Terri Schiavo Is Not Brain Dead

If you’re going to write about something, you should take a minimal amount of time to get the facts right and avoid embarassing yourself. Dave Winer makes the bizarre claim that

Re Terry Shiavo [sic], the woman whose brain is dead, Congress and the President should not have gotten involved. They made a mistake.

Schiavo is definitely not brain dead. Rather she is in a persistent vegetative state. Schiavo suffered apparently severe brain damage, but her brain is currently functioning although not normally.

If you’re brain dead, you’re just plain dead — no one recovers from brain death. People do, rarely, recover from being in a persistent vegetative state, which is why Schiavo’s parents still hold out hope for her.

Regardless of your opinion on whether or not Schiavo should have her feeding tube removed (and I favor letting the state court decisions stand), it doesn’t help to spread misinformation like claiming Schiavo is actually brain dead.

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