Orlando, Florida Newspaper Still Misreports Terri Schiavo as "Brain Dead"

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Orlando, Florida Newspaper Still Misreports Terri Schiavo as "Brain Dead"

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 11
, 2008

Orlando, FL (LifeNews.com) — Terri Schiavo died from a painful starvation and dehydration euthanasia death at the hands of her former husband over three years ago. Yet, Terri’s family is still having problems getting the mainstream media to report the story of her life and death accurately.

In the most recent case, the Orlando Sentinel newspaper is under fire for a news article that wrongly referenced Terri Schiavo as "brain dead."

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, Aaron Deslatte, a reporter from the newspaper, published the story with the erroneous claim.

Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler called and left repeated messages for Deslatte to contact him about the language.

On Wednesday, Orlando Sentinel representatives told Schindler to speak with Dana Eagles.

‘Bobby kindly informed Mr. Eagles that using the phrase ‘brain dead’ to depict Terri’s condition was patently false, explaining that the term ‘brain death’ is an authentic medical diagnosis and not an accurate term to describe a person in Terri’s condition," the family told LifeNews.com in a statement.

Schindler offered to send Eagles Terri’s medical documents proving no doctor, including those paid by Michael Schiavo, ever diagnosed Terri as "brain dead."

The next day, Eagles sent Schindler an email saying he reviewed the complaint with the editor of the state news section of the newspaper, Bob Shaw.

"We’ve considered the arguments you made in our phone conversation, but we’ve consistently used the term ‘brain dead’ in connection with the Terry Schiavo case, and we see it as a valid brief description," he wrote.

Schindler responded and indicated that the Orlando Sentinel has therefore been consistently wrong in describing Terri’s condition.

He also told Eagles that portraying Terri this way was not simply a "point of view" – his or anyone else’s.

"Medical facts remain medical facts and, as such, are not open to the interpretation of an individual reporter or newspaper," the family said.

The Schindler family asked pro-life attorney Michael Gibbs, who helped the Schindlers in their battle to stop Michael Schiavo from taking Terri’s life, for help to resolve the matter.

Gibbs wrote to the Sentinel asking for a correction and the family finally received it as an additional comment posted at the bottom of the original story.

"Because of an editing error, an article about the resignation of Florida Supreme Court Justice Kenneth B. Bell misstated the medical condition of Terri Schiavo, a Pinellas County woman who died in 2005 after the removal of her feeding tube," the paper claimed.

"Schiavo, whose case was considered by the court, was severely brain-damaged but was not brain-dead," it said.

The Schindler family said it is not surprised that there is a "growing disdain" for the mainstream media because of misreporting like this.

"The often slanted and erroneous reporting not only taint their coverage, but with examples like this, expose just how biased and unwilling they are to make corrections even when it comes to the integrity of reporting the truth," the family concluded.

ACTION: Contact the Orlando Sentinel and tell it what you think of its biased coverage of Terri Schiavo. Contact Dana Eagles at [email protected] or 407-420-5427 and contact Bob Shaw at 407-420-5196 or [email protected].

Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation – https://www.terrisfight.org