updated 3/29/2005 2:19:58 PM ET 2005-03-29T19:19:58

Guest: Paul O‘Donnell, Jesse Jackson, Ronald Cranford, Chris Smith, Patrick Mahoney, David Gibbs, Suzanne Vitadamo

ANNOUNCER:  This is a special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: “The Terri Schiavo Case.”

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Terri Schiavo‘s fight for life enters its final stage, as family members vow not to give up.  Tonight, we are going to have emotional interview with her sister on how the family is coping, as Terri enters her 11 day without food or water, all this as the firestorm to save Terri grows. 

Plus, protesters continue their vigil where Terri lies dying, as supporters march on Capitol Hill, trying desperately to save Terri‘s life.  We are going to go live to a man doing Terri‘s parents‘ work on Capitol Hill.  Will politicians there or anywhere dare to make a move that can break the stalemate? 

Then, we will have the latest craze in dying later, starvation.  I am going to be looking to the media‘s most outrageous claim later on in tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Terri Schiavo has now gone more than 10 days without food or water.  And attorneys for Michael Schiavo describe Terri as peaceful.  Her sister describes her as fighting for her life. 

Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri‘s sister, joins us now. 

Suzanne, thank you so much.  I know you just saw your sister a few hours ago.  And I understand that family members say she was trying to communicate.  Tell us what you saw. 

SUZANNE VITADAMO, SISTER OF TERRI SCHIAVO:  That‘s right.  I went in to see Terri.  And she is sitting in her chair, and she recognizes me. 

She is very much alert.  And, as I talk with her, like I always do, she is trying, just as she always does, to communicate.  She is a lot weaker, but she is definitely trying to talk.  And, as I said before, the look on her face actually is—it looks like a plea for help.  It‘s very sad. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Suzanne, if that‘s the case, there have been so many doctors that have gone in there, and you hear family members and coming out and representatives coming out, especially over the past couple of days, saying she is trying to communicate.  If that, in fact, is the case, then why have so many doctors gone in there and continued to claim that she is in a persistent vegetative state? 

VITADAMO:  That‘s a good question.  I mean, we have even a neurologist for the Department of Children and Family Services that came forward for the state.  He is a reputable doctor from the Mayo Clinic.  He was just in to examine Terri I think within the past two weeks, and he has affidavit with the court saying that Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state and judge—the circuit judge ignored his affidavit it as well, so that‘s a good question. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, you obviously grew up with Terri, know her better than probably just about anybody else.  Would Terri have wanted to die this way?  Because, in the end, that is the center of this controversy.  Would Terri Schiavo want to be starved to death? 

VITADAMO:  Absolutely not.  My sister was very fun-loving and carefree.  She was afraid of a bee sting.  Terri would never, ever want to be starved to death, never. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, then, why is Michael pushing this?  It seems to so many people that it would have been easier for Michael just to turn around, walk away, and give the guardianship over to your parents.  Why do you think Michael continues to fight to see this to the end? 

VITADAMO:  Well, you know, when he summoned the court to remove Terri‘s feeding talk back in ‘97, there was almost $1 million that he would have inherited back then, and I don‘t believe that he thought that the fight would go on this long. 

However, you know, we still don‘t know what happened to Terri the night she collapsed, and there has surfaced evidence, circumstantial evidence, that something may have happened that was very ugly the night that she collapsed between her and Michael.  So, you know, we have several speech pathologists on record with the court saying that Terri could possibly learn to speak again, and maybe, you know, Michael doesn‘t want that to happen. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Suzanne, you are going to have to explain to us a little bit more in detail, because your brother was on our show on Friday night.  He also implied—or not really implied, suggested there was foul play. 

What do you or your family members know that the rest of us don‘t? 

VITADAMO:  Well, I can tell you that the police were summoned that night to Terri‘s apartment by the paramedics, because they said that the situation was very unusual, and I can tell that the police report routed the report to homicide. 

There‘s—there was a bone scan done 52 weeks after she collapsed that revealed Terri had several unexplained broken bones, and there‘s also a doctor that is on record with the courts that examined Terri that said that Terri had a neck injury, an injury that he has seen similar to victims of strangulation.  So, there‘s evidence that has surfaced late, within the past couple of years—we didn‘t have access to Terri‘s medical records before that—that suggests something may have happened the night that Terri collapsed, and we were asking for an investigation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Suzanne, those are extraordinarily explosive

charges that newspapers haven‘t picked up.  I haven‘t seen it on a lot of -

·         I haven‘t seen it on networks or cable news shows.  If that is the case, then why didn‘t you all take it to law enforcement officers and ask them to investigate? 

