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Jason Holliston
Tuesday, March 22, 2005  
More Thoughts on Terry Schiavo

I was thinking about this more today, and spending a little more time reading about it. I'm more aghast now than I was. Thanks to for the pointer to the transcript for this interview on Hannity & Colmes with Dr. Bill Hammesfahr, a Nobel Prize nominee in medicine for work with brain injury and stroke victims. No matter what your opinion on this matter, I urge you to read the whole thing. I've read a lot of people during the last couple of days that have been shrugging their shoulders at the whole affair, wishing that the country would just move on. After reading what Dr. Hammesfahr had to say, that ambivalence is difficult to understand:

HANNITY: This is what I want to talk about. You have spent, unlike Robert Wexler, who was commenting on medical issues this weekend, you spent how many hours with Terri?

HAMMESFAHR: I spent about 10 hours with Terri across three separate occasions, and I spent a lot of time with videotapes, the medical record which is in boxes and boxes and boxes. for about a year. And of course, you know, I spending time interviewing the family and people who actually have seen her. So I've spent a lot of time with her.

HANNITY: Do you believe she is aware, conscious and responsive?

HAMMESFAHR: Terri is completely aware and conscious and responsive. She is like a child with cerebral palsy. We have kids in the Pinellas County school system every day that are much worse than her, that we're educating.

HANNITY: Doctor, wait a minute. I've got to get this straight here.

You were nominated to get a Nobel Peace Prize in this very work. Are you saying that this woman could be rehabilitated?

HAMMESFAHR: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Could she talk one day?


HANNITY: Then how is it possible we're in this position if you have examined her, you were up for a Nobel Prize. I -- this is mind boggling to me.

HAMMESFAHR: I don't understand it myself. You know, this is a -- this is a case of a terrible error that's happened and it's a grievous case.

You know, what struck me about Congress, in the last couple of days is that there we have physicians who examined the videotapes, examined the same evidence I had, examined my records, my evaluation of her, stepped forward and said, this is not a person in a coma. This is not a person in PVS (a persistent vegetative state). We have to stop this.

Wow. I've also heard people complain that Congress and the President shouldn't be spending so much time and energy on trying to save a single life, and they have bigger things they should be doing. Without pushing too hard the bounds of hyperbole, this is the type of thing our representatives get paid to do. I hope the day never comes that our representatives are too busy and bothered to intervene on such a grave case as this. Remember that the government, in the form of the Florida court system, is an integral part of this affair.

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