Ah, what the hell, I'll pit Michael Schiavo

Really, what the hell, I’m going to pit Michael Schiavo. On the whole, I think that this board overwhelmingly agrees that the whole Terry Schiavo deal down in Florida regarding lawsuit after repetitive lawsuit, bizarre executive interventions from Jeb Bush, the religious right, etc. was a bit of a farce. Mr. Schiavo, Terry Schiavo’s friends, and advanced medical science all pointed in one definitive direction, there was no point to continuing Ms. Schiavo’s feeding tube nor would she have likely wanted one if she could make a decision about it herself. Idiots in Foxnews trotted out their, “Nobel Prize Nominated” Scientists claiming that Ms. Schiavo still had hope, that the right embodied, a “culture of life,” etc., ad nauseum.

Of course now that the autopsy report is out, a few things have been made clear. Most importantly, her brain was much smaller than normal, a lot of it was CSF, and there is no question that she absolutely never would have recovered from her persistent vegitative state. There is no evidence of trauma, abuse, or foul play so you can drop any kooky theories about how Michael was responsible for the whole mess.

Overwhelmingly, the boards have pointed to this finding and pointed out that it vindicated both Mr. Schiavo, the rulings of the Florida courts, and their own positions as well.

However, the collapse that was originally assumed to have been caused by an eating disorder, but the autopsy suggests that there wasn’t an eating disorder and that the potassium imbalance was related to the events prior to the blood draw where the odd potassium level occurred.

So, why am I pitting Mr. Schiavo? Well ignore the part about with him moving on with his life and having a “mistress” or any of that other claptrap and let’s go to the medical malpractice suit. Just like with the Schiavo case as a whole, I hardly think I’m going out on a limb here to say that the majority of Dopers are opposed to “tort reform,” limiting or making medical malpractice suits any more difficult to gain damages in, or other similar legal reforms. Yet nonetheless, Mr. Schiavo managed to win close to $2 million in a medical malpractice suit against Ms. Schiavo’s OBGYN for failing to diagnose bulimia. Well, apparently Ms. Schaivo never had bulimia, and even if she did, I can’t imagine how an OBGYN is supposed to have a better chance of seeing that than her own husband. I mean depending on when, how often, and via what means a bulimic uses to purge they might not even be that nutritionally harmed by bulimia even though tey still need treatment for the eating disorder. I think that a husband that lives with his wife is more likely to notice and perhaps has more responsibility to recognize any eating disorder than an OBGYN that sees her only intermittently and is unlikely to be arround for any purging behaviors. And yet, Mr. Schiavo sued and won a medical malpractice settlement against Ms. Schiavo’s OBGYN for just that. So, just as the autopsy has clearly vindicated one side in the feeding tube issue, it’s vindicated another side in the medical malpractice issue. But while the Florida courts brought justice for Ms. Schiavo, they didn’t do so for her OBGYN. So, where’s the uproar? Does this change any opinions on medical malpractice cases? Shouldn’t it?

Wrong-o-rama. The autopsy report found no evidence of bulimia because there wouldn’t be any evidence to find. It’s not “she didn’t have bulimia after all.” Completely different thing.

I get what you’re saying, but a doctor IS supposed to notice crap like this. He can examine her and put the evidence together in a way the husband probably can’t. A doctor, at least so the court thought, is supposed to be able to say “Hmm, she’s lost so much weight that she’s not menstruating anymore, this might be a problem.”
As far as noticing… if bulimics didn’t figure out ways to hide what they’re doing, nobody would have bulimia, would they?

Ms. Schiavo wasn’t underweight when she collapsed and you seem to have fabricated this amenorrhea bit out of whole cloth, I can’t find any reputable mention of it from Googleing for it. I mean this is the point, basically there were no definitive signs from either the autopsy or apparently to Mr. Schiavo or Ms. Schiavo’s OBGYN at the time that she had an eating disorder, and yet the jury was willing to assume that the OBGYN should have had some sort of magical powers of divination to figure out that she had an eating disorder, even though for bulimia the most telling signs would be behavioral and apparently flew under Mr. Schiavo’s radar (most likely because they didn’t exist at all).

I’ll grant that the autopsy doesn’t prove that she never had bulimia, but it never really conclusively proves that she was never abused either, it’s just that we have a complete lack of evidence for both.

There are physical signs to bulimia, many of which would be noticeable by a trained doctor. Purging can cause electrolyte imbalance, fatigue, abdominal pain, and can lead to temporary infertility due to disrupted menstrual cycles. (Cites here and here.) Furthermore, bulimia can cause abdominal bloating, so bulimics may not appear underweight. Bulimia does not mean losing all calories taken in; many get enough calories through bingeing that they may not be obviously underweight at all.

As to the behavioral aspects, it’s entirely likely that Terri hid her behavior; both sites I linked to mention that patients try to hide their behavior, sometimes to extreme lengths. Unless the person’s SO is trained to or looking closely for symptoms, they may not see anything at all, or they may believe the patient’s explanations.

Bulimia is a deceptive disease. Just because the signs aren’t obvious doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.


What signs are you looking for 15 years afterwards? Maybe some erosion of tooth enamel, but maybe she didn’t vomit–maybe she abused laxatives.
Not seen doesn’t mean not there or didn’t happen–it means not seen/found upon exam.

$2 million for someone left in a PVS is chump change for the total care they require. And don’t forget the attorney’s fees come out of that as well.

