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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Life and Death: America Speaks Out
Aired March 31, 2005 - 19:55 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST "LARRY KING LIVE": Terri Schiavo has died. Her 15-year ordeal is finally over. But will the debate ever end?
Tonight from religion to politics and the law, guests from all sides of the Terri Schiavo controversy weigh in, along with you and your phone calls as CNN presents "Life and Death: America Speaks Out."
KING: Paula Zahn will be with us in a moment. As we begin special coverage of "Life and Death: America Speaks Out" in this first hour we'll be talking to many principles involved in the Schiavo case. And we'll be keeping you posted, of course, on the situation in the Vatican.
This is a three-hour special coverage tonight, lots of guests and your phone calls as well.
But right now let's go to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Paula Zahn -- Paula.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Larry and welcome to our special coverage "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." I will be here along with Larry King tonight.
As Larry mentioned, I'm in Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, where Terri Schiavo grew up. I'll be talking with people on both sides, friends of Terri Schiavo and of the Schindler family, as well has Michael's brother Scott.
Larry, we'll be back here in just a moment or so.
KING: All right, we're going to be checking in with the situation in the Vatican as well. I know, Paula, you're going to do that to give us an update on the pope. And then we'll come back and talk with George Felos the attorney for Michael Schiavo, his only appearance anywhere tonight will be on this special coverage. George Felos will join us.
But Paula, you're going to send it now to the Vatican as I understand it -- Paula Zahn.
ZAHN: That's right, Larry. We have been watching the condition of Pope John Paul II as we started getting word about three hours ago that his condition has worsened. You probably heard that he took that turn earlier today, was actually read his last rites. He's suffering from a high fever caused by a urinary tract infection. Right now we go to Rome where our bureau chief Alessio Vinci is standing by live.
Alessio, what is the Vatican telling you tonight?
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF: Hi.
The pope has been diagnosed with a high fever caused by a urinary tract infection. The pope has been treated with antibiotics. A Vatican official is telling CNN that at this time the pope is responding well to the treatment. But a different source is telling us the pope has been administered what is known in the Catholic Church as the last rites or the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. This does not necessarily mean that the pope is on his last, final moments. This is a ritual of prayer that has been given also to people who are very sick, can be repeated several times.
As a matter of fact, the pope himself received that kind of blessing back in 1981, when he was shot in St. Peters Square in front of a large crowd of people as the pope collapsed in the hands of one of his aides. That aide gave him the same kind of blessing. The pope, of course, survived that accident. So the fact that the pope received the last rites, it's certainly an indication that the situation is extremely serious, but at the same time, Vatican officials are telling us that at this time the pope is responding well to the antibiotics that have been given earlier tonight.
ZAHN: Alessio Vinci, thanks so much for the update. And Larry, that's a very important point Alessio just made. I have heard a number of doctors being interviewed over the last hour who suggested, that in their experience if they can get that antibiotic in quickly, it can be effective. But we all, of course, are very concerned about these reports this afternoon. And we'll be keeping a very close eye on this this evening -- Larry. --
KING: Thanks, Paula.
And not only will we stay on top of that all night, the 11:00 Eastern hour, the 8:00 Pacific, Aaron Brown will host a special hour devoted solely to the situation in the Vatican.
Right now we're going to get down the Dunedin, Florida and George Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo will join us. He was with Terri at her death. Who was in the room George.
GEORGE FELOS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL SCHIAVO: Well, Larry, Mr. Schiavo, of course, was with Terri at the head of her bed cradling Terri. Michael's brother Brian was there. I was there along with my co-counsel, Debie Bushnell. And there was a host of hospice workers. There must have been four or five in the room caring for Terri at the time of her death.
KING: Was there a doctor who pronounced her dead?
FELOS: No, there was no a doctor. The hospice nurse did that. It was a very quiet death. It was very peaceful death. There was just a palpable feeling of love and calm in the air. You could not have wished for a death with greater dignity and peace than this for Mrs. Schiavo.
KING: It's such a long, long ordeal for everybody involved. How is -- where is Michael now, and how is he reacting?
FELOS: Well, Michael has left the hospice. He lived at the hospice facility for the last two weeks with Terri, Larry. And he was just down the hall from her. He's left, and he's probably spending time now with relatives. He's doing OK.
Obviously, it was a very difficult, emotional time for him. Can you -- can you imagine being at the deathbed of your wife, just for anyone, and then having this national world spotlight and attention and legal maneuvers up to the last minute? It was very difficult.
KING: The body will be cremated. When will the autopsy take place, George?
FELOS: The medical examiner removed Terri's body from the hospice facility.
And I just want to mention, Larry, for those who may not be familiar with hospice and the service they provide, these were people who cared for Terri for upwards of five years, were very attached to her. There were almost 30 or 40 hospice surrounding her before she was taken away, saying prayers for her.
The autopsy will be performed, if it's not being performed right now, probably within the next 48 hours, before her body is cremated. But, of course, it may be a number of weeks before the actual results are released.
KING: Will there be any kind of formal funeral?
FELOS: I can't say. I don't think Mr. Schiavo has thought that through as of yet.
You know, this was a day-by-day affair. We didn't even know. And up to the last day, there was a possibility that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals could have issued an order reinstating artificial life support. So, Mr. Schiavo was taking this day by day. And I don't think that's a decision that he's made yet.
KING: Do you know why the parent weren't allowed in at the end?
FELOS: Well, that's not quite accurate, Larry.
The Schindler siblings, along with the priest, were with Terri almost two hours, were there for two hours just shortly before her death. And a hospice administrator came down to our room and informed us that, if Michael wanted to be with Terri before she died, he would have to come right now, because she was in her final death process.
And the administrator also informed me that the nurses had gone into the room to make an assessment of Terri and asked the brother to leave. And he refused and got into some sort of dispute with law enforcement. And, at that, Mr. Schiavo felt that it was best not to have everyone in the room at the same time.
You know, Terri has a right to die with dignity and in a calm, peaceful setting. And having some possible altercation or having a police officer by her side is not a death with dignity. So, that's the reason the Schindler siblings were asked to leave. And I might add that the parents were not there at the time. Had they asked to be with her, Mr. Schiavo may very well have said yes. But they were not in the location.
KING: Will this case change some law?
FELOS: Well, it very well may, Larry, in terms of legislation, obviously, end-of-life choices, the role of the individual, guardians, family members, society has -- this case has begun a debate. Legislatures may look at this.
It's certainly changed the law regarding separation of powers, because, as you know, this case has a history of the executive branch and the legislative branch of government trying to horn in on the judiciary and overturn judicial decisions. And there's been a lot of law, both on the federal law and in the Supreme Court of Florida, which was necessary to maintain judicial independence. And that's very important law. That will carry over.
KING: Thanks, George. Thanks for your cooperation through all of this.
FELOS: OK. You're welcome, Larry.
And thank you for highlighting this, because, as you know, end- of-life planning for individuals is very important. And we all hope that, out of this case, more people are going to take responsibility, write living wills, and have their wishes known.
KING: Thank you very much.
Let's go to Pinellas Park, David Gibbs, the attorney for Terri's family, the Schindlers, Father Frank Pavone, who became very visible in the last week of this. He's the national director of Priests For Life. And Bill Colby is in Kansas City. He's the attorney for Pete Busalacchi. Pete Busalacchi's 17-year-old daughter, Christine, was severely brain-damaged in 1987 in a car crash. She died in '93 after her father prevailed in a long legal battle, including intervention by the then Governor of Missouri John Ashcroft to remove the feeding tube.
David Gibbs, are you disappointed?
DAVID GIBBS, ATTORNEY FOR PARENTS OF TERRI SCHIAVO: Well, obviously, Larry. We fought very hard. And anything that could be done in the courts, in the legislatures.
Bob and Mary Schindler are loving parents. And they did everything they could to spare the life of their disabled daughter, Terri. Bob and Mary, as mom and dads nationwide join worldwide would understand, they would trade places with Terri if they could. They loved her so much and they fought valiantly. But tonight, as Terri has now stepped into eternity and gone on to be with God, they can comfort themselves as a mom and dad that they did everything they could to save her life.
KING: Father Pavone, George Felos, who was just on with us, earlier today was very critical of you. He singled you out as being very harsh for a priest, singling out Michael for -- attacking Michael, attacking the courts. How do you respond?
FATHER FRANK PAVONE, SCHINDLER FAMILY SUPPORTER: Well, Larry, I've reached out to Michael very publicly over the last month. I've preached on many televised masses directly appealing to Michael to sit down and dialogue about this, to work towards reconciliation, to take into account the serious concerns people have about what Terri's killing says about the path America is taking.
I've heard nothing from him. You know, it's one thing to avoid bitterness. It's another thing to avoid truth. And reaching out in kindness and compassion and in respect, which is the attitude I have and I try to foster, is very, very different from distorting the truth. We have to accurately describe what happened here. And what happened here is that Terri was killed. And a lot of people don't accept the explanation of why.
KING: Father, if she was killed, then, did the Supreme Court kill her, the judicial court? Who killed her?
PAVONE: It was obviously a combination of people who worked together to bring this about, obviously, Michael Schiavo himself, working with Mr. Felos, and the action of the courts.
It's amazing to me and to so many other Americans that the executive and the legislative branches of government, there, we have the people that we elect, could not stop the death of this woman. People are just astonished at this. And one of the fallouts from this whole episode is going to be a deep pondering of that question. How is it that we couldn't protect this citizen's life?
KING: Bill Colby in Kansas City was the attorney for Pete Busalacchi, his 17-year-old daughter.
That fight was, he wanted her -- he wanted her to be allowed to die?
WILLIAM COLBY, ATTORNEY: Correct.
KING: And why did you have such a long fight? Why did that take so long?
COLBY: Well, and, Larry, before Pete's case, before Busalacchi, we had in Missouri the case of Nancy Cruzan. KING: Right. Yes.
COLBY: Which is only one of those cases that, as you know, that has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court. So, we debated these issues in our society in Missouri and nationally for almost six years.
And the question of why it took so long, I mean, we went from trial, Missouri Supreme Court, in Cruzan, the U.S. Supreme Court. In Busalacchi, we were up to the state Supreme Court twice. And, as you've seen, law takes some time to process. But part of it was societal evolution, too. We were having a social debate about this new medical, technological world we find ourselves in.
What is a feeding tube? Is it the nurturing I do with my four kids that we would never take away from another person? Is it an FDA- regulated nutrient being pumped into a body that's lost its natural God-given function? That's a hard debate. And your question is a good one. The Schiavo case, I think, will raise the level of our national consciousness on these issues in a way that we've never seen before.
I think Terri Schiavo, ultimately, is going to change how families work together and how we die for the better, which a silver lining to come from this incredible family tragedy.
KING: Anderson Cooper, quickly, is a memorial service going on?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There is a memorial service that has been organized by Randall Terry, formerly of Operation Rescue. He, of course, has been very vocal in his support of the Schindler family.
You're seeing some of the memorial service there right now. Terri Schiavo's father is currently there sitting in attendance. It's at a nearby memorial chapel. This was something that Randall Terry said he was going to organize just a few hours ago. We believe there are a number of protesters who have been here for much of these last two weeks. It's pretty much deserted here now. There's maybe a dozen or so protesters left. Many of them have gone over to this memorial service -- Larry.
KING: Thanks, Anderson.
we'll take a break and come back with more, lots of guests. This is a three-hour special coverage, "Life and Death: America Speaks Out."
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY SCHINDLER, BROTHER OF TERRI SCHIAVO: We have a message to Terry from her family. As a member of our family, unable to speak for yourself, you spoke loudly.
As a member of our family, unable to stand under your own power, you stood with a grace and a dignity, a dignity that made your family proud. Terri, we love you dearly, but we know that God loves you more than we do. We must accept your untimely death as God's will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SCHIAVO, HUSBAND OF TERRI SCHIAVO: She said -- we were watching some programs, and she says, I don't want anything artificial like that. I don't want any tubes. Don't let me live like that.
This is Terri's wish. And I'm going to follow that wish if it's the last thing I can do for Terri. I love Terri deeply.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back to our special coverage.
Joining us now in Dunedin, Florida, John and Gloria Centonze. John is the brother of Jodi Centonze. That's Michael Schiavo's companion and mother of his two kids. Gloria is John's wife.
How's your sister doing, John?
JOHN CENTONZE, BROTHER OF JODI CENTONZE: She's a little upset right now, Larry. It's a lot to take in.
KING: She's been the other person in all of this. Is she with Michael now?
J. CENTONZE: I believe they are right now.
KING: Did she ever visit the hospital with Michael to see Michael's wife?
J. CENTONZE: I'm really not sure if she did or not.
KING: Gloria, do you know if she did?
GLORIA CENTONZE, SISTER-IN-LAW OF JODI CENTONZE: I believe she did not.
KING: What was it like for both of you -- we'll start with you, John -- going through this whole thing?
J. CENTONZE: It's been very hard, you know, listening to people talk bad about Mike, threatening my sister, threatening their two children, and knowing the truth and not being able to express it to anybody.
KING: And how has Jodi, Gloria, how has she reacted through all this?
G. CENTONZE: I think Jodi just -- it's kind of -- it's been real hard for her going through all of this. People are portraying her a person that she's not. And it's real hard when people are going by just what they hear and not what they know. And people do not know Mike and Jodi. They really don't.
KING: John, how old are the kids?
