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March 23, 2005

Two more nurses expose Michael Schiavo's abuse of Terri

Heidi Law is a certified nursing assistant. In 1997 she trerated Terri Schiavo at the Palm Garden Convalescent Center in Largo, Fla. In an affidavit filed with the court in August 2003, she stated:

"I know that Terri did not receive routine physical therapy or any other kind of therapy. I was personally aware of orders for rehabilitation that were not being carried out. Even though they were ordered, Michael would stop them.

"Michael ordered that Terri receive no rehabilitation or range of motion therapy. I and [another CNA] would give Terri range of motion anyway, but we knew we were endangering our jobs by doing so. 

"We usually did this behind closed doors...we were so fearful of being caught ... we were always looking out for Michael, because we knew that, not only would Michael take his anger out on us, but he would take it out more on Terri. We spoke of this many times.

"At least three times during any shift where I took care of Terri, I made sure to give Terri a wet washcloth filled with ice chips, to keep her mouth moistened.

"On three or four occasions I personally fed Terri small mouthfuls of Jello, which she was able to swallow and enjoyed immensely. I did not do it more often only because I was so afraid of being caught by Michael.

"Several times when Michael visited Terri during my shift, he went into her room alone and closed the door. This worried me because I didn’t trust Michael. 

"When he left, Terri was very agitated, was extremely tense with tightened fists and sometimes had a cold sweat. She was much less responsive than usual and would just stare out the window, her eyes kind of glassy. ... 

"We were convinced that he was abusing her, and probably saying cruel, terrible things to her because she would be so upset when he left.

"The Palm Gardens staff, myself included, were just amazed that a 'Do Not Resuscitate' order had been put on Terri’s chart, considering her age and her obvious cognitive awareness of her surroundings."

Carolyn Johnson is also a certified nursing assistant. She worked at the Sabal Palms nursing home in Largo. She has stated that Terri's mistreatment went back to at least 1993.

"During this assignment I took care of Terri Schiavo several times. I learned, as part of my training, that there was a family dispute and that the husband, as guardian, wanted no rehabilitation for Terri. This surprised me, as I did not think a guardian could go against a doctor's orders like that, but I was assured that a guardian could and that this guardian had gone against Terri's doctor's orders.

"No one was allowed to just go in and see Terri. Michael had a visitors list. We all knew that we would lose our jobs if we did not do exactly what Michael said to do.

"I remember seeing Michael Schiavo only once the entire time I worked at Sabal Palms, but we were all aware that Terri was not to be given any kind of rehabilitative help, per his instructions. 

"Once, I wanted to put a cloth in Terri's hand to keep her hand from closing in on itself, but I was not permitted to do this, as Michael Schiavo considered that to be a form of rehabilitation."

Posted by Danny Carlton at March 23, 2005 02:05 PM

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