Case Similar to Terri Schiavo’s Has Wife Deciding Her Husband’s Fate

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Case Similar to Terri Schiavo’s Has Wife Deciding Her Husband’s Fate Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 15, 2005

Jacksonville, FL ( — A case similar to that of Terri Schiavo has a Florida woman holding her husband’s fate in her hands. Schiavo’s family is calling on Jacksonville resident Eliza Thomas to allow her husband to live.

Scott Thomas suffered brain injury in September of 2004 and has since been incapacitated and dependent on others.

As with Terri, Scott’s wife is seeking to move him to a hospice and remove the gastric tube that provides him with food and water. Scott’s mother, Pamela Patton, has petitioned the courts for guardianship of the disabled man and was awarded a temporary guardianship.

However, the guardianship will expire in June and Eliza wants to take over making Scott’s medical decisions at that point.

Despite Eliza’s desire to end her husband’s life, Patton says her son speaks a limited vocabulary, answers yes or no questions with hand signals, and can tell basic factual information about himself such as his former school and hometown.

Patton says the cause of Scott’s injury is under dispute.

Eliza claims Scott was backing up and fell over the family dog in the kitchen and hit his head, causing the disabling injuries. However, Scott has communicated to his mother that Eliza struck him and caused his current incapacitated state.

"The doctors say that his injuries are not consistent with such a fall and believe the severe head trauma was caused by a blow to the head," Patton told the Empire Journal newspaper.

Patton has approached Dr. William Hammesfahr, a world-renown neurologist who said Terri Schiavo could have been rehabilitated if she had been given proper treatment and care instead of being starved to death. She wants him to work with her son.

Terri Schiavo’s father Bob Schindler hopes Eliza will change her mind and not starve Scott to death.

"I am pleading with Mrs. Thomas to please reconsider her decision to seek the removal of Scott’s feeding tube and to allow him to receive the therapy and rehabilitation he needs to improve," he said. "I beg Mrs. Thomas to give her husband a chance."

Schindler said Scott would endure pain and suffering similar to Terri if he is starved.

"The suffering our daughter endured and her death over the course of nearly two weeks was horrific," he explained.

The guardianship issue will be determined at a June 3 hearing. Eliza attempted in October to move Scott to a hospice and remove his feeding tube.

Scott has reportedly indicated he does not wish to be moved or to be denied food and water.