This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," February 24, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDALL TERRY, FIGHTING FOR TERRI SCHIAVO: This guy is the Dr. Kevorkian of law, and he has dragged Michael Schiavo down the path of his own agenda!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Terri Schiavo's (search) supporters are waging war on her husband's attorney just hours ago in Florida.
In less than 18 hours, a Florida judge will decide whether the feeding tube that keeps Terri Schiavo alive will remain in place. Schiavo has been in a vegetative state for 15 years. What happened to put her in this tragic situation?
Joining us in Miami is Gary Fox, the lawyer who represented Terri Schiavo and her husband, Michael, in a malpractice case. And on the phone is forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden. Gary, let's start with you. First of all, 1990, what happened to your then client?
GARY FOX, 1992 ATTORNEY FOR SCHIAVOS: What happened, Greta, as best we know, is that Terri had a condition known as bulimia (search). It's an eating disorder. She'd had it for many years. She grew up as a chubby, overweight child, and over time, she coped with that condition by developing this eating disorder, bulimia.
One night, Michael and Terri had had dinner. And she had had a large meal, and not long after the meal, he heard a thumping sound in the couple's bathroom, went to investigate, found Terri lying on the floor of the bathroom. She had just purged, apparently, or vomited, binged, which is what bulimics do and had a heart attack. And by the time that fire rescue arrived at the Schiavo home, why, she had suffered severe brain damage.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, you sued on behalf of Michael and Terri successfully, a malpractice claim. What's the short answer to what the malpractice was?
FOX: The short answer? The short answer, Greta, is that Terri had bulimia, an eating disorder. She had symptoms of the eating disorder. She had abnormal menstrual bleeding. She went to the doctors time and time and time again. They didn't ask her the appropriate questions, did not ask her to take the appropriate tests, as a result of which, the cause of the bleeding went undiagnosed and untreated, and she ended up, as many bulimics do, purging once too often, and her electrolytes were thrown out of whack. She had a heart attacking and resulting brain damage.
VAN SUSTEREN: And how much money, or was it sealed? Is it public or not, the amount of money.
FOX: No, it is public. The jury returned a verdict after about a two-week trial of between $8 million and $9 million for Terri and Michael. The jury also found Terri to be 70 percent responsible for her own condition because she induced herself to vomit.
VAN SUSTEREN: So they ended up with what?
FOX: I can't remember exactly the amount, Greta, but I think the gross recovery was between $2 million and $3 million.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Dr. Baden, you've looked at this.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Right.
VAN SUSTEREN: Any chance that Terri can recover, at least in your opinion? I know that you're not treating her, but what you know about it.
BADEN: I think from all that I reviewed, she's not going to get any better than she is. As she is now, she will not improve because of all the brain damage that's there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Gary, did you actually get to see Terri when you were handling the case?
FOX: I did, Greta. We went to visit Terri at the nursing facility (search) where she was. We spent a lot of time with her because I wanted to meet her and determine for myself whether she was responsive, what her condition was, how she dealt with Michael, the kind of treatment she was getting from the nurses and the doctors. So the answer is, yes, we went out and spent many hours with Terri.
VAN SUSTEREN: While you were there, did you see any sort of improvement from the first time you saw her to the last time you saw her? I know this is a long time ago, but did you see improvement?
FOX: I did not.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes. Go ahead, Dr. Baden.
BADEN: Yes. No. What's interesting about what Mr. Fox is saying, there were lots of diets, especially many years ago, that had bizarre dietary eating habits and got electrolytes mixed up, as Mr. Fox said, mostly the potassium. If you got too high potassium or too low potassium, then the heart stops...
VAN SUSTEREN: And that's what happened.
BADEN: But it's not from a hardening of the arteries. It stops the heart. If there's not enough blood going to the brain for five minutes because of the heart stoppage, then it causes permanent brain damage.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Gary, Dr. Baden, thank you both very much.
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