Mary Schindler, Bobby Schindler and Suzanne
Schindler Carr join Oprah via satellite, Nov. 14, 2003. (Photo: The Oprah
Bobby Schindler told Oprah “there’s a real misconception” about Terri’s medical condition.
“It’s not just the family saying that Terri can be helped. We have over a
dozen doctors – half of them being neurologists – that all have either testified
or examined Terri and all believe that she could significantly improve if she
was just given the chance,” Bobby Schindler said. “For whatever reason,
Michael [Schiavo] lost hope for Terri back in 1992. And from that point on she
has been completely neglected, has gotten no rehabilitation, no therapy.”
According to medical records provided to the family’s attorney, Terri has
not received rehabilitative therapy since 1992, when Schiavo was awarded
$1.2 million in medical-malpractice lawsuits against Terri’s physicians
– most of which was earmarked to pay for Terri’s medical treatment.
In an interview with WorldNetDaily last year, Schiavo insisted he had
provided therapy in recent years but would not give details or associated
dates. When asked about this by Larry King, Schiavo similarly asserted Terri
had received therapy in the last 10 years and then described the therapy she
received in 1991 at a facility in St. Petersburg, Fla., and in Los Angeles.
Despite the neglect indicated in the records, Circuit Court Judge George
Greer ruled Terri is PVS, based on the testimony of three neurologists who
testified in an evidentiary hearing in November 2002. The neurologists, one
appointed by Greer and two solicited by Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos,
testified Terri’s apparent responses to her family members are random
reflexes consistent with people in persistent vegetative states.
Greer is the same judge who ruled in 2000 that testimony by Schiavo, his brother and sister-in-law that she had casually told them a year before her injury she would not want to be kept alive by artificial means, was “clear and convincing evidence” of her wishes. Terri has no written mandate on the matter.
An appeals court upheld both of Greer’s rulings.
The Schindlers believe Terri’s behavior, and her having survived two removals of her feeding tube and several life-threatening illnesses over the past 13 years during which she has been incapacitated, indicate a strong will to live. They question why Terri never made the same comments alleged by the Schiavos to them.
“Terri never said anything about these alleged wishes to any of her family workers, her co-workers, her closest friends. The only persons she evidently said these wishes to were Michael, his brother and sister-in-law,” said Bobby Schindler.
“Could it be possible that they are husband and wife and there are many things that husbands and wives share with each other that they don’t tell to brothers and sisters?” Oprah challenged. “Could it be something she said in passing, ‘If that ever happens to me, please pull the plug.’”
“We don’t believe Terri would have ever said that,” answered Carr. “We knew Terri obviously a lot longer than Michael. It was very out of character for her to even think in that fashion. She was just in her mid-twenties. She was very light-hearted. She just never spoke about those type of things and we totally believe it was out of character for Terri even to mention anything like that. So to answer your question, we don’t believe that she could have even said anything like that in passing.”
Court filings and other information on the case are posted on the