Terri Schiavo’s Parents: More Tests Are Needed Before Daughter Starved

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 18, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Parents: More Tests Are Needed Before Daughter Starved

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 18, 2005

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — The parents of Terri Schiavo plan to present a new legal motion before a local judge who will decide whether Terri’s estranged husband Michael is allowed to starve Terri to death.

Bob and Mary Schindler want cognitive ability tests to be conducted on their daughter to prove their contention that she is more aware than courts have acknowledged.

An attorney for the Schindlers will present a motion Monday before Circuit Court Judge Greer pointing to a new study showing that disabled people who are treated as if they have no awareness of their surroundings or that they cannot interact with others may be absorbing more than previously thought.

David Gibbs will ask Judge Greer to allow such testing to be used to assess Terri’s brain activity before her feeding tube is removed. Michael could be allowed to remove the gastric tube providing Terri with food and water as soon as Tuesday.

At the hearing Monday, Gibbs will also ask Judge Greer to extend the stay that expires on February 22.

"I think the bottom line is that Terri deserves to get these tests," her father Bob Schindler said Thursday. "It would be unconscionable for Judge Greer or any other judge to order her death without these tests."

In the study, team of neuroscientists in New York, New Jersey and Washington used imaging technology (MRIs) to compare the brain activity of two disabled people in conditions similar to Terri’s and the level of activity of health individuals.

As expected, the minimally conscious subjects showed brain activity at less than half the levels of the healthy subjects.

But, the researchers also made audio recordings of loved ones telling cherished stories or recalling shared experiences. In each of the brain-damaged patients while the recordings played, the level of neural activity matched that of the healthy patients.

Meanwhile, the Schindlers also point to the case of Sarah Scantlin, a Kansas woman who recently came out of a 20 year coma to be able to speak for the first time. Prior to that, Scantlin, like Terri, had limited, but obvious, interaction with her family.

Responding to the news, euthanasia advocate George Felos, Michael’s lead attorney, told the Associated Press that the study and the Scantlin case are irrelevant to Terri because she "is in a vegetative condition and has no consciousness."

"These are frivolous, last-ditch efforts on the part of the parents," Felos said.