Thursday, March 24, 2005

Updated! New Version of Terri's "Exit Protocol"

With Additional Pages and Information


Documents Now Available for Download

Terri Now Without Food & Water for 135 Hours

I have received an updated version of Terri's "Exit Protocol", the document prepared by the staff of Hospice of the Suncoast, the organization that runs the Woodside Hospice where Terri is kept. the documents have been re-scanned, and the new scans are more complete. They now include the signatures of the clinical pharmacist and the doctor who prepared them.

There are also some pages that were not included in the original scans that were sent to me. the additional pages are:
The clinical pharmacist's notes of her conversation with Terri's physician of record, Dr. Victor Gambone.

The orders for medications signed by Dr. Victor Gambone

These documents are now available for download, so you can examine them for yourself. The links to the documents are included toward the end of this post.

Michael and Felos have appeared on national television several times, and told viewers that Terri wasn't going to be starved to death, but that she was going to be "allowed to die". I suppose in some Orwellian alternate universe that might be true, but now, in regards to Terri, it is a monstrous, flat out lie. Michael Schiavo said that Terri would peacefully slip away. That too is false. Terri will die a horrible, prolonged death. The documents I reproduce below demonstrates that.

The document I reproduce below was prepared by the hospice at which she resides, by their own doctors and pharmacists. It was produced in anticipation of the first time Terri's feeding tube was removed, in 2001. Anyone reading it with a rudmimentary knowledge of medicine will recognize that in Terri's case, and the cases of many others in similar situations, the so-called "treatment" that is given is in fact not treatment at all. It is a regimen of medication intended to perpetrate an illusion: the illusion that someone is peacefully "slipping away", when in fact they are dying in a painful and brutal way.

The document was given a name by those who wrote it. They called it Terri's "Exit Protocol".

I first published this document last September, when it first came to light. I republish it here so that all can see the truth of what is being done to her.


Terri's "Exit Protocol" Discovered In Hospice Documents

Cheryl Ford, RN, a nurse from Tampa who has been very active in the efforts to save Terri's life, recently undertook, on behalf of the Schindlers, a review of medical records from when Terri was first admitted to Woodside Hospice. Woodside Hospice is run by Hospice of the Florida Suncoast. It is of interest to note that Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, was a member of the Board of Directors of Hospice of the Florida Suncoast until the Terri Schiavo case began to attract widespread public attention a few years ago.

In her research, Ms. Ford found a document titled "Exit Protocol" in Terri's file. The document is on Hospice of the Florida Suncoast "Patient Care Notes" stationery, and "Symptom Management Orders" stationery. It is dated April 19 & 20, 2001. This document lays out, in clinical detail, the procedures to be followed in bringing about Terri's death by starvation and dehydration.

I reproduce here the contents of this document. They are presented verbatim, except in several places where the notes duplicate themselves. It was sent to me in the form of an Adobe PDF document. The links for downloading it appear toward the end of this post.

The text of the document is in black type, my comments and explanations will be presented in red type


Exit Protocolxxxxxxxxxxxx00038


Patient Care Notesxxxxxxxxxxxxx The Hospice
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxOf The Florida Suncoast

Date

4/19/01xxxxxxxxxxxxxClinical Pharmacy
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxRe: Medication review and symptom management


Pt. is a 37 yo woman in a vegetative state with no apparent signs of distress. Enteral tube-feeding to be discontinued on 4/20/01.

Current Medications:

1. antacid suspension 1-2 tablespoons prn [prn = "as needed"]

2. Naproxen suspension 375 mg Q8* prn menstrual cramps. [Q8* prn = "every 8 hours as needed". Naproxen is a pain-relieving and anti-inflamatory drug. ]

3. Vitamin liquid daily.

Upon discontinuation of enteral feeding the following signs/symptoms may or may not occur. The following is a brief list of symptoms for which to monitor and recommended interventions.

1. d/c ["discontinue"] antacid. d/c Naproxen suspension.

2. d/c Vitamin liquid

3. Monitor symptoms of pain/discomfort. If noted, medicate with Naproxen rectal suppository 375 mg Q8* prn.

Wait a minute! George Felos, Michael Schiavo, and all the other advocates of feeding-tube removal have been saying repeatedly that dying by denial of nutrition & hydration is "peaceful" and "painless". They've both said so in interviews and press conferences, such as on Larry King Live. So if dying by denial of nutrition and hydration is, as Michael said, "painless and probably the most natural way to die", then why is medication needed for pain and discomfort?

4. Signs of compromised skin integrity — continue vigilant skin care, provide moistener to lips, consult wound-care specialist if needed.

As the body dehydrates, the skin loses its tone and dries out. Left untreated, this will lead to cracking and bleeding. The lips are even more sensitive in this respect. "Vigilant skin care" is the liberal use of lotions and moisteners to mask these symptoms. The lips must be continually swabbed with special moisteners, and have lip balm applied to them. In the last stages, though, in spite of such measures, skin breakdown often occurs. Because of the body's debilitated state, normal healing mechanisms do not function. Hence the need to consult wound-care specialists to deal with ulcers and open sores.

5. Signs of dehydration
(A) dry lips, mouth. Swab saliva substitute inside mouth prn. (see next page)

After a few days without water, the body stops producing saliva, necessitating the use of a "saliva substitute" to avoid ulceration in the mouth, and a characteristic foul odor on the patient's breath. The cessation of salivation also leads to other complications which appear in the "pulmonary" section.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx00039

Patient Care Notesxxxxxxxxxxxxx The Hospice
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxOf The Florida Suncoast

Date

4/19/01xxxxxxxxxClinical Pharmacy Note — continued

xxxxxxxxxxxxxSigns of dehydration — continued

(B) decreased urinary output - no change in care plan.

