OTR Interviews

Was Terri Schiavo Abused?

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," April 15, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Documents detailing 89 complaints of abuse against Terri Schiavo have been made public. The complains of abuse were from between 2001 and 2003. All of these complaints have been deemed unfounded. Joining us from New York is forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden.


VAN SUSTEREN: And joining us again is criminal defense attorney Jeff Brown. Dr. Baden, have you gone through the pages that have been released?

BADEN: Yes. Forty-four pages, 89 charges, and the result is that each of these charges was investigated by the Florida Department of Childrens and Families, and as you said, they didn't find any of them to be founded. They were all unfounded.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right. In terms of the complaints, Dr. Baden, one of the common complaints that were made and deemed unfounded, and what was the most serious complaint deemed unfounded?

BADEN: Well, the most common complaint were for these anonymous sources, because they don't give the names, was the hospice was not giving good care, the husband was not permitting good medical care, that she didn't get gynecological, dental, urinary tract care. So there's a lot of complaints about medical care. There were also complaints that she had multiple fractures of the back and one leg that she may have been strangled, and I think the most interesting one was that somebody had given inappropriate injections into her. But then the Clearwater police came and they investigated many of these charges and found no merit to them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jeff, how come we are getting these documents?

JEFF BROWN, ATTORNEY: Well, Judge Greer has signed an order releasing them. He balanced the privacy right that Terri Schiavo would have regarding releasing these documents as well as the public's right to know. Remember now, there are an awful lot of allegations surfacing right around the time of the controversy that we had back over in Pinellas Park about a month ago regarding whether or not there was abuse to Terri Schiavo from Michael and all of those allegations and I think the judge finally said the privacy right really is no longer existing at this point compared to the public's right to know. He's releasing the reports to pretty much settle this area.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did somebody asked have them released and did somebody oppose it?

BROWN: I believe it was all of the media, different media representatives asked for these documents to be released and Judge Greer has decided that now is an appropriate time.

VAN SUSTEREN: No opposition?

BROWN: I don't believe there was any.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Baden, in terms of the allegations of a fractured back, legs, strangled and injected, let me take a couple of those. Strangled. What was the actual complaint about the strangled?

BADEN: The complaint was that the complainant thought she had been strangled, perhaps to cause the unconsciousness at the beginning. There weren't any details. Just that she had been strangled and there was a complaint that she had somehow suffered head trauma to get her into this condition. As far as the investigation was done, they couldn't substantiate that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so if this complaint was made in 2001 to 2003 or 4, whatever this range is, but the strangulation, the allegation would have occurred in 1990 ...

BADEN: They refer back to 1990.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you investigate that to confirm or not to confirm...

BADEN: The investigation would have to go back to the admitting findings in 1990 that the police would have to go back with their -- and the agency had their own doctors review some of his to see what were her complaints when she came in. When she came in in 1990, did she have any fractures, did she have any evidence of neck injury. And Greta, the autopsy report that will be coming out in a few weeks will also address those points. So that this isn't the end. This is the agency's investigation. But I think the final investigation is going to be what the medical examiner finds, were interest any fractures, was there any head injury, was there any evidence of strangulation, and they should be able to tell that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, we are awaiting the autopsy report, the final findings. Dr. Baden, thank you. Jeff, stand by.

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