A Race against Time; the Terri Schiavo Case Is Being Investigated

Article excerpt

Byline: Nat Hentoff, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A federally funded disability advocacy agency has begun an investigation into possible neglect and abuse of Terri Schiavo; her husband is in court to again remove her feeding tube. And a respected forensic pathologist is concerned about the events in 1991 that resulted in her present condition.

In Florida, where Terri's dying process was stopped by the legislature and the governor, the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities (ACPD) is on the case. Its Web site says it has "the authority to investigate incidents of abuses and neglect when reported if there is probable cause to believe the incidents occurred." The agency has now acquired Terri's medical records.

The investigation - as Jeff Johnson reported on CNSNews.com Oct. 29 (and confirmed by Patricia Anderson, the attorney for Terri's parents) - will probe allegations of neglect and abuse, including therapy judgments, during Michael Schiavo's guardianship of his wife.

Meanwhile, in an Oct. 24 interview on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren," a prominent forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, raised questions about what happened to Terri in 1991 that deprived her brain of oxygen and put her in the state she has been in since.

Dr. Baden, who has written several books on forensic pathology, is the former chief pathologist for New York City, and former director of the New York State Police's Forensic Sciences Unit. He has been consulted in a variety of high-profile cases, and is often interviewed by reporters. I heard Dr. Baden say, during a previous appearance on Mrs. Van Susteren's lively program, that he agreed with the diagnoses of some neurologists that Terri could not recover.

Since then, however, Dr. Baden has said he wants to know more about the genesis of her condition; the ACPD investigation should also pursue that line of inquiry. Dr. Baden now has access to a 1991 bone-scan report that raises questions about a claim in Michael Schiavo's successful malpractice suit in Terri's case.

The claim was that her brain injury was caused by a potassium imbalance that caused a heart attack, thereby cutting off oxygen to her brain. …