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Monday, June 20, 2005

Terri Was Aware, Says Brain Docs.

We All Said It! Terri was Aware! Terri, Just could not communicate the way you or I do. The autopsy reults suggests the same.

"The record must be set straight," he said. "As we noted in the press, there was no heart attack, or evident reason for this to have happened (and certainly not of Terri's making). Unlike the constant drumbeat from the husband, his attorneys, and his doctors, the brain tissue was not dissolved, with a head of just spinal fluid. In fact, large areas were 'relatively preserved.'"

He said the autopsy results confirmed his opinion that the frontal areas of the brain, the areas that deal with awareness and cognition, were relatively intact.

"In fact, the relay areas from the frontal and front temporal regions of the brain, to the spinal cord and the brain stem, by way of the basal ganglia, were preserved, thus the evident responses which she was able to express to her family and to the clinicians seeing her or viewing her videotape," he said. "The Spect scan confirmed these areas were functional and not scar tissue, and that was apparently also confirmed on Dr. (Stephen) Nelson's review of the slides."

Dr. Hammesfahr describes Terri as "a woman trapped in her body, similar to a child with cerebral palsy, and that was born out by the autopsy, showing greater injury in the motor and visual centers of the brain. Obviously, the pathologists comments that she could not see were not borne out by reality, and thus his assessment must represent sampling error. The videotapes clearly showed her seeing."

He was critical of the findings that she was not capable of swallowing on her own. He cited her ability to swallow up to about 1.5 liters per day of liquid, confirmed, he said, by two other physicians.

Last week, an attorney specializing in medical ethics cases, Jerri Lynn Ward of Austin, Texas, made similar observations,"The frontal temporal and temporal poles and insular-cortex demonstrated relative preservation."

"What this tells us is that her cortex retained function and that her brain was more normal in the area that controls higher-level thinking."
Ward, pointing to the autopsy report, notes the brain's frontal lobe plays a part in impulse control, judgment, language, memory, motor function, problem solving, sexual behavior, socialization and spontaneity.

"It is very possible that she remained cognizant of sounds and other things without being able to communicate," Ward said. "It's possible Terri was aware of everything being done to her -- yet could do little to make people aware that she was there."
(Remeber others who have come out of "supposedPVS" states, like Kate Adamson, who said, she was there, but could not let anyone know.)
Ward pointed out that major damage to Schiavo's brain was shown to be toward the back -- the areas that affect motor skills.

So the question remains, says Ward, was Terri Schiavo still a thinking, aware human being?