March 22, 2005

"Something May Be Very Wrong"

So says the doctor at CodeBlueBlog, based on his reading of one cut of a 1996 CT scan used to demonstrate Terri Schiavo's "fluid-filled" cerebral cortex:

First of all, the University of Miami's appellation for this scan is inaccurate. "Cortical regions" are not and can not be filled with spinal fluid. The sulci (spaces between cortical ribbons) are enlarged secondary to cortical atrophy and these sulci are filled with cerbrospinal fluid.

The most alarming thing about this image, however, is that there certainly is cortex left. Granted, it is severely thinned, especially for Terri's age, but I would be nonplussed if you told me that this was a 75 year old female who was somewhat senile but fully functional, and I defy a radiologist anywhere to contest that.

But you know, screw it; let's starve her anyway, the dumb bitch. Let's do it . . . for feminism. Honestly, now, doesn't feminism demand that we take the word of Terri's devoted husband over the words of her foolish, sentimental parents? Doesn't feminism tell us to treat women as the property of their husbands upon marriage? Doesn't true feminism ask us to ignore any data that might indicate abuse by that husband? Doesn't it teach us to write up a list of "myths" about Terri's condition that could have been authored by the husband himself? Of course it does. My goodness, if you can't see that I guess you're just a Bible-thumping reactionary enemy of progress or something. And I bet Betty Friedan hates you.

Anyway, my point is, it's just dumb to have any concern whatsoever regarding this woman's fate, and sure, this CodeBlue's a doctor but did you notice he is also A MAN?!? We don't listen to such creatures, my sisters. Except Michael Schiavo, we love him. But worrying whether he's about to succeed in offing his wife, well, if you're so despicable as to do that, it only proves you're one of those people who prays to Jesus for the pasta to come out al dente, the socks to come out of the dryer in pairs, the canned peaches not to be dented . . . you right-wing nutjob ZEALOT.

Oh!--but I have fantastic news: Super-hunky liberal feminist Kim du Toit totally supports us in our quest to keep the God-botherers out of Michael Schiavo's private family matters. I know! How did we ever get so lucky as to get him? You know the Clint Eastwood quote about meeting the same folks coming 'round from the left when you reach the extremes on the right? This is just like that, only in a cool way.

(CodeBlueBlog link via Kesher Talk.)

Posted by Ilyka at March 22, 2005 03:53 PM in news

Here's what troubles me about that brain scan: it looks just like the brain scan of a patient with hydrocephalus, which is treatable. I don't believe that Terri's brain function is comparable to that of a hydrocephalus patient, but you'd never know it to look at the CT scans and the non-doctors who post on their blogs "look at the brain scan, she has no brain left!".

I generally loathe slippery slope arguments, but damned if I can see how this one doesn't lead right into "look at this hydrocephalus baby, clearly s/he DOESN'T HAVE A FUNCTIONAL BRAIN, let's cut off his/her food supply."

Anyway, I commend you for wading into this one, especially for pointing out the absurdity of the "kill Terri for feminism" take; I don't have the stomach for it.

Posted by: Moebius Stripper at March 22, 2005 04:24 PM

All the while, I keep thinking of her parents. What must it be like to spend so long fighting for their daughter and be forced to watch her starve to death. It's paractically unimaginable.

Posted by: Ith at March 22, 2005 06:44 PM

I still want the PET and MRI. You can't make this kind of decision based on one nine-year-old CT. The shunt thing is interesting, but I don't know whether it means this is somebody else's CT posted by error(how did somebody manage to post confidential medical info on the Web anyway? Did they smuggle it out?)or if Ms. Schiavo might have had a shunt placed after the initial cardiac arrest. If she had hydrocephalus that certainly should have made it into the court records as that would have been clinically relevant.

Posted by: Dr Alice at March 22, 2005 09:30 PM

Ilyka, check out Scrappleface.

Posted by: Yehudit at March 22, 2005 10:53 PM

Oh, I'm not saying she has hydrocephalus; that's a birth defect, not a result of cardiac arrest. It's clear that she's extremely brain-damaged, far more so than a hydrocephalus patient (who can function close to normally with a shunt). What I'm objecting to is lay people posting the scan of her brain - which, to lay people, looks just like a hydrocephalic brain - and saying that it goes to show that her brain is basically goo and that therefore there's no point in keeping her alive. Because by that reasoning, there's no point in treating hydrocephalus patients, either.

Posted by: Moebius Stripper at March 23, 2005 12:04 AM

That scan makes me crazy; it gets posted in some internet forum and immediately hundreds of people jump on it: "Look! Holes! OBVIOUSLY her brain is completely gone." OK, yes, I see holes, but they tell me pretty much nothing except that something is wrong with this brain, since I'm not a doctor, or a neurologist, or even just someone who has experience in reading a scan like that. I'm guessing about 95% of the people looking at it know just about as much as I do.

And how did that scan get released, anyway?

Posted by: Sonetka at March 23, 2005 01:14 AM