Saturday, April 16, 2005

You may have seen this brief story in The New York Times -- "Report on Schiavo Finds No Abuse" -- but for the full story you should turn to reports in the Orlando Sentinel and St. Petersburg Times.

The Sentinel's lead pulls no punches:

In the four years after Michael Schiavo won the right to remove his wife's feeding tube, the state's social-welfare agency methodically investigated 89 complaints of abuse, but never found that he or anybody else harmed Terri Schiavo, records released late Friday show.

Instead, the state Department of Children & Families repeatedly concluded that Michael Schiavo ensured his wife's physical and medical needs were met, provided proper therapy for her and had no control over her money.

The agency also found no evidence that he beat or strangled her, as his detractors have repeatedly charged.

The conclusions reached in the 45 pages of confidential abuse reports made public Friday raised what Michael Schiavo's attorney said is a key question: Why, during her last weeks of life, did DCF twice try to intervene in the seven-year dispute pitting Terri Schiavo's husband against her parents?

"The answer is obvious," attorney Hamden Baskin III said. "From the get-go, this was nothing but a political intervention. There was, and continues to be, no reason for them to have been involved."...

Some of the complainants were anonymous; the names of others were blacked out in yesterday's report. Apparently they were a varied lot. Here's my favorite complainant story, also from the Sentinel:

In at least one case, the caller found the evidence of Terri Schiavo's alleged abuse on the Internet.

In January 2004, a female caller reported that Terri Schiavo had an infection on her stomach, at the site of her feeding tube, that was not being treated. But when questioned, she said she had no first-hand knowledge of her complaint.

"[She] stated that her information on current infections and lack of treatment was from [a] Yahoo chatline," the report said.

And this was investigated. Your tax dollars at work, citizens of Florida.

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes, though, to trace one group of complaints back to their source. This is from the St. Petersburg Times:

One of the complainants told the DCF that Michael Schiavo was injecting his wife with something, possibly insulin, to hasten her death. Several complainants said Mr. Schiavo asked workers at the hospice several times, "Is the b--ch ever going to die" or words to that effect.

Ah, yes -- those would be among the charges leveled by Carla Sauer Iyer, who was one of Schiavo's nurses for about a year in the mid-1990s. Her affidavit in the case is Exhibit A for the Schiavo crazies; here it is, from the Schindler family's Web site. (Insulin is in paragraph 11, "bitch" in paragraph 9.)

You may recall that Iyer was one of the nurses who appeared on Hannity & Colmes on March 31 and was coached during a commercial break by Sean Hannity on the most effective way to make the right wing's case.

Now the state of Florida has declared her a liar.


UPDATE: Pudentilla does the research I considered doing (but was too lazy to do) and reveals that filing a false claim of abuse is a felony in Florida. Shouldn't the authorities seek to determine whether Carla Iyer or others should be charged under this statute? Will anyone (Democrat or otherwise) have the guts to ask?

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