Sunday, October 24, 2004

Terri Update/10/23/2004

Dear Friends,

Many have written and requested a weekly update about Terri.
I apologize for not adding this update in my earlier email.

Bob and Mary just returned home from a nice afternoon visit with Terri.

Although Terri was still in bed, she was in good spirits.
Bob (Terri's Dad) shared with me how he had told Terri today's date, October 23rd. He then asked Terri if she had remembered the significance of today's date. He said, Terri began laughing and rolling her eyes, indicating by her laughter how she had remembered that today was her Dad's birthday. Bob then began to tease her asking her about his birthday present.
He said she continued to laugh even harder.

Bob and Mary were hanging a few Halloween decorations for Terri when they were told by the police officer who stands guard at Terri's door how the decorations would not be up for very long. The officer indicated they would all be moving from Park Place Assisted Living sometime next week. Terri was moved into Park Place Assisted Living several months ago when renovations began at Woodside Hospice.

The Schindlers' have not been given official word about the move as yet so they are uncertain where their daughter will be relocated.

Terri's birthday is on December 3rd. Let us pray that she will be at home with her family this year and not awaiting her feeding tube to be pulled on December 6th.

Please continue to share Terri's story with others and write letters to the President, Senators and local news stations in your area.

Thank you,
Cheryl Ford RN
Fight4Terri@aol.com
www.fight4terri.blogspot.com

Visit: www.terrisfight.org



Saturday, October 23, 2004

Florida Supreme Court Denies Governor Rehearing

The Florida Supreme Court has denied Governor Bush's motion for rehearing. Considering the Florida Governor does not seem to have the freedom to exercise his authority as a Governor, many Floridians wonder when the state of Florida will decide NOT to have a Governor at all! Or, perhaps the corrupted powers that be will instead decide to
elect Schiavo into the position.

A single page order (PDF) format is on:
http://www.flcourts.org/pubinfo/summaries/briefs/04/04-925/Filed_10-21-2004_OrderRehearing.pdf

Visit www.terrisfight.org

Email: Fight4Terri@aol.com






Thursday, October 14, 2004

10/13/2004 --- Update About Terri

Good Day Friends of Terri:

I had a long conversation with Mary (Terri's Mom) yesterday.
I thought I would share with you what she told me after I had asked her about Terri.

When they had first arrived to visit Terri, she was sitting up in her bed solemnly staring out the window as if to be deep in thought.

Mary had walked into the room and said.......
"Hey, what are you doing over there, Mommy's here?"
Terri turned towards Mary and began giggling and laughing when she heard her mothers voice.

Mary conveyed how Terri was in a happy mood, full of laughter and smiles, which of course always delights Bob and Mary to no end! Every time Terri's Dad would kiss her, Terri responded with giggles and being silly.

Monsignor Melanowski was with Bob and Mary when they visited. Monsignor visits Terri faithfully every Saturday. Terri always enjoys her visits with Monsignor.
Mary said, "Her Terri's face brightens every time she sees Monsignor and Terri especially enjoys the jokes Monsignor is always telling her."

Mary said Terri is doing very well and everyday they are extremely grateful for the prayers, love and dedication you all have shown to their family.

The Schindlers' are still very hopeful that someday they will again be able to bring their beautiful daughter out into the sunshine for a walk in the park.

My personal thanks to all of you for your caring on behalf of Terri. Terri would not be alive today if it was not for the dedication and support you all have consistently given to Terri and her family.

Inhale The Beauty of Freedom & Life!

Cheryl Ford R.N.

Fight4Terri@aol.com
www.Fight4Terri.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A Very Special Thank You!

A Very Special Thank You!
How The FIGHT4TERRI Began


Written in October 2003

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I have been in the medical profession for 25 years. My expertise as a nurse and former Paramedic lies in acute care settings and working as a Nurse Administrator in Skilled Nursing Facilities.

I am writing because I want to publicly thank and recognize a very powerful group of people who I have never personally met. People who have been actively involved on the Internet now spending hundreds of hours looking into the 13 year saga of "What REALLY Happened To Terri Schiavo?"

First, I must preface my thank you by saying the following story is my experience with regard to what has transpired amongst hundreds of nurses and other people, who together over these last 2 weeks have joined forces on the Internet to Fight4Terri.

