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Schiavo Was Blind and Unabused, Says Autopsy

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Schiavo autopsy released
The Piniellas-Pasco Medical Examiner released Terri Schiavo's autopsy report today. The full version is here. Highlights:

  • What caused her collapse 15 years ago is still a mystery. There's no evidence of an eating disorder or of a heart attack.
  • No evidence of trauma, abuse, or harmful substances were discovered.
  • Schiavo died from dehydration, not starvation.
  • She would not have been able to ingest food or water after the tube was removed.
  • Schiavo's brain weight "was approximately half of the expected weight."
  • Schiavo was blind at the time of her death.

This last point is of particular interest, notes the Associated Press, since it "countered a videotape released by the Schindlers of Terri Schiavo in her hospice bed. The video showed Schiavo appearing to turn toward her mother's voice and smile, moaning and laughing. Her head moved up and down and she seemed to follow the progress of a brightly colored Mickey Mouse balloon."

Early response from those who opposed removal of the feeding tube suggests that the autopsy won't change many minds.

"There is no medical condition or disability that should ever be championed as a justifiable reason to deny water to a human being," CWA senior policy director Wendy Wright says in a press release.

Priest for Life's Frank Pavone agrees. "No details of this autopsy change the moral evaluation of what happened to Terri. Her physical injuries and disabilities never made her less of a person. No amount of brain injury ever justifies denying a person proper humane care. That includes food and water."

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