J. CENTONZE: One and 2.
KING: Do they plan, Gloria, to get married?
G. CENTONZE: Really, no one has talked about that. So, I think, right now, the big -- you know, the issue has been fulfilling Terri's wishes, the fight for -- in all the courts for all these years. And that's our main focus. And we really don't kind of go beyond that. That's our focus. That's what we have wanted as a family. And that's how we've stayed.
KING: John, where was Jodi when Terri passed away?
J. CENTONZE: I believe she was bringing her daughter to school.
KING: So you don't know who informed her?
J. CENTONZE: Michael called her.
KING: He did?
J. CENTONZE: Yes.
KING: Right after. Are they going to be together tonight?
J. CENTONZE: I believe they are. They haven't seen each other in two weeks.
KING: Thank you both very much. John...
J. CENTONZE: And he hasn't seen his...
KING: He hasn't seen his children in two weeks, right?
J. CENTONZE: Correct. He hasn't seen anybody in two weeks, except for just his brothers and Terri.
KING: John and Gloria Centonze. John is the brother of Jodi Centonze, the person who is the other person in all of this, Michael Schiavo's companion, fiancee and mother of his two children.
Back to our panel.
David Gibbs, what happened today with Bobby Schindler at the hospital? What was that all about?
GIBBS: Larry, I got a phone call about 6:00 a.m. that Bobby had been told he wasn't going to be able to go in and see his sister anymore, that Michael Schiavo had prohibited any family from being by here, because they thought the death was near. We contacted the hospice and the law enforcement and explained that the family should have full visitation rights. And law enforcement worked it out where Bobby and Suzanne, the brother and sister, were able to be in with Terri right up until moments ahead of her death. But, then, sadly, they were asked to leave. And Michael Schiavo banned them from the room when Terri died minutes later.
It was very, very sad for them. It was very hard for them. We had certainly had hoped that they would contact the mother and father, Bob and Mary, so they would have an opportunity to be there. But Michael Schiavo, again, is the guardian. And were at his mercy. And, unfortunately, he didn't show much kindness to the parents, the brother or the sister on this most sad day for the family.
KING: But, David, George Felos said that he caused kind of a comeuppance. Police had to come. Is that true?
GIBBS: No, sir.
In talking with the police and in talking with Bobby, there was absolutely nothing of that sort. The police said Bobby was incredibly polite. He was just desperate to be by his sister. Last night, I was with Bobby. And we were praying and talking with Terri.
And, Larry, you get some images in your mind you're never going to forget. You look at a lady that was perfectly healthy, someone that you, through this case and through this family, have grown to know and care for. And , literally, you're watching her waste away like in a concentration camp, her face and her breathing. And Bobby knew that death was near. And all he wanted to do -- he was willing to be in there with Michael Schiavo. He was willing to be in there with anyone. All he wanted to do was quietly caress his sister's arm and be there with her. They were very, very close. They were almost like twins. He just wanted to be there when she died.
KING: Father Pavone, do you accept the fact that the court is the last place for this?
PAVONE: Not ultimately.
The courts have their role. But, ultimately, we have to ask the question, what is the limit to a court's authority? Can a court allow something that's inhumane? Can a court allow, for example, to say that it's OK to kill teenagers? Of course not.
But when we talk about people's wishes, there are limits there, too. If somebody expresses a wish to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, we don't give them assistance to do so.
KING: But how do you override the Supreme Court?
PAVONE: Well, of course, the Constitution gives Congress the authority to limit the jurisdiction of the courts. And that is an authority that Congress has used to a limited extent and needs to use more when the court is going in directions that clearly violate the will of the American people, as we've seen time and time again over the last 50 years, especially.
KING: Thank you, Father, and thank you, David Gibbs.
KING: I got it.
We'll take a break. Bill Colby will remain with us in Kansas City. And we will be joined by others as we forge ahead in this three-hour special coverage, "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." We'll also be including your phone calls as we go along. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUZANNE VITADAMO, SISTER OF TERRI SCHIAVO: As you are aware, Terri is now with God. And she's been released from all earthy burdens.
After these recent years of neglect at the hand of those who were supposed to protect and care for her, she is finally at peace with God for eternity. We are speaking on behalf of our entire family this evening, as we share some thoughts and messages to the world regarding our sister and the courageous battle that was waged to save her life from starvation and dehydration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back to more of our special coverage. A few moments with some guests in this segment as well, Pat Boone, the renowned entertainer and Christian singer. His grandson Ryan continues to recover from a coma he went into to after sustaining severe multiple injuries in a freak fall.
How you feeling?
PAT BOONE, SINGER: Well, I'm feeling great and so is he.
And Ryan, we talked to him yesterday. He said, please tell Larry I'm coming to see him. And he is. He'll be here to see you.
KING: How did you feel about Terri?
BOONE: Oh, so heartsick, because, as you know, as you know, Larry, the neurosurgeons gave us the same diagnosis, same prognosis.
They looked at the CAT scans when Ryan was hurt, fell 40 feet through the skylight of a building. The paramedics thought he was dead when they picked him up. UCLA, great doctors, and we love them and we thank God for them, but when they looked at his CAT scans and MRIs, they said the two lobes of the brain are severed. He will never have any way to communicate. He won't breathe. He won't eat. He won't talk. So, you better consider how long you want to keep him in this vegetative state.
KING: So, in your opinion, then, no one should have a tube pulled?
BOONE: Well, certainly not unless that person indicated that that's what they want in writing. It's too easy to do it.
KING: But the courts determined it, if you believe in the courts.
BOONE: Well, I believe in the courts. But the courts, the laws, the people, as we're seeing, we're all imperfect. And we don't cover these things adequately. We find that there are holes and imperfections in our understandings. And I think that is what the polls tends to reflect. They have bought into the idea that it really was a vegetative state. Many neurosurgeons say it wasn't.
KING: Well, we'll know. The autopsy, we'll know.
BOONE: It may know. It may prove it.
And then they also have bought into the idea that this was Terri's wish. But, surely, Larry, Terri, knowing what we know about her, would never have said, I want to starve to death and be famished for two weeks in front of millions and millions of people.
KING: Well, no.
BOONE: And put my parents through the agony that they've been through.
KING: Dr. Jay Wolfson, the former guardian for Terri Schiavo, who supported the actions of the court, do you think they're going to change laws off of this, Doctor?
JAY WOLFSON, FORMER SCHIAVO GUARDIAN: Well, Larry, I didn't support the actions of the court. I reviewed the documents and I concluded based on Florida law the court followed the rules and the rules of evidence and the medical information that was used met the competency test of medical information.
There are other states where this wouldn't have happened. It wouldn't have happened in Missouri. It wouldn't have happened in New York state, because the laws are different there. The guidelines for these kinds of decisions are different. But the laws of Florida were followed very carefully and they were developed very carefully, especially as it relates to these kinds of decisions for these kinds of conditions.
KING: Dr. Jay Carpenter is the internist who observed Terri a number of years ago and concluded that she was able to swallow.
Meaning what, Doctor?
DR. JAY CARPENTER, INTERNIST: Well, just that. She was able to swallow.
I would like to just respond to what was just said, that the rules in this case were followed. That's exactly right. The rules of the law were followed. That does not mean that the right thing was done, however. The fact of the matter is that Terri was determined to be in a persistent vegetative state when the facts are very much in dispute.
At the first trial, Terri's parents did not have money enough to hire a lawyer that had -- she did not get any medical testimony. There was no medical testimony given at Terri's first trial about her medical condition. And Mr. Schiavo had this money, the $700,000 that he was supposed to spend on rehabilitating her. He had enough money to buy lawyers -- I'm sorry, physicians, that were pro-euthanasia, that said that she was in a persistent vegetative state.
I think what your viewers need to know, that the diagnosis of persistent vegetative state is very tenuous; 43 percent of the time, it is wrong. People that are given the diagnosis turn out to be wrong, 43 percent. In another study, it was 53 percent.
KING: So, what are you saying the courts should have done?
CARPENTER: Well, here's the -- yes, here's the problem.
The courts should have erred on the side of life. They should have looked further. What they looked at, they had -- they should -- basically, they should have examined her for a more prolonged period of time.
KING: I got you.
Bill Colby, the attorney in Kansas City who argued a case for death for his client's daughter, when we get to the nub of it, is the husband the word?
COLBY: Well, I'm not sure trying to relitigate 13 years of litigation tonight is necessarily the way to tackle this.
But think about being in Michael Schiavo's shoes. You get the best information you can, and doctors tell him that, after this period of time, with condition, coma, vegetative state, unconsciousness, caused not by a fall, like as Mr. Boone described, but by anoxia, lack of oxygen, where the brain is destroyed, that there is virtually no chance of recovery.
So, it's not like he has good options at that point. He can leave his wife in this condition, without hope of improvement, or he can seek removal of the tube and have that hand in the death of his wife. There are no good choices. We've set up rules where we defer to the husband to make these decisions in Florida. And the real question is, is the power of the state going to come in to overrule this decision? Was it an inappropriate decision? And I think we're a nation of laws. Courts have looked at it over and over again and concluded that that was not an inappropriate decision. And I've sat with families who have had to make this decision, the Cruzans, the Busalacchis. I can promise you...
KING: There are no winners.
COLBY: There is no winning. It's horrific. This has been a horrific, hard week for Mr. Schiavo.
COLBY: So, I think trying to rehash that about him tonight is just not appropriate.
BOONE: Larry, it bothers me so much that the president and both houses of Congress, who are our public servants -- they speak for us. We are our own government.
They ordered a de novo review, going back to the beginning. And the judges absolutely ignored it and refused to obey it. Now, the executive branch has -- is a counterbalance to the judicial branch. In this case, the judicial branch said to you...
KING: The Supreme Court has the final word.
BROWN: Yes, but the executive is equal to it.
KING: But, not as the final word.
BROWN: Well, unless there's some Constitutional breach. But there wasn't a Constitutional breach; the executive said, we need a new examination. Hold off.
KING: This argument is not going away.
KING: Thank you, all.
We'll take a break, and when we come back, Paula Zahn will check in from Pennsylvania, Aaron Brown will get us up to date on the situation with the Vatican. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO'S MOTHER: We would have never, ever, in a hundred years, starve my child to death. Ever.
ROBERT SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO'S FATHER: Ever.
M. SCHINDLER: Never. There is no mother in this world that would starve their child to death. That's the most horrendous thing you've seen in your life. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's get an update on the situation in the Vatican with Aaron Brown in New York. Aaron?
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Larry. Good evening, everyone.
Pope John Paul, who was fighting illness, a serious illness, for the last couple of months, took a difficult turn today when he developed, what even the Vatican described as, a serious urinary infection, received the sacrament for the sick at the church, or for the sick, from the church. He is at the Vatican; Delia Gallagher covers the Vatican for us, and she joins us now.
Are we hearing anything much new and anything encouraging from the Vatican, in what is now early in the morning in Rome?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Aaron, we have in fact heard some encouraging words from the Vatican tonight, that the pope is responding well to the treatment he has been given, antibiotics for the urinary tract infection, which has caused a high fever. This comes the day after the pope had a procedure for a naso- gastric tube inserted for his difficulties with swallowing. The pope, obviously, in a very debilitative state at the moment, but responding well to treatment, according to the Vatican. Aaron?
BROWN: I think, this whole combination, Delia, of illnesses, and concerns, where the pope is concerned, his Parkinson's, this two-month battle he's had, in and out of the hospital, the tracheotomy, all of it leaves him with a weakened condition to battle infection.
GALLAGHER: Well, absolutely. Just yesterday, when he had this tube inserted for his nutrition, we have to remember that he's already got a tube in his throat. The nasal tube is a temporary tube which can be taken out after a few days. But, certainly, one thing on top of another for this pope. I think, one of the factors that's overlooked in of this physical problems, is the psychological one. That this is a pope who really needs to be active and who has always relied on meeting the crowds in St. Peter's Square for his rejuvenation, and he no longer has that. The Vatican announced yesterday that his public appearances would be suspended. So that is yet another psychological factor, but nonetheless an important one which perhaps has some effect on the physical factors in this case. Aaron?
BROWN: Delia, we'll talk more about that as the night goes on, on a special edition of "NEWSNIGHT," 11 p.m. Eastern time, tonight, 8 o'clock out on the coast. We'll look at the pope's health and, of course, the pope's impact, Larry. It's hard not to, when you see pictures of the pope, some from just a couple years ago, how much different he looks, just a year or so ago, than he looked yesterday when he stood at the window.
KING: Aging ain't easy.
Before we check in with Paula Zahn in Bucks County, we have on the phone Brian Schiavo, the brother of Michael Schiavo. Are you there, Brian?
BRIAN SCHIAVO, MICHAEL SCHIAVO'S BROTHER: Yes, I am, Larry. Thanks for taking my call. I appreciate it.
KING: How's your brother?
SCHIAVO: He is extremely tired and very sad, and very emotional. He's lost his wife. But I just wanted to call because I have two points I'd like to straighten out. I watch your show, and first of all, Frank -- what is his name, Frank...
SCHIAVO: Pavone. Yes. He's a poor excuse of a priest, I'll tell you that. The man made a comment to the workers, or, basically, made a comment that said that the flowers in Terri's room were being treated better than she is. That is a slap in the face to the people that work in that hospice, and he ought to be ashamed of himself.