It was the usual sunny and warm day in Florida. All was good except for the horrifying reports blasting across every news station. The reports had stated that a local judge, at the request of an estranged spouse named Michael Schiavo, was issuing a court order to remove the feeding tube from a 39 year old disabled woman, named Terri Schiavo.

It was reported that Ms. Schiavo, a patient at Woodside Hospice Unit in Pinellas County had round the clock vigil protest taking place in front of the hospice facility. Pinellas is the next county over from where I presently reside.
Judge Greer, was ordering the removal of Ms Schiavo's feeding tube at 2:00 PM; a feeding tube that had been adequately providing Terri's disabled body nutrition for well over 10 years.

The news repeatedly reported that her spouse, the self appointed legal Guardian, Michael Schiavo, (who presently resides with another woman, has fathered one child and has one on the way )had filed a request with the court to starve Terri to death.
Schiavo and his lawyer George Felos were demanding that the courts oblige their request. Their requested motion was honored, despite Terri's alert status, ability to understand, and her ability to experience pain.

When I heard that Judge Greer had ruled to remove Terri's tube, I decided to get into my car and drive to the Hospice Unit. I felt an urgency to see the scene with my own eyes. To try and obtain answers and truth as to what had brought Terri into this most unbelievable and untenable situation.

Upon my arrival at the hospice unit, I found a most surreal atmosphere!

Camera men were every where pacing the streets in preparation to film any unusual developments. Prayer groups and others were tiredly pleading with signs to help an innocent woman. Disabled people with saddened, worried and distressed expressions sat in their in wheelchairs. Police cars were blocking and checking everyone at all entrances and exits to the facility. It appeared as though they were protecting a key eyewitness to a heinous crime, not an innocent disabled woman who had fallen victim to a crazed spouse wanting to starve her to death!

The answers to many of my questions were soon available to me.
Mr. Schindler, the family clergy Father Melanowski, and many others were eager to provide the answers that I had come to find out. The many concerns that I had prior to my arrival were now before me. I felt as though I had just entered into some form of the Twilight Zone.

Everything was exactly as the news had been reporting!

Before me, inside of an expansive brick building, was an innocent disabled woman who was being starved to death. The Police were swarming the property...but NOT to protect Terri from the insane spouse and his concubine who wanted to see her dead by starvation! They were protecting Terri from her loving parents and siblings. A loving mother and father who together had created and brought Terri into this world. Protecting her from parents who had spent years raising their baby daughter into
becoming a loving and caring adult. Protecting her from her brother and sister, who she had sat along side and played games with for years while growing up.

The police weren't protecting Terri from her family because they had done anything wrong to Terri. They were protecting Terri because Michael Schiavo said that they could not visit their daughter without his permission, or without one of his legal representatives sitting in her room while they were visiting with her. Michael wanted to be assured that no one in Terri's family would reach out and offer Terri one morsel of food. He wanted to be assured that her parents endured the agony of
watching their daughter die from starvation, and not be permitted to reach out to help her. Her family priest was even denied the right to give her a small piece of Holy
Communion.

Could this really be happening, I questioned?
Am I dreaming?
Have I somehow been transported to the insides of a Nazi regime?
Someone, please awaken me from this nightmare that was before me!

When reality struck, I knew that I had to confirm some of the professional questions relating to the admissions policies into a Florida Hospice Unit. I picked up my cell phone and called the Hospice Unit requesting that Michael Bell, Vice President of Woodside Hospice return my call. Minutes later, my phone rang. We spoke briefly, but succinctly. It became evident after a few minutes that he had clearly understood my questions and statements. He also knew exactly where I was coming from, and where it was that I would be going with my complaints and concerns.

Knowing that Terri was receiving Medicare and Medicaid benefits, it had appeared the facility had not admitted Terri in accordance to the standard Medicare/Medicaid criteria. Terri was not, and is not terminally ill. Reliable sources conveyed that Terri did not have a certifying physician stating that she had 6 months or less to live.

From what I had also ascertained from another reliable source.....Terri's DNR (another criteria for admitting into a hospice unit) probably was not legal. Michael Schiavo, without being Terri's DPOA=Durable Power of Attorney, had designated himself her Guardian and had then signed her DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders a few years after her trauma.

