Autopsy results released today found that Terri Schiavo had massive and irrevocable brain damage. She was also blind and there were no signs of abuse. The 41-year-old Schiavo died in March after her husband won a legal battle with her parents over the removal of her feeding tube. Pinellas County medical examiner Jon Thogmartin said she died of dehydration, and not starvation, there was no chance her condition could have improved.
--- Her brain was profoundly atrophied. The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain. There was massive neuronal loss or damage. This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons.
The autopsy findings were consistent with her husband’s contention that Terri Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state. The cause of her original collapse was left undetermined.
A Food and Drug Administration staff review found that a new heart failure drug BiDil reduced deaths and hospitalizations in African-Americans. NitroMed, the company that makes BiDil, is specifically targeting the medicine to black patients. An advisory panel meets tomorrow to decide whether to recommend it for FDA approval.
Five of the nation’s largest labor unions moved closer to breaking away from the AFL-CIO today. The heads of the affiliates announced the formation of the ‘Change to Win’ Coalition. In Washington, Teamsters president James Hoffa said the coalition was formed to bolster union membership rolls.