Number two, I will tell you exactly what happened with Bobby Schindler today. I was there. Bobby Schindler was in visiting with Terri with Frank Pavone. They were asked to leave because it was time for Terri to be assessed. She had plenty -- she had several assessments. They were asked to leave. Bobby caused a commotion with the police officer. I talked to the police officer. He caused a commotion. The police officer said he's going to have to leave the building.
About two minutes after that, we were approached by the administration of the hospice. They said, Michael, if you want to be with Terri, you need to come now. She basically has very -- quickly -- she's made a turn for the worse. We rushed down to her room, and literally, we had 60 seconds with her before she passed away. That is what happened. David Gibbs better get his act together, because I'm getting sick and tired of everything being twisted and turned, half- truths. You know, they should just tell the truth.
KING: Hey, Brian, is there any healing possible here?
SCHIAVO: I have no idea. Not from me, I'll tell you that. Maybe with Michael, but not from me.
KING: Does Michael...
SCHIAVO: I'll tell you, from the very beginning of this, Larry, these people have done nothing but twist and turn and spin this thing. They've made my brother out to be a demon. You know, vilified, he's a murderer. And you know what, we're tired of telling people -- you know, we're not going to prove anything to any body else, anymore. If they don't believe it, that's fine. If they can't believe that this man promised his wife, and committed to her that he would not let her live like that, in that state, then you know what, that's on them. They can go pound sand.
KING: OK, Brian, hold it. David Gibbs, do you want to respond? Brian, hold on. SCHIAVO: Yes, I'd like to respond to David Gibbs.
KING: All right. Go ahead.
GIBBS: Now, Larry -- Larry, as we look at this situation, I don't think it's productive for the parties to continue to take shots back and forth. Bobby Schindler...
SCHIAVO: Well, then, tell the right thing.
GIBBS: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) statement to the...
SCHIAVO: Tell the right thing then, Mr. Gibbs.
KING: One at a time. Brian, let him speak.
GIBBS: ... read his statement. What he said is the same words that Jesus Christ said up on the cross. And the spirit of the Schindler family is, Father, we want to forgive them for they know not what they do.
We are heartsick today that Terri has stepped into eternity, we believe unnecessarily. We've watched this lovely lady that was loved by the family, loved by the mother, loved by the father, loved by the brother and sister. She was starved and dehydrated to death.
And certainly, the other side believes they've done the right thing. We very much believe that to starve to death an innocent, disabled woman, when you look in the room and you watch Terri literally withering away, Larry, it's heart breaking.
KING: David, are you discounting what Brian said, what happened with Bobby today? Are you saying Brian is not telling the truth?
GIBBS: I don't know what Brian has...
SCHIAVO: Mr. Gibbs, I was there. You were not. Tell the truth.
GIBBS: Well, I've talked with the -- I've talked with the police officers. I know what the police officers have said.
SCHIAVO: I don't care who you talked to. I was there. You were not. You have -- you're just -- you're just like the rest of them. You spin things; you twist things. You don't tell the truth.
KING: David, Terri's gone. Is there any hope that you -- Brian says not on his part. Do you see any reconciliation here?
GIBBS: Well, the hope and prayer of the Schindler family, Larry, would be, yes. Obviously, you can see demonstrated the spirit of the other side. It's upset. It's accusatory. It's hurtful. And the Schindler family has offered forgiveness. Bobby Schindler, speaking publicly for the family, has asked that if at any point their spirit was not demonstrating the love and the compassion required of them by their faith. He's asked the world at large; he's asked other side for forgiveness. And certainly, we think it's counterproductive on the day that Terri has stepped into eternity to sit there and snipe back and forth. It just seems like it's disrespectful to Terri.
SCHIAVO: Well, you know what? You know what? I would say the same thing for Frank Pavone. I would say the same thing for him. And if you don't think that my brother has been vilified since day one, when you weren't even around, from the other attorneys, then I'll tell you, you better study the record. Because I'm going to tell you, talk about people accusing people, he's been nothing but accused of doing -- being a murderer. And that's ridiculous.
KING: We do not go calmly into this good night.
SCHIAVO: ... and a murderer. And that is not right.
KING: Thank you, Brian, and thank you, David.
And when we come back, we will go to Paula Zahn to the reaction of people in the place where Terri Schiavo grew up. You're watching special coverage on this edition of a special coverage night here of, "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SCHIAVO, TERRI SCHIAVO'S HUSBAND: I made a promise to her like she did with me. I love my wife. She will always be a part of my life. She will always be in my heart.
There's no happy ending. When Terri's wishes are carried out, it will be her wish. She'll be at peace. She'll be with the Lord.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's go to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Paula Zahn.
Paula, we finally made it back to you.
ZAHN: Well, thank you, Larry.
I was listening in on your conversation with Brian, Michael Schiavo's brother. And I wanted to let you know, in about an hour or so, we'll be talking with his other brother, who said there could ultimately be family peace if the Schindlers apologized to Michael. You'll hear that point of view coming up. But first, joining me now is Sue Pickwell. She was friends with Terri Schiavo during high school. Also with me is her sister, Cathy Croak, who also knew Terri and the Schindlers when she was growing up. Terri was also godmother to Cathy's son.
Thank you both for joining us. My heart goes out to you. Sorry about your loss.
You've had some time to prepare for today. What are your thoughts tonight about Terri's passing?
SUE PICKWELL, FRIEND OF TERRI SCHIAVO: My thoughts today actually run quite random. They run from me missing Terri. I know she's left the earth today. I know she's an angel today. I hope everybody prays for her family today. They're the ones that need our prayers. I know Terri is looking down on us smiling today.
The last conversation I had with Terri was 15 years ago. I started missing her then. But physically, it's hard to prepare to physically lose a person. I know through the past 15 years, she had the love of her family behind her. And I knew she was all right. I took solace in that, knowing that her mom, her dad and her brother and sister were there to take care of her. They were fighting for her for these past 15 years to try to help and rehabilitate her, to get her to where she could be.
ZAHN: Cathy, we mentioned that you were close to the Schindlers, as well. What has it been like for you to see Terri to become used politically by both sides?
CATHY CROAK, FRIEND OF TERRI SCHIAVO: It's just a very difficult situation all the way around. I know it's something Terri would have hated. Terri did not like limelight or anything like that. Like my sister said, right now all I want to do is pray for the family. And it's just a really tough, tough day.
ZAHN: The one thing that is all but impossible to ignore is this great tension that exists between Michael Schiavo's part of the family and the Schindlers. And I know my interview that our audience will hear a little bit later tonight, the brother of Michael, Scott, says everything was fine until there was a malpractice settlement, and then it became a fight about money. Is that where you perceive that things went wrong?
PICKWELL: No, actually, her parents wanted, once the medical malpractice money was available for Terri, her parents wanted it used for Terri. That's where it started. Her mom and dad at that point approached Michael: "Let's go. Let's get moving on this. The money is there for Terri now. Let's move forward and help rehabilitate her."
ZAHN: Of course, as we've heard from the brothers tonight, they tell a strikingly different story. But let's reflect back even further. What do you remember about Terri? What do you want our audience to know about her, Cathy? CROAK: Terri was always a happy person. She loved life. The great thing about Terri I remember is her laugh. You could always light -- she lit up the room with that. Terri was a great person, a great friend.
ZAHN: I also heard she was very kind to animals. Every neighbor we talked to...
ZAHN: ... she lived about five minutes from here -- talked about how obsessed they said she was with animals.
PICKWELL: Of course. I mean, that just shows her passion for life. I mean, Terri loved everybody, everything, animals especially.
ZAHN: Final thought tonight on what you think her legacy should be.
PICKWELL: That's really hard. This is so surreal for me to even think about. I mean, she was my friend. I just -- I just -- I hope that people will learn how to truly appreciate and have compassion for people and love one another and not fight. Terri would not have wanted that. Would not have wanted that.
ZAHN: I guess we're watching both of these families heart broken by this tragedy. You hope that ultimately there could be some peace cobbled together.
Sue Pickwell, Cathy Croak, thank you for your time tonight.
CROAK: You're welcome.
ZAHN: We appreciate your sharing some of your reflections with us.
And Larry, there are a lot of friends here of not only the Schiavo families, but the Schindler families. And later on, as I mentioned, we'll be talking with Michael Schiavo's brother, Scott, who has some pretty potent things to say about what he says his brother has been dragged through. He says he has been unfairly demonized in all of this.
KING: Getting Shakespearian. Thanks, Paula. Great job.
ZAHN: There are shades of that, for sure. Thanks, Larry.
KING: We'll be right back with more of this special coverage. Don't go away.
KING: Bernadine Healy is in Washington, columnist, "U.S. News & World Report," former head of the Red Cross and former director of the National Institutes of Health.
You're opposed to what happened today. Why?
DR. BERNADINE HEALY, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": I was -- I'm speaking only as a doctor. And I guess my focus is on the patient here. The tragedies with regard to the problems of the family I'm not talking about.
I think the issue is did -- did this woman, did this young woman have an adequate neurological evaluation by today's standards? And I think if one looks carefully at the case, you find that she has not had a neurological evaluation of the kind she should have had since 2002. And at that time, Larry, it was inadequate by today's standards.
She didn't have the clinical detailed evaluation, in terms of time, in terms of full evaluation over a period of several days. And she also did not have the technology studies that she should have had.
And I think this would have been good for her in terms of trying to establish whether or not she was truly a human vegetable, a horrible word to use, but that vegetative state -- or if she had some level of consciousness, perhaps the mental I.Q. of an 11-month-old child. If she had that, then it would have been a very, very different debate.
KING: The autopsy will show it.
HEALY: No, Larry, it won't. An autopsy -- what an autopsy will do will be very important. We've been hearing a lot that she has no higher cerebral function, no cerebral cortex. That's the word that we're seeing. We're seeing CAT scans on the -- on the blogosphere that may or may not be hers. And people are saying, "Look, there's no cerebral cortex," which I beg to differ with. It's very difficult to assess that on one slice of a CAT scan.
But nevertheless, the only thing that the -- well, the autopsy will tell us many things. But one thing it will tell us, if she has no cerebral cortex, we'll see that.
But you know, Larry, in the case of -- the Quinlan case, who was in a vegetative state for over nine years, at autopsy, a detailed autopsy study reported in "The New England Journal of Medicine," they found an amazing amount of cortex, particularly in the frontal area, the seat of executive functions, wisdom, higher level thought. So autopsies can be surprising.
If we see what we saw with Quinlan, then I think we will be very regretful that we did not do the proper neurologic tests which would have helped us sort function out. Not just anatomy but was that brain working? Was that cortex firing? The answer is not known.
And no one should have their tubes pulled. No one should -- should be -- decided -- this is a fatal step -- without having those answers. And it could have been done, inexpensively, cheaply. And you know, it might have brought this family together, Larry.
KING: Thank you, Bernadine. Dr. Bernadine Healy, M.D., columnist now for "U.S. News & World Report."
We'll take a break and complete hour No. 1. And when we come back, lots more guests in hour No. 2. An extraordinary story from Steve Klugman, as well. You'll meet him. And lots more ahead, plus updates on the story in the Vatican.
Don't go away. We'll be right back.
KING: Welcome back to hour number two of our special coverage "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." I'm Larry King. All of our correspondents, our night time anchors are available, top guests coming to discuss the death, today, of Terri Schiavo. And updates on the situation at the Vatican.
We'll do that right now by going to New York and Aaron Brown -- Aaron.
BROWN: Larry, thank you. Late this afternoon, word came from the Vatican that Pope John Paul's health, which is already precarious, a feeding tube inserted yesterday, a tracheotomy a month back, had taken a turn for the worse. A urinary tract infection with attended fever and a blood pressure drop.
Alessio Vinci is our bureau chief in Rome. A quick update. And is there anything in what the Vatican has said or not said that gives us any clues to how serious the pope's condition is tonight?
VINCI: Hello, Aaron. First of all, Vatican officials, the latest that we have from them, about two hours ago, and they're telling us that the pope is responding well to the antibiotics that he's been given after he was diagnosed with the high fever. Meanwhile, a different Vatican official is telling us the pope has received the so-called sacrament of the anointing of the sick, which were once known -- called as a last rite.
Now, this is a blessing that is not given, necessarily to someone who is dying. Lately, it has been given to people who are extremely sick, and this appears to be the case of the pope. The Vatican official told us -- telling us that it basically does not mean that this rite was given because the pope was on his deathbed, but simply because the situation appears to be -- or actually, the situation is serious with the pope.
What we do know at this time is that there are no plans to bring the pope back to the Gemelli hospital where the pope has spent already several days, if not weeks, in recent months, twice in February as a matter of fact. We could read this into perhaps the pope being too frail and too sick to be moved back from the Vatican to the Gemelli Polyclinic. Or, perhaps you could read this with the fact that the situation appears to be under control.
Anyway, the pope does have top medical care at the Vatican with Gemelli doctors present there 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- Aaron. BROWN: Alessio, thank you. We'll check back with you as we go along tonight, 11:00 Eastern time. We'll spend an hour on the pope's condition and -- because it's appropriate in a moment like this, we'll look at how he's influenced the church and how he's influenced the world around us, all of us, in his 25 years.
Larry, someone told me today that half the people on the planet have only known this pope, have only been alive during his papacy.
KING: Wow. Is that similar to Roosevelt if you were born in 1932.
KING: Thank, Aaron. Aaron will be back at the bottom of the hour with updates. And again, his special is two hours away. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper in Pinellas Park outside the hospice.
Anything still happening there, Anderson?
