Tags: Schiavo | Autopsy | Not | Husband's | Choice

Schiavo Autopsy Not Husband's Choice

Thursday, 31 March 2005 12:00 AM

But the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's office has disputed Felos' portrayal of the autopsy as Michael Schiavo's choice.

"The medical examiner's investigation into the cause of death is mandated by Florida law," said William Pellan, forensic services director. "And, for no other reason, an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death and family requests are immaterial in that determination."

Felos also claimed that Michael Schiavo was requesting the autopsy because, "He believes it's important to have the public know the full and massive extent of the damage to Mrs. Schiavo's brain that occurred through the cardiac arrest in 1990."

Pellan disputed that claim, as well.

"Pursuant to Florida law, the autopsy report will be public record," Pellan said.

Michael Schiavo's choice to have his wife cremated eliminated any choice he might have had as to whether or not an autopsy will be performed. Florida State Statute 406.11, entitled "Examinations, investigations and autopsies," mandates the circumstances under which an autopsy must be performed.

"In any of the following circumstances involving the death of a human being, the medical examiner of the district in which the death occurred or the body was found shall determine the cause of death and shall, for that purpose, make or have performed such examinations, investigations, and autopsies as he or she shall deem necessary or as shall be requested by the state attorney," the statute states.

The applicable condition bringing the law to bear in the Schiavo case is, "When a body is to be cremated, dissected, or buried at sea."

Robert and Mary Schindler have previously expressed their belief that Michael Schiavo physically assaulted Terri in 1990 resulting in her brain injury. They also accused Schiavo in court documents of neglecting and abusing his wife after her brain injury. Schiavo has denied those allegations.

Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist who formerly directed the New York City and New York State crime labs, said the autopsy will not prove whether or not Terri was in a Persistent Vegetative State.

"They'll be looking for a number of things, one of which is to identify more clearly what brain damage Terri Schiavo has suffered. [They'll want to] to see whether it was due to a cardiac arrest suffered 15 years ago as was determined in the malpractice litigation, or whether there was any evidence of a brain trauma," Baden told Fox News Channel. "They'll be able to tell that from the brain examination, even 15 years later."

Pellan said the cause of death and autopsy report "may not be available for several weeks," and that his office would make no comment on the investigation while it is in progress. He added that "interested parties" would be notified when the report is completed.

Copyright: CNSNews.com

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But the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's office has disputed Felos' portrayal of the autopsy as Michael Schiavo's choice. "The medical examiner's investigation into the cause of death is mandated by Florida law," said William Pellan, forensic services director. "And, for...
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2005-00-31
Thursday, 31 March 2005 12:00 AM
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