Friday, March 18, 2005

The Truth About Michael Schiavo

From Wesley Smith's Oct. 28, 2003 article:
Why did Schiavo tell a medical malpractice jury in 1992 that Terri would live a normal life span? After Terri's collapse, Schiavo sued for medical malpractice. Under civil law, the longer Terri was expected to live, the larger the verdict would probably be. This fact of legal life could explain why Michael presented evidence to the malpractice jury not only that Terri would likely live a normal life span but also that he intended to be a good and loyal husband and care for her for the rest of his life. . . .

Why did Schiavo have a rehabilitation expert testify in front of the malpractice jury to present a detailed plan of therapy for Terri? Schiavo and his lawyer claimed that Terri is incapable of improving physically, but during the 1992 trial, a rehabilitation plan and its anticipated undertaking provided one of the underpinnings for the jury's $1.3 million award. Of that money, Schiavo received $300,000, lawyers' fees were paid, and about $750,000 was put in trust to pay for Terri's rehabilitation. . . .

Given that the jury awarded $750,000 to be used in part for Terri's therapy, why hasn't Schiavo provided any rehabilitation for her since 1991? . . . The only efforts ever undertaken to improve Terri's condition took place in 1990 and 1991. They had ceased by the time of the malpractice trial in 1992 because her insurance coverage had run out. Indeed, the pressing need to restart therapy was an urgent part of the malpractice case. It could have--and should have--paid to restart the rehabilitation that had been abandoned due to lack of funds.

Once Terri's $750,000 was in the bank, however, Schiavo would not approve a single cent of it to be spent on rehabilitation. Not only that, but once the money was in the bank, Schiavo ordered a "do not resuscitate" order placed on Terri's chart so that if she had a cardiac event, the doctors would not attempt to save her. And within a few months of the money being deposited, Schiavo also refused to permit curative treatments, such as antibiotics for infections. If Terri had died during the early or mid-1990s, as Schiavo's orders were designed, he would have inherited somewhere around $700,000. . . .

Is it true that Terri's money has paid for attorneys to make her dead, instead of therapists to make her better? The answer is, unquestionably, yes. According to court records, George Felos, the dutiful "right to die" attorney who sat at Schiavo's side on King's show, has been paid over $350,000 from Terri's trust fund. Another of Schiavo's attorneys, Debra Bushnell, has received about $90,000. These two lawyers alone have received more than half of Terri's entire trust.

According to court records, when Schiavo began his quest to pull Terri's feeding tube in 1998, she had more than $700,000 in the bank. This was primarily because Schiavo generally refused to authorize payments for any nursing home services on Terri's behalf beyond the basics of room and board. Thus, only about $50,000 was paid on her behalf in the five years following the jury verdict. Since 1998, about $650,000 (not taking into account any earnings from the fund) has gone out--not for therapy, but primarily for lawyers.

This is chilling stuff, and it explains perfectly why Michael Schiavo is so eager to have his wife killed.

8 comments:

Jay D. Homnick said...

Unquestionably, Wesley's analysis of how this madness BEGAN is 100 percent correct.

However, it can no longer adequately explain what is happening. After paying for the lawyers, there is only about 50 thousand left in the account, and it's a good bet that once she's dead the lawyers will submit new billing to try to grab that sum.

Furthermore, a San Diego businessman publicly offered Michael 1 million dollars last week to walk away, and he turned it down. That much is in the public record. He also claimed on Todd Schnitt's talk show down here that he turned down 10 million from a Boca Raton businessman. Glenn Beck's listeners have pledged about 3 million if he would back down. He has not bitten.

So why is he doing this NOW?

The answer, I suggest, reveals the ugliest side of human nature. People have a tendency to dig their heels in and persist in prosecuting a BAD DECISION much more than they stand behind their good decisions.

Yes, Virginia, there is Evil in the world. Not to mention stupid, stubborn, ornery cantankerousness.

Bookworm said...

We haven't yet reached the state of honor killing, but there's been a lot of wife killing on the front pages for the past decade -- O.J. (walked), Scott Peterson (will not walk), Robert Blake (walked), Schiavo (obtained court assistance). As a wife -- and, I might add, the wife of a good, honorable, loving man -- these front page stories nevertheless give me a frisson of fear.

TopCat said...

It seems to me that the insurance company, hospital or individual defendants in the malpractice action would/should have some cause of action for fraud, misrepresentation, etc. Maybe this could be a tool to make this slug relinquish his rights.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but if the man has turned down atleast $14 million dollars to turn over this guardianship, it seems to me that he is doing so because he is following his wife's wishes. If he were the scum he is made out to be he would have taken the money and run. Why take all the heat and none of the money?

Mike S.

Karl Gustave said...

Isn't it obvious why Michael Schiavo chose not to take the money and run? His biggest fear is that one day in the future, he will get that phone call announcing that Terri has come out of her current state of being...and is talking about what really happened to her 15 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the reason Michael is fighting this battle is that he has realized over time that his wife does not have any chance to improve and is trying to save her from living in a hellish situation. Perhaps he still loves her enough that he wants to do what's best for her. Of course - like all other theories - this is speculation. Nobody knows what's the reason but Michael.

I know my wife wouldn't want to live under such circumastances - she told me so. She is terrified of this very situation. But she has never told her parents and has no living will. And I would fight her parents if they tried to keep her alive in a similar situation, even if it makes me look evil. Because I love her and I know how terrified she is of the suffering she would go through in this situation. And I expect her to do the same for me. I wouldn't want to go through this, or have my family go through the emotional pain and suffering it brings to them, including the false hope that can destroy lives and the love of people.

Anonymous said...

"Truth"? Speculation would be more like it! In everything, Michael Schiavo has persistently acted in the interests of his wife, Terri. Unless you have proof of his squandering of the settlement money, I suggest you remember that you do not have all the facts. I'd also suggest you take a look here (http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html) for a pretty unbiased explanation of the chronology of this entire affair.

Anonymous said...

Acted in the interests of his wife? That is hogwash! Refusing to allow rehabilitation, barring her family and friends from visiting her, removing all stimuli from her room (music, light, television), starving and dehydrating her to death is NOT in her best interest!!! As for Terri's money, he spent much of it on attorneys. It's a matter of record.