COOPER: Larry, the crowd has dwindled. There's about, I'd say, maybe 25 people here at the most. A lot of the people, I recognize people who had been here really over the last two weeks or so. They're holding up signs.
You get the feeling a lot is for the benefit of the television cameras. They're sort of positioned in various spots where different broadcasts are happening from.
But, you know, it's interesting Larry, spending time out here, you really -- it's a very small area outside the hospice, and it's sort of swirling of reporters and the Schindler family members and the protesters. And everyone sort of gets to know everyone else. You start to recognize everyone else. You see Bobby Schindler walking around, you get to know these protesters by name, a lot of them just by appearance and by the messages. Because everyone here has some sort of message they want to get across, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Anderson. Noble work.
Steve Klugman is with us. He's an attorney, and the husband of Kate Adamson who has been on this show twice. When she was 33-years- old, in 1995 suffered a devastating stroke, left her paralyzed. She not only survived, made has what has been described as a miraculous recovery. Steve is her husband.
Did you ever think of pulling the plug?
STEVE KLUGMAN, ATTORNEY: No. I was given the same type of choice that Michael had. I was told that essentially Kate would be Terri, that she would be forever in this state.
KING: But it was not the same situation, right?
KLUGMAN: The prognosis was the same. I was told that she's never get better. She'll be alive for 50 years. She's never going to communicate with you. She'll be a burden to you. Your children will have no closure. Let the woman go.
KING: Was it a feeding tube?
KLUGMAN: She had to have total life support. She couldn't do anything.
KING: Why didn't you let her go?
KLUGMAN: She was young, and I felt she was full of life. And I also felt that I wanted god to have the opportunity to vote in this and not the doctors.
KING: What happened when she came -- were you there when she came out of this?
KLUGMAN: I was there 24/7 for weeks.
KING: And what happened when she came out?
KLUGMAN: She was never not out. I mean, she was always conscious. I would say about two or three weeks in, I saw her blink, and I realized that she was communicating yes and no with her blinks. I told the doctors that. They said no she's not.
KING: Terri Schiavo is 15 years.
KLUGMAN: Kate would have been 15 years if we had the same path.
KING: I want to get a call in. Lander, Wyoming, as we include the public, hello.
CALLER: I have two quick questions. The first one is are the Schindlers going -- do they have a book or a movie deal in the works? And my second question is I am a disabled widow on Medicaid and the president and the right wing religious people that were so evident in Pinellas Park that say they care about people just like me, they have made such severe cuts to Medicaid and low income housing and other services and I will not be able to survive and they are not going to come here to try to save me. And I want to know why?
KING: I'd rather have questions than a speech, and that was kind of a speech. But do you know, Anderson, if any books are in the works?
Is Anderson there? Anderson is not with us.
Let's bring in Jeffrey Toobin, our CNN legal analyst in New York.
Jeffrey, when we get down to the nuts and bolts of it, in a case involving life, death and a family, the husband is the word.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Unless the person specifies otherwise. The great, sort of -- there is not many silver linings in this tragic story. But the one is that a lot of people are going to review their wills, advanced directives, health care proxies, however you want to call it. And finding out if they -- and determining whom they want to designate as the person making these decisions.
But if no one is designated, as was the case with Terri Schiavo, the person, at least under Florida law, is the husband.
KING: So the parents of an adult have no standing if that adult is married, right?
TOOBIN: They don't. And because the decision here was not who has standing, because it was clear that Michael Schiavo had standing. The issue was what was Terri Schiavo's intent. And there were extensive hearings. And the judge very clearly determined, not just based on Michael Schiavo's testimony, on the husband's testimony, was that her intent was to be removed from the machines at some point. That's what the judge decided.
And through all these years of appeals, through six appeals to the United States Supreme Court, they said that that is the last word. The judge was right.
KING: Steve, if your wife have left such an order, would you have followed it?
KLUGMAN: Not initially, but eventually.
KING: David Gibbs, do the Schindlers have a book deal?
GIBBS: No. That's the last thing on their mind right now, Larry. They're grieving parents. They've just lost their daughter. They've been flooded with people trying to contact them.
And what we have encouraged them to do right now is to rely on the faith that has helped them through this struggle, to rely on their family and to let a little time go by. There are no book or movie deals at this point. the Schindler family is just a mom, a dad, a brother and a sister who are grieving for this deep loss, the loss of their beloved Terri.
KING: We'll take a break and we'll be back with more on this edition -- a special addition "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." Our special coverage, three hours in all. We're with you till 11:00 Eastern and then Aaron will take over with an hour special of "NEWSNIGHT" on the situation at the Vatican. Right back with more guests. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY SCHINDLER JR, TERRI SCHIAVO'S BROTHER: Terri, your life and legacy will continue to live on as the nation is now awakened to the plight of thousands of voiceless people with disabilities that were previously unnoticed. Your family intends to stand up for the other Terri's around this nation. And we will do all that we can to change the law so others won't face the same fate that has befallen you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's been a horrible, gut-wrenching experience to know that that girl, if she would have received the proper treatment, today she'd probably be sitting with us right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back in this segment of our special coverage.
Here in Los Angeles is Joni Tada. In 1967, at age 17 she dove into shallow water, left her a quadriplegic. She's a best-selling author, artist, radio program host.
Deepak Chopra is in Atlanta, the New York Times best selling author, and spiritual teacher. His new book is the "Way of Peace."
In Minneapolis is Dr. Ronald Cranford, M.D., neurologist, medical ethicist. He examined Terri Schiavo in July of 2002, and concluded she was in a persistent vegetative state.
And Seattle is Kathryn Tucker, director of legal affairs for compassion and choices who supported the Schiavo position.
Joni Tada, I know you were in favor of putting the plug back in and keeping her alive. How do you feel tonight?
JONI EARECKSON TADA, FOUNDER, JONI'S FRIENDS INTL.: Well, I'm very sad. I'm sad for all Americans with disabilities. But I'm also sadden and my prayers and sympathies go out to the family and friends of Terri Schiavo. What we saw happen today sends a very dangerous and clear message to millions of mentally incapacitated adults here in the United States, who's legal guardians might not have their best wishes at heart. That's bad news for Americans with disabilities.
KING: You're not sad for Michael?
TADA: Well, sure I'm sad for Michael. I think, we've been hearing throughout the day, and through out the weeks, that there really are no winners in this situation. My prayers go out to, not just to the Schindler family, but to Michael as well.
KING: There's no winner here, right? This is sad.
TADA: There is no winner. However, I believe that those of us in disability advocacy, starting tomorrow morning, are going to be working hard to see that there is a federal review in state cases where there are contested decisions about withholding food and water. There are also, I trust, will be a state by state reform of guardianship laws, plus health care decision laws. Some good will come out of this or else that woman has died in vain and we don't want that to happen.
KING: Dr. Cranford, are there moments when you think your diagnose may have been wrong?
DR. RONALD CRANFORD, M.D., EXAMINED TERRI IN 2002: In this case, Larry, it was unequivocal. She'd been like that for 12 years. Other neurologist examined her said the same thing. Her E.G. was flat. Her CAT scan showed atrophy. In this case, Larry, this is the wrong case to pick to try to have a disability advocate, because she really truly, beyond any doubt, was in a persistent vegetative state, Larry. And I no reservations whatsoever.
KING: And Joni, you're not a doctor, so you're in the...
TADA: No, I'm not a doctor, but I think we all agree there are neurologists who would contested that, in fact, Dr. Healy.
KING: But he examined her.
TADA: I'm sure...
KING: Dr. Healy's not a neurologist.
TADA: I believe that. But I have often heard on the national news media, quote, "She's never going to get better, so why not pull that plug?" Larry, tens of thousands of Americans with disabilities are never going to get better. Disability for them is a fact of life.
KING: But if they can speak, they're going to kill them.
TADA: But why -- why would the quality of life of not being able to speak or not being able to move your arms and legs be criteria for life.
KING: But the courts -- the courts have to decide, do they believe the witnesses who said she didn't want this, and the courts did. We live in a court system.
TADA: Well, Larry, that's why I believe it was good for the United States Congress and the federal government to intervene in this particular situation, because the Congress should have the compelling interest in the rights of disabled people when they're being violated by the state.
KING: Deepak Chopra, is a man deeply involved in life. Was this a mistake today.
DEEPAK CHOPRA, SPIRITUAL TEACHER, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: I don't think so, Larry. The question is were we prolonging life or death? For 15 years we prolonged her death. And we have to ask ourselves, how do we define death in todays spiritually bankrupt society? By a scribble on a piece of paper or by perception, cognition, feelings, moods, emotions, relationships and biological function. We're in an age of technology where it's possible to keep any organ going for as long as we want. We do heart transplants with beating hearts. So, just the fact that part of her biology was functioning doesn't mean she was really not in a persistent vegetative state. I think ,we have to pay attention to some of the bigger issues, 40,000 children died of hunger yesterday and today as well, will 40,000 will die tomorrow, and they're not part of the news.
Her permanent vegetative state became a weapon for economic, political and religious exploitation.
KING: Katherine Tucker, what is Compassion in Choices?
KATHRYN TUCKER, DIR, LEGAL AFFAIRS, COMPASSION AND CHOICES: Well, we're a national advocacy group for protecting and expanding the rights of the terminally ill and for improving end of life care. And our view here is that, of course, the touchstone is the wish of the patient. And her wishes were advocated by her husband, who was the appropriate surrogate. And we're pleased that finally her wishes were respected and she was able to pass on without the maintenance of her bodily function. Once all cognitive function had ceased, she didn't want to be kept alive, so we're pleased her wishes were respected. If there's a silver lining here, Larry, it is the attention to the importance of having advanced directives, making your wishes known. And then beyond that, I think we, too, will engage with the legislative processes to make sure these directives are honored. Because part of the tragedy, even if you have the directive and you've crossed the T's, your directive may not be honored. And there is essentially no redress or accountability in that situation.
KING: All right. Let me get a call in. Centralia, Washington -- hello.
CALLER: Hello, how are you Larry?
CALLER: Listen, the debate has been framed the last two weeks on whether Terri was suffering pain from no food or not. And I haven't seen anyone, Christians or doctors talk about fasting, something we're supposed to know something about. I know that after the third day hunger pain stop, you know, as the body purges its impurities. And for each on going day, there's this wonderful euphoric peaceful body and soul feeling close to God. And don't you think that's a gift we receive during the death process?
KING: Dr. Cranford, what happens if you starve?
CRANFORD: We don't starve, you dehydrate to death. In a vegetative state you don't feel anything. A lot of people have what we call terminal anorexia, where when they -- near the end with terminal cancer and things like that, they don't feel hungry at that point. Their body kind of shuts down. Euphoria may take over in those situations.
But people at the end of life who are alert or conscious, don't offer -- often have hunger pains. Terri didn't have hunger pains. She didn't suffer. She was in a vegetative state, Larry. And there's no other way of looking at it from that stand point.
KING: Let me get a break and come back with more on our special coverage edition, three hours worth, of "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SCHIAVO, TERRI SCHIAVO'S HUSBAND: I'm not going to walk away from Terri because I love her very much. Terri's not an inanimate object where we're going to pass her back and forth. I married her because I love her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joni Tada, would you want to live in a vegetative state?
TADA: Well, I would want to live as long as God gives me breath.
KING: So you would want to live without...
TADA: If I were...
KING: If everything the doctor says is true, would you want to live?
TADA: Of course I would want to live because God has given me that breath of life. Each of us has that gift, whether we are people of faith or not.
But, Larry, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that, to uphold the God-given dignity of people with disabilities, especially those with significant and severe disabilities, we must stop using the term, quote, "persistent vegetative state." The National Council on Disability, the National Down Syndrome Congress, Not Dead Yet, our friends there, also the Joni and Friends International Disability Center -- when we label people in a persistent vegetative state, I've heard here on the media, that individuals in wheelchairs like me are called vegetables.
KING: You're not a vegetable. You can speak and talk and breathe.
TADA: And neither is Terri a vegetable. Disability, even though it is severe, is a fact of life for many Americans.
KING: Kathryn, how do you respond?
TUCKER: That's a point well-taken, that we could use a different term, and why don't we use the term "permanently unconscious"? This is an individual -- Terri Schiavo -- who was permanently unconscious. She would never regain any cognitive function of any sort. So, I think we could move away from the vegetative term. I've heard that proposal. Let's use the phrase permanently unconscious.
TADA: And terms are important, because, earlier I heard our guest, just then, speak about Terri Schiavo in the framework of a terminally ill person who has his right to declare his wants or wishes. Again, Terri Schiavo was not terminally ill, she was not brain dead, she did not have cancer, she did not have a life-ending disease. She was disabled.
TUCKER: She was permanently unconscious.
KING: Oberlin Park, Kansas, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry, just calling as a hospice nurse, by the way. But anyway, how do the right wing politicians, and I'm speaking specifically about the Bushes, reconcile their apparently disparate views and values when you hear today, on one hand, "erring on the side of life," yet wasn't George Governor of a state who had the highest rate of executions?
KING: That is true.
TADA: Well, we're not here to speak about capital punishment. I think what we need to remember is that we want to build a culture of life as President Bush said today, and we can do that right now by looking at guardianship laws and health care directive laws, state by state.
TUCKER: Well, we might look at that -- I'm sorry, if I might say, we might look at these laws, but I don't think there would be the political will in this country to vest someone other than the individual if they can execute an advanced directive with their own decision-making authority, or if you have to go to a surrogate, the spouse is the proper surrogate.
