Carla Sauer Iyer, a nurse who cared for Terri Schiavo from April 1995 to July 1996 at Palm Garden of Largo Convalescent Center was recently interviewed by David Allen. Although weíve posted several articles in the past based on her affidavits [e.g., here], she revealed a few additional details in the interview that have not been widely reported.
During the period in which she daily cared for Terri there was no publicity. ďJust Michael [Terri's husband] trying to accelerate her death,Ē she said. Iyer explained that she would often sneak Terriís parents, the Schindlers, into see her and that Michael refused to allow therapy of any kind. In fact, he was physically intimidating and would very loudly command the nurses ďthis is my order and you're going to follow it.Ē
ďWe were very intimidated Ö the whole place,Ē Iyer revealed, adding that some nurses had a restraining order against Michael Schiavo because his ďbehavior was so bad.Ē
When Terri had a urinary or upper respiratory tract infection Michael was visibly excited and would visit more often, asking ďis she dead yet?Ē According to Iyer, at one point Michael exclaimed, ďWhen is that b**** going to die?Ē
After Michaelís visits, Iyer stated that Terri, at times, became symptomatic for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Iyer said she found an unexplainable bottle of fast acting insulin concealed in Terriís wastebasket that she speculates could have been used to induce the condition. She filed a police report but heard nothing further regarding the incident. Subsequently she received death threats she believes were related to notifying the authorities and was later released from her position as a caregiver because of her actions in support of Terri.
The nurses, including Iyer, interacted with Terri and daily witnessed her respond, laugh, and make requests. ďWe had her at the front of the nurseís stationÖ everyone loved Terri,Ē Iyer said.
When asked about the accuracy of the videos available on the internet Iyer said they were realistic but failed to capture Terriís personality and, if anything, did not represent the extent of Terriís ability to respond and communicate.
Iyer witnessed Terri consuming pudding and milkshakes every night and has previously testified that she fed Terri Jello. She witnessed Terri responding to her name, following others with her eyes and head and even moving her body with purpose.
In her prior affadavit, Iyer documented Terri's vocabulary:
Terriís medical condition was systematically distorted and misrepresented. When I worked with her, she was alert and oriented. Terri spoke on a regular basis while in my presence, saying such things as "mommy," and "elp me." "Help me" was, in fact, one of her most frequent utterances. I heard her say it hundreds of times. Terri would try to say the word "pain" when she was in discomfort, but it came out more like "pay." She didnít say the "n" sound very well. During her menses she would indicate her discomfort by saying "pay" and moving her arms toward her lower abdominal area. Other ways that she would indicate that she was in pain included pursing her lips, grimacing, thrashing in bed, curling her toes or moving her legs around. She would let you know when she had a bowel movement by flipping up the covers and pulling on her diaper.
Certainly this is a story that is not being carried by the mainstream press and has been supressed from judicial decisions. Iyer's testimony brings to light several facts including:
- Terri Schiavo is not a "vegetable" and is not "brain dead". She recognizes and responds to others and makes attempts to verbally communicate. [more here]
- Terri is not on life support but does receive food and water through a removable tube, which experts testify would not even be necessary if she were given therapy. This assisted feeding is a natural means of preserving life and not a medical act of life support or heroic measures.
- Twelve medical experts and nurses who cared for her confirmed these facts. Video available through BlogsforTerri.com shows Terri responding and interacting with others. Health care workers have testified under oath [here and here] that she expresses herself using words, such as "mommy" and "help me".
- Terri is a person with disabilities who thinks and expresses her moods and desires. She is loved by her family and responds to their visits with smiles and laughter.
- Terri Schiavo may be the victim of ongoing negligence and injustice [more here]. She has been denied therapy and rehabilitation by her guardian since 1991. Floridaís guardianship laws REQUIRE that these necessary services be given to her.
- Terri Schiavo deserves to have medical tests and therapy. She does not deserve to be starved and dehydrated to death.