VITADAMO:  We have, actually. 

And everything that I have said is on record either with the courts or actually has been—you know, the bone scan is on record.  There‘s an affidavit regarding that.  Obviously, the police record is within—on record with the courts as well, and we did go to law enforcement, and we pretty much were blocked.  There was no investigation done, and we have been asking for an investigation, and they seem to keep brushing it off.  I don‘t know.  I really don‘t.  I don‘t have an answer to that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, if you—if you could, tell us about Terri‘s condition tonight.  You saw her.  Yesterday, there was conflicting testimony.  Your family‘s attorney went in, saw her, then went on television and said that she was in her final phase, that she was past the point of no return.  Your family came out afterwards and said, that‘s not the case.  How is she doing?  What is the true story tonight? 

VITADAMO:  You know, Mr. Scarborough, I went in to see Terri on Friday, and I had almost given up hope on Terri.  And today, when I went in to see her, when she was sitting in her chair, you know what?  She is fighting with everything she has, and I came out of there, and I will do the same.  I mean, Terri is—she is not a woman that wants to die, let alone be starved to death. 

She is fighting.  Pardon?  She is fighting with everything she has. 

And we‘ll continue to fight for Terri. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Suzanne, I guess—you know, I don‘t approach this as a conservative or a liberal or a Republican or a Democrat or a pro-lifer or a pro-choicer.  I come at this as a parent.  I cannot imagine for the life of me having to stand by while my sons or my daughter were starved to death.  Tell us, what are your parents going through right now?  What are their emotions?  How are they coping? 

VITADAMO:  Oh, you know, that is one of the most difficult things for me is, you know, it‘s very difficult for me to go in to see Terri, because it‘s hard as her sister to watch her go through this, the it‘s a needless process.

But to see my mom and dad having to go in there and watch what‘s happening to her is horrible.  I am a parent myself, and I can‘t even imagine putting myself in my mother‘s shoes.  You know, it‘s her firstborn.  My parents, you know, they want to take care of their daughter.  And they‘re not even permitted.  My mom can‘t even put ice chips on her lips or do anything for her at all.  And it‘s horrible.  And I will be honest with you.  My mom is not doing well at all. 

It‘s something I hope ever—no parent ever has to go through, ever. 

It‘s horrible. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Has your mom reached the point where she is afraid that it‘s time to give up, it‘s time to make peace and understand that Terri‘s death is inevitable? 

VITADAMO:  You know what?  I am not sure if she is to that point.  I really don‘t know.  I mean, it‘s so difficult for her even to discuss, to talk about.  She hasn‘t talked about her death.  I don‘t even think she wants to think about that, because it‘s a process, and it‘s a horrible process. 

I mean, really, none of us have given up on Terri.  She is in there.  She is alive.  She is fighting.  She is responsive.  And we will continue to fight for her, and that includes my mom, too.  So—but it‘s very difficult. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me ask you.  You say that Terri is fighting.  How is she fighting? 

VITADAMO:  Well, you know, Mr. Scarborough, we are entering her 11th day without any food and water.  And she is still alert and she is still trying to talk to us.  And she is still responsive, and she is still hanging on.  And, for me, that‘s extremely remarkable.  So, as long as she is in there and she is fighting for her life, we will continue to fight for her life as well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Suzanne, final question.  You see signs all around you.  I saw somebody holding up a sign behind you that is comparing the governor to Pontius Pilate.  Somebody else held up a sign that said, “Someone please help.”

Let me ask you, for your family and for yourself, who has been the biggest disappointment, or what has been the biggest disappointment in this entire process that has landed your sister on death‘s door? 

VITADAMO:  Well, you know, obviously, the biggest disappointment for us is that we as a family, as Terri‘s family, have been unable to get her the therapy and help that she, as a disabled woman—that‘s all—that‘s the only thing that is wrong with Terri, is that she is disabled, and that we have been unable to get her any help at all.  That‘s been the most disappointing, very frustrating thing with this, because Terri, and as I—you know, as I said before, there‘s doctors and speech pathologists that think she can be helped. 

There‘s conflicting reports regarding her condition, and it‘s hard to believe that the courts would not err on the side of life here, so that‘s been very frustrating for us. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Suzanne, thanks for joining us.  And please let your mother know that all of our prayers are not only with her, but, obviously, with Terri and your entire family.  And we pray, whichever way this turns out, that your family will be in peace. 

VITADAMO:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks for being with us. 

Now, over the weekend, 37 protesters were arrested outside of the hospice.  And, today, security has been beefed up. 

Lisa Daniels has been covering this extraordinary story for MSNBC from the front lines of Terri‘s hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, and she joins us now. 

Good evening, Lisa.  What you got? 

LISA DANIELS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening.  Good evening, Joe. 

Let me tell you what is going on today.  There really are two different stories going on here.  One is the story that is going on inside the hospice behind me.  The other story is everything else that is going outside, so, let‘s start there first.  Seven people were arrested earlier today after trying to break through the police barriers and give Terri water. 

We have seen the process before.  They carry glasses of water.  They yell out water, and they are promptly arrested by the police.  So, you know, Joe, these are very coordinated.  They are very planned.  The police are trying to keep people calm.  And so, basically, it‘s not a surprise to the press.  It is not a surprise to the police.  And that is the whole idea, to have these arrests being very coordinated, and to keep this whole area very calm. 

Now, as for the Schindlers, they were very clear today that Terri is alive.  She is fighting for her life.  And the theme today coming from the Schindler camp is that it is not too late to help her.  They are calling upon lawmakers, anybody with any sort of power, to step here in and intervene. 

Here‘s what Bob Schindler, Terri‘s father, said a little bit earlier today.  Let‘s listen. 


BOB SCHINDLER, FATHER OF TERRI SCHIAVO:  At this point, for her sake, I plead again that the powers to be, you know, don‘t give up on her.  We haven‘t given up on her, and she hasn‘t given up on us and on the people. 


DANIELS:  For his part, Florida Governor Jeb Bush explained why he believes his hands are tied.  Let‘s listen to that. 


GOV. JEB BUSH ®, FLORIDA:  I have done what I can do.  I can‘t do more than what the law allows me to do.  You know, this is—that‘s just how the nature of—you just described it perfectly.  It‘s the nature of the 24-7 intensity that exists. 


DANIELS:  As for Michael Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, Felos was in the hospice earlier today.  He visited with Terri.  He told the press that Terri seems to be resting peacefully, from what he can tell.  She does not appear to be in pain.  He also dispelled rumors that she was on a morphine drip.  He pointed out that in only two instances was she given morphine, and that they were very low doses.

So, there are lots of different angles to this story.  Hopefully, we gave you a little piece of each of them—Joe, back to you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks, Lisa.  And, of course, we will be back with you later on in this hour, extraordinary developments and an extraordinary story, you know, Jeb Bush, getting hammered from both sides here.  But, unless he wants to spark constitutional crisis, I am not so sure that the governor has a lot of options available to him. 

But, when we come back, we are going to talk about that.  Plus, we are going to hear from the attorney for Michael Schiavo.  And we are going to have a live interview with the lead attorney for Terri‘s parents, also coming up straight ahead.  And Terri‘s supporters go to Washington, D.C., trying to get Congress or anybody to save Terri‘s life.  But is it too little, too late?  We are going to be talking to the point man that the Schindlers sent to advance their cause on Capitol Hill. 

Don‘t go away.  This special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY continues in a moment.


SCARBOROUGH:  Terri Schiavo supporters go back to Washington to try to get the president or congressional leaders to intervene in their case.  Up next, I will be talking to the reverend who led that contingent to Capitol Hill today. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

You know, we have been trying all day to get somebody to come on the show representing Michael Schiavo, but they announced earlier that they are not going to be talking anymore, they claim, out of respect for Terri.  But Michael Schiavo‘s attorney, George Felos, did hold a press conference earlier this afternoon, shortly after he visited Terri in the hospice. 

Let‘s watch.


GEORGE FELOS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL SCHIAVO:  First of all, I visited with Terri this afternoon at the hospice, spent about, oh, an hour and 15, hour and 20 minutes there this afternoon.  It‘s the first time I saw Terri since I was there two days ago. 

Her condition for the most part seemed the same when I walked into the room.  She looked very peaceful.  She looked calm.  There was music playing in the room.  There were flowers in the room.  Underneath Terri‘s arm was a stuffed animal of a tabby cat. 

Terri‘s—I would say the primary difference was that Terri‘s eyes do look more sunken than when I saw her last, and also, her breathing was a little on the rapid side. 

Mrs. Schiavo is not on a morphine drip.  She has never been on a morphine drip.  That is absolutely—that is absolutely false, and, again, the doses—the dose of 5 milligram in this manner, I was told, was about as low or as small as a dose as could be given. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I will tell you, I wish they would come out and talk.  I wish they would come on this show.  They sent a representative last week.  I would like to ask how peaceful she is.  That‘s the word we keep hearing, that she is starving to death, and that‘s the most peaceful way for her to die, and yet he says that her breathing is more rapid, her eyes are sunken.  It doesn‘t sound like a peaceful scene to me.  I wish we could talk to them.  They need to come out and explain why they are doing what they are doing. 