TADA: But even in various states, surrogates and guardians, there's so much confusion. In one state, two people are required to agree on end-of-life directives. In another state, the physician...
KING: Would you therefore favor a federal law?
TADA: I believe there should be a federal review and federal remedy in cases where there is a contest between family and husbands and mothers and fathers.
KING: But you do agree that you have the right to die if you wish?
TADA: I believe that if you're terminally ill, and you have entered the irrevocable process of death, you are guaranteed under what is called the Patient Right of Autonomy Act, here in the United States, to refuse any kind of life support or even a feeding tube, should you wish. But, that's for people who are dying and terminally ill.
KING: Thank you all very much. We're going to do another program of this tomorrow night. We'll be hearing from some of the guests you've seen tonight, again, tomorrow, of course, depending on the situation in the Vatican. We'll get an update on that in a moment when we continue with our special coverage, "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: We're half way through our special coverage, "Life and Death," covers lots of areas. It happened at Pinellas Park, and there's a hovering scene in the Vatican as well. And to check up on that, we go to Aaron Brown in New York -- Aaron.
BROWN: Larry, thank you. Pope John Paul's condition took a difficult turn late today. A urinary tract infection, high fever, drop in blood pressure, much concern. Delia Gallagher is in Rome for us. Is there at the Vatican any palpable sense of crisis?
GALLAGHER: No. I have to say that there isn't at the moment. Of course, it is the middle of the night here. There was certainly a flurry of activity and phone calls a few hours ago with the news of this high fever that the pope was running. But once we've received the news that the pope was responding well to the antibiotic treatment for the urinary tract infection, there seems to have been a general sense of greater calm here. Of course, the Vatican is never a place to get too anxious about things, but it is clearly a delicate situation for the pope this evening -- Aaron.
BROWN: And that is the word from the Vatican, that he is stable, that he is responding to the antibiotics. We'll keep an eye on that, 11:00 Eastern time tonight we'll update the condition on the pope in some detail, and look also at the papacy which has run a quarter of a century -- Larry.
KING: Thank you, Aaron. Now, let's go to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and standing by is Paula Zahn, the host of "PAULA ZAHN NOW" -- Paula.
ZAHN: Thanks, Larry. And this is of course where I am now, in the Beige and Beige (ph) restaurant, about five minutes from where Terri Schiavo grew up, and I'm joined now by Steve Meyer and Colleen McGhee, long-time friends of the Schindler family. Colleen has known Terri Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, since childhood. Good to have both of you with us.
I know this has been a really rough day for you, I know it has been a rough 15 years as you've watched your dear friend struggle. What is it that you want Americans to focus on tonight when you reflect on Terri's tough fight?
COLLEEN MCGHEE, FRIEND OF SCHINDLERS: I would like them to know just what a wonderful family Terri came from. The Schindler family just has unconditional love for their children. Growing up with Suzanne, she was my best friend from seventh grade, and her family, her mom, her dad, Terri, Bobby, they welcomed me into their family like I was one of their own, and that's the kind of love they have.
ZAHN: And Steve, I know that's a similar experience to which you've also enjoyed. You've found yourself in the middle of even a heated debate here in this community that has embraced the Schiavo family or the Schindler family in a big way. What are people saying here locally? STEVE MEYER, FRIEND OF SCHINDLER FAMILY: Well, I think people's opinions and emotions run different gamuts. I've had many discussions today as many people know that I knew the Schindlers, and some people say, well, Terri wouldn't have wanted to live that way. And my quick response is, you don't know Terri then. Terri was full of life. And I think she actually left the legacy of life. And I think if there is any doubt, Terri spoke loudly, as Bobby, her brother, said today, for everybody that passed Terri off and thought she would not last long -- she lasted as long as she could until her organs gave out, and I think she made a final statement on how important life was to her.
And I think when everybody hears all the facts of the case, many people who were originally very glib and say she wouldn't want to live that way, when they hear that she really hasn't had any therapy over the past nine years and hear all the facts of the case, they quickly change and say, oh, I didn't know that. I think it's very easy for people to judge and, look, well, there's Terri laying in a bed, but they don't know her, they don't see the interactions she had, and they don't see that she really wasn't given a chance over the past nine years, and despite it all, she still lived.
ZAHN: And we should mention that Michael Schiavo also grew up in this area. And what I guess surprises me is when you look at the national polls suggesting, in some polls that 75 percent of Americans support Michael Schiavo's decision, the court's decision to remove the feeding tube, there doesn't seem to be much of a reservoir of support at least among people I've spoken here with in the community for Michael Schiavo's point of view. Is that the way you see it?
MCGHEE: Correct. Because, who are we to judge? It is not our decision. It's in God's hands for her fate. It wasn't our -- it wasn't the proper decision.
MEYER: And Paula, let's look at what happened here. Nobody, nobody except Terri herself could tell you what she wanted. We passionately feel we knew Terri. We know she loved life. But nobody besides Terri could tell you, and she didn't leave it in writing. Anybody looking at this case, there was more than reasonable doubt, more than reasonable doubt, with all the facts, that Terri did not want this. And yet a judge, who never once went and saw Terri in person, said, I think this is what she would want.
ZAHN: And yet we know that Michael Schiavo has said repeatedly on the record that this was her wish. I interviewed his brother, Scott, a couple of hours ago, and he said that he even remembers her saying it quite pointedly, attending a funeral with him of his grandmother, where Terri said, if it ever gets to a point where I need life support, that's not what I want. You don't believe those conversations ever happened?
MEYER: No, not at all. And you had my sister on your show a couple of nights ago. Terri had a conversation with my sister, and it was about Karen Ann Quinlan. And her quote, which still rings in my mind today, was, "where there's life, there's hope." And anybody who knew Terri, and I think the groundswell you see from the people that know her and here where she grew up, and anybody who knows Terri, knows that she would not would have wanted to do -- die this way, and she would have wanted to live.
ZAHN: And just a quick final thought, and on a happy closing note, about what you'll remember about Terri.
MCGHEE: Her biggest smile. When she smiled, her laugh, she just lighted up a room.
ZAHN: But she certainly didn't like attention, did she? We have a lot of pictures of her where she shied away from the camera.
MEYER: She was very shy.
MCGHEE: And same with her family, who would never want to be in this position, but it's the unconditional love that's bringing them out tonight, it's bringing myself out tonight, just to say that it's pure out of love, desperation for love, for life.
ZAHN: I am very sorry about your loss, Colleen and Steve, thank you...
MEYER: Thank you.
ZAHN: ... for joining us tonight. We appreciate your time.
And later, Larry, as we continue our special coverage, we're going to hear exactly what Michael Schiavo's brother Scott has to say about all of this. It's a much different point of view, and I think it will get some attention.
KING: Thank you, Paula. That's in the next hour.
Let's go to Pinellas Park. Sheri Payne and Fran Casler are standing by. They are close friends of the Schindlers. Is it true, Sheri, did you see Terri yesterday?
SHERI PAYNE, FRIEND OF THE SCHINDLERS: Yes, Larry, I saw her three times yesterday, the last time being 10:00 last night.
KING: What did you observe?
PAYNE: She looked very tired. Her cheeks were sunken. She seemed cold to me. But she still, when I spoke to her, she looked right at me, and I talked to her about different things that we used to do, even though she did not make the noise or trying to speak to me like she did the other night, she still looked me right in the eye, and I'm very thankful for it.
KING: Fran, how are the Schindlers doing? Have you spoken to them since?
FRAN CASLER, FRIEND OF THE SCHINDLERS: Oh, yes, Larry. The Schindlers are a remarkable family, and it's a privilege to have known them for 25 years. They're very strong, and they feel that Terri's gone to a better place, and she's got a higher purpose in life.
KING: Where are they tonight, Fran? (CROSSTALK)
CASLER: Well, I understand that Bob Schindler, the dad, was at the memorial service. I know that Mary is at home with family, and Bobby and Suzanne are, I believe, around here, or they just went home.
KING: Do you think there's any chance, Sheri, of some sort of some reconciliation, where all these people could gather in a memorial service or a funeral? Sheri, do you think that's possible?
PAYNE: Definitely not. Are you talking about with the Schiavo family, the Schindlers with the Schiavos?
PAYNE: Never, never in a million years.
KING: They all loved the same person.
PAYNE: I realize that, but Michael stopped that love. That was his decision. It's over. I can't say anymore about what he did. He is not a friend of mine.
KING: Fran, do you feel the same way, that this is irrevocable?
CASLER: It is irrevocable. And we'll never -- they will never be reconciled. Michael Schiavo is a liar, and we can prove it, and I just hope that there's a criminal investigation on this.
KING: Are you glad, Fran, there's going to be an autopsy?
PAYNE: Oh, yeah.
CASLER: Oh, yeah.
PAYNE: Definitely. I think the family has a right to know what happened to their daughter and why she has so many broken bones. It didn't happen with physical therapy or rehab.
KING: And you're -- what if it shows that that -- what if it shows there were no violence?
CASLER: Oh, it's already been proven that she had broken bones.
PAYNE: Oh, it's been proven.
PAYNE: It's on the record. There was a bone scan done, and it's in the records.
KING: Thank you both very much. I'm sorry. Sheri Payne and Fran Casler, thank you very much.
The bitterness remains, and it's not going away. We'll talk with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida -- an astronaut, by the way -- with their thoughts, right after this. Don't go away.
KING: Joining us now in Atlanta is Reverend Jesse Jackson who has counseled with the Schindler family in support of the efforts to restore the feeding tube. And in Stanford, Connecticut tonight is Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, who opposed a sweeping House bill to intervene on behalf of the Schindler family, has sponsored legislation on living wills. Why did you oppose the bill, Senator?
SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Because it would have set a precedent of getting into the private business of people with government intrusion, and it had no business -- but I did support bringing a quick end to a 15-year dispute by giving the parents one final appeal, so on the final version, I did support that, Larry.
KING: Reverend Jackson, was this fairly handled?
REV. JESSE JACKSON, PRESIDENT RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION; SUPPORTS SCHINDLER FAMILY: Well, in the sense that the Congress got involved, seeming to focusing on Terri, as a kind of pro pri assemble (ph), and their level should be a matter of what people like Terri need is what -- long-term health care and Medicaid. She also won, of course, a medical malpractice suit. So, they got in on the level, beneath what their role is, that is, public policy and the appropriations.
On the other hand, I regret so much that in life and death there's such violence surrounding this. I hope even those who disagree with vehemently with Michael's decision would stop threatening his life. This should not be part of Terri's legacy or even Tom DeLay using the platform of Congress to threaten the judiciary and separation of powers. Let's now get down to what can we learn from this and end these violent threats, either toward Michael or levered by Tom DeLay.
KING: Senator Nelson, are you surprised that most polls showed people favoring the Michael Schiavo decision, and, when asked about Congress, over 80 percent were against Congress getting involved at all?
NELSON: As well as the president. No, I'm not surprised, Larry, because people look at this as a matter of privacy, and privacy rights. These kind of very traumatic events should be handled by families, and there are state laws that handle this, and therefore, when there is a dispute that arises, it goes to the courts, and the rule of law prevails, and in this case, the rule of law prevailed.
JACKSON: Larry, Larry?
JACKSON: What made this seem so different, usually when -- death is fate, and you cannot stop it. I've counseled situations as a minister, and people in advance stages of cancer, and they had Demerol to fight the pain, they went into a coma, and at some point the pulse begin to drop and you pull the plug, and, with family together, the person died. In this case, the water and food was cut off, but she still had vital signs. America watched her slowly die from dehydration, lack of food. That created this emotional explosion around, why should that have happened? I do not think it should have happened this way.
KING: Laramie, Wyoming -- we'll include some calls here -- hello.
CALLER: Hello, Mr. King. First off, I'd like to offer my condolences to Mr. Schiavo and his family. It seems that his side really hasn't been fairly represented. I'm just curious, why is it that the right to life group seems to think that, because they're more vocal and they're more out there, that they have a right to push their views and their values off on the rest of us?
KING: Senator, do you feel that there's a push from the other side that's unfair?
NELSON: I think that where a certain group says, that, we're going to disobey the law because we know what is right and wrong, then, I think we start treading on a nation of laws, and start becoming a nation of men and women, and that's not the Constitutional form of government that I or -- our nation is founded on.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Senator Bill Nelson on our special coverage, "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." Don't go away.
KING: We're going to spend some moments here now with Anderson Cooper in Pinellas. And joining us in New York, Jeff Greenfield, our old friend, senior analyst for CNN.
Jeff, a lot of people have tubes pulled. There's a lot of graceful endings to life occurring in America every day. Why did this case boom?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First, because of the split in the family. Second, because it became part of a political movement. I think there's no question, but that if I can use this phrase, the right to life movement is a very important base within the Republican Party. i think that's one of the reasons you saw the Congress come back into what, in effect was a special session after their recess.
Another reason, of course, Larry, that we don't often talk about is us. Mass media, ever since the days of Floyd Collins, that guy who got trapped in a cave in Kentucky in 1925 and became a national figure of concern, ever since the birth of mass media, it's been able to take an individual and put that person's plight before millions and millions of people as though all of us know that person a feel almost we are a part of her family, whichever side we're on.
You take all of those things together, the political pressure, the media focus and a genuinely life and death issue that all of us are going to have to face, it's a kind of perfect storm.
