Thursday, October 30, 2003

Schiavo First Tried to "Grant" Wife's "Wish" in 1993, Court Records Show

Michael Schiavo and his attorneys have been telling the Establishment media that he waited until 1998 (the year he hired “right-to-die” activist lawyer George Felos) to “grant” Terri’s “wish” to “allow” her to die if she had to be kept alive “artificially.”

But the court records tell a very different story:

(1) According to Schiavo’s November, 1993 Guardianship Hearing Deposition Schiavo first attempted to "allow" Terri to die via withdrawal of emergency medical treatment in June of 1993, when Terri contracted a potentially fatal urinary tract infection ---barely seven months after telling the court in his malpractive trial that he intended to "[take] care of my wife" and "spend the rest of my life with her." However, the Deposition shows, Terri’s doctor and nursing home staff refused to carry out his order because it violated Florida law:

[from Michael Schiavo Deposition, Guardianship Hearing, November 1993]:

Q. What was [Terri’s] bladder condition [in June 1993]?
[Michael Schiavo] A. She had a UTI.

Q. What is that?
A. Urinary tract infection.

Q. What did the doctor tell you treatment for that would be?
A. Antibiotic usually.

Q. And did he tell you what would occur if you failed to treat that infection? What did he tell you?
A. That sometimes urinary tract infection will turn to sepsis.

Q. And sepsis is what?
A. An infection throughout the body.

Q. And what would the result of untreated sepsis be to the patient?
A. The patient would pass on.

Q. So when you made the decision not to treat Terri's bladder infection you, in effect, were making a decision to allow her to pass on?
A. I was making a decision on what Terri would want.

Q. Had the bladder condition been treated?
A. Yes.

Q. And was...what was the reason that the bladder condition was treated?
A. Sable Palms Nursing Home said they could not do that by some Florida law which wasn't stated.

Q. But you didn't change your opinion or your decision to not treat the bladder condition?
A. We did change it.

Q. Correct?
A. Repeat the question.

Q. You did not change your decision not to treat the bladder condition, correct?
A. I had to change my decision.

Q. Sable Palms changed it for you?
[Schiavo’s] Attorney Nillson Objection

Q. Okay. Is there any reason that you would not make the same decision that you previously made if the problem came up again?
A. Repeat your question. You're losing me here.

Q. Let me be more specific. If your wife developed another condition that could result in her death, is there any reason that you would not take the position that you're not going to treat that condition and you're going to instruct the doctor not to treat that condition?
A. I wouldn't instruct anybody, no.

Q. You instructed the doctor not to treat the condition, correct?
[Schiavo’s] Attorney Nillson Objection

Q. You did instruct the doctor not to treat her bladder condition, correct?
A. Uh-huh. Yes.

Q. If a similar...would you do the same?
A. I'm thinking.

Q. Take your time.
A. I probably wouldn't instruct the doctor to do it.

Q. So you've changed your opinion?
A. Sort of, yeah.

Q. Why have you changed your opinion?
A. Because evidently there is a law out there that says I can't do it.

Q. Is that the only reason?
A. Basically, maybe.

Q. What you're telling me is, is that there is nothing in your belief or feelings that have changed. The only thing that has changed is the fact that you perceive the law prevents you to do what you intended to do?
A. Correct.

(2) Another court record, Schiavo’s Malpractice Testimony, also shows that barely seven months earlier, during his $20 million malpractice suit in November 1992, he told the court that he intended to take care of Terri “for the rest of my life” (he was awarded over $1 million total, including $700K for Terri's care and rehabilitation, in January 1993):

[from Testimony of Michael Schiavo, Medical Malpractice Trial, November 1992]:

Q. Why did you want to learn to be a nurse?
[Michael Schiavo] A. Because I enjoy it and I want to learn more how to take care of Terri.

Q. You're a young man. Your life is ahead of you. When you look up the road, what do you see for yourself?
A. I see myself hopefully finishing school and taking care of my wife.

Q. Where do you want to take care of your wife?
A. I want to bring her home.

Q. If you had the resources available to you, if you had the equipment and the people, would you do that?
A. Yes, I would, in a heartbeat.

Q. How do you feel about being married to Terri now.
A. I feel wonderful. She's my life and I wouldn't trade her for the world. I believe in my marriage vows.

Q. You believe in your wedding vows, what do you mean by that?
A. I believe in the vows I took with my wife, through sickness, in health, for richer or poor. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that.

Apparently, a lot can change in seven months. Especially after winning a hefty sum in a malpractice suit.

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