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Terri Schiavo Case: Perception of the Majority?

March 31, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Karen shares some interesting dialogue with one of her closest coworkers concerning Terri’s case. Her coworker takes Michael Schiavo’s pro-death position. I hear the same thing from some of my closest colleagues as well. Are we wrong to feel extremely nervous about the possible implications of the Terri Schiavo case?

I don’t really understand people & their perception of Terri’s health condition .
Even people that we think would be on our side are not! Jane (name changed to protect the guilty) is one of those people.
A little while ago, she came into this office on her lunch break & was giving Dougie some ice & saying hello. I had asked her if she had heard the news? She said, “about that Lady”? I said, “yes, about Terri”. I then said, “Its really sad! But if they had reconnected the tube a week ago, she would have been okay. Darrell & I feel that it is best that she passed away because she would have been in too much pain.. but she could have had a chance if they did something a week ago…”
She replied, well, something to the effect that Terri didnot have much functioning & was not really capable of having a full life & wasn’t cohearent….
Of course, I am paraphrasing….
I am really disappointed in her! am I wrong, does it seem the majority of people are on Michael’s side!…. That, is really scary!
Are more people whom are disabled on our side? Isn’t that interesting! Wonder what the stats are!
This whole thing is a disgrace to our country, says a lot about our country — & its not very good!
I feel really bad sad & totally disgusted! I felt like crying but couldn’t!…..

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Day of Mourning: Terri Schiavo Passes Away

March 31, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Today, Karen and I join Terri’s parents, brother, sister and all of her supporters around the world in mourning her passing. We are all saddened by the way in which this event came about, but are glad Terri is now in a better place. Terri, we are very, very sorry that the United States of America has let you down in the absolute worse possible way! There are numerous potential implications for those of us with disabilities. We don’t feel it is appropriate to cover these legal, moral and political issues on this day of mourning. Please stay tuned for additional coverage of this and many other relevant topics.

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March 25, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

According to a forensic pathologist on Sean Hanady’s radio show this afternoon, potassium is administered to death row criminals who are being executed by means of lethal injection. The purpose of the potassium overdose is to stop the beating of the heart. As Terri’s dehydration proceeds, potassium levels in her body are rising. If she doesn’t die first of another complication, the elevated levels of this substance will stop her heart, too. Surely, Terri does not deserve to die in such a slow, suffering, undignified manner that is much worse than the ways in which we execute our most hardened killers!

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Dr. Laura’s Powerful Plea to Save Terri!

March 25, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I agree with Dr. Laura only about 60 percent of the time. I feel that she tends to approach most issues with extreme harshness and inflexibility, without sufficient empathy toward those whom ask for her advice.

When it comes to Terri Schiavo, I must say that Dr. Laura is right on in her pleas for Michael Schiavo to do the right thing, to get a divorce and let custody of Terri fall to her parents so that the feeding tube may be reinserted and her life saved. You can read and listen to Dr. Laura’s recent powerful statements. Regardless of your philosophical differences with Dr. Laura, you have to admit that she does deeply care about what happens to people!

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Karen’s Plea to Florida Governor Bush to Act Now to Save Terri!

March 25, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

March 25, 2005

Dear Governor Bush,

I am a 41 year old disabled woman who would like to express my concerns
regarding the Terri Schiavo case.

Like many disabled people, I was misdiagnosed by my Doctors at birth. In 1964 I had congenital toxoplasmosis. This is a parasitic infectious disease. Cats are the main carriers. When pregnant women come into contact with cat litter or eat raw meat, they can be affected by the parasite, ultimately transmitting the disease to their unborn children. This is what happened to me. Any newborn with this disease is likely to have multiple disabilities. They include blindness, deafness, mental retardation,
and problems with motor development. I was two months premature and had pneumonia at only five days of age. The doctors
were uncertain of my prognosis and told my parents that I would not be
capable of much, would be an ill child and would be lucky if I could graduate
High school.

Despite the fact that I had some brain damage, lacked motor ability and was almost totally blind, my Parents did everything they could to help improve the quality of my life. They wanted the best for me and got me treatment at a prestigious Center
that treats children and adults with Brain injuries. They had heard about two
Doctors Glen Domen and Karral Delgado who were performing patterning on me and
others whom have similar problems. Patterning is a method of training
the healthy cells to compensate for the damaged areas of the brain that no longer perform the tasks and functions they are supposed to fulfill. This process can and usually will take years if the person is to recover and
increase their ability to perform basic tasks and later graduate to more advanced functioning. This was exactly the case with me. I was on this patterning program for at
least 5 years until I began kindergarten.

If it was not for my Parents and those Doctors at the Institute of the
Achievement of Human Potential, I would not be who I am today. I have met
other people that have the same condition as I, and some of them are not as
fortunate. They have multiple disabilities: learning disabilities and
motor development problems. I believe, if my Parents listened to some of those Doctors 40 years ago, I
would not be the successful person I am today. Although I am totally blind, I do not have any other severe disabilities. In
fact, I have graduated from College with a BA in Psychology and I am presently
employed. I am a professional whom works in the Hospitality

If I did not get all the assistance and support from my Family, I would not be
writing this letter. Furthermore, there are many hundreds of other individuals whom have a similar story, who’s Doctors have misdiagnosed them. Doctor’s do not always
have the answers! They too, are human and can and will make mistakes.

In the case of Terri Schiavo, I believe those Doctors whom say she is in a
vegetative state are wrong! I am an informed American and watch the News just about every night. From what I understand, several other Doctors (approximately 33 doctors) say otherwise. It has been noted that Some of the Doctors on Terri’s case say that she
can be rehabilitated and is conscious. Though she can not really speak, she is aware, feels pain, makes facial expressions and understands what is happening around her. So, Governor Bush, I am asking you, Please, do everything you can to save Terri’s life.
Right now, we just need to connect the tube and then continue investigating
her prognosis.