KING: Anderson, do you agree, as a media person as well, that the problem as Pogo (ph) said is us? If it is a problem.
COOPER: I don't know if it's a problem, but I think it is definitely plays a role. Two examples of that happening over my shoulder -- just over my shoulder out of frame, there's maybe 20 protesters here in total. They have all gathered so that they will appear behind another broadcast that is happening right now live.
That picture you're seeing, they've all gathered in that one spot because someone else is broadcasting right in font of them and they want to make it seem as if there are many, many people here.
In fact, that is it. Those are all the protesters left who are here. There used to be several hundred here on some days.
That is a media moment. And the people who are holding signs -- everyone here wants to be an television. They all have causes that they want to tell you about. And I can tell you, there are some times when the cameras outside this hospice outnumbered the protesters. And everyone you went into, suddenly they were a media expert. Oh, well, actually, I'm doing your show at 7:00, but then I've got to run over and do HARDBALL also. It's a strange atmosphere.
COOPER: And so definitely we became part of this story, Larry.
KING: Kendersville, North Carolina -- let's get a call in -- hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, my question is if Governor Bush can give a death row inmate a stay of execution, why couldn't he have stepped in and do that for Terri Schiavo?
GREENFIELD: There are two Jeffs here and we both have law degrees.
KING: Jeff Greenfield.
GREENFIELD: The reason is he has the power to do it. The governor has the power to pardon, Terri -- Lord knows Terri wasn't convicted of a crime. And this is a case where Jeb Bush, and one of the great ironies of this story is that Jeb Bush who has probably tried harder than any other public official to insert into this case his power to try to keep her alive, has been the target from Terri Schiavo's more militant supporters saying you should have broken into the hospice and physically removed her. I guess you could say that from his point of view, it's a situation of no good deed going unpunished. But he just didn't have that power.
KING: Are you surprised, Jeff Greenfield, that the public supported Schiavo? GREENFIELD: No. And I think in part there's an irony here, Larry. Conservatives have done a very effective job of convicting people in this country, that the government is not to be trusted with any power at all. And I think when the Congress and the president step in, whatever the merits of the case, there was a kind of instinctive reaction on the part of a country that for years has not had much affection for politicians saying what are politicians doing in this process?
Now, people who supported the parents are going to say that's a misconception of what happened. But that reflexive notions was, this is personal, this is private, the government should not be stepping into such a decision. I think that that is where the majority of the public was on this whatever their politics. Even a majority of conservatives held that point of view.
KING: Anderson, less than a minute left in this segment. Do we know if the autopsy has begun?
COOPER: We do not know that at this point. We know her body is at the coroner's office. We know it will be performed there. But we don't know exactly when it's going to happen, or really how long this whole process is going to take.
George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney earlier today spoke about sort of two stages of the autopsy. A macro stage and a microscopic stage. The macro stage relatively easy to get results. The microscopic stage could take weeks, he said, to really do the analysis of brain tissue and the other parts of Terri Schiavo that they are going to be looking at very closely.
KING: Thanks, Anderson.
Jeff Greenfield will be with us later and also he'll be with Aaron Brown throughout his special edition of "NEWSNIGHT" tonight looking at the situation in the Vatican.
We've completed two-thirds of our special coverage "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." We'll be back with an hour to go. Don't go away.
BROWN: Good evening again, everyone.
I'm Aaron Brown in New York, along with Larry King. We'll continue with "Life and Death in America: America Speaks Out" in just a moment.
We want to update you first on the condition of the pope. Terri Schiavo's case is today's big story but the pope's condition may well become tomorrow's. Alessio Vinci, who is our Rome Bureau Chief, has been tracking the words out of the Vatican since it became clear late this afternoon that the pope had gotten quite sick in a week where he had already had a feeding tube inserted -- Alessio.
VINCI: Hello, Aaron.
Yes, Vatican officials several hours ago confirming in a statement that the pope has indeed a high fever and that was due to a urinary tract infection and that the pope had been treated with antibiotics.
Vatican officials are telling CNN that the pope has now responded well to these antibiotics but the situation continues to remain serious so much in fact that a Vatican official is telling CNN that the so-called Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, also known in the past as the Last Rites, have been performed on the pope.
This used to be performed on people who were very close to death. This is no longer the case. This kind of blessing is also performed on people who are very sick and this appears to be the condition of the pope at this time.
This is not the first time the pope has received this kind of blessing. Back in 1981, when he was shot in St. Peter's Square, the pope received that kind of blessing from his close aide, Archbishop Stanislav Gerish (ph).
Of course he survived that incident and so the fact that the rites, the Last Rites, have been given to the pope does not necessarily mean that he's about to die but the situation surrounding his health continues to remain extremely serious.
Medical sources, meanwhile, are telling CNN that for the time being there are no provisions made for the pope to return to the Gemelli Hospital. This, of course, could be interpreted in two ways.
On the one side, the doctors at the Vatican feel that they have the situation under control and that they feel confident they can deal with the pope's health troubles at the Vatican with the sophisticated equipment they have there.
Or, on the other side, the condition of the pope is so serious that at this point it would be too precarious or too problematic, if you want, to have him transferred from the Vatican all the way to Gemelli Hospital -- Aaron.
BROWN: Alessio, we'll check with you again. Coming up at the top of the hour at 11:00 Eastern time tonight, a special edition of NEWSNIGHT will look at the condition of the pope. The last couple of months have been very difficult for John Paul. We'll look at his papacy as well. That's 11:00 Eastern time.
Larry, continue on. It's been a fascinating couple of hours to this point.
KING: Thanks, Aaron, and we'll check back with you in a half hour as well for another update.
I want to check in with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He hasn't been with us as yet. Dr. Gupta, our CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, break for me what an autopsy will and will not show. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, one thing it's not going to answer for sure, and I think it's an important point, it's not going to be able to tell for sure whether or not she was in a persistent vegetative state.
It's going to give us exponentially more information. You know it's really interesting, Larry. Scientifically, you can look at areas of the brain. You know what those areas of the brain do and you can find out if parts of those brain had actually died and that's going to give you a good sense of what her function really was.
But still, you know, the persistent vegetative state is much more of a clinical diagnosis. It's much more, you know, you really have to look at the person and, as you know, Larry, there was a lot of controversy over that neurologist disagreeing on her diagnosis, which is not uncommon as you've heard tonight.
KING: Father Frank Pavone is back with us in Pinellas Park. Brian Schiavo was here earlier and he really laced into you, Father. I know you heard it, so I want to give you the chance to respond.
PAVONE: Well, Brian wasn't there this morning when the police officer took Bobby and me out of the room. I was there and it was very clear Bobby did not cause an uproar. There was not a confrontation.
Bobby was simply emotionally upset as any of us would be that he saw his sister just about dying and wanted to make sure he could be in the room. He was told in no uncertain terms that Michael said "You may not be in the room when I'm in the room."
The other thing that I dispute is the description of Terri's death as peaceful and dignified. Terri was panting, very, very rapid and shallow breathing. Her face looked terrified, Larry. I stared at it for an hour and a half. Terri's eyes were sunken. Her face was gaunt and dry. This was a horrifying starvation. Let's pray that it never happens again.
Larry, I just want to thank you for the careful and considerate coverage that you've given to this whole event and everything that you've done for this. This is going to help America because we have to wrestle with the question how are we going to treat the disabled like Terri in the future?
KING: Thank you, Father.
Dr. Arthur Caplan is in Philadelphia. He's professor of bioethics and chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, been with us before. He supported Michael Schiavo's position. After listening to this tonight and both sides and everything does it give you some pause, Dr. Caplan? Do you think that maybe possibly a mistake was made?
DR. ARTHUR CAPLAN, PH.D., CHMN. DEPT. MED. ETHICS, U. PENN: No, I don't and I'll tell you why. I think, Larry, you looked at the due process that was accorded this case. People said "Take it into the federal courts. We're not convinced that seven years of Florida trials were enough." They went at it. They looked at everything. They said, "No, it's been done fairly and rightly by those Florida courts."
So, I know there are all kinds of allegations flying back and forth. There's this terrible tragedy of how the death happened. I don't think Terri, if she could speak to us, would say, you know, "Have my family members fighting at my bedside. Have me on national television while I spend my final moments dying."
But, I am convinced that this case was handled as fairly as we can do it. Are there doubts? Would it be better if she had written down her wishes? Would it be better if we had that living will?
Absolutely but in lieu of that, if you ask people generally would you want to be like Terri? Is that the situation you would want to be in for 17 years with that amount of brain damage? Most people are going to say no to that and I think that's erring in the right direction.
KING: David Gibbs, are any civil suits planned at all?
GIBBS: Larry, at this point the family is grieving. There are no civil suits planned at this time. Obviously, they want to come to grips with what's happened. We have a mom and dad that have gone through just a shocking amount of tragedy.
And, as we look at this situation, Larry, we still need to remember while in this case there was no written documentation, there is the very troubling question that our law has always been designed to err on the side of life.
And, in this case, with just hearsay evidence instead of erring on the side of life, we erred on the side of starvation and there is some tragedy in all of that. A lot of it has focused on Terri's physical condition down here.
But the family now that Terri has stepped into eternity has decided to take the spiritual focus and to look indeed at the eternal implications. Why did God let this happen? What is the will? What is the legacy now? And, what can we as a family do? What can the legal team do to make sure that this never happens again, an innocent woman starved to death?
KING: Champagne, Illinois, let's take a call, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Thank you, Larry, for taking my call.
CALLER: My question is I would like to know if David Gibbs is being paid to represent the Schindler family. You hear all the time about Terri being murdered and, you know, that it was a painful death. She was starved to death. I do not believe that. It's unfortunate what had happened but I do support Michael's decision. KING: Caller, if he were paid, aren't attorneys supposed to be paid?
CALLER: Yes, they are but, you know, it seems to me like him and the priest are just plugging for publicity and they didn't really care about this girl.
KING: David, you didn't know Terri, right?
GIBBS: I have got to know Terri through this case, Larry. I'm one of the few people that because of being legal counsel that can go in and see her. I've watched her laugh. I've watched her cry. I've watched her respond with her parents. I've watched her desperately try to talk.
And, while certainly I don't know her like her family, who has known her all these years, I feel in a measure that I got to know Terri and indeed I miss her and I am so saddened that what happened today happened.
It has been a pleasure for the legal team to represent the Schindler family because what we believe is what they were standing for is exactly what the Founding Fathers of our nation stood for, the right to life and for the government to protect and err on the side of life.
KING: Thank you, David. And thank you others.
We'll take a break and be back with lots more and more of your phone calls too. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITADAMO: We have a message for the supporters and for people praying worldwide. Please continue to pray that God gives grace to our family as we go through this very difficult time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FELOS: It was a very quiet death. It was a very peaceful death. There was just a palpable feeling of love and calm in the air. You could not have wished for a death with greater dignity and peace than this for Mrs. Schiavo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was George Felos about two hours ago at the beginning of this special coverage presentation.
Joining us now in Washington, Representative Robert Wexler, Democrat of Florida, who opposed legislation for the House intervening. In Dallas, is Bishop T. D. Jakes, the founding pastor of The Potter's House, "New York Times" best-selling author.
In Philadelphia remaining with us is Dr. Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. And, here in Los Angeles, is Dennis Prager, host of his own nationally-syndicated radio show, the author of numerous best-selling books.
We'll start with Dennis. You're a philosopher of major sorts. What do you make of this?
DENNIS PRAGER, RADIO HOST: I will take a position nobody will be terribly pleased with. I think that there are so many competing goods here that if we could step back from the passion, and I understand the passion and, in fact, I have some admiration for the passion, it's a good society that makes a big deal about a woman dying.
All right, let's begin with that. It's a good society. It's a good society that cares about the laws. That's from one standpoint. And, it's a good society that cares about a woman dying. But there really are competing goods, the good of...
KING: Good meaning good.
PRAGER: Good, as in good. The good of liberty, do I have the right to say what will happen to me under certain conditions? That's one competing good. The other one is sanctity of life. And they are in competition.
The right has to be honest about this. The left has to be honest about this. Because if we say sanctity of life alone, then even if I say I don't want to live under those circumstances, you can say, who are you Dennis to determine...
KING: And the right and left have crossed here. We have Jesse Jackson supporting the right.
PRAGER: That's correct. Individually that's exactly right. And a lot of people, a lot of conservatives are not thrilled with government intervention, exactly.
KING: Bishop Jakes, what are your thoughts?
BISHOP T.D. JAKES, FOUNDING PASTOR, THE POTTER'S HOUSE, DALLAS, TX: Well, you know, I think when it comes to life and death issues, as a pastor we confront that all the time and we like to live in a society where everything is absolute, black or white, right or wrong.
But, in reality when we come to dealing with life and death issues, it's a very complicated process. Our faith plays into it, our culture, our background and there are no easy solutions, particularly when the case is played out in such a broad and public forum.
KING: Congressman Wexler, why were you opposed to Congress getting involved?
REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D), FLORIDA: Well, for all the reasons that the two previous gentlemen mentioned. This is a heart-wrenching case and the proper venue in our society to determine the facts are the courts, in this case the state courts.
The state courts took testimony. The state courts heard witnesses. The state courts heard from the neurosurgeons and the neurologists. The Congress heard none of this.
Our history for over 200 years respects an independent judiciary. When the Congress sought to substitute its judgment at the eleventh hour that's when I, like I think most Americans said, that's enough. Congress doesn't belong in this position. The arbiter of the facts are the courts.