Not mental or emotional, no, but it makes a damn good case that she wasn’t physically abused. I could be wrong but I think that evidence of eating disorders wouldn’t show up in any autopsy whereas evidence of physical abuse would.

Wouldn’t someone have looked for evidence of abuse in a more appropriate time frame, like when she dropped dead 15 years ago? Normal, healthy, young people just don’t keel over from a cardiac arrest and suspect emergencies are looked at, aren’t they? I mean there are some things ER physicians are required to report.

The Schindlers are anguished parents looking for reasons why their child died before them, they are just looking to blame someone. That is after they desperately tried to convince the world that their child was not dead. They are in denial. I’ve heard too many parents say, “my child wouldn’t do that!” or “that couldn’t happen to my child”, and it is always a lie born of false hope. The Schindlers are coming to grips with the fact that their child has died and just want to blame someone, the spouse is convenient. Jeb Bush has used this unfortunate event for his own political agenda because it has built in media attention. If he really gave a fuck he would turn his attention to the countless women in Florida that we KNOW are being abused now.

Was there any history of abuse 15 years ago (police incident reports, neighbors that saw things unusual, etc.)? If there was any evidence of abuse someone would have found it when it happened. If there was not blatant evidence of abuse 15 years ago, no one is going to find trace evidence of abuse now. Micheal may have abused her (I don’t believe that), Terri might have been doing something that wasn’t smart (most likely), or there was some unknown reason why this woman died an untimely death. The only thing that was proven by the autopsy was that she would have never recovered, that was why it was done.

Official autopsy report summary (Referring here to the second paragraph on the page)

Not quite. He sued her primary care physician and gynecologist “regarding the care received prior to her collapse” - whether that’s failure to diagnose bulimia or failure to diagnose that she was headed for trouble, the report doesn’t specify, I’m afraid. The PCP settled with him out of court. At the medical malpractice trial against the gynecologist, it looks like expert witnesses on both sides said that the low potassium levels were the cause of her collapse, and that bulimia or another eating disorder was the most likely cause of the potassium changes.

I mean, hell, when the expert witnesses for the defense are agreeing with your theory, that’s hardly a damnation of the case’s merits.

What a bunch of bullshit.

Hasn’t this been rehashed time and time again. Is congress now going to make a special anti Michael Schiavo law? Just let the dead horse die.

threemae- the tort of negligence has three parts.

  1. A duty of care
  2. A failure of that duty
  3. Harm must result from that failure

Michael may have been her husband, but under the tort he did not have the DUTY OF CARE that her physicians did.

  1. Her PCP settled out of court, without admitting liability.
  2. Her gynaecologist was found negligent in a court of law, based on the available evidence.
  3. The ME’s report is an opinion, it is not “proof” that there was no bulimia.
  4. The ME is working with the same data available to the courts at the time of the negligence case, not with new information. If you read the autopsy report you will notice that he is talking about blood results taken the day she collapsed, not 15 years later.
  5. The ME is interpreting the low potassium as a factitious result from the fluid bolus and resuscitation, the courts didn’t.

So, based on the available evidence the courts came to one conclusion, the ME another. That kind of stuff happens all the time.

Since the courts decided the doctor was negligent, after weighing up the evidence, MS was justified in bringing the case. You have no reason to pit him.

Bullemia was not ruled out, and I wish the papers would stop giving that impression. I maintain that it is the only explanation that fits all the facts. The medical examiner tries to come up with alternate explanations because that’s what medical examiners do–they look for all the possibilities.

Terri had lost a lot of weight (she may have been at a normal weight at the time of her collapse, but she had been overweight before) and she was being seen for infertility and amenorrhea. IMO, it is absolutely malpractice to not probe for further signs of an eating disorder at that point; it is rather shocking how prevalent such things are in young women. I haven’t read any more about that case, so I don’t know many specifics, but it’s not nearly as ridiculous as you think.

Isn’t it also true that one need not either refuse to eat or binge and purge to have an eating disorder? Some people will overhydrate themselves to make themselves feel full so they won’t eat and Terri was known to drink large quantities of ice tea. Overhydration will affect one’s electrolytes. The ME even touched on this as a possible cause but everyone seems to be jumping on the “no proof of bulemia” bandwagon.

So is threemae going to recant, admit she is wrong, or like Mehitabel and Lekatt will this be another Donna Quixcote, tilting forever at Michael Schaivo?

Is it any coincidence that Michael Schiavo and Michael Jackson share a name?
I think not!
Evil is afoot in America, and its name is Michael.

The Michael Moore haters don’t need any more ammunition…

This is stupid. The ME’s report said no such thing, threemae. The lay media has reported it as such, I know that, but after 15 years there wouldn’t be much to find unless she had been a practicing bulimiac for an extended period of time.

Not having found overwhelming evidence to support it upon death more than a decade later =! not having ever existed.


There’s a thread in the Sean Hannity forums where someone seems to think Schiavo is the actual AntiChrist. It might be a joke, but I think s/he’s serious.

I thought it was “Wayne”. :wink:

I? I didn’t even use the word amenorrhea. I’m still not quite clear what it means.

You’re still wrong. Do you not get what everybody’s telling you? It’s the old absence of evidence /= evidence of absence thing.

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly are the signs for bulimia you’re supposed to look for in a person that has been fed by a tube for 15 years?