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Another Reality Check On The Schiavo Case
From the St. Petersburg Times:

"It's a big leap to go from seeing some evidence of brain function to a conclusion that the patient is aware," said Dr. Stephen Mernoff, a clinical assistant professor of neurology at Brown University. "In this case, it's way too big a leap."

Lakoff compares the battle over Schiavo's life to the Scopes Monkey Trial, which played out in Dayton, Tenn., in 1925 over the decision of high school teacher John Scopes to teach evolution in defiance of a Tennessee law. It was an era of struggle between traditionalists and modernists over values.

"What's changed?" said Lakoff. "This is a traditional clash between faith and science. Terri Schiavo is a dead body. She's not there anymore. But for many Christians, the concept of a soul is that it can think, perceive and feel, just like the person it inhabits. But that isn't possible without a brain. It is folk theory, and the antithesis of science."

The heart of the issue for some is whether Schiavo will suffer as she dies after the feeding tube is removed. Mernoff says she will not.

"People think that's a terrible way to go, but that's because they think of starvation as it would feel to them, people who are totally conscious and aware of their surroundings," he said. "In a case like this, however, the patient will feel nothing at first, then will experience renal failure, lapse quickly and painlessly into a coma and then expire. It is actually very peaceful."

Mernoff also said the hope of Schiavo's parents for a miracle recovery is in vain. "People waking up magically after 15 or 20 years - it just doesn't happen," he said. "If you look into these stories, there is always, always some factor that wasn't made public that is responsible."

Posted by aalkon at March 24, 2005 6:19 AM

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mernoff or lakoff?

Posted by: amanda at March 24, 2005 3:16 PM


Dr. Stephen Mernoff, a clinical assistant professor of neurology at Brown University.

George Lakoff, professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California-Berkeley

You might click on the link. The quoted piece is just an excerpt.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 24, 2005 6:32 PM

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