Updated - We Gave Her a Chance

| 10 Comments

The sister of one of our readers suffered brain damage that left her in a condition similar to that of Terri Schiavo. She writes,

I have a sister who was in the same situation as Terri Schiavo. 12 years ago my sister had a sudden cardiac arrest episode that caused major damage to her brain. Four days into her coma we were told by doctors that Kim was in a persistent vegetative state and that we should unplug her ventilator. If she made it through the night we were told to make arrangements to put her in a nursing home. My parents decided not to follow the recommendations of the doctors and to instead transfer her to a rehabilitation hospital. Kim was dependent on both a feeding tube and a ventilator. Through intensive occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy which included teaching her to swallow again, she made a wonderful recovery. Though she is still physically challenged and in a wheel chair, she is very much a productive member of society. She is living at home with my parents who are her care givers. She votes in elections and loves to debate the issues. My sister was given a second chance at life, and Terri deserves that same chance!
Please note that Kim was in a worse condition than Terri. Kim was on a ventilator while Terri is not.

Update: I emailed K, the author the text above, and asked for more information. Here is her response:

We have video footage of Kim from 1993 when she was in the midst of her very intensive, daily therapies. If you could see the footage, which has been broadcasted on the news by WGAL-8 and Fox-43, you would be eerily amazed at how similar Kim was to Terri Schiavo.

Yes, we were told by neurologists at Lancaster Community Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that Kim was in a PVS (persistent vegetative state). When they told my family to turn off the ventilator because she was never going to recover, we told them that they had forgotten one very important factor, God! We knew that Kim was in there, desperately wanting us to do anything possible to help her, which was the basis for putting her into therapy. Shortly after that meeting we transferred Kim to the Rehabilitation unit at Hershey Medical Center in Hershey Pennsylvania. Kim was only able to breath on her own for short periods of time; she was completely dependent on a feeding tube for nourishment and hydration. She was actually worse than Terri in that she was not able to track objects with her eyes and seemed to stare off into space. Kim was absolutely unresponsive. The deep coma lasted for 6-8 weeks. After that time period she was still considered to be in a coma because she was unable to communicate and was in state of agitation. She would kick her legs and seemed to moan and cry all the time. The only things that would seemingly comfort her was taking walks outside on the hospital grounds and listening to Kenny G. Kim was not able to swallow until she was taught again how to do so in speech therapy.

Kim was in Hershey Medical Center from May-August 1993. However, her recovery did not end there. She only recently stopped therapies in June of 2004 and we are hoping to begin therapies again this summer. The recovery period continues even now. She certainly remembers the long and extremely difficult road to her recovery. She is grateful to have had the chance for such a recovery. She knows that had it not been for the daily occupational, physical and speech therapies in which she was provided that she would not be the woman that she is today. While she physically challenged and in a wheelchair to this day, she has a happy life. She enjoys many activities like scrap booking, going to the theatre and spending time with friends and family.

My recommendation for others in a similar situation is to never stop fighting. We would not do anything differently!! If we had done to Kim what others are trying to do to Terri, we would be visiting her at the cemetery, not enjoying life together. Terri, and others like her, deserve the same opportunities!


Source: comment bLogicus

10 Comments

What an inspirational story! I was just wondering if there was any way your sister could go on TV and talk about this. I think you'd be surprised at how easy she could get invited on. The media is desperate to keep putting Terri Schiavo stories out there and they'd love to interview someone like your sister!! If she is interested, there are public relations articles that tell you step by step how to go about contacting the media. When I read your sister's story, I was already wishing someone, who has come through something like this, could give their personal story and make the world understand that people like Terri Schiavo have worth!

Just to clarify - this is not about my sister but was written by someone who commented on blogicus.com. Great idea...

A beautiful story...so full of hope

My wife is a special ed teacher we know many severely brain damaged people and I cannot believe how Terri has been abused for so long. There are many statutes on the books to prevent such abuse and they have been ignored. Why has such abuse been allowed to continue so long? It is a tragedy and that is just plain evil.

