If Terri Schiavo Dies, Cremation Would Cover Up Possible Abuse

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

If Terri Schiavo Dies, Cremation Would Cover Up Possible Abuse Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 28
, 2005

Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — If Terri Schiavo succumbs to the painful starvation death she has endured for 10 days, her estranged husband Michael plan to cremate her body and bury her in a plot he owns where the couple met outside Philadelphia. Critics say that could cover up allegations of physical abuse.

While Michael, the courts and the media contend Terri collapsed in February 1990 as a result of an eating disorder, Terri’s family, friends and some doctors and nurses believe there was foul play.

LifeNews.com previously reported on a friend of Terri’s who indicated she repeatedly had bruises on her arms and legs. Terri’s friends said the couple had a heated argument the night before Terri collapsed.

A bone scan taken of Terri in 1991 shows possible physical trauma, but if Terri’s body is cremated, the question of whether physical abuse led to Terri’s incapacitation may be taken to her grave.

A nurse who took care of Terri during the mid 1990s told ABC Radio host Sean Hannity on Friday that Michael put forward a motion for Terri to be cremated as soon as attorneys for Terri’s parents discovered the bone scan.

"He wanted her cremated after the bone fractures and dislocations were found," nurse Carla Sauer Iyer told Hannity.

The bone scan found "an extensive number of focal abnormal areas" including "multiple bilateral ribs … both sacroiliac joints … both knees and both ankles."

Radiographs reveal "presumably traumatic … compression fractures" of the spine and right femur, according to a report located on Terri’s parents’ web site.

Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have long alleged that Michael may have abused Terri. However, requests made for an investigation into the bone scan after the legal battle begin in 1998 were ignored. Local prosecutors said the scan was too old to be reliable.

Terri’s family has suggested an autopsy might confirm their claims, which Michael has strenuously denied.

The Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office did not return calls from the Associated Press for a news report on whether one would be conducted.

Previously, the Schindlers asked Judge George Greer to allow Terri’s body to be buried intact — citing a violation of her Catholic religious beliefs to be cremated — but he refused. Judge Greer also ruled against allowing Terri to be buried in Florida near her parents.

"To [Terri] and her nuclear family, burial without cremation is a central tenet of the Roman Catholic faith," the Schindler motion said. "They are wholly motivated by their religious belief that burial without cremation will comfort [Terri] in death."

Iyer told Hannity that she recently contacted other nurses at Palm Gardens Convalescent Center, where Terri lived at the time, to speak out but said they have been told to remain silent.

"The administrator had gotten them together and they talked about what happened with Michael," Iyer told Hannity. "The people who have worked with Terri who are still there, they cannot talk to reporters — they would be terminated."