I find this case very disturbing. Terri is not dying in dignity like some
say, but rather, this is inhumane. Please, help Terri before it’s too
late. Time is of the essence!!

Thank you!

Karen Hughes

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Bloggers for Terri!

March 24, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

It appears that even the Supreme Court has refused to save Terri’s life! We’re really coming down to the wire on this one, boys and girls! It seems that all judicial and legislative processes have been exhausted. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of us out here in blog space are rooting for Terri. Let’s all continue to make our voices heard loud and clear! Check out these blogs for Terri:

Check out this Fox News article covering the bloggers’ side of the Terri Schiavo case.

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CSUN: Lighthearted Banter With Jeff Bishop Immediately Preceding the BrailleNote Versus PAC Mate Presentation

March 23, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Wow! I sure did have a great time at CSUN! Check out some fun, lighthearted banter between myself and Jeff Bishop immediately preceding the BrailleNote versus PAC Mate presentation on Saturday morning at CSUN. Did I just say “Fun”? Fun? What’s that? Why? Yes! I believe I did. Do wonders ever cease to amaze?

Listen to an audio recording of this exchange of commentary about the impending presentation as it happened, right there in the front row of seats in the Atlanta Ballroom at the Los Angeles Marriott on Saturday morning at approximately 10:40!

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CSUN: Talking Signs Demonstration

March 23, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Despite all the technical difficulties preventing me from providing you with the anticipated full CSUN conference coverage, I was able to conduct and record a demonstration of Talking Signs.

Talking Signs is an innovative line of products that can enable easier, more effective independent navigation by the blind in locations where they have been installed. The blind person points a simple infrared remote control type receiver in various directions, hears a descriptive voice recording of his or her surroundings and moves toward the desired location as the signal becomes stronger and stronger. Feel free to listen to my informal demonstration of this technology on the ballroom level of the Los Angeles Marriott at the 2005 CSUN conference and browse to the Talking Signs web site for more information directly from the manufacturer.

You may listen to this demonstration, recorded on Saturday morning at CSUN, in streaming MP3 format with Winamp or any other compatible player:

As this demonstration represents my first attempt at providing live coverage of an event as it happens, please provide feedback so I may improve upon my work in the future!

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Red Alert: Act Now To Save Terri Schiavo’s Life!

March 22, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

On Friday afternoon, March 18, all food and water were withheld from Terri Schiavo. It is now Tuesday, March 22. Terri has had no food or water for almost five days! She is literally being dehydrated and starved to death! Point your web browser to and help save Terri Schiavo now! Let’s save Terri’s life and send a clear message that the American people are against euthanasia!

Thus far, we at Blind Access Journal have made a financial donation to the cause, and have contacted our Arizona Congressional representative, Arizona senators and Florida legislators asking them to act immediately to save Terri’s life! We urge you all to do likewise immediately as time is wasting. Terri is dehydrating and starving to death by the second while the government officials and politicians “think it over”! Act now to persuade them to
do the right thing immediately; ask them to reinsert that feeding tube and save Terri right now!

I sent the following letter to our Arizona legislators in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Please, everyone, contact the politicians right now. Ask them to save Terri immediately!

March 22, 2005

Dear Senator McCain, Senator Kyl, and Representative Hayworth,

I am writing to ask you to do everything within your powers to save Terri
Schiavo’s life. I was born prematurely in August of 1973. The long list
of my disabilities included blindness, deafness, a heart murmer and a bone
deficiency. Doctors told my parents that I would never live a successful
life, that I wouldn’t even learn to sit up until age 5 or 6 and that they
should just give me up to an institution. Obviously, my parents did not
heed that poor advice. That’s why I am able to write you today. Though
I’m still blind, all my other disabilities have disappeared. Most
important, my hearing problems were successfully corrected at age 5! I am
now a successful information technology professional, accessibility
advocate and publisher of the Blind Access Journal found at
Who knows where I would be if my mom
had listened to the pesimists? I can say one thing for sure, it wouldn’t
be anything good.

Terri Schiavo is, indeed, severely disabled. She is minimally conscious.
Nevertheless, her parents and numerous doctors tell us that she does
respond to stimulation and that she even tries to talk from time to time.
Terri’s family wants to take over the care of their daughter from a
husband who has long since decided to move on with his life. Despite his
words, his deeds speak much louder. In addition to Terri, he has a common
law wife with two children! Please, don’t give Terri’s husband any
credibility in this matter. Terri didn’t tell us in writing what she
wanted to do in a circumstance such as that which she has faced for more
than 15 years. He clearly doesn’t care about Terri’s best interests.
Please don’t listen to him any longer.

The slow, painful government-sanctioned murder of Terri Schiavo will set
an extremely dangerous, public precedent for the treatment of people with
disabilities! We must not only save Terri’s life for her own sake, but
also set a precedent for doing the right thing, always voting in favor of
life rather than euthanasia! Please, please, I ask you to do everything
you can for Terri right now! Terri remains without food and water. She’s
suffering and dying right now! There’s no more time to “think about it”!
Please act now and encourage your Florida state legislative colleagues and
Governor Bush to do the right thing by saving Terri’s life and sending a
clear message against euthanasia!

I have just heard that the Senate and the House have agreed on language
for a bill to save Terri Schiavo’s life.
PLEASE, show bi-partisan support for this legislation, and vote to SAVE
Terri Schiavo from starvation. Thank you!


Darrell Shandrow

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