Could this really be? I continued to question!

At the time, I did not know why, or how, her being admitted into a Hospice Unit was accomplished. I later learned that Michael's "Right To Die" attorney, George Felos, had some connections on the board to the Hospice Unit. I was told by the Schindlers' attorney that Felos had created some "indigent" placement rules in an effort to get around the doctor's certification. How Felos legally accomplished this feat, I have yet to ascertain. Especially since Terri is not indigent.

I have seen some very peculiar cases in my years as a Nurse/Paramedic and Administrator ... but this one for sure, really had my eyebrows pinned to my hairline!
I thought to myself, "no way in the United States of America and in the year 2003, could this situation be happening to a disabled individual."
However, indeed, it was!

From that point on, I was determined to make a concerted effort to help!

I returned home at 1:00 AM and immediately logged on to the Internet. I made a formal email plea to every nurse that I could locate, asking for assistance and support in researching and filing the necessary complaint papers with the state of Florida. Terri needed the support in numbers! We also needed to seek the truth and locate evidence about what really happened to Terri Schiavo.

Needless to say, the response I received over the Internet was phenomenal and overwhelming. The first day I had spent 20 straight hours at my computer attempting to answer all of the emails! Nurses and professionals from all over the country were emailing me. All had voiced their opinions and were willingly offering their expertise and assistance.

Yes, absolutely! Every one of the people who emailed were in support of Ms. Terri-Schindler-Schiavo and willing to help me in my fight for Terri.

I then created the screen name Fight4Terri. Others followed by numbering consecutively after me. Fight4Terri1...Fight4Terri2..Fight4Terri3...Fight4Terri4 and on and on the list developed!

I have been compelled to write and share how many nurses and other people in America are on Terri's side. To tell you all about those wonderful people who have joined together on the Internet to help me in my Fight4Terri.
Nurses and people from every walk of life who have essentially joined together in a Florence Nightingale Internet crusade. All joined in an effort to delve for answers with regard to Terri's medical history, her advance directives, and her lack of care. Everyone joined me to find out why Michael Schiavo has been trying to kill an innocent woman named Terri in a most inhumane and tragic way!

We soon found many of our answers via the resources available to us on the Internet. We also knew that we had to unite in a hurry in an effort to save Terri. Everyone began writing letters and making phone calls to every media station known to man! When we had questions that we could not comprehend, a wonderful and very helpful woman attorney named Pat Anderson, was there to help us. We had to hurry because time was of the essence. The feeding tube had been pulled and we knew Terri's electrolytes would soon be compromised. Terri's kidneys would soon cease to function. We had to race! To race against life..an innocent woman's life!

Through repeated emails, petitions and phone calls, everyone contacted the Board of Nursing, the Governor, the state Medicare offices, the media, the Judicial Qualifications Committee, Harvard attorney's, Hospice Foundations, advocacy groups for the disabled and the list goes on. Again, all in an effort to move quickly to have Terri's tube reinserted and save her life.

Days have passed now. Terri's tube has now been reinserted and the initial crisis has been resolved! At least for the time being! However, as I write this letter, Michael Schiavo and his attorney George Felos are presently fighting to have Terri's tube again removed. What is different now and what they don't realize is that my Fight4Terri has just begun! I, and others will not stop at saving her.

At this time, I wish to thank all of the wonderful nurses and people from all professions who I now have become privileged to know through the Internet and who have joined me in my Fight4Terri. All who are fighting and praying everyday for Terri's life and cause!

Donna LPN, from West Virginia, Karen,RN from Florida, Pat from Clearwater, Ted W, professional businessman from Colorodo, Laurie from Michigan, mother of a child with TBI & patient advocate, Deb, the talented investigative nurse from Kansas, Jackie, Sara, Lisa , Barbara, Lori, Jan, Angie, Juan, Cyndi, Jameson, and the list goes on forever!

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of Terri for your dedication.

I also thank all of the nurses for your above and beyond call of duty to help oblige the ethical oath that states, "maintain life."

Let it be known that our FIGHT is unrelenting, and will continue!

Respectfully and with great admiration,

Cheryl Ford RN
Fight4Terri@aol.com
Tampa, Florida








Sunday, October 10, 2004

FACTS VERSUS LIES...... BY CHERYL FORD RN

Dear Friends of Terri:

On October 20, 2003, Michael Schiavo offered his comments about Terri in an article put forth by Tampa Bay Online.

