Wednesday, March 23, 2005

An MRI for Terry

Dr. Thomas Zabiega, a University of Chicago trained neurologist, said, “Should Terri be given an MRI? Any neurologist who is objective would say ‘Yes’”.

Those fighting for Terri's life are pleading for her to have new testings and new examinations by unbiased neurologists. This was the hope of the Congress when they intervened in the case. There are fifty neurologists who all say that she should be reevaluated, reexamined, as they have serious doubts as to the accuracy of the PVS diagnosis. The fifty neurologists are all board-certified; a number of them are fellows of the American Academy of Neurology; several are professors of neurology. Tragically, the federal courts have ignored the plea from Congress.

Terri has never been given an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), as her guardian/husband has repeatedly refused to consent. Neurologists are shocked when they learn this. Dr. Peter Morin, M.D., is a researcher neurologist specializing in degenerative brain diseases, with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University. When told that Michael Schiavo had refused MRI and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans of his wife's brain injuries, Dr. Morin was stunned. “That’s criminal,” he said, and then asked about her husband, “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 concluded “These people don’t want the information.”
Dr. Morin explained that he would feel obligated to obtain the information in these tests before making a diagnosis with life and death consequences. I told him that CT (Computer-Aided Tomography) scans had been done, and were partly the basis for the finding of PVS. The doctor retorted, “Spare no expense, eh?” I asked him to explain the comment; he said that a CT scan is a much less expensive test than an MRI, but it “only gives you a tenth of the information an MRI does.” He added, “A CT scan is useful only in pretty severe cases, such as trauma, and also during the few days after an anoxic (lack of oxygen) brain injury. It’s useful in an emergency-room setting. But if the question is ischemic injury [brain damage caused by lack of blood/oxygen to part of the brain] you want an MRI and PET. For subsequent evaluation of brain injury, the CT is pretty useless unless there has been a massive stroke.”
Starving for a Fair Diagnosis: Terri Schiavo is not out of medical options. But that’s the “fact” her husband wants you to believe. By Reverend Robert Johansen

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