Foul Play In Terri Schiavo Case?

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, October 27, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: A 1990 heart attack left Terri Schiavo (search) with severe brain damage. Since then a legal battle has raged over whether or not to keep her alive. On October 15 her feeding tube was removed, according to her husband's wishes.

Last week, after intervention by the Florida legislature, Governor Jeb Bush (search) ordered that her feeding tube be reinserted. Now time is running out for Terri's husband to challenge the constitutionality of the law that's been dubbed by many as Terri's Law.

So what will happen next in this tragic case? Joining us now is Terri's father, Robert Schindler. And also joining us, a neurosurgeon who has examined Terri, Dr. William Hammesfahr.

All right. Thank you both for being with us.

How is she doing first of all, Mr. Schindler, after the tube now has been reinserted?

ROBERT SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO'S FATHER: She's really made a remarkable combat. She's very, very tired naturally, being without food for seven days and hydration. But today, she was probably a little more responsive than yesterday, and she was very agitated today. She didn't want to bother with anybody or anything.

HANNITY: Yes. Doctor, you've examined her, and you've come to the conclusion, No. 1, that can she can be rehabilitated. And when is the last time you evaluated her and what else did you find?

DR. WILLIAM HAMMESFAHR, NEUROLOGIST: I saw her last about a year ago for the court. I want to just jump in here for a second. I'm a neurologist and not a neurosurgeon.

HANNITY: I'm sorry.

HAMMESFAHR: I saw her last about a year ago and as part of the court ordered evaluations.

HANNITY: Yes, but you basically said that she could be rehabilitated, that she showed...

HAMMESFAHR: Absolutely. She is not in a coma. She did not have a heart attack. She is not in a coma presently. She absolutely can be rehabilitated. There's no question about that.

HANNITY: You know, Mr. ...

HAMMESFAHR: In fact, she follows commands right now. She follows commands right now.

HANNITY: Well, I can see that.

HAMMESFAHR: She's not in a coma.

HANNITY: I'm not a doctor, but when I see this video it's heart- wrenching to me and the fact that this poor women went six days without a feeding tube is frightening to me.

The last time we had you on, Mr. Schindler, you were very harsh in your comments about the husband. And you believe his fear is, is that if your daughter wakes up, she will have to -- a tale to tell about him. Can you...

SCHINDLER: That comes from the evidence that there's medical evidence that she had a neck injury. And as the doctor said, she had no heart attack. And her ribs and parts of her body suffered fractures.


SCHINDLER: And there's really no explanation for what her collapse was. Not at all.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Doctor Hammesfahr, I read the medical report. There was a report that when she came into the E.R., she had a rigid neck. Is that consistent with a neck injury?

HAMMESFAHR: Absolutely, yes, it is. They also did X-rays at the emergency room and the X-rays showed straightening of the normal spinal curvature, which is very typical of a new neck injury.

COLMES: We heard a lot about low potassium, but this neck injury stuff is very interesting. Would that kind of a situation be consistent with the possibility of foul play?

HAMMESFAHR: I'd like to go back to the potassium for a second, because he talked about the potassium and about the diet pills issue or some other drugs.

COLMES: Sure. Sure.

HAMMESFAHR: But the medical record clearly shows that there has never been a heart attack. Potassium causes damage by causing heart attacks, so we know the potassium is not an issue.

COLMES: But with the rigid neck, is that consistent with what could be foul play?

HAMMESFAHR: I have seen a neck that rigid from trauma to the neck.

COLMES: All right. So you wouldn't venture to say foul play but -- are you intimating that?

HAMMESFAHR: I think that that type of a neck that shows a degree of injury, and I think that it needs to be looked at much more closely to find out the exact cause.

Right now we have a woman who had a collapse with no known cause. No evidence of infection, heart attack, respiratory failure or anything. The only thing found in the emergency room is a damaged neck.

COLMES: Mr. Schindler, are you going to try to prove foul play at some point and try to press some kind of a case here against your son-in- law?

SCHINDLER: Well, what we're trying to do, there are two issues. One is to get Terri therapy, because we believe she can recover.

And the second thing is we want to have an investigation. We're asking the local police, the attorney, and no one will touch it. There's a cap on it. Someone's blocking everything.

HANNITY: Mr. Schindler, we're going to continue to follow this story. I'm very, very grateful to the Florida legislature and Jeb Bush. I think they did the right thing, and we'll monitor this and have you back on again.

SCHINDLER: So were we. Thank you very much.

HANNITY: Doctor, good to see you. Appreciate you being with us.

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