Terri Schiavo’s Body Taken For Autopsy at Medical Examiner’s Office

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo’s Body Taken For Autopsy at Medical Examiner’s Office Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 31
, 2005

Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — Terri Schiavo’s body has been taken to the county medical examiner’s office following her death Thursday morning. The autopsy could determine whether or not Terri had broken bones as a result of her estranged husband Michael allegedly abusing her.

A police spokesman told the Associated Press that a white van drove Terri’s body to the office along with police escort.

Preliminary reports on the results of the autopsy may be available in two to three days, but a complete report could take as long as two to three weeks.

Once the autopsy is performed, Terri’s body is scheduled to be cremated.

Bob and Mary Schindler objected to that plan before her death and argued that it violated her Catholic religious beliefs and that she should be buried close to her parents instead of in a burial plot in Pennsylvania owned by Michael.

Judge George Greer denied both requests.

Terri parents would at least like Michael to delay burying Terri’s body so they can hold a church service in Florida. There is not word yet on whether Michael will consent.

George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael’s lead attorney, announced Tuesday that Michael had changed his mind and would allow the autopsy to exonerate himself on accusations he abused Terri and to show Terri is very severely brain damaged.

Yet, the decision to conduct an autopsy had already been made when Felos spoke with the media — and not by Michael or Felos.

Jon Thogmartin, medical examiner for Pinellas and Pasco counties, told the St. Petersburg Times newspaper he made the decision to conduct an autopsy Monday.

"We have determined to be involved because of the statutes and because the people of the state of Florida say we are involved," Pellan said. "Not because Michael Schiavo wants us involved."

An autopsy would not likely help resolve the debate over whether Terri’s condition is a persistent vegetative state or if, as some neurologists and doctors suggest, she is minimally conscious and able to interact on a limited basis.

"Persistent vegetative state or minimally conscious state is a clinical diagnosis," Michael De Georgia, head of the neurology/neurosurgery intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, says. "It cannot be confirmed by autopsy."

What the autopsy could do, however, is help determine whether Michael abused Terri, leading to her collapse.

A bone scan conducted a year after the collapse showed signs of possible trauma and broken bones.

Dr. Michael Baden, chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police, told the Associated Press that autopsies can detect whether an adult’s bones had ever been broken and healed, even years ago.

Related news stories:

CBS News Posts Prewritten Story Saying Terri Schiavo Died

Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Last Motion on Terri Saying "I Want to Live"

Terri Schiavo Case Reveals How We Treated Disabled Americans

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org