Patterico's Pontifications

3/24/2005

Nothing to See Here

Filed under: Schiavo — Patterico @ 10:19 pm

Read this affidavit from a neurologist who examined Terri Schiavo this month. (Via Xrlq.)

The L.A. Times strongly suggests that he’s not credible. Why? Well, you see, he may be with the Mayo Clinic — but he’s also religious.

Lucky thing Ronald Cranford, the main doctor cited in favor of Michael Schiavo’s claims, suffered from no such philosophical conflict of interest.

Does This Sound Like Blackmail to You?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Schiavo — Patterico @ 9:29 pm

The L.A. Times uses the carrot and the stick in an editorial today titled Rehnquist’s Test. Speaking of the Schiavo case, which was in the Supreme Court this morning when the editorial ran (the Court later turned down the appeal), the editors say:

Also on [Rehnquist's] mind, we assume and we hope, is his judicial legacy. This includes both the specific doctrines he advanced and his general reputation for probity, wisdom and intellect.

Laying it on thick.

On Sunday, Congress did something outrageous in our opinion and extraordinary by anyone’s standards. It passed, and the president signed, a law intended explicitly to reverse the results of state law in a particular case.

No. It was intended to provide federal review of the case.

Here comes the stick — a threat to attack Rehnquist in his obituary if he doesn’t toe the line:

Five years ago, Rehnquist allowed politics to trump principle in the disgraceful decision of Bush vs. Gore. Fate has given him a chance for (frankly) a different lead on his eventual obituary. We hope he seizes it.

That sounds a lot like extortion — if not in the legal sense, at least in the sense that people generally think of it. Do what we say, or we slam you in your obituary.

Yeah, I’m sure this will now be the lead sentence of Rehnquist’s obituary, now that the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. I won’t forget to check this, when the paper does finally run Rehnquist’s obituary. And I’ll link to this post.

Schiavo Parents Back in Federal Court

Filed under: Schiavo — Patterico @ 9:00 pm

The other day, I said of the Schiavo parents’ lawsuit in federal court:

My preliminary impression is one of surprise at how technical, procedural, and weak some of the claims seem. This impression is strengthened upon reading the complaint submitted by counsel for the parents. I would argue that her right to life is being threatened, because there is insufficient evidence that she wished to end her life under these circumstances. I would argue that no one should die without having the facts of the case decided by a jury – something that cannot happen unless a TRO is granted.

Abstract Appeal reports:

It seems the Schindlers have now filed a Second Amended Complaint in federal court. It’s available here. The new complaint adds five claims to those that were originally raised. Count X is the truly interesting one. It alleges that Terri is being denied her right to life in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment because removing her feeding tube is contrary to her wish to live. That claim essentially says that the original trial reached the wrong result.

That sounds a lot like what I suggested. And the judge sounds interested:

Judge Whittemore entered an order today setting an aggressive briefing and hearing schedule. You can read the order here. He asked the parties to file legal memoranda addressing the injunction request with respect to count X — for the Schindlers to do so by 3 pm and for Michael to respond by 5 pm. The hearing will be tonight at 6 pm.

The media seems unaware of the possibility that there could be a new injunction in the next 24 hours.

UPDATE: Via commenter Reliapundit, we have this report from local Florida TV, saying the judge expects to issue a decision in the morning. With the right argument now being made, don’t be shocked if an injunction issues. I can’t say I’m expecting it, exactly, but it could happen.

UPDATE x2: It didn’t.

L.A. Times Makes Michael Schiavo Into Martyr

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Schiavo — Patterico @ 7:07 am

The L.A. Times runs a story titled (I kid you not) Parents’ Side Has Vilified Husband:

Demonized by his in-laws, antiabortion activists and the religious right, Michael Schiavo has become the target of accusations that he caused her heart attack and collapse with abusive, violent behavior; that he fabricated the story that she wouldn’t want to live this way only after collecting more than $1 million in a malpractice claim; that he has sabotaged her therapy and barred her friends and family from comforting visits; and that he wants her to die so he can marry a woman with whom he has lived for the last few years and fathered two children.

