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March 24, 2005
Media Matters Underscores Judge Greer's Capriciousness

I received an e-mail from Bart M this morning with the following message:

You published a link to a Michelle Malkin article which repeated a slime on Schiavo's husband. I suggest reading the following to appreciate just how scurrilous Ms. Malkin's opportunistic hit piece was[.]

The link was to this Media Matters post, and as you might imagine, I took the reference with a huge, Lot's Wife-sized grain of salt. Sure enough, our friends at Media Matters have the spin cycle going pretty hard trying to discredit the nurses who have brought affadavits forward regarding the behavior of Michael Schiavo during his guardianship of Terri Schiavo. Not only does Media Matters take all the news agencies to task for giving Carla Iyer airtime during this debate, they link to another affadavit from another nurse who corroborates Iyer's testimony, while claiming their testimony is "incredible".

Where do they get that idea? From Judge George Greer himself, of course:

Greer dismissed Iyer's charges, noting that they -- along with a similar affidavit given by Heidi Law, another nurse who formerly took care of Terri Schiavo -- were "incredible to say the least" and that "[n]either in the testimony nor in the medical records is there support for these affidavits as they purport to detail activities and responses of Terri Schiavo."

First, it's important to review both affadavits to see how dumb that argument is. Iyer specifically states in her affadavit that her comments to Terri's chart had been repeatedly removed, and Law says notes she provided the nursing staff routinely went into the trash. Both sworn affadavits corroborate the fact that Michael would not allow nurses to perform any kind of therapy for Terri in the period from 1995 to 1997, and the hostile attitude Michael had towards Terri. When two different people who worked with Terri at two different times give essentially the same testimony, a court should give some consideration to their presentation.

However, Greer dismissed them with little if any consideration, and you can almost feel the contempt he had for their testimony in this curt dismissal:

The remaining affidavits deal exclusively with events which allegedly occurred in the 1995-1997 time frame. The court feels constrained to discuss them. They are incredible to say the least. Ms. Iyer details what amounts to a 15-month cover-up which would include the staff of Palm Garden of Lago Convalescent Center, the Guardian of the Person, the Guardian ad Litem, the medical professionals, the police and, believe it or not, Mr. and Mrs. Schindler. Her affidavit clearly states that she would "call them (Mr. and Mrs. Schindler) anyway because I thought they should know about their daughter." The affidavit of Ms. Law speaks of Terri responding on a constant basis. Neither in the testimony nor in the medical records is there support for these affidavits as they purport to detail activities and responses of Terri Schiavo. It is impossible to believe that Mr. and Mrs. Schindler would not have subpoenaed Ms. Iyer for the January 2000 evidentiary hearing had she contacted them as her affidavit alleges.

Why is that so impossible to believe? Staff comes and goes at hospitals and hospices; it's more than just possible that the Schindlers couldn't remember their names by 2000, it's probably very likely, considering the vast number of nurses and caregivers that the family had encountered the previous nine years. I've dealt with the highly professional and wonder staff at Fairview University Medical Center in Minneapolis for over two years, and I haven't a clue as to the names of the nurses and technicians who have assisted the First Mate during that period. The Schindlers couldn't very well subpoena people whose names they couldn't recall and whose notes had been expunged from the official records. As far as the cover-up including the facility which Michael paid to house Terri, did the judge even consider their financial stake in continuing to receive compensation for Terri's care?

This is why Congress wanted the federal court to take a de novo look at the Terri Schiavo case -- so that Terri's fate could be considered by a finder of fact besides George Greer for the first time. Media Matters for America blunders into the truth of why so many of us have so many problems with Greer's handling of the case, although true to form, MMFA can't recognize the truth with both hands and a flashlight.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 24, 2005 6:40 AM

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