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Silent Witness: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo’s Death

Author: Mark Fuhrman
Publisher: HarperCollins • 2009 • 272 pages

Terri Schiavo is dead, but her cause — the cause of life — is very much alive. In “Silent Witness: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo’s Death,” former LAPD detective and New York Times bestselling author Mark Fuhrman details why. For although the media jackals and unconscionable Leftist hecklers who cheered her starvation and death have moved on, lingering questions remain about Terri’s life and death. Fuhrman here applies all his highly respected investigative skills to the medical evidence, legal case files, and police records. The result is this sobering book.

With the complete cooperation of Terri Schiavo’s parents and siblings, as well as their medical and legal advisers, and exclusive interviews with forensics experts, friends of Terri, and Terri’s caregivers, Fuhrman uncovers detail after shocking detail of the Schiavo case — details that the liberal media overlooked in its haste to see Terri die. He reveals explosive facts about Terri’s marriage, her condition when she collapsed (including the truth about her alleged “bulimia”), the bitter battles that went on for years between her parents and her husband Michael Schiavo, and the sparsely reported circumstances surrounding her death. He sifts through the evidence and frankly examines the oft-discussed possibility that Michael Schiavo strangled Terri, or that her condition was caused by his beating her.

Above all, Fuhrman proves that the death of Terri Schiavo was a legal homicide perpetrated by the State of Florida at the behest of Michael Schiavo — who, while he always protested that he was doing it all for Terri, was actually in it always and only for himself. He demonstrates that Terri died because everyone failed her: the people charged with her care, the police, the politicians and judges involved with the case, and above all the man who claimed to care for her more than anyone else: her husband Michael Schiavo. Says Fuhrman of Terri’s husband: “the control that he exerted over even the smallest details concerning her treatment, the efforts that he made to restrict access to her medical records and permission to visit her, and finally the stubbornness with which he pursued her legally sanctioned death — is extreme to the point of suspicion.”

Fuhrman’s conclusions about the details of the case are often surprising, always carefully weighed, and more urgent than ever — now that the Left is doing its best to use the precedents set by the Schiavo case to narrow the right to life even further. Now that Terri is dead, the Schiavo controversy has dropped out of the headlines and talk shows. But the struggle for the defense of life rages on. The legal issues and ethical questions provoked by Terri Schiavo’s extraordinary case may be hotly debated for years to come. Silent Witness reveals why the struggle to make sure there are no more Terri Schiavos is more urgent than ever.

Mark Fuhrman reveals:

  • How, when she saw family members crippled and incapacitated, Terri Schiavo never mentioned that she would not want to be kept alive in such a state
  • The marriage of Terri and Michael Schiavo: what it was really like (including details of their wedding, which, according to one eyewitness, was “all about him”)
  • The fateful events of the day that Terri collapsed
  • Evidence that casts into doubt Michael Schiavo’s repeated statements that Terri would have wanted to be disconnected from life support — including his 1991 question, “How should I know what Terri wanted?”
  • What Michael Schiavo did when he discovered Terri unconscious — plus the curious circumstances of his 911 call
  • What the medical records show about Terri’s condition when she was first admitted to the hospital
  • Terri: did bulimia cause her collapse? Proof that she exhibited only two of the dozens of common symptoms of bulimia
  • Terri’s collapse: what may have caused it, and why several common explanations are false
  • Why it took Terri Schiavo so long to die despite the brain damage and other injuries she sustained at the time of her collapse
  • What the March 1991 bone scan report on Terri reveals about whether or not she was a victim of domestic abuse
  • Proof that Michael Schiavo was already dating other women when he declared in 1992: “I believe in the vows that I took with my wife”
  • Michael Schiavo’s volcanic temper — and evidence that he stalked and terrorized the first woman he dated after Terri collapsed
  • How, several times starting in early 1993, Michael Schiavo refused to keep Terri’s parents informed about her condition — and didn’t even let them know about occasions on which she was hospitalized and almost died
  • Michael Schiavo’s depression and suicidal thoughts: and the chilling warning his doctor gave to Robert Schindler, Terri’s father
  • Terri’s 1993 infection that Michael directed doctors not to treat — even though this non-treatment could have killed her
  • The “Do Not Revive” order that Michael insisted be added to Terri’s medical file
  • “Michael is very controlling” — as attested not just by Terri’s friends and family, but by medical workers who didn’t know Terri before her collapse
  • The affidavit from a nurse who cared for Terri that testifies to how responsive she really was during her long illness
  • The handful of nurses who have come forward to describe the abuse and neglect Terri suffered at the hands of Michael Schiavo — and why only a few have come forward
  • Judge George Greer: how he consistently ruled in favor of Michael Schiavo, no matter how many inconsistent and questionable judgments he had to make in order to do so
  • The secretive and controlling nature of Michael Schiavo’s guardianship over Terri during her illness
  • Inconsistencies and falsehoods in Michael Schiavo’s testimony regarding Terri
  • “This whole ‘death with dignity’ is nothing but a big lie”: anguished statements from Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, who witnessed her suffering

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