From Terri's medical records, I have compiled a review of how the facts were actually stated by Terri's health care providers versus the statements made by Michael Schiavo.

What you are about to read depicts the lies from Terri's estranged husband as he has consistantly portrayed them in the Florida courts in order to rationalize HIS desires to cease all of Terri's therapies and to remove her feeding tube and have her die by starvation and dehydration.

I warn you, what you are about to read is not only sad, but extremely tragic.

Every day Terri is forced to remain under the guardianship of Michael Schiavo, she is deprived of the many available therapies due her. Her life remains in constant jeopardy.

I, as a Registered Nurse, patient advocate, and friend of Terri ask you to please join me in my Fight4Terri by sharing her story with as many people as you know and by supporting her foundation @ www.terrisfight.org


Respectfully,

Cheryl Ford RN
Fight4Terri@aol.com
www.Fight4Terri.blogspot.com



***
FACTS VERSUS LIES
BY CHERYL FORD RN
FIGHT4TERRI@AOL.COM
WWW.FIGHT4TERRI.BLOGSPOT.COM

Statement By Michael Schiavo

Published: Oct 20, 2003
Statement By Michael Schiavo - from Tampa Bay Online  
Last Wednesday, my wife's feeding tube was removed. For over 6 years, I have struggled with the Schindlers in court. On Wednesday, I joined them in grief. I understand what the Schindlers are going through at this time. I feel the same loss.

For years after this happened to Terri, I tried desperately to find a cure for her. I went from one doctor to another.
Almost all of them told me there was no possibility she would recover.

FACT - 05/20/1990 ---DR. NEWHART-- The brain cells that control body function were not as seriously affected as initially diagnosed Consequently, it is anticipated that Terri should regain full use of her body.
FACT -  06/27/1990 ---- DR. BARAS-- had been seen by me at College Harbor and started to make improvement.  Started to show some vocalization where she will say "no" and occasionally has some voluntary movement on command of eyes and mouth as reported by husband and mother.
FACT  - 06-28-1990 --- DR. THACKER  Moaning type vocalizations initially; no sign of excess secretions requiring frequent suctioning; intermittently swallows, probably swallows her saliva without any trouble.
FACT -- 07-10-1990 ---- DR. BARAS --Purposeful movement in right upper extremity as seen by P.T. O.T. and me   Flexing right elbow not as a reflex, but voluntarily.
FACT--  08/25/1990 DISCHARGE SUMMARY FROM BAYFRONT MEDICAL.  Patient did show some improvement in range of motion.
FACT -- 01/01/1991 PHYSICAL THERAPY EVAL---Turns head from noxious stimuli.
FACT -- 01/29/1991---- DR. ALCAZARAN --Meadowbrok California. Noted increased alertness, turns head toward voice, turns head from tactile stimulation.  sucking, and rooting response to olfactory stimulation.  spontaneously vocalied.  Good cough. Some visual tracking.
FACT- - 02-1/1991 ---Physical Therapy Notes -- Alert throughout treatment session, responds to pain, moaning, turns head from noxious stimuli.
FACT-- 02/15/1991 --- PSYCHOLOGY NOTES WRITTEN BY PATTI SHOOK ---Terri's eye opening responses were her strongest.  Terri's tactile responses were her best, with other four modalities only 1 to 2 points behind.  This level of functioning is appropriate for a sensory stimulation program.
FACT--  02/1/1992--THERAPEUTIC NOTES BY SHERRI LAGE --Patient appeared to focus on several pictures of family for 10 seconds, appeared to slightly track to left each session, but inconsistent Quick startle response to all auditory stimuli, occasionally moves head from tactile stimuli.
FACT -- 02/20/1991-- PHYSICAL THERAPY NOTES -- Patient has made significant gains since admission in all areas of range of motion.
FACT -- 03/19/1991--- SPEECH LANGUAGE NOTES  --  Occasionally responds to request to verbalize, swallow and move arms.
FACT -- 06/17/1991 --- TREATMENT PLAN REVIEW -- Vocalizing when prone in PT., occasionally will say "stop" to nurse doing procedures.