KING: Dr. Caplan, there's a little bit of Solomon involved here, isn't there? This is like Shakespearian.
CAPLAN: It does have elements of that, Larry, and I think Dennis was right when he said there's a clash of goods. You know, I come down on the side of liberty here. I believe that people do have the right, the Jehovah's Witness to say no to blood, the Christian Scientist to say I don't want any medical treatment.
Occasionally an ornery old guy shows up at our hospital and says, "Don't amputate my leg." I defend that right and even those who become unconscious and can't communicate they have it too.
But there is a respect for life. There is an idea certainly in our culture and our law and in medicine that you have to fight as hard as you can to fend off death. When you really get down to it, I think that each person's values have to be respected on this.
And so, where I end up with Terri Schiavo is the evidence seemed to be she wouldn't want to be in the state that she was kept in. Others may. Others may not. As far as we know, the last thing she told people before she had her terrible accident was "Don't keep me this way."
And I think our society has to respect that in the end. It is life. It is liberty. It is pursuit of happiness. When pursuit of happiness is gone, I think liberty has to be taken into account as much as life.
KING: Could you pull a plug?
PRAGER: What if we didn't know? See, I don't really think we do know what she would have said. Who in their 20s announces seriously what will happen if...
CAPLAN: Dennis, I can answer -- Dennis, I can answer that for you. I had a class last night of 200 undergraduates at Penn and I asked them. How many of you would want to be this way? And the answer was none. I mean they didn't get into arguments about PVS or near...
PRAGER: Right. Correct. And I wouldn't want to be that way either but that doesn't mean that we know because it is, as you said, it's a values issue. Do you know her values? I don't know. I don't know her values. It's based on values. CAPLAN: True enough but if -- if we're going to err, I think we could err on the side of thinking that most people are going to say 17 years no recovery. Leave me like this.
PRAGER: That's a very fair statement. It truly is. So is it fair to say if we're going to err, we better err on the side of protecting life because she's not the only issue.
KING: Someone said before that Congress ordered the courts to re-look at this whole thing from the beginning. Did you do that?
WEXLER: No. What the Congress ordered was that because Congress disagreed with the decisions of the Florida state courts, even though due process was had, even though ad nauseum re-hearings were had, Congress said because we disagree with the ruling of the Florida courts we were going to strip the state court of jurisdiction and give it to the federal court.
If the Florida courts had found in favor of Mrs. Schiavo's parents, Congress would not have passed a law that said disagree, take away jurisdiction from the Florida courts and bring it to the federal courts.
And, Dr. Prager, with all due respect, we don't ever know for sure what findings are made in the court. That's why we have a court system. We create a standard of proof, in this case clear and convincing evidence and the court found that in this case there was clear and convincing evidence that Mrs. Schiavo's wishes were that she not persist in a vegetative state.
PRAGER: That was the original court and Congress said you know what, since all the other courts never went back to the original question, all they did was measure procedure, let's go back one more time to the original question because a human life is at stake.
I understand being upset that Congress got involved. As a conservative, I don't like Congress getting involved in these things. But, on the other hand, it is a human life. That's why I say it's competing goods.
KING: There's a lot of on the other hands.
KING: Lake Charles, Louisiana, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
CALLER: Here's my question. Why didn't the courts ever take into consideration the fact that Michael Schiavo broke his marital contract by committing adultery. Thank you.
KING: Bishop Jakes, do you regard Michael Schiavo less a person because he was involved with another woman? JAKES: I don't think that he's less a person but I do think that it does bring into question his judgment in the issue and I think that we cannot look at his judgment in and apart of his relationships to his wife and that relationship has been violated by his conduct at this point.
And I think it's very, very important that we understand that it's very important that we consider her family as well, especially given the fact that his relationship with his wife is no longer as credible as it would have been in another situation.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with more with this outstanding group on this very special coverage night here on CNN. Don't go away.
KING: Before I answer a question that Dennis Prager asked me during the break, which I've said before so I will answer it, but I want to get Jeff Greenfield's thoughts on this great philosophical discussion we've been having. Do you agree that they're all goods?
GREENFIELD: Well, the way Dennis Prager puts it, sure. How can you not say that life is good and liberty is good. I think this is also a case, if there's any good that has come out of this and there's a lot of bad that's come out of this, ill feelings.
I mean people are surrounding a dying woman and talking about the ill motives of everybody, is that there are going to be or have been a million conversations around a million kitchen tables where people are saying, OK, asking their spouses, asking loved ones, we better face this. There are no loopholes here. Sooner or later we all wind up, you know, nobody gets out of this alive. What do you want?
The other thing I think is the degree to which people because this is so emotional and it's bound up with people's deepest values, whether it's religious or their sense of who they are, they bring to this controversy so much philosophical and emotional weight. I wouldn't call it baggage but weight, that they sometimes impose on it their own certainties about what this case must involve.
And I think it would be a really neat thing when all of this now fades is we just take a deep breath, let this emotion recede and start thinking clearly about what we would want in our own lives and not lay this on this one poor woman who had a tragedy in her life in her 20s and is now dead.
KING: Well said. Dennis Prager asked me what I would do and I said, as I said the other night, if I'm not in pain, ascertain I'm not in pain, I want to be kept alive. I want the hope that I'll come back.
PRAGER: Right and that's my response to Professor Caplan, who asked his students, I assume most of them are in their 20s and 30s, what would they want and almost all of them said they'd rather be dead.
As one gets older life becomes more precious and so if you ask people your age, my age, it becomes much less certain. Hey, I'd rather be dead. Pain, none of us wants to experience horrific pain.
KING: Do you agree Dr. Caplan that people change?
CAPLAN: I was going to say you can ask me. I would not want to be in Terri Schiavo's state if I couldn't be conscious. If I was only at best minimally aware, I'd say no.
What I would argue is this though. I'm going to come back to it again. I'll pitch it to Dennis as a matter of conservatism if you will. Respect for individual choice, when in doubt, when there's uncertainty, Congressman Wexler pointed this out, we're never completely certain.
So, I think when the goods clash you've got to lean on the side of trying to do what you think the person would have wanted and that's what the courts tried to do in this case.
PRAGER: Well, that's the difference. When you really don't know, you lean on the side of life. That's what I would say.
WEXLER: Yes, Jeff Greenfield brought out an interesting point that millions of Americans hopefully are having that conversation with their spouse or their loved ones.
But what we learn from the congressional action I that those conversations are not good enough. Congress may seek to overturn any individual's conclusions that a court has found to be in fact what they said at the family table.
So, those millions of conversations in order to be effective must be reduced to writing and that goes to the essence of this case. Why did Congress step in when a conversation was had? Why did Congress disrespect that conversation?
PRAGER: Does it bother Congressman Wexler when judges overturn the will of people on the issue of same-sex marriage? Are you as troubled when the will of the people is utterly ignored, like in San Francisco or Massachusetts?
WEXLER: Well, with all due respect to Dr. Prager, and I respect him enormously, the will of the people is not a factor in judicial rulings. The law is the only factor. The will of the people determines the role in Congress. It affects the president but we have an independent judiciary.
KING: Guys. We're out of time. I'd like to take these four guests, have them all come back one night and get into it and Jeff Greenfield included and really get into a major discussion on a topic that's been very illuminating.
We still have a half hour to go on this special coverage. We thank you all very much and we'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. SCHIAVO: I made a promise to her like she did with me. I love my wife. She will always be a part of my life. She will always be in my heart. There's no happy ending. When Terri's wishes are carried out, it will be her wish. She'll be at peace. She'll be with the Lord.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Before we check in with Paula Zahn and her discussion with Michael Schiavo's other brother -- Brian was on with us earlier -- let's go to New York, Aaron Brown, and an update on the situation in the Vatican -- Aaron.
BROWN: Larry, thank you.
For those of you who may just be joining us, the pope took ill, quite ill this afternoon, late this afternoon, a urinary tract infection, high fever, low blood pressure. The news has been a little better as we have gone through the night.
Delia Gallagher is in Rome.
Do you expect that we will hear directly from the pope's doctors sometime today?
GALLAGHER: Aaron, I don't know that we will hear from the pope's doctors. The situation has been since his first visit to the hospital that we have not been able to have information directly from his doctors, other than small bits of information.
It's all come through the pope's spokesperson, as indeed it did last night, that the pope is responding well to the treatment for the urinary tract infection. So, I suspect that, within the next few hours, it's early morning here, in the next few hours, we will be having some official word, but more likely from the Vatican spokesman, rather than the doctors treating him.
BROWN: Delia, thank you. Thanks for your help tonight, Delia Gallagher in Rome.
Coming up in half an hour, a special edition of "NEWSNIGHT." We'll update the condition of the pope, talk in more detail about what it is that got to him today, the infection that got to him today and the series of infections he's been fighting over the last couple months and also look at the papacy, which is 25 years long -- Larry.
KING: Thanks, Aaron. We look forward to that. That's just 28 minutes away at the top of the hour, a special edition of "NEWSNIGHT."
Speaking of people special, let's go to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and our final report from Paula Zahn -- Paula. ZAHN: Thanks so much, Larry.
Bucks County, of course, where Terri Schiavo grew up, as well as, we should say, Terri Schiavo and Michael Schiavo. We have been talking with Terri's friends tonight and those who have been close to her family for years.
Now someone who knows what Michael Schiavo is going through. And, earlier today, I had a chance to talk with his brother, Scott Schiavo, who says his brother is getting a raw deal.
ZAHN: Your brother Michael has had a long time to prepare for Terri's death. How is he holding up?
SCOTT SCHIAVO, BROTHER OF MICHAEL SCHIAVO: Right now, he's physically drained, mentally drained, emotionally drained.
But I think he has a peace of mind right now that Terri's relaxed and she's in heaven. And she's -- you know, she's got all her dignity back. And she's smiling. And that's important to him.
ZAHN: How has Michael described the last minutes of her life?
SCHIAVO: Very peaceful. She was very peaceful and actually she died in his arms. You know, he held her in his arms and -- while she took her last breaths.
ZAHN: Scott, why do you think your brother Michael has been so demonized in all of this?
SCHIAVO: He's been demonized because the most demon aspect of life and that's money.
This is -- you know, Bob Schindler told Mike that he was going to make his life a living hell because he got no money from the malpractice suit. And he has done that.
ZAHN: Your brother has been accused of being the greedy one, not the Schindlers.
SCHIAVO: I don't see how he could be the greedy one. I mean, he's done everything. I mean, 15 years, 15 years Terri's laid there and she's never had a bed sore. I mean -- and this is, you know, from the care that Mike has provided.
ZAHN: How much does it trouble you that your brother is so misunderstood and that his motives are so misunderstood?
SCHIAVO: It troubles me a lot. It's just -- he's a good guy. You know, if you would have seen Terri and him together, you would have never -- you know, if somebody would have said that, you would have said no way. No way that he would do that to her. I mean, she was his angel. He just -- I mean, the two of them, when you would see them together, they would just glow, the two of them. You know, the day they got married was -- I had never seen Mike smile that much in his life.
ZAHN: And you still have some affection for Mrs. Schindler. Can there ever be any peace between your two families?
SCHIAVO: You know, the -- I think if the Schindlers apologize to him, there could be. You know, and I've said this before. I've said it 100 times. My heart still goes out to them. My heart -- I mean, I sat here the other night and watched Mary Schindler, and it just ripped me apart.
ZAHN: What has been the hardest part of all of this for you?
SCHIAVO: The hardest part of this has been watching Terri's dignity just get ripped out of her, because she would have been totally ripped up, just heartbroken if she would have seen all of these pictures of her.
She was a very proud person. When she went out in public, she liked to look nice. And she was -- her appearance was everything to her. And if she would have seen these pictures and the videos, she would have been crushed. And it's -- that kills me.
ZAHN: What do you think Terri's legacy is?
SCHIAVO: Terri's legacy would be an infectious smile. Terri's her own legacy, if you knew Terri.
ZAHN: And that was Michael Schiavo's brother Scott on the death of Terri Schiavo.
And, as you could tell, Larry, in your interview with Michael's other brother, Brian, there's a tremendous amount of hurt and wreckage left on both sides. This is tragic all the way around.
KING: And it's not going away.
Thanks, Paula. Great work.
ZAHN: You're welcome. Thanks, Larry.
KING: We invited Michael Schiavo to appear tonight, of course, and he, of course, is staying away from any media attention and living with what happened today.
We welcome now Kate Adamson. She returns to Larry KING LIVE. In 1995, at age 33, she suffered a devastating double stroke. It left her paralyzed. She not only survived. She made what has been described as a miraculous recovery. Her husband was with us earlier. She is the author of "Kate's Journey: Triumph Over Adversity." She's an advocate for patients' rights and the rights for the disabled. In Saint Louis is Pete Busalacchi. His 17-year-old daughter, Christine, suffered severe brain trauma after an automobile accident in 1987. He initially authorized the insertion of a feeding tube, subsequently waged and prevailed in a long legal battle to have the tube taken out.
Then Governor of Missouri John Ashcroft intervened to prevent the removal. Christine died in March of 1993, finally, after the removal of the tube. His lawyer was with us earlier.
Kate, how do you feel tonight?
KATE ADAMSON, AUTHOR, "KATE'S JOURNEY": Well, very sad, because I think it's a tragedy that we've lost Terri. I'm so glad that I didn't have my feeding tube removed, because, you know, I'm here.
