre-existing trauma. If you will be remembered of it, this was one of the asshats' primary lines of argument, that she was some sort of victim of physical abuse at the hands of her husband.

Now we know that is not the case, in all likelyhood.

I wonder if that will get reported...

mojo sends

Surprise? No, not so much...

However, the more important finding to my mind is that there was no pre-existing trauma. If you will be remembered of it, this was one of the asshats' primary lines of argument, that she was some sort of victim of physical abuse at the hands of her husband.

Now we know that is not the case, in all likelyhood.

I wonder if that will get reported...

mojo sends

If only someone would perform a similar examination of Frist's brain . . . .

It won't change anything. The people making those claims were not rational people. They will continue to believe what they choose to believe, and add the motives of those performing the autopsy to their slander.

I said it then, and I'll say it now, Bill Frist, doctor though he may be, clearly doesn't understand how the visual system works. If he did, he would know that you can have low-level responses to visual information without any higher-level (or conscious) vision. This often happens in patients with severe brain damage to higher-level brain regions (like the visual cortex, or other areas associated with consciousness). It's because visual information passes through some pre-cortical brain regions first, and can cause reflex actions, without the person actually being able to consciously "see." If Frist had gone back and read his first year neurology textbook, he would have known this, and a lot of bullshit and responses to bullshit (by people who may also have reflex-like action but no higher brain functioning) could have been avoided.

Chris, I'll bet Frist knew perfectly well that Schiavo was blind. He just didn't care. He's got a presidency to seek.

I am so angry right now it's not even funny. What the right tried to pull on this one was as inhumane as it comes, and I hope they are fucking ashamed of themselves. I know they aren't, though, and that pisses me off even more.

Good point. Interesting and only somewhat related anecdote:

My father and Bill Frist were more than casual acquaintances, since they both worked on various committees/boards at Vanderbilt during Frist's time there in the mid and late-80s. When I was a teenager, I met him a few times at the sort of functions that doctors attend, and had the distinct impression that I was meeting a character from a Gogol novel, in other words someone who was all surface and no depth. He was almost universally liked and admired, including by both of my parents (who are staunch Democrats), but I couldn't help feeling that he was completely soulless. Granted, that's the feeling I've always had around most heart and brain surgeons (people who see patients for 5 minutes, then hop in their $200,000 cars to go have a drink at the 19th hole -- one neurosurgeon during Frist's time at Vanderbilt drove a Delorean, and more than a couple drove hand-built Italian sports cars), but it would be perfectly consistent with that impression for Frist to lie about a medical diagnosis he was unqualified to make in the first place simply to gain political points.

"It won't change anything. The people making those claims were not rational people."

That about covers it and the comment about quack physicians getting air time via the partisan talking heads circuit.I listened to the medical examiner and he said that there wasn't anything left of the cerebrum except some residual scar tissue... non-functioning!

Then MSNBC had that partisan hack Dr. Healy back on who suddenly was backing up but then said "it still didn't resolve whether she might have had the mind of say a six month old child." Now this twit is a Cardiologist... not a Neurologist so she's way out side her field in the first place. Also what part of non-functioning scar tissue did she not understand?

Then there was the good Dr. Hammersfahr claiming that he could get her to use her legs and at least one arm. The only thing that this puke didn't claim is that he could have had her doing ballet and tap dancing. Pukes like these got tons of air time, despite the fact that he was only one of eight neurologists who examined her and the only dissenting voice in the court hearings. He later it turns out was listed in quackwatch.com's database of doctors selling snake-oil to avoid. None of the TV shows vetted this twit!

The tape that made the rounds on the talk show circuit and had assholes like Chris Matthews slavering about her eyes following the balloons and and her mothers face and how it clearly showed that she was conscious... all of it bull shit and it was an edited portion of a four hour tape where until that moment she was completely unresponsive.

It really pisses me off to the extreme because the same crowd of news "journalist" and puking pundits (Scarborough, Hannity, and Matthews), are the same ones who critisize the bloggers for having no credentials and not being accountable to anyone.

Christ! The only ones who made any sense at all and were reporting factual information instead of inflammatory crap was the bloggers. In fact that is how I found Lindsay's blog. I wanted to know more and did a google search and found that she was posting Judge Greer's transcripts and the Neurologists reports. That's how I found out that she didn't have a cerebrum left!

Way to go Lindsay! If it weren't for you and other bloggers like you... no telling what fuck heads like Frist and Company would have been able to pull off in our legal system.

I'm also put in mind of the video of them snapping in her face as if she could see. So sad.

I haven't thought about this much and may change my mind when I do, but both on the left and the right, there is a lot of theory and not often do we get to see the theory borne out in actual life, and even when we do, the results are pretty ambiguous. I remember Bush's justification for his first tax cut when the economy continued going South--things would have been a lot worse without it. How do you argue with logic like that? My first reaction to the Schiavo autopsy was here is another case where we have been proved right and all the conservatives have is a lot of bullshit theory that never works in actual practice. It seems easy to make more of this than we should but still being proved right unambiguously seems significant.

this is your country,stand the fuck up.yer either for or agin.

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