Any doctor that gave me a glimmer of hope that some new treatment or therapy would work was given free reign with Terri. I would do anything to make her well.

FACT--  3/26/1991 ---Nurses Notes--- Terri's side rail on her bed found down after Michael left.  When told about it, he replied that "that was their job.
FACT -- 1993 CAROLYN JOHNSON-- No therapy per husbands orders. Dr's orders over ridden.  Patient kept in isolation, no stimulation.
FACT-- APRIL 1995-JULY 1996 -- CARLA SAUER AFFIDAVIT MICHAEL ORDERS NO REHAB; NO RANGE OF MOTION;NO NOTHING. 
PATIENT ALERT AND ORIENTED, SPOKE REGULARLY "MOMMA, "MOMMY' "HELP ME"

I took Terri to California. I stayed with her while doctors performed an experimental procedure to implant electrodes in her brain to stimulate its function. I spent months working with her - hopeful of a cure. Months later, the doctors told me the electrodes were not working.

I took Terri to Mediplex, in Bradenton, Florida, which is a residential rehabilitation facility that specializes in brain injuries. She spent months there in intensive physical, speech, and occupational therapy and testing.

Finally, the doctors and therapist told me and the Schindlers they could do nothing more for her. I hired a private duty aide 8 hours a day to take Terri on outings to parks and museums trying to stimulate her - looking for any sign of life, any flicker of hope. There was none - ever.

FACT 03/15/1991  Therapeutic notes Laura Mizell --  Patient has displayed an increase in eye opening since last 30 day summary,  Patient responses to auditory stimulation are at the point that they are almost auditorily defensive.  During recent outings, rugby games kept eyes closed to and from game...beach visit she was more aroused.

FACT 03/11/1991   Summary of all departments---  2 point increases in vocalization and eye opening, motor responses.  Tactile increased 3 points.  Overall her general responsiveness score increased slightly from 19 to 23.

Over the years, I had three swallowing tests performed on Terri in the hope that some of the therapies would allow her to be weaned off the feeding tube. The test all showed no change, and I was advised she could not swallow food. Even now, the nursing home staff says that sometimes Terri gags and chokes on the moisture from the swabs they use to moisten her lips.

FACT--March to mid summer 1997 -- Heidi Law Affidavit -- Patient did not like the taste of the teeth cleaning swabs or mouthwash.  Did like the smell and feel of her lotion.  Liked to have her hair combed.  Did not like being tucked in.  She would suck on ice chips and swallow ice water, orange juice or apple juice in her washcloth to give her something nice to taste, which made her happy.  On three or four occasions, I personally fed Terri small amounts of Jello which she was able to swallow and enjoyed immensely.

Michael Schiavo states....."The reports you heard from nursing home aides that Terri was responsive years ago are not true. I would give anything if they were."

EXCERPTS THAT WERE TAKEN FROM MICHAEL SCHIAVO'S JOURNAL
4/16/1991  -- BECAME EVERY EXCITED, CRIED, FACIAL EXPRESSION, TEARS, WHINING.
4/17/1991 -- SITTING IN A CHAIR, HOLDING LEGS TOGETHER, HOLDING HER OWN HEAD UP, RESPONSE TO EVERY NOISE SHE HEARS, TASTED EXTRACTS, SWALLOWED.  MIXED UP DAYS AND NIGHTS
4/25/1991  MS TALKING TO HER, SHE THEN LIFTED HEAD OFF AND AWAY FROM CHAIR. I ASKED HER IS SHE WANTED TO GET UP. SHE NODDED.  I ASKED HER A MINUTE LATER, SHE DID THE SAME MOTION.
4/26/1991  JOHN (NURSE) SAYS EVERY TIME HE IS HERE TERRI SQUEEZES HIS HAND WHEN ASKED.
5/1/1991 - LAST FEW DAYS TERRI HAS BECOME A LITTLE MORE ALERT. SHE WILL MOVE HER HEAD FROM SIDE TO SIDE.  WHEN OUT IN WHEELCHAIR, SHE WILL HOLD HER OWN HEAD UP FOR THE PERIOD SHE IS OUT.  STILL MIXES UP DAYS AND NIGHTS.
5/2/1991-  ASLEEP, SEEMS TO DO A LOT OF DREAMING, HEAD WILL MOVE BACK AND FORTH, TOES, LEGS,ARMS,FINGER, ETC WILL DO ALOT OF MOVING.  TERRI DOES REAL WELL WITH HER EARLY MORNING STROLL.
SHE WILL HOLD HER OWN HEAD UP (UNLESS SHE FALLS ASLEEP) SHE WILL WATCH ALL THE NURSES DO THEIR THING.

