Friday, March 25, 2005

Hear! Hear! Is There Really a 'New Diagnosis' for Terri Schiavo?

TCS: Tech Central Station - Is There Really a 'New Diagnosis' for Terri Schiavo?

The medical reality of Ms. Schiavo's case is this: She has been in what is medically referred to as a "permanent vegetative state" for the past 15 years, ever since her heart temporarily stopped (probably due to the severe effects of an eating disorder), depriving her brain of oxygen. Brain scans indicate that her cerebral cortex ceased functioning -- probably just after she experienced cardiac arrest in 1990. Ms. Schiavo's CAT scan shows massive shrinking of the brain, and her EEG is flat. Physicians confirm that there is no electrical activity coming from her brain. While the family video repeatedly shown on television suggests otherwise, her non-functioning cortex precludes cognition, including any ability to interact or communicate with people or show any signs of awareness. Dozens of experts over the years who have examined Ms. Schiavo agree that there is no hope of her recovering -- even though her body, face and eyes (if she is given food and hydration) might continue to move for decades to come.

The body being wrangled over is exactly that: a body. The former occupant died 15 years ago. The soul stopped when the mind stopped, which stopped when the brain stopped.

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