Frist Schiavo Diagnosis Off the Mark?

fristterry.jpgWhen an autopsy report released earlier today showed that Terri Schiavo had irreversible brain damage that "no amount of therapy or treatment" could have counteracted, and was also blind, perhaps no one was more surprised than Senator Bill Frist (R - TN). During the midst of the Schiavo case, you may recall, the heart surgeon turned legislator expressed doubt at doctors' conclusions that Schiavo was in a "persistent vegetative state."

(More after the jump.)

"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."

Whoops! Given what we now know about Schiavo, Frist's diagnosis seems off the mark. But given his reputation as a highly capable physician, we don't want to jump to conclusions too quickly. For example, what if Frist's conclusion was due to a clerical error rather than a medical one? Our theory: Frist requested video footage of Terri Schiavo, but was actually sent, either through an inadvertent mix-up or perhaps a deliberate Democratic effort to discredit him, video footage of Terry Bradshaw. As any fan of the boisterous former quarterback knows, he's very responsive to visual stimuli. So if this is what happened, Frist's diagnosis would be absolutely correct. Thus, we're reserving any judgement on Frist's medical abilities until more is known about the actual footage he witnessed.

Schiavo Was Blind [Think Progress]

Schiavo's Autopsy Showed No Signs of Abuse [AP]

Frist Views Video, Disputes Diagnosis [WaPo]


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