1992
Aug - Terri awarded $250,000 in malpractice settlement.
Nov - Terri awarded $1.4 million in malpractice trial.
Nov - Michael Schiavo awarded $600,000 in malpractice trial.


1993
Feb - Michael Schiavo denies Terri recommended rehabilitation treatment.


Article written in its entirety below:
Statement By Michael Schiavo
Published: Oct 20, 2003
 
Last Wednesday, my wife's feeding tube was removed. For over 6 years, I have struggled with the Schindlers in court. On Wednesday, I joined them in grief. I understand what the Schindlers are going through at this time. I feel the same loss.

For years after this happened to Terri, I tried desperately to find a cure for her. I went from one doctor to another. Almost all of them told me there was no possibility she would recover. Any doctor that gave me a glimmer of hope that some new treatment or therapy would work was given free reign with Terri. I would do anything to make her well.

I took Terri to California. I stayed with her while doctors performed an experimental procedure to implant electrodes in her brain to stimulate its function. I spent months working with her - hopeful of a cure. Months later, the doctors told me the electrodes were not working.

I took Terri to Mediplex, in Bradenton, Florida, which is a residential rehabilitation facility that specializes in brain injuries. She spent months there in intensive physical, speech, and occupational therapy and testing.

Finally, the doctors and therapist told me and the Schindlers they could do nothing more for her. I hired a private duty aide 8 hours a day to take Terri on outings to parks and museums trying to stimulate her - looking for any sign of life, any flicker of hope. There was none - ever.

Over the years, I had three swallowing tests performed on Terri in the hope that some of the therapies would allow her to be weaned off the feeding tube. The test all showed no change, and I was advised she could not swallow food. Even now, the nursing home staff says that sometimes Terri gags and chokes on the moisture from the swabs they use to moisten her lips.

The reports you heard from nursing home aides that Terri was responsive years ago are not true. I would give anything if they were. Those aides cared for Terri during the time that I was desperately seeking a cure for her. I was so frustrated that I could not help Terri. I am sure that I was sometimes unkind to the aides - even shouted at them. This was not because I wanted Terri dead, but because I desperately wanted her alive. I blamed myself because I could not bring her back.

It seemed to me, during that time, that the aides never did enough for Terri. Some days they did not put her makeup on. I would storm into the nursing home insisting that they do so. I knew Terri always wanted to look her best. Sometimes, the aides did not get her dressed and sitting up until late in the morning. They did not always get her hair combed. They sometimes failed to give her vitamins and medications on time. At each of those failures, I became enraged and lashed out. I felt so helpless. Each small infraction reminded me how powerless I was to really help Terri. I admit that I yelled at the aides and I am now deeply sorry for that behavior. Much like the Schindlers now, I stubbornly resisted and suggestion that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and would never get better.

I never wanted Terri to die. I still don't. After more than seven years of desperately searching for a cure for Terri, the death of my own mother helped me realize that I was fooling myself. More important, I was hiding behind my hope, and selfishly ignoring Terri's wishes. I wanted my wife to be with me so much that I denied her true condition.

Terri told me on several occasions before this happened that she would not want to live in her current condition. If we had been older, I am sure she would have signed a living will making it clear that she did not to be kept alive on tubes and machines. She never had the chance.

That left me to carry out her wishes. It has been hard. In fact, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. In the end, I did what I believe Terri would have wanted me to do.

Some people do not agree with the decisions the court made to remove Terri's feeding tube. I struggle to accept it myself. But I know in my heart that it is right, and it is what Terri wants. There is no longer any realistic hope of Terri's recovery. Perhaps there never was, but I had to try - just as the Schindlers have tried. The reality is that Terri left us 13 years ago, and none of us can bring her back.

Terri's parents and family may visit with her as much as they choose in the days to come. I, and my friends and relatives, will be there as well to spend time with Terri, as we all grieve. Please pray for us all.

****