My husband was in EXACTLY the same situation after suffering cardiac arrest while in the hospital and suffered anoxic encephalopathy, in fact, 3 separate times. First, they gave him 2 hours to live and told me to call our priest. He was in a coma and continued to be so, but lived. The doctors said if he lived, he would likely be a "vegetable", the social worker called me into a meeting and told me to start looking at nursing homes. His family fought me tooth and nail to pull him off of the ventilator, he was also on a feeding tube- which I refused to do. Somehow, deep in my heart, I just knew by intuition that he was going to be okay. When he began to come out of the coma, he would not respond to anyone but me. I made him respond to me by making him nod yes for things he wanted before I would do them, such as putting a cold rag on his forehead. We were alone each time & every time I ran out and told the nurse he responded, she'd go into the room, try the same thing & he laid there staring at the ceiling, blank, totally unresponsive. They would keep saying "honey, I know you want to believe he's responding, but he's not, he is in a persistent vegetative state." I told him to squeeze my hand if he loved me - he squeezed my hand tightly but just to make sure I wasn't imagingin it, I said "oh, that wasn't much of a squeeze, I don't think you really love me" and he squeezed my hand so hard it hurt. Again, ran & told the nurses, again they told me I was imagining things. Finally one day I said "honey, you HAVE to respond to the nurses, okay? They're starting to think I'm insane & if they think you're not responding, they're going to put you in a nursing home. If you want to come home, you have to show them you understand." He nodded yes, I went and got a nurse who told him to squeeze his hand, he did, held up 3 fingers & asked how many he was holding up & my husband held up 3 fingers. This was after he was in a coma for more than 30 days. He was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital & had intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy for another 40 days & returned home. That was 9 years ago & if you didn't know, you would never know anything happened to him. He lost a tiny bit of feeling in his left hand and a slight loss of peripheral vision in his left eye. He is mentally exactly like he was when he was admitted and he has had 9 very happy, very active, fulfilled, loving years. Just imagine if I had pulled him off life support when his family demanded it. Your heart beats on its own, so does Terri's. You breathe on your own, so does Terri. You need basic nutrition & hydration to live, so does Terri. I have researched her case endlessly, seen her video and that woman is NOT in PVS. Where there is life, there is hope and I will continue to pray that her tube is re-inserted & that the torture, abuse & neglect she has suffered at Michael's hands all these years is brought to light and rectified. As I felt by intuition that my husband would be okay, I very seriously feel by intuition that Terri has big surprises in store for us all - and for Michael.

oh - as a sidenote, the neurologists were so convinced & insistent that my husband was severely brain damaged from his anoxic episodes, they insisted on testing him in front of me. The neurologist said "Bob, do you reconize this woman standing here with me?" (me) "The woman here in the black shirt?" He nodded yes. She said "who is it, is it your sister?" He nodded "no." "Your aunt?" "No." so on until she said "your wife?" He nodded yes. She said "what is her name?" (all the nurses and doctors, everyone knew me only by Jan, my full name is Janice). He couldn't speak yet, but he mouthed "Janice." 2 syllables. They only knew me by one syllable. The neurologist looked at me with pity, nodded her head & said "I'm sorry, honey, I know how much you wanted to believe it." I laughed out loud at her stupidity, I couldn't help it. He had been totally responding to me for days. I said "My name is Janice-2 syllables. He knows better than to EVER forget my name!" and he laughed, as best he could. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that narrow-minded doctors who don't know how to admit they're wrong will just flatly refuse to see what's right in front of their face. They WANT to believe Terri is not responsive. They WANT to believe her parents are imagining her responsiveness & I'm thoroughly one million percent convinced that they're not. No-one knows her better than her own mother. She may, like my husband, be much more responsive & communicative with her mother than she is with anyone else.

If you haven't already read the shocking account from Barbara Weller (Schindler's attorney) about how it might appear Terri was trying to desperately communicate she wanted to live right before they pulled her feeding tubes you'll want to read this! TheEmpireJournal.com/0319052_attorneys_last_visit_wit.htm
What's even more chilling is that after she struggled to communicate, she began to cry! How heartbreaking is that?

Those who claim there are those who were worse off than Terri, please post a link to show a cat scan of their brains. I would like to see if they have as much brain matter missing as Terri.

What is remarkable is the continued assertion that Terri has missing brain matter based upon a antiquated artifact laden cat scan that would not have been suitable for knee surgery.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/johansen200503160848.asp

Terri’s diagnosis was arrived at without the benefit of testing that most neurologists would consider standard for diagnosing PVS. One such test is MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). MRI is widely used today, even for ailments as simple as knee injuries — but Terri has never had one. Michael has repeatedly refused to consent to one. The neurologists I have spoken to have reacted with shock upon learning this fact. One such neurologist is Dr. Peter Morin. He is a researcher specializing in degenerative brain diseases, and has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University.

In the course of my conversation with Dr. Morin, he made reference to the standard use of MRI and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to diagnose the extent of brain injuries. He seemed to assume that these had been done for Terri. I stopped him and told him that these tests have never been done for her; that Michael had refused them.

There was a moment of dead silence.

"That’s criminal," he said, and then asked, in a tone of utter incredulity: “How can he continue as guardian? People are deliberating over this woman’s life and death and there’s been no MRI or PET?” He drew a reasonable conclusion: “These people [Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer] don’t want the information.”

I want to protest the removal of Terri's feeding tube. I think abortion has led us to the slippery slope predicted by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae in 1968.




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