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Doctor: Schiavo Autopsy Conclusions Flawed

NewsMax ^ | 6/19/05 | Carl Limbacher

Dr. William Hammesfahr, nominated for a Nobel Prize for
his work in Medicine, has been recognized by agents for
Medicare, the federal government, and others for new
approaches to helping the brain injured.

Dr. Hammesfahr has been identified in helping patients
with chronic brain injuries from many causes actually
leave long term disability, and return to work.

Dr. Hammesfahr was identified the first physician to
restore deficits caused by stroke.

Dr. Hammesfahr has released the following statement in
response to the autopsy report on Terri Schindler
We have seen a lot on the autopsy of Terri Schindler 
Schiavo in recent days, that I feel needs to be
addressed. To ignore these comments will allow future
'Terri Schiavo's' to die needlessly after the wishes
of clinicians and family are ignored.

Considering that there were so many physicians and
therapists who were willing to step forward to treat
Terri Schiavo, from university based practitioners
to those in private practice, it clearly shows that
the mainstream medical community across the board,
those involved in treating patients, knew that they
could help Terri.

The record must be set straight. As we noted in the
press, there was no heart attack, or evident reason
for this to have happened (and certainly not of
Terri's making).

Unlike the constant drumbeat from the husband, his
attorneys, and his doctors, the brain tissue was
not dissolved, with a head of just spinal fluid. In
fact, large areas were "relatively preserved."

The purpose of the therapies offered by so many,
from major universities, brain injury centers, and
from private practice physicians, is to improve
and restore quality of life, and function, which
the mainstream medical community clearly tried to
get to her.

I have had a chance to look at Dr. Nelson's
analysis of the brain tissue, and essentially, as
a clinician, these are my thoughts.

The autopsy results confirmed my opinion and Dr.
Maxfield's opinions, that the frontal areas of the
brains, the areas that deal with awareness and
cognition were relatively intact. To use Dr. Nelson's
words, "relatively preserved." In fact, the relay
areas from the frontal and front temporal regions of
the brain, to the spinal cord and the brain stem, by
way of the basal ganglia, were preserved, thus the
evident responses which she was able to express to her
family and to the clinicians seeing her or viewing her
videotape. The Spect scan confirmed these areas were
functional and not scar tissue, and that was
apparently also confirmed on Dr. Nelson's review of
the slides. Dr. Maxfield's estimates of retained brain
weight were apparently accurate, although there may
have been some loss of brain weight due to the last
two weeks of dehydration.

Dr. Maxfield and myself both emphasized that she was a
woman trapped in her body, similar to a child with
cerebral palsy, and that was born out by the autopsy,
showing greater injury in the motor and visual centers
of the brain. Obviously, the pathologists comments
that she could not see were not borne out by reality,
and thus his assessment must represent sampling error.
The videotapes clearly showed her seeing, and even Dr.
Cranfoed, for the husband, commented to her that, when
she could see the balloon, she could follow it with
her eyes as per his request.

That she could not swallow was obviously not borne out
by the reality that she was swallowing her saliva,
about 1.5 liters per day of liquid, and the clinical
swallowing tests done by Dr. Young and Dr. Carpenter.
Thus, there appears to be some limitations to the
clinical accuracy of an autopsy in evaluating

With respect to the issue of trauma, that certainly
does not appear to be answered adequately. Some of the
types of trauma that are suspected were not adequately
evaluated in this assessment. Interestingly, both
myself and at least one neurologist for the husband
testified to the presence of neck injuries. The issue
of a forensic evaluation for trauma, is highly
spcialized. Hence the wish of the family to have
observers which was refused by the examiner.

Ultimately, based on the clinical evidence and the
autopsy results, an aware woman was killed.

s/Dr. W. Hammesfahr

[Dr. Hammesfahr was nominated for the Nobel Prize in
Medicine and Physiology in 1999. The Nomination was
for work started in 1994. In 2000, this work resulted
in approval for the first patent in history granted
for the treatment of neurological diseases including
coma, stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, hypoxic
injuries and other neurovascular disorders with
medications that restore blood flow to the brain. It
was extended to treat successfully disabilities
including ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Tourette's and Autism
as well as behaviorally and emotionally disturbed
children, seizures and severe migraines.]

June 19, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Statement from Dr William Hammesfahr: We have seen a lot on the autopsy of Terri Schindler Schiavo in recent days,... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 20, 2005 8:34:37 AM

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I've fallen down on the job in regards to Terri's autopsy, but tekgnosis is all over it. It's a very good site with the best roundup I've seen on the autopsy starting with this post. If you are at all interested in this case it is worth a look [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 21, 2005 11:13:13 AM


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