Thursday, March 24, 2005

Schiavo pt 2

You've probably heard that the Fla. Supreme Court has refused to hear the Schiavo case, so maybe it will be over soon.

first some dry stuff, then some pictures:
a coma is NOT the same as a persistent vegitative state:

A coma is a profound state of unconsciousness. Patients are alive but unable to move or respond to their environment. There are several levels of coma and patients may, or may not, progress through them. The responsiveness of the brain lessens as the coma deepens and when it becomes more profound, normal body reflexes are lost and the patient no longer responds even to pain. The chances of recovery depend on the severity of the underlying cause.

Coma is also to be distinguished from the persistent vegetative state which may follow it. This is a condition in which the individual has lost cognitive neurological function and awareness of the environment but does have noncognitive function and a preserved sleep-wake cycle. Spontaneous movements may occur and the eyes may open in response to external stimuli, but the patient does not speak or obey commands. Patients in a vegetative state may appear somewhat normal. They may occasionally grimace, cry, or laugh.

from the med school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong:

the longer coma lasted the less the chances of regaining independent function. Only one patient who survived in coma for a week achieved a good recovery within a year. About 1/3 of patients who appeared vegetative at end of 1 day regained independent activity within 1 year; when vegetative state persisted for 1 wk or more the likelihood of achieving a mod disability or good recovery within 1 year declined to 7%

ComaRecovery.Org describes several neurological tests that medicos can perform to evaluate the comatose; here's one of them:

Glasgow Coma Score (CCS):
The simplest bedside clinical exam performed in TBI is the GCS, evaluating eye opening ability, vocal or verbal ability, and best movement ability. The score ranges from a low of 3 (no detectable function) to a high of 15 (fully alert). A score of 8 or less indicates coma. A single score has no predictive or prognostic value, but a series of scores over hours, days and weeks indicate a trend.

It occurs to me that maybe that's why some of the doctors who evaluated Schiavo were more interested in watching her on video than evaluating her in person-- it's more empirically valid. But you wont get that from watching CNN, et al; just talking heads opining about how insensitive those doctors are while the anchorman tut-tuts in agreement. But according to the Apple lawsuit I'm not a journalist but Kyra Phillips and her pals are.

have you seen the vibrant and truly uplifting Kate Adamson? She was on Fox with Hannity And His Pet Goat Monday night, and talked to Bill something-or-other on CNN this morning. It seems that she was in a coma for 70 days in 1995, but then she recovered and received tons of support and rehabilitation, wrote a book and went on the lecture circuit. She was on to offer her better than expert opinion about Terri Schiavo, say truly uplifting shit and talk about her book. So I had to do a search for her. She wasn't the first entry under "vibrant+truly uplifting", but then I tried "kate adamson" and that proved more helpful. Did I tell you she wrote a book?

from Adamson's website:

Well, at least she isn't smug.

Then, on the book page:

"Get it Now! Buying Motivational Crap Shows You Care!"

oh, ok, it doesn't say that-- but the first 4 captions are as per the site.
instead it says,
"It's an amazing, amazing story! -- Bill O'Reilly"
although I'd argue mine is just half a dozen stead o' six.

yes, I realize adamson was in a coma for 70 days, but Schiavo's been out of comission for 15 YEARS,with more than a coma. Maybe Adamson's hubby would've stuck around for that long a stretch without getting a girlfriend like Mike Schiavo did, I don't know (but neither does Kate Adamson.). Is Adamson suggesting that during the first 70 days after his wife's initial hospitalization in 1990 that Mike Schiavo was already messing around and campaigning for her DNR? How does she know? The press says he only started to do so after he won a judgement in 1997, the same year that he announced his engagement to his girlfriend. (which on the face of it doesn't cast him in an especially favorable light. It would be nice if Mr. Sciavo was an obviously upstanding fellow, but it seems to me that his motives don't have to be selfless for the case against the meddling of the pro-lifers to have merit. My impression is that Terri's parents are the only party who are sincerely acting according to their perception of her best interest, although I wonder if years of battling the husband has clouded their judgement.) It would also be nice if it occured to some of these Christian right SOBs that they probably shouldn't support tort "reform" and should've gotten angry about bankruptcy "reform" because both of these GOP-Party-of-Theocracy measures will make keeping cuddly white folks on life support for years on end more difficult. It would've also been nice if Kate Adamson pointed out to Sean Hannity that if we had more of a government funded social safety net more people like her who recovered from comas but who didn't have husbands who were lawyers would be able to be rehabilitated. Maybe she meant to but it slipped her mind. Then again, maybe I'll go to hell for saying crazy stuff like that, along with Muslims and Unitarians and Catholics like John Kerry(but not Catholics like Jeb Bush).

And yes, Bill O'Reilly did talk about Wanda and Sun Hudson yesterday, but not once did he suggest that the parameters of the discussion should be about anything other than whether or not Texas law was applied correctly,and for some reason he left out the part about how a patient's inability to pay is a factor in Texas law. I guess sometimes he's circumspect and sometimes he isn't. Do you think he reads HZ? Ok, I doubt it, but I imagine his staffers know about technorati.

And finally,from the Kalamazoo Gazette:
"Keep 'adultery police' out of end-of-life decisions"

a bill ... to be introduced in Michigan by state Rep. Joel Sheltrown, a West Branch Democrat...
Sheltrown said he plans to introduce legislation that would bar spouses from denying life-prolonging treatment to incapacitated husbands or wives if the healthy spouse is in an "adulterous relationship."