With us now is the family‘s attorney.  They are talking.  We have got David Gibbs. 

David, I appreciate you being here. 

Want to start by going over yesterday‘s events.  You went on “Face the Nation” in the morning.  You said that Terri was possibly past the point of no return.  The family members came out and contradicted you later on.  What is her condition?  Is she past the point of no return, or is she in a peaceful state, as Mr. Felos claimed? 

DAVID GIBBS, ATTORNEY FOR PARENTS OF TERRI SCHIAVO:  Well, we think Terri right now is demonstrating a remarkable will to live. 

Doctors told us, Joe, that within seven to 10 days from no water, it would be all but impossible for her to show the signs of life she is showing today.  But what we are watching really is Terri demonstrating a will to live.  Certainly, God has touched her and spared her to this point, and we are hopeful, as she continues to show this will to live, that just maybe there‘s a miracle out there that would save her life. 

Terri is looking al the better over the last couple of days, despite, as you pointed out, the abuse she has undergone, no water and no food.  Something that we would put through like a concentration camp, that‘s what she has been undergoing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, you say that the family is hoping for a miracle, but as far as legal options go, you are their attorney.  Do they have—I mean, do they even have a shot at a legal miracle in the court system?  It looks like the courts in Florida and the federal court system have both shut them down. 

GIBBS:  There is one possible miracle still left.  The Department of Children and Families was on their way to intervene.  They had determined that Terri should live.  They were going to put her on an I.V., and they were stopped by a court order here in Florida.  They are appealing that order, and we are helping support those efforts on behalf of the state of Florida.

And the hope would be that, in the next day or two, if that could be reversed, that could be Terri‘s miracle.  But, Joe, you are absolutely right.  The courts have largely been closed to the cry of the Schindler family, a mom and dad just fighting for the life of their daughter.  And when you watch these parents as they go in and have to look at their daughter, it breaks your heart. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, David, the thing I don‘t understand, regardless of what side somebody is on in this case is, what is the harm with putting the feeding tube in?  I mean, those that want to see her die claim that she is in a vegetative state, so if you place the feeding tube in, it doesn‘t seem like it would be that cruel to take it out of her, since, again, she is a vegetable.  But what is the harm in just putting the feeding tube in, having these hearings, answering these questions on whether she is in a vegetative—a persistent vegetative state or not, or whether her husband should have his guardianship revoked? 

GIBBS:  Well, Joe, you are asking the questions that we have argued before the courts, and we don‘t believe there would be any harm. 

We have a mother and a father here who is willing to take care of their daughter.  And you need to remember the sequence of events.  Michael Schiavo, her husband, promised to take care of Terri for the rest of her life.  He sued doctors for malpractice, receives in excess of $1 million.  Only then does he remember that his wife doesn‘t want to live anymore, and proceeds to fight her parents.

And the real question is, why the fight?  Why not let this mother and father, who love their daughter so much, why not let them take care of Terri?  It really is the unanswered question in this case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is the unanswered question.  And I would love to know how any judge, a Florida judge, a federal judge, could find clear and convincing evidence that this woman wanted to die, based on testimony, again, that her husband didn‘t remember for seven years. 

David Gibbs, thanks a lot for being with us.  I greatly appreciate it. 

Now let‘s turn to our nation‘s capital, and there, we are joined by Pat Mahoney.  He‘s the Presbyterian Minister who heads the Christian Defense Coalition.  And he has been working on behalf of the Schindler family, trying to save Terri Schiavo‘s life.  Mahoney went to Capitol Hill today demanding congressional action on the Schiavo case. 

Pat, did you have any success? 

PATRICK MAHONEY, SCHINDLER FAMILY SPIRITUAL ADVISER:  We had some success in getting a few of our questions answered. 

Joe, I just want to make one point.  Even a little morphine getting there, if there‘s no pain at all, I mean, to hear George Felos, I am telling you, I need all the Christian love that I can muster up for him. 

I also want to make another statement.  People are saying, oh, if Terri could speak, if we could only hear from her.  She is speaking now to the nation.  She is on day 11, and she is fighting.  She wants to live.  We were involved in the Nancy Cruzan case.  And, tragically, Nancy died after only six days.  Today, from that room in Pinellas Park, Terri Schiavo is proclaiming to the world, I want to live. 

Because of her spirit, we came to Washington, D.C.  Of course, the Christian Defense Coalition is based here.  And we specifically wanted to focus on the House subpoenas.  As you know, the House subpoenaed Terri Schiavo and scheduled a hearing this past March 25 in Pinellas Park. 