While there may be "no change in care plan", one of the effects of dehydration is incontinence. The patient's diapers or "chux" pads will need to be changed more frequently, until such output ceases entirely.

6. Pulmonary
(A) Inability to clear secretions - reposition and swab mouth, consider scopolamine patch behind ear every 3 days.

Dehydration causes the natural mucus secretions of the mouth, nose, and throat to thicken, as the body struggles to protect these delicate membranes. The lack of saliva exacerbates this problem, preventing the normal swallowing of these secretions. These thick deposits can interfere with breathing. The use of the scopolamine patch promotes drying of these secretions, which prevents their build-up, but hastens the breakdown of the tissues.

(B) dyspnea ["difficulty in breathing"] — nebulize low dose 2-5 mg morphine sulfate Q4* prn.

In the last stages of dehydration/starvation, the patient's breathing will become difficult and labored. He or she may even begin gasping for breath, as even the lungs' ability to effect transfer of gases is compromised. Morphine nebulized into a fine spray relaxes bronchial passages and relieves these symptoms. However, because of the resultant decrease in respiratory efficiency, this may hasten death.

7. Multifocal myoclonus or terminal agitation (sometimes caused by electrolyte imbalance). Consider diazepam rectal administration 5-10 mg. May repeat in 4 hours if not resolved then daily - twice daily as needed.

Myoclonus is twitching or spasm of the muscles. Multifocal means "occurring in many different parts of the body". This is usually the result of imbalance in electrolytes, the chemicals, such as salt, potassium, and calcium, which make your bodies internal electrical "batteries" work. Nerve impulses and muscle contractions are governed by electro-chemical reactions utilizing these chemicals. Dehydration causes these chemicals to be out of balance, interfering with normal nerve and muscle function. This can result in nerves and muscles "firing off" uncontrollably, causing spasm. The patient will writhe and become extremely agitated. If you have ever had muscle cramps resulting from strenuous exercise (especially when you have sweat profusely), you have some idea what this feels like. Imagine having this happen all over your body, repeatedly. Diazepam (more commonly known as Valium) is a muscle relaxant

8. Grand Mal seizure, which is highly unlikely given current conditions and lack of contributing factors (meds). Recommend diazepam 15 mg rectally as indicated in seizure management orders.

In the final stages of starvation and dehydration, the same electrolyte imbalances which can cause muscle spasm can also lead to uncontrolled firing of neurons in the brain, according to a similar mechanism. This results in seizures.

Thank you for the opportunity to collaborate regarding this patient's care.


Date: 4/19/01xxxxxxxxxxPatient Name: Schiavo, Theresa

Physician/Staff Name/Title (print) Lisa Miller xxxMedical Record # 123235

Physician/Staff Signature (signed) Lisa Miller, Pharm. D
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxTeam Woodside


[Document 2]


Clinical PharmacyxxxxxxxRe: communication with physician

This document essentially reiterates some of the points which preceded, including:

2. Naproxen 375mg suppositories; 1 rectally Q8* prn signs of discomfort.
Once again Terri is prescribed pain medication.

3. Saliva subsitute to swab dry mouth prn. DO NOT SPRAY IN MOUTH. Presumably, this instruction is intended as a precaution against Terri aspirating the saliva substitute.

4. Rectal Diazepam 5-10 mg may repeat in 4 hours then once or twice daily prn multifocal myoclonus or terminal agitation.
Again, the possibility of "terminal agitation" would call into question the "peaceful" death that Felos and his water-carriers have rhapsodized about.


[Document 3— Symptom Management Orders]

This document is the actual medical orders, dated 4/20/01, 1:00 PM, submitted by Terri's physician of record at Hospice of the Suncoast, Dr. Victor Gambone. He is the same doctor that, in 2001, "certified" that Terri was terminally ill, and likely to die within six months. This document has a series of check boxes for different treatments under different headings. In certain places Dr. Gambone has added written remarks/instructions.

Pain

[checked] Morphine (MSIR) 5-10 mg IM (IM = intra-muscular; that is, injected into a large muscle such as the buttocks.) or by rectal suppository.

[checked] If no relief after reaching upper range, repeat dose in 1 hour and increase subsequent doses by 50% q 3 hour prn.

This goes beyond the use of morphine for improving breathing, as mentioned above. Here morphine is specifically being prescribed for pain — the pain she isn't supposed to be feeling.


Anxiety/Agitation

[checked] Lorazepam (Ativan) 0.5 - 1 mg IM q 6 hours prn.


Physician Name (please print)Victor Gambone xxPt. Name Theresa Schiavo

Date 4/20/01 (signed) xxxxxxxMedical Record #123235
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxTeam Woodside


These documents can be downloaded as two Adobe PDF files. You can obtain them here:

Terri's Exit Protocol Part One

Terri's Exit Protocol Part Two — With Medical Orders

It seems to me that this document, especially in it's fuller form here, when taken in conjunction with Dr. Gambone's certification that Terri was "terminal", is at least suggestive of a tendency for the people involved at Hospice of the Suncoast to play fast and loose with the facts. Personally, I think it is suggestive of far more, because of the potential deception involved. Could this be evidence of a conspiracy to commit medical homicide?

I would observe, in conclusion, that most of the "treatments" described in this Exit Protocol are in fact not directed at easing the patient's true condition, but in masking the symptoms of dying by starvation and dehydration. These treatments are designed to create the appearance of a peaceful "slipping away", when nothing of the sort is happening. The medications hide the fact that the patient undergoes a lengthy and painful deterioration, in which his/her body wastes away cruelly. Remember this the next time you hear or read someone say that Terri should be "allowed" to die.