And, Pete, I sympathize with you. I know in your heart of hearts, you did everything that you could. I mean, I receive so many e-mails, Larry, from family members that have to go through this. I certainly don't judge anyone.
Pete, was it very hard to do?
PETE BUSALACCHI, FATHER OF BRAIN-DAMAGED DAUGHTER: It was a difficult decision, without a doubt.
But I was lucky. I surrounded myself with the best medical people here in Saint Louis. I had great religious people, like Father Kevin O'Rourke, with me, and lots of friends and support from them.
But to pull a feeding tube is difficult. But I really looked at my daughter and I said, if that were me, would I want that for me? And so, I didn't want it for me and I certainly didn't want it for my daughter to stay in a condition like that.
KING: What created the controversy? There was no, like, Schindler family on the other side, right? What created the controversy?
BUSALACCHI: Well, Chrissy (ph) was in the same hospital with Nancy Cruzan back in -- started in 1988 until 1989. Nancy Cruzan died on December the 14th. Or, no, the tube was pulled on the 14th of December. She died on December the 26th.
I was going to remove my daughter from the state of Missouri, but I was stopped at the hospital by six state patrolmen and the director of the hospital. They wouldn't let me take my daughter out of Missouri.
KING: And that started it?
BUSALACCHI: That started it. The director of the hospital was appointed the guardian ad litem for 10 days. Then we went to the Saint Louis County probate court, who dismissed the guardian, allowed me to make the decision. I again went to the hospital to take my daughter to Minneapolis and I was stopped again. And...
KING: Where was the tube finally removed, in Missouri?
BUSALACCHI: It was removed in Missouri at Barnes Hospital on February 24 of 1993.
KING: And how long did she live?
BUSALACCHI: Ten and a half days. And I was with her, Larry, through those 10 1/2 days. Her condition, her expressions were peaceful.
In fact, during Nancy Cruzan's death, Joe Cruzan called me on two different occasions during the 11 1/2 days and told me how peaceful Nancy was, because he knew that I would have to go through the same situation later on. Chrissy wasn't writhing in pain. And when I hear these reports from these people, just I cringe like, well, maybe it was different from Chrissy.
KING: All right, Kate, what do you make of all of the acrimony of this? This is a life here.
ADAMSON: It is life.
KING: The bitterness and the -- look at what we've heard tonight.
ADAMSON: Yes, and you're stretched in every direction. You hear different opinions.
Larry, I'm living proof that miracles can happen.
KING: Of course.
ADAMSON: You're looking at somebody who's still paralyzed on her left side. This morning, I was at therapy at my local college with a room full of disabled people who needed help. You know, we don't quit living. We may be disabled, but I don't quit. I'm always searching for places where I can get therapy.
You know, this is a huge problem, because, at 33, I certainly wasn't thinking about death. And I wouldn't want to be in this situation. But, when you're actually in it, you're fighting for your life and I fought hard.
KING: Do you agree, though, that the courts are the final -- what else do we have, but the -- there's -- the Supreme Court is the court of last resort.
ADAMSON: Yes, but...
KING: Somebody's got to make a decision.
ADAMSON: But what if? What if? How can we assume...
(CROSSTALK) KING: Well, they could all say what if. They would never pull any plug.
ADAMSON: ... just because someone's unresponsive, they're not in there?
KING: Then you never pull any plug.
KING: By your standard.
I'll pick up with you in a minute, Pete. I've got to take a break.
We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
KING: Before we get back with our guests, we'll be joined, by the way, by Jeanne Phillips, the national syndicated advice columnist. You know her as Dear Abby. Her mother is Pauline Phillips, the founder of Dear Abby. And we'll talk about living wills and medical proxies. It hits home with her.
I want to go back to David Gibbs, though, to respond to what Scott Schiavo had to say.
David, what did you make of what he said?
GIBBS: Well, Larry, I think the question that everybody wants to understand and nobody really does is, with loving parents wanting to take care of Terri, why wouldn't Michael walk away? And we've heard his reasons and we've heard what he had to say, but I don't think it rings true in the heart of parents.
I think every parent tonight, as they look at what Bob and Mary Schindler have undergone, they're going to hug their children a little tighter and they're going to remember that what the Bible says is true. Our life on this earth is but a vapor. And I think there's going to be a lot of eternal questions asked, as people really debate what happens after you die and what decisions should be made with family to care and love for each other down here.
KING: David, is there any foundation being set up for Terri?
GIBBS: Yes. The family runs a foundation that's called the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation. And it's a private foundation. It's at TerrisFight.org.
And what the family is going to do is pay a large amount of bills and things that they have had to incur in fighting for the life of their daughter. But what Bob said to me is, he would like to dedicate whatever is left in that or whatever people would like to donate to that to making sure that the disabled, whether they're young or old, is protected in this country. We're hoping that one of the legacies of Terri's life is that laws would be changed on a national level, on a state level. We just believe it's wrong, Larry, for this innocent, disabled woman to have been starved to death.
KING: So, you can communicate through TerrisFight.org?
GIBBS: Yes, TerrisFight.org is the official Web site.
GIBBS: If people would like to communicate with my clients Bob and Mary Schindler.
KING: Thank you very much, David. Thanks for your cooperation all night.
Jeanne Phillips, what do you think of this whole thing? Your mother is what?
JEANNE PHILLIPS, "DEAR ABBY": My mother is ill with Alzheimer's disease.
I just -- you know something? My deepest sympathy goes to the Schindler and the Schiavo families at this terrible time. It has to have been excruciating for every one of them. And to me, what this proves is how important it is for people to put their wishes in writing before the fact.
KING: Your mother have any wishes?
PHILLIPS: Yes, she did. And she had said so in the column for many years, since 1973.
KING: Which is?
ADAMSON: She said that, if she would ever reach the point where she was not able to be cured or should lose her reason, that she did not want extraordinary means to keep her alive.
KING: So, if something -- if her Alzheimer's continued down this path, you would not use extraordinary...
ADAMSON: That would be her wishes.
KING: Pete, do you ever during that period when you pull the plug have doubt?
BUSALACCHI: I had no doubts whatsoever, because I had good people supporting me.
But, Larry, the hardest thing to do was to leave Chrissy's room, because I wanted her to get up and leave with me. So, sometimes I imagined if I was laying there and my daughter Jill (ph) and Ryan (ph) came in to see me with my new grandson, and they would say, grandpa, get up. We want you to come home. And then I would see the tear in their eyes. I would think, I wouldn't want that for them. I don't want them to suffer. Get me out of here.
KING: How do you react to that, Kate?
ADAMSON: Well, you're talking to somebody who, if I had my feeding tube removed, Larry, I wouldn't be here having this conversation with you. I was on life support.
KING: So, obviously, both of you are right. I mean, Pete is not wrong, is he?
ADAMSON: You know, Pete did what he felt he should do in his situation. I think every case -- no case is the same.
Terri's condition is not the same as anyone else's condition. I'm very, very blessed to have had the opportunity to go into rehab and have people work with me.
KING: I've got to take a break.
Is there a right or wrong here, Jeanne?
PHILLIPS: No, there isn't.
KING: There's no winners?
PHILLIPS: Certainly, everybody's a loser in this case.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments on this special coverage, "Life and Death: America Speaks Out."
Back with our three guests right after this.
KING: Let's take a call.
Transfer, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. I think you're super.
KING: Yes. Thank you.
Anyhow, now, people can still have a feeding tube and have the water and they can still die. But why did they have to hasten it by taking her feeding tube and her water away?
KING: Dr. Gupta?
GUPTA: Well, some consider the feeding tube a form of support, life support in a way, in that she could not sustain her calories on her own. This was a decision made. It's a decision made every day in this country. There's 10,000 to 25,000 people in a persistent vegetative state that they have made this decision for.
It's, you know, it's a good question, actually, but this is something that's done every day, Larry.
KING: Anderson Cooper, what's this been like for you as a reporter? I guess you're heading back to New York tomorrow.
COOPER: You know, it's just been a long, sad journey, I think, for everyone involved in this case, and to have it end like this, with such acrimony in some hearts of some people, both the protesters out here and also members of various families.
You know, in a Hollywood movie if this was a Hollywood movie, in the end, both sides would come together. Sadly, life is not that simple. And these families remain divided. And I keep thinking about these two families grieving in their hearts tonight in separate homes when, really, you know, it would be nice if they could all be together, you know, sharing their grief. That is simply not happening.
KING: Sad. Well, said, Anderson. Great work.
Vancouver, British Columbia, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi, Larry.
CALLER: And, quickly, because I know you're almost out of time, I would just, first of all, really like to, as a disabled woman of 48 years old with a DNR in place and one that clearly specifies I do not require support from a feeding tube or any other tube, in that order, I do respect you, Kate, for your miracle.
And I'm glad God gave it to you. I think it's a bit presumptuous for you to assume others. I would like to get a biblical clarification, if I might, from you, since you're the only one left there from the religious aspect. My understanding of the Bible, first of all, is that God created man and woman to cleave to their spouse, not to their family. It's my understanding that Jesus Christ denounced divorce under any means, in fact, in the New Testament. It's further my understanding that God lays out that God said love is unselfish.
KING: Ma'am, because of time, what is your question?
CALLER: I would like to know why it is that you cannot admit or do not see Michael Schiavo carrying fully his commitment to his wife?
KING: What did he have to gain by this? So, why look at any motive, except that that's what she told him and he granted her wish?
ADAMSON: Well, that's what he assumed she had said.
KING: Well, assumed. How do you know?
ADAMSON: How do you know?
KING: I don't know. Courts decided it. I wasn't there. You weren't there.
ADAMSON: Right. Right.
I know that -- well, I'm glad my husband yelled and screamed and got me into rehab. Otherwise, I would have been in a skilled nursing facility, where I would have had no rehab.
KING: But you don't know that he assumed it?
KING: The courts believed him.
ADAMSON: Right. Exactly. And we don't know what Terri wanted. We will never know now what Terri wanted.
KING: Do you agree that the spouse is the determiner?
ADAMSON: Well, he had moved on with his life. I mean, I'm glad I had a guardian who was going to fight for me, because I was a patient, Larry, lying there unable to say what I wanted.
KING: Pete, are you saying that Kate's case was just different? Pete?
BUSALACCHI: I just want to make the assertion that I was the one that authorized the insertion of the feeding tube. When I did that, when I signed that document, I didn't believe that I was forfeiting the right to remove the feeding tube. And I'm pretty sure probably Michael Schiavo signed the same authorization to insert the feeding tube.
KING: Jeanne, be a Solomon here.
KING: What do you do? Well, you're Dear Abby.
KING: What do you do about this acrimony? It seems insoluble.
PHILLIPS: It is insoluble right now. What do you do when you're 21 years old? You face up to the fact that you're now an adult and you get a living will.
You talk to somebody about putting your wishes in writing. Like any legal document, what you do is, you review it every few years to see if you still feel the same way and hope that nothing happens to you in between. You know, I'm over 32. It was hard for me to make that decision, but I did it like a grownup. I put my wishes in writing. My husband did, too.
KING: Do you have your wishes in writing, Kate?
ADAMSON: Oh, you're asking me right in the -- you know, I don't right now.
But I've got to say, at 33, I didn't imagine myself getting sick. And, Larry, we've got a lot of young people out there looking at this and thinking, gee, I wouldn't want to be in that position. You have got a tremendous amount of Americans who don't even have health insurance.
KING: That's sad.
ADAMSON: No. 1, if I didn't have health insurance, I wouldn't have been treated. No. 2, thanks goodness I didn't have health insurance.
KING: That's a pox on everyone.
ADAMSON: But let me also say, too, with anything catastrophic like what I went through, 20 years ago I would have been nine months in the hospital recovering. Now you're lucky to even get six weeks.
KING: Do you have a living will, Pete?
BUSALACCHI: Oh, I sure do. And so does my daughter Jill and her husband.
KING: And it says what?
BUSALACCHI: It says, if I ever get to that point, I don't want to stay with a feeding tube. That's ridiculous. I don't want to have a ventilator or a respirator, as you call it. That's just not -- Larry, just you don't have any quality of life.
You know, the good doctors that examined my daughter would always ask me, what did she like to do? I would say, well, she likes to drive her car fast. She likes to go shopping. She likes to party. The only other doctors that examined her, a couple of state expert witnesses, never asked, what was Chrissy like? What did she like to do? But the doctors on my side usually said, what was she like?
Thanks very much, Peter.
KING: Thanks for joining us, Pete Busalacchi.
And, Kate Adamson, thank you very much.
ADAMSON: Thank you.
KING: You've all been noble throughout this. And, Jeanne Phillips, thanks very much for your thoughts.
How's your mother doing?
PHILLIPS: Not terrific.
KING: You might have to pull a plug some day?
PHILLIPS: I want have to, thank God. I don't have her power of attorney for health care. That's in my father's hands.
KING: Thank you very much. Thank you all very much.
And thank you for watching all or most of these past three hours. Our special coverage, "Life and Death: America Speaks Out." And the family remains divided.
And now we'll turn our attention to the Vatican. He's been doing it nobly all evening. Aaron Brown stands by. He will host a special edition of "NEWSNIGHT" from New York.
Mr. Brown, quite a night, quite a day.
BROWN: Quite a couple of weeks, in fact. Thank you very much for your good work tonight.
KING: Thanks, Aaron.
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