We were troubled why Congress was not more aggressive in issuing perhaps contempt citations. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, actually, Tom DeLay said he was going to issue contempt citations a week ago on this show.  What‘s happened? 

MAHONEY:  You would have to ask Congressman DeLay.

But, again, I think we had a very productive talk with Speaker Hastert‘s chief legal counsel and the legal counsel for the United States House of Representatives.  But, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  Are they going to do anything? 

MAHONEY:  We don‘t think so, but I want to bring one point that is really important, that just came to light today. 

We were under the impression that the March 25 hearing somehow was under a court order not to happen, but the House canceled that meeting or postponed that meeting.  Our point was, the House representatives had a chance to go to Pinellas Park and see Terri Schiavo.  This would have been absolutely critical for Democrats, Republicans, to be there, and actually see Terri.

So, we came to D.C. to say, can you schedule that hearing for tomorrow or the next day?  They still could do...

SCARBOROUGH:  What did they say? 

MAHONEY:  Congressman Davis‘ office, and it came through his committee

·         he issued the subpoenas—seemed to indicate that that would not happen.  We are going back again tomorrow.

But our point is, go to Florida.  Go see Terri.  See her condition.  See what she is like.  Have Democrats and Republicans together look at her, and so that‘s what...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Pat, Pat, you said, though, she is speaking to the nation, but it doesn‘t seem like some Republicans or Democrats are listening to what she is saying.  It doesn‘t sound like they have got the guts to follow through and do what they said they were going to do a week ago, does it? 

MAHONEY:  Well, no, it doesn‘t, Joe, and I will tell you what.

Right now, we are fighting to save Terri.  In terms of putting blame or saying what happened, we will wait until the final chapter is written.  I am not here to yell at Congress or yell at George Bush.  We are here to challenge them and say, stand with this woman, this precious woman.  But I think name-calling or blame or saying political ramifications, we are fighting to save a woman‘s life. 

Let‘s get that behind us, and then we can explore what happened over the past several weeks. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Pat Mahoney, thanks a lot. 

Let me help you out a little bit on this one, then.  If Congress issues a subpoena and a state court judge in Central Florida tells them to go to hell, that he is going to ignore it, Congress has a responsibility—and I speak as a former member of the Judiciary Committee—to enforce that subpoena. 

We‘ll be right back in a second.


SCARBOROUGH:  We are going to be talking to the Reverend Jesse Jackson here live.  He is going to be going down to Florida tomorrow to talk to Terri‘s family.  And we are going to be asking him ow to comfort a family going through this horrific ordeal.

But first, let‘s get the latest news that your family needs to know. 


ANNOUNCER:  This is a special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: “The Terri Schiavo Case.”

SCARBOROUGH:  We have been talking about politics on Capitol Hill.  It looks like the Republican Party is not going to do anything.  Democrats, hard to find many Democrats that will talk on this issue.  We have tried, and they are in hiding.  Certainly still haven‘t heard anything from Hillary Clinton, and really want to know where she is and some of the other leaders in the Democratic Party stand.

But, right now, we are joined by yet another Republican congressman, Chris Smith, who says Congress should investigate the Terri Schiavo case to prevent cases like this from happening in the future. 

Thank you for being on, Congressman.


SCARBOROUGH:  I will tell you what.  It is hard to get people on either side of the aisle to talk about this case.  Politicians are afraid to come down on one side or another.  Why is that, Chris? 

REP. CHRIS SMITH ®, NEW JERSEY:  Well, I am not, and I think many of my colleagues aren‘t either, although they should be out there doing all they can and leaving no stone unturned to help this cruelty case.  This is a case of a disabled woman who is being discriminated against in the extreme. 

They are using water, which none of us can live without, as a weapon to kill her.  And I find that appalling.  I find it to be an abomination.  And, you know, one of the stories that is yet untold, and I hope that you will help to tell it, is that George Felos, who was not on your show, wouldn‘t come on live, but went on, you had him on the press conference earlier, has all kind of conflicts of interest. 

He has been a crusader for the right to die, so he is using Terri, it seems to me, as part of his agenda, to promote this right to die.  He has written a book.  He‘s an active lecturer.  He‘s been very active on this.  And one other conflict of interests, he was on the board of directors of the hospice organization of which the hospice Terri is involved, or is being warehoused in, and now killed.  He was on the board of directors for nine years, and, for two years, was the chairman of the board. 

So, you have a man who is passionate about the right to die using food and water as a means in some instances, who is in charge of or was in charge of this hospice.  He now is probably not still on the board.  That‘s a real problem.  That‘s a real problem.

SCARBOROUGH:  Congressman, if that‘s the case, I mean, Congressman, if that‘s the case, though, why isn‘t Congress willing to do something?  You all put a subpoena out there, tried to move on it.  The judge ignored it.  And now Congress has gone home for vacation, for a two-week vacation.  I see you are still up there working, but everybody else is back home.  Why? 

SMITH:  Well, I know there‘s concern, but there ought to be more concern.  We ought to do more.  This is a situation that cries out.  She will die if we don‘t do more to save her. 

And, you know, Kate Adamson, who is a woman who had her feeding tube taken off for eight days, has been very brave and bold in her assertions, which—where she had a husband, who was her advocate, that she was feeling pain during the course of this killing.  And I think many people in America don‘t realize that this woman is very likely feeling pain, and feeling it excruciatingly so.  Added to that, you have a situation where she was warehoused in a hospice for five years.  Hospices are usually very short-term events, for those who have entered the process of dying from a terminal disease, from cancer or something else. 

But, no, she was in there just waiting for something to happen, like an infection, and then don‘t treat it.  She has not gotten rehab since 1993.  That is case of neglect and abuse, and hopefully the Families and Children—Children Department in Florida will succeed in their case.  I was buoyed with some hope when the lead attorney for the Schindlers made a point that they still have one more course of appeal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Republican

SMITH:  Hopefully, an open-minded judge will say, this is ridiculous. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Congressman, and maybe Congress will also get involved.  Maybe they will see you tonight and come out from under the rocks from which they are hiding, because they are hiding tonight, but we thank you for being out here tonight and talking to us.

SMITH:  Joe, thank you.


SMITH:  ... to bring light on this.  


SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much. 

Now, the question on everybody‘s mind tonight is this.  How is Terri Schiavo doing?  You know, it‘s been 10 days.  She is starting her 11th day now without food and water. 

Let‘s go back to Pinellas Park, where Lisa Daniels is standing by—


DANIELS:  Well, Joe, at this point, we are going to delve into the medical aspect of the story. 

I want to bring in Dr. Ronald Cranford.  He‘s a neurologist at Hennepin Medical Center in Minneapolis. 

And, Doctor, before we continue, I want our viewers to understand what your role was in the legal case.  I understand that Michael Schiavo and his team asked you to examine his wife.  Is that correct? 


DANIELS:  And from my understanding, I just want to be accurate, you examined Terri Schiavo for about 45 minutes.  Is that right? 

CRANFORD:  I think 42 minutes, but 45 is fine, sure. 

DANIELS:  All right.  Well, we want to be accurate here.  What was your conclusion at the end of...


CRANFORD:  Wait a minute.  You are not accurate on a lot of things here.  You‘re saying a lot of—she‘s not starving to death.  Do you understand that?  She is dehydrating to death. 

DANIELS:  Well, why do you say that?  Tell us how you came to that conclusion? 


CRANFORD:  Can I tell you why?  Because I have done this 25 to 50 times.  I don‘t know how many times Joe has done it, but I‘ve done it 25 to 50 times in similar situations.  And they die within 10 to 14 days. 

Nancy Cruzan did not die in six days.  She died in 11 days, 11.5 hours.  And Terri Schiavo will die within 10 to 14 days.  And they are dying of dehydration, not starvation.  And that‘s just a lie.  And Joe doesn‘t have any idea what he is talking about.  And you don‘t have any idea what you‘re talking about. 

DANIELS:  Well...

CRANFORD:  I have been at the bedside of these patients.  I know what they die from.  I have seen them die.  And this is all bogus.  It‘s all just a bunch crap that you are saying.  It‘s totally wrong.

DANIELS:  Well, with all due respect, Doctor, it sounds like you think that you know what you are talking about, so let‘s ask you about that. 


DANIELS:  Are you 100 percent correct in your opinion that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state?  Do you agree with that? 

CRANFORD:  I am 105 percent sure she is in a vegetative state.  And the autopsy will show severe reversible brain damage to the higher centers, yes. 

DANIELS:  Why are you so sure, Doctor? 

CRANFORD:  Because I examined her.  The court-appointed guardian examined her.  Four neurologists at the hospital where she was has said she‘s carried a diagnosis of vegetative state for 12 years. 

Every neurologist that examined her, except for Dr. Hammesfahr, who is a charlatan, has said she is in vegetative state.  That‘s what the court found.  Just because you don‘t like...


CRANFORD:  Doctor, was a CAT scan—Doctor, your critics would ask you, was a CAT scan used?  Was an MRI taken?  Were any of these tests taken? 

CRANFORD:  You don‘t know the answer to that?  The CAT scan was done in 1996, 2002.  We spent a lot of time in court showing the—you don‘t have copies of those CAT scans?  How can you say that? 