The article relies upon a report from Jay Wolfson, who was appointed as a guardian ad litem in the case. Wolfson concluded that Michael Schiavo “gave his heart and soul to her treatment and care.” Based on this report, the paper concludes that all of the allegations regarding Michael Schiavo’s conflicts of interest in the case are simply manufactured by Schiavo’s opponents:

In these waning days of the conflict over who has the right to make a life-or-death decision for Terri Schiavo, neither medical facts nor judicial rulings have lessened the vitriol from those who have sought to demonize her husband for his contention that she wouldn’t want to live this way.

For some strange reason, the paper never even mentions the report from the first guardian ad litem appointed in the case: Richard L. Pearse Jr. That report is described and quoted from here. Pearse recommended against the removal of the feeding tube, saying that the court should not base such a decision on evidence from Michael Schiavo, who suffered from emotional and financial conflicts of interest. Pearse’s report provides support for much of what the L.A. Times characterizes as the “demonizing” of Michael Schiavo.

The L.A. Times says it is “demonizing” Schiavo to say “that he fabricated the story that she wouldn’t want to live this way only after collecting more than $1 million in a malpractice claim.” I don’t know whether he fabricated the story, but it didn’t come up until after the medical malpractice case, and Pearse makes it clear that Schiavo had a lot to gain.

At the time of Pearse’s report, there was over $700,000 in Terri Schiavo’s trust fund. Pearse wrote:

Mr. Schiavo will realize a substantial and fairly immediate financial gain if his application for withdrawal of life support [tube-supplied food and water] is granted.

. . . .

[H]is credibility is necessarily adversely affected by the obvious financial benefit to him of being the ward’s sole heir at law in the event of her death while still married to him. Her death also permits him to get on with his own life.

The L.A. Times says it is “demonizing” Schiavo to say that he “sabotaged her therapy.” Pearse concluded that Schiavo had begun to deny basic medical treatment to Schiavo in the early 1990s:

After February 1993, Mr. Schiavo’s attitude concerning treatment for the ward [Terri Schiavo] apparently changed. Early in 1994, for example, he refused to consent to treat an infection from which the ward was then suffering and ordered that she not be resuscitated in the event of cardiac arrest. The nursing home where she resided at that time sought to intervene, which ultimately led the ward’s husband to reverse his decision and authorize antibiotic treatment.

The L.A. Times says it is “demonizing” Schiavo to say that he “barred her friends and family from comforting visits.” Pearse concluded that Michael Schiavo had “isolated the ward from her parents.”

The L.A. Times says it is “demonizing” Schiavo to say that “he wants her to die so he can marry a woman with whom he has lived for the last few years and fathered two children.” I don’t know if that is why he wants her to die, but those facts are true. Pearce noted the “two romantic involvements” that Schiavo had engaged in since Terri Schiavo’s collapse. He wrote that Michael Schiavo “wants to get on with his own life.”

(I’ll pass on defending the assertion that Michael Schiavo caused her heart attack. Nat Hentoff wrote a column about it, if you’re interested in the evidence supporting the accusation. But I have never made that argument.)

Based on Michael Schiavo’s emotional and financial conflicts of interest, the first guardian ad litem in this case recommended against removal of the feeding tube. He substantiated many of the basic facts that the paper today characterizes as mere vitriol, vilification, and demonization.

But only one guardian ad litem is quoted in today’s L.A. Times — the one that supports the paper’s editorial position that Schiavo’s feeding tube should be removed.

UPDATE: I have found a link to Pearse’s report itself. It says the civil judgment was paid in early 1993 — exactly when Schiavo’s attitude towards her medical treatment changed. This is strong evidence that he is not being “demonized” when people say that he changed his mind about her wishes when the dough hit his bank account.


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1467 secs.