Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Michael's Autopsy Gesture Is Really Empty

In the previous post I explained why Michael Schiavo's consent to an autopsy is meaningless, because an autopsy will not prove (or disprove) PVS.

Well, Michael's "consent" is even more meaningless than it appeared before.

Why? Because he has no choice in the matter.

According to Florida Statute, the county medical examiner must approve all requests for cremation. At the Pinellas County District Six Medical Examiner's site, we read:
XI. CREMATION APPROVAL (Florida Statutes 406.11(1)(c))

A. All requests for cremation must be approved by the Medical Examiner prior to the actual cremation.

1. Before authorizing the irretrievable disposal of a body by cremation, the Medical Examiner must be assured that no future question will arise about the cause or circumstances of the death of the individual.

2. The death, if previously unreported to the Medical Examiner, must first be verified as a non-Medical Examiner case according to Florida Statutes, 406.11.

The website then provides instructions on how to complete and submit the "Cremation Approval Form", which must be signed by the Medical Examiner prior to cremation.

Given the controversy surrounding Terri Schiavo's case, the allegations of abuse, etc., the Medical Examiner would be a fool to "sign off" on the cremation without an autopsy. So what we have here is a case of Schiavo/Felos spin. If Florida statute didn't require the M.E.'s permission, I'd bet that Michael would rush Terri's remains off to the crematory within an hour of when she's pronounced.

Hat tip to reader Sylvia for the story.