The CAT scans are out there, distributed to other people.  You have got to look at the facts.  The CAT scan is out there.  It shows severe atrophy of the brain.  The autopsy is going to show severe atrophy of the brain.  And you are asking me if a CAT scan was done?  How could you possibly be so stupid? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait a second. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, if I can interrupt here. 

CRANFORD:  Go ahead.  Joe, interrupt me.

Why don‘t you go ahead and tell the rest of the story there?  Why don‘t you tell us that the radiologist that looked at the two CAT scans said she showed improvement in 2002 over 1996?  You know, you seem so sure of yourself.  The Associated Press reported yesterday...

CRANFORD:  Joe, the judge didn‘t believe him.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  Hold on a second. 

You are so sure of yourself.  Respond to this.  AP had a report yesterday.  They said seven doctors have looked at her.  Four said she was in persistent vegetative state.  You were one of them, hired by Michael Schiavo to do that.  There were three others that looked at her that disagreed. 

How can you be so absolutely sure that everybody that agrees with you is 100 percent accurate and everybody on the other side is a charlatan? 

CRANFORD:  Joe, Judge—Judge Greer disallowed, didn‘t believe what Maxfield said.  You got your numbers wrong.  There were eight neurologists saw her.  Seven of the eight said she was in a vegetative state.  Only one said she wasn‘t.

SCARBOROUGH:  I am quoting an Associated Press report from yesterday. 

CRANFORD:  Joe, you‘ve got to get your facts straight. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I have got my facts straight. 

CRANFORD:  Get your facts straight.  You‘ve got your facts way off. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why don‘t we talk about—hold on a second. 

CRANFORD:  Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH:  You talked about a 1996 scan. 

CRANFORD:  Oh, 2002, 2002. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s talk about it.  A radiologist told the court that the 2002 scan actually showed improvement over the 1996 scan.  Is that inaccurate?  Did the AP report that wrong? 


CRANFORD:  Absolutely.  Maxfield said it was improved.  And Judge Greer didn‘t buy it, because the others said it wasn‘t improved.  It was probably worse than it was before. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is he a charlatan also? 

CRANFORD:  Yes.  Maxfield said HBO, vasodilator.  Look it up, Joe.  See what vasodilator does.  See what hyperbaric oxygen see—in these cases, and you tell me they are not charlatans.  Just because you don‘t agree with me—I don‘t call everybody a charlatan. 

I‘m not calling Cheshire a charlatan.  I think he‘s a reputable neurologist.  I think he examined her.  He interviewed her.  So, just because I disagree, I don‘t call them charlatans.  But you have got your facts so far off that it‘s unbelievable, Joe.  You don‘t have any idea what you are talking about.  You‘ve never been at the bedside of these patients.

And this will come out in the next three to five years about this condition and starvation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You were there 42 minutes, Doctor. 

CRANFORD:  Yes, I was. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You are only one doctor that has been there.  And somehow, in your 42 minutes of observing her, you have all the answers and everybody that disagrees is dead wrong, I guess.

CRANFORD:  No, that‘s just a—you know what?  You got to see what Judge Greer said.  You have got to see what the appeals court said.  If you read that, Joe, you will understand why the judge decided the way he did. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

CRANFORD:  He didn‘t believe Hammesfahr.  He didn‘t believe Maxfield.  And it‘s not starvation.  And Nancy Cruzan did not die in six days.  She died in 11 days and 11.5 hours, 11 days and 11.5 hours.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you, Doctor. 

CRANFORD:  My pleasure. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what? 

This is the disappointing thing.  You try to have a conversation.  You try to talk about what is going on.  And I found this as an attorney, too.  I have been attorneys for plaintiffs.  I have been attorneys for defendants.  And what I always find out is, there are certain doctors—I am not claiming that this doctor is a charlatan.  I don‘t know his body of work.  I am not claiming that he is a hired gun.

But too many doctors out there can be bought off by attorneys on either side.  And then they come out, instead of telling you the facts, you get into debate like you are talking to an attorney.  It is very, very disappointing. 

I want to apologize to Lisa for interrupting her, but the thing is, Lisa was getting attacked because of what I said.  I think that is unfair. 

When we come back, we are going to be talking to the Reverend Jesse Jackson live.  That‘s right after the break. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to our show. 

Let‘s now turn to another man who has provided spiritual comfort for many in the past.  We‘ve got the Reverend Jesse Jackson with us.

Reverend Jackson, sorry we are not going to have more time tonight. 

The debates went over.  Going to have you back tomorrow night. 

But tell us, what do you hope to accomplish tomorrow when you go down to Florida to talk to Terri Schiavo‘s family? 

REV. JESSE JACKSON, FOUNDER, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION:  Well, Mrs.  Schindler and Bobby called me today and asked me, would I come down?  And I said, yes, because I wanted to go to offer some comfort to them. 

What they are going through, this is worse, more violent than wrongfully convicted executions.  This woman is being starved and dehydrated to death.  As a minister, I‘ve been in situations, Scarborough, where people are in advanced stages of cancer and went into coma.  And they have Demerol to stop the pain. 

And, at some point, you see the pulse going down and you pull the plug.  And that was the time, and they died.  In this case, they simply—for 11 days, no food, no water.  It would starve any of us to death.  This is not right.  It‘s a great moral and ethical crisis that we should address. 


SCARBOROUGH:  So, what do you do with a family that is going through this sort of process?  Do you just hold their hands and pray with them?  What do you do in that position? 

JACKSON:  Well, you do hold hands and pray with them. 

But, you see, I think in the case that the father—I mean, the husband, I mean, 15 years of this has been a big—a big weight on him, and so we need not challenge his integrity.  On the other hand, the parents‘ passion is understandable.  But, somehow, if the families had come together, perhaps they together could have saved this woman‘s life for a longer period of time. 

She is not brain-dead.  She is brain-impaired.  All her vital signs are working.  And to cut off food and water is heartless.  And we have—I think the Congress getting involved was the wrong thing to do, to impose its role on the judiciary.  I think that was wrong.  But I think that the moral and ethical dilemma here, maybe the lesson we learn from this tragedy is for the Congress to do what it ought to do, which is long-term health care for all Americans. 

That‘s what Congress can do.  That‘s its level of operation.  Out of this, we should derive a real commitment, a renewed commitment to long-term health care for all Americans. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I will tell you what, Reverend Jackson.  It is absolutely critical with our aging population that we do exactly that. 

We are going to talk to you tomorrow night, Reverend Jackson, also, if you can come on and tell us about your meeting. 

Let‘s bring in also with us right now Brother Paul O‘Donnell.  He‘s spokesman for Terri‘s family. 

Brother Paul, how is the family handling the situation tonight?  Have they given up hope? 

PAUL O‘DONNELL, SCHINDLER FAMILY ADVISER:  No, they haven‘t given up hope.  Mary is still praying that a miracle will happen, but it‘s very sad. 

And despite what Dr. Cranford said, Terri is dying.  And she‘s dying of starvation and dehydration.  And she is experiencing pain.  Today, we found out that they are administering morphine to her.  So, you know, it‘s just unbelievable to them that this is happening in the United States of America.  In the state of Florida, where a man is going to jail for five years for starving two cows, their daughter is being court-ordered to death.  And it‘s horrendous for them. 

But they are strong people of faith, and God will sustain them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Brother Paul and Reverend Jackson.  We greatly appreciate it. 

We want to apologize.  We had obviously a member of the Schindler family on at the top of the show.  That went longer than we expected.  We got that interview at the last second, Terri‘s sister.  And also, of course, our Dr. Cranford episode didn‘t go exactly as planned, but it‘s live TV. 

We‘ll be right back in a second with my “Real Deal” about starvation. 

And it‘s the new craze for the elites.


SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, every year or so, we have got a cultural debate that seems to divide Americans into two camps.  And, as you have already learned from this week‘s shows, it‘s not always Republicans fighting Democrats or vice versa.  Instead, it‘s the elites that sniff and snort at any hayseed or redneck who dares to question their take—and you just saw one of them—on Jesus, Janet Jackson or Terri Schiavo. 

And they will, more times than not, go to ridiculous ends to prove that you and I are just plain stupid.  Now, I could name countless distortions trotted out by the mainstream media in this case or by Washington think tanks or political organizations, but I am going to instead focus on the media‘s claim that those of us who believe a state sanctioned starvation is immoral—well, these people are dead wrong. 

You know, “The New York Times” told us in a headline last week that starving to death was the most gentle way to die.  The AP cited a study that showed, on a sliding scale from one to nine, experts believe that dying from a lack of food and water was, all in all, a very good death. 

That‘s fascinating, isn‘t it?  Why did we waste all that time in the mid-‘80s with Live Aid?  Why did we worry about famine in Ethiopia and across Africa?  I mean, forget Live Aid.  Next time, we will have Elton John sing “Funeral For a Friend” or “Better Off Dead.”  Once again, they twist the facts to suit their agenda.  It‘s dead wrong. 

That‘s our show tonight.  We‘ll see you tomorrow in SCARBOROUGH



Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.


Discussion comments