First of all, the University of Miami's appellation for this scan is inaccurate. "Cortical regions" are not and can not be filled with spinal fluid. The sulci (spaces between cortical ribbons) are enlarged secondary to cortical atrophy and these sulci are filled with cerbrospinal fluid.That intrigues me. I'd like to hear from other doctors. Please use the Comment button below, if you will.
The most alarming thing about this image, however, is that there certainly is cortex left. Granted, it is severely thinned, especially for Terri's age, but I would be nonplussed if you told me that this was a 75 year old female who was somewhat senile but fully functional, and I defy a radiologist anywhere to contest that.
I HAVE SEEN MANY WALKING, TALKING, FAIRLY COHERENT PEOPLE WITH WORSE CEREBRAL/CORTICAL ATROPHY. THEREFORE, THIS IS IN NO WAY PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT TERRI SCHIAVO'S MENTAL ABILITIES OR/OR CAPABILITIES ARE COMPLETELY ERADICATED. I CANNOT BELIEVE SUCH TESTIMONY HAS BEEN GIVEN ON THE BASIS OF THIS SCAN.
The worrisome, no alarming thing, for me, was that I heard a bioethicist and several important figures on the major media describe Terri's brain as MUCH WORSE. One "expert" said that she had a "bag of water" in her head. Several experts described her as a "brain stem preparation"
These statements are wholly inaccurate. This is an atrophied brain, yes, but there is cortex remaining, and where there's cortex (?life) there's hope.
If you starve this woman to death it would be, in my professional and experienced medical opinion, the equivalent of starving to death a 75-85 year old person. I would take that to the witness stand.
Monday, March 21, 2005
One Voice from Medical Community on Schiavo's Brain
Code Blue Blog, written by a physician, presents one doctor's view of what's going on with Terri Schiavo's brain, based on a 1996 scan. In the most stunning passage, which discusses the damage to Schiavo's cortex, a key element in arguments for allowing her to be starved to death, we read: