Terri The REAL
Schiavo's Implant Potentially Dangerous
by Janice Sanford a/k/a Jan Tetstone
When a reporter did an article in the St. Petersburg Times, Feb
17,1991. pg.3, about Terri's surgery in which Yoshio Hosobuchi of
the University of California at San Francisco in December(1990)
implanted neurological thalamic stimulator in her brain, they
"The brain stimulator implant was a success, said her husband, Mike.
Mrs. Schiavo is slowly emerging from the coma at the Mediplex
Medical Center, a neurological care center in Bradenton, he said.
She will undergo at least a year of speech, occupational and
SCHIAVO: She spent three months there. Then, while she was there, we
heard of this doctor in California here that was doing experimental
surgery, implanting stimulators in people's brains in hopes to
stimulate any activity.
Now, we were told with this, too (Ph) when this doctor looked at the
CAT scans, that it was probably not going to work Because there's
just no brain left. But I did it anyway, because I loved Terri. And
I wanted to bring my wife back. I wanted to have my wife back in me.
So I flew her out to California by myself, with a nurse. And I spent
a month there. They inserted the stimulator.
KING: Didn't work?
SCHIAVO: No, it eventually didn't work, no. The protocol for the
stimulator was three months. I kept it on her for a year.
From Medical Examiner Jon R. Thogmartin autopsy report on Theresa
...In the left chest wall is an implanted medical device with a wire
extending through subcutaneous tissues of the left neck and into the
left scalp. A flat, four-prong electrical device is in the subgaleal
area of the left scalp. A wire then further extends into the cranial
Note: subgaleal area, is the area above the skull or within the
scalp layer of the head; ...
Stephen J. Nelson,M.D. (Page 1, last paragraph)
Neuropathology Gross Description:
...A 9 centimeter long implanted neurological thalamic stimulator
wire extended outward from the right parietal bone and it was
surrounded by a 1 centimeter bony nodule on the inner table. This
wire was traced and its tip terminated in the right thalamus...
9 centimeters = 3.54 inches
9 centimeters = the length of the(above) line
(Forget about comparing brains for a minute. Where's all the wire
and stuff that Dr. Nelson and Medical Examiner Jon R. Thogmartin are
describing in their report? )
Chronic deep brain stimulation in its present US FDA - approved
manifestation is a patient - controlled treatment for tremor that
consists of a multi-electrode lead implanted into the
ventrointermediate nucleus of the thalamus.
The lead is connected to a pulse generator that is surgically
implanted under the skin in the upper chest.
And an extension wire from the electrode lead is threaded from the
scalp area under the skin to the chest where it is connected to the
Most users turn the unit off at night. The stimulus parameters can
be adjusted to provide the best response and minimize adverse
The pulse generator must be replaced to change batteries, which
should last 5 years.
Risks of DBS ( Deep Brain Stimulation) surgery are intracranial
bleeding, infection, and loss of function.
Dr. Nelson seemed to think it was necessary to put in Terri's
autopsy report a reason why she "had not undergone an MRI scan of
her brain, rather than only a brain scan while alive":
"The FDA has received several reports of serious injury, including
coma and permanent neurological impairment, in patients with
implanted neurological stimulators who underwent magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) procedures. The mechanism for these adverse events is
likely to involve heating of the electrodes at the end of the
leadwires, resulting in injury to the surrounding tissue. Although
these reports involved deep brain stimulators and vagus nerve
stimulators, similar injuries could be caused by any type of
implanted neurological stimulator, such as spinal cord stimulators,
peripheral nerve stimulators, and neuromuscular stimulators"
One would assume from the autopsy, that an MRIis never done on a
patient with an implanted neurological stimulator.
The following is taken from the same report Dr. Nelson quoted from:
If an MRI procedure is to be performed on a patient with an
implanted neurological stimulator, be sure to review the labeling
for the specific model that is implanted in the patient, with
particular attention to warnings and precautions. The radiologist
may need to consult with the implanting or monitoring physician for
this information. Also note and follow any instructions exactly for
MRI imaging that may be in the labeling for the implant, including
information on types and/or strengths of MRI equipment that may have
been tested for interaction with the particular implanted device.
The radiologist may need to consult with the device implant
manufacturer for this information.
According to Michael Schiavo's November 19, 1993 deposition, case
No. 90-2908-GD,page 24:
Q And what was the purpose of taking her to California?
A There was some experimental surgery that I heard about.
Q Do you remember the doctor you went to see out there?
A Doctor Yoshio Hosobuchi.
Q Okay. Tell me about Doctor Hosobuchi and his treatment of Terry?
A Well, the basic thing was we took her to California. He had some
experimental stimulators that- he was placing in peoples' heads.
There were some people that woke up.
It's a whole protocal on it. I don't have it with me. But it would
be very experimental. He put it in. He did some testing. There was
no evidence of it working with Terry.
The only thing it would do, when he turned it up passed a certain
point Terry would just sit up, which was just motor response. She
would just get real bright eyed because things were being
stimulated. He wasn't thrilled about it because he didn't see any
Q Was -- did he implant anything into her? Did he put anything in
her head that remained?
Q Are they still ?
Q What are they?
A Electrodes. They're platinum electrodes.
Q Did he suggest any future treatment that was experimental --
A Treatment for what?
Q -- in California. Diagnostic testing, anything of that nature?
A No. When Doctor Yingling was here, he came out and, basically, if
it didn't work within --
Q My question was: Was there a suggestion of further diagnostic
testing or procedures after the treatment by Doctor Hosobuchi in
A As far as I can remember --
Q Did Doctor Hosobuchi, after he saw Terry, recommend any further
A He recommended that Doctor Yingling would be doing it.
Q So did she see Doctor Yingling?
A She -- Doctor Yingling came out here, I believe, a year later.
Q And that was at the suggestion of Doctor Hosobuchi?
A That, I have no idea.
Q Okay. What did Doctor Yingling say or do, to your knowledge?
A He came out -- Terry was at Mediplex -- he came out and did some
testing, and he needed a CP-900 machine or something from Shands,
and it wasn't available, and he said it wasn't no big deal.
He told me he had -- he didn'tsee any evident sign that the
stimulator was working, did some tests with Terry(i). Nothing was
new with her from the time he had last
seen her. And that was basically it. We took him out to dinner and
he had loads of wine and that was it. He spilled it all over our
Q Other than the Doctor Hosobuchi and Doctor Yingling -- was Doctor
Yingling also from California?
Q And he was somebody that Doctor Hosobuchi suggested see Terry?
He was Hosobuchi's assistant.
Q Has she seen any other experts since that time?
A What type of experts?
Q Since Doctor Yingling saw her, what physicians have seen her?
Q Okay. When was the last time Terry had seen a neurologist?
A I'd have to look up some records. I don't remember.
Q Has it been years?
A No, I don't think it's been years.
Q Has a neurologist seen her since Doctor Yingling saw her?
A I don't recall.
Q Have any diagnostic tests been performed since Doctor Yingling saw
Q Okay. of the neurology strain.
A I don't recall. There could have been. I don't recall.
According to Schiavo "The protocol for the stimulator was three
months" but he "kept it on her for a year." Even though he knew that
leaving the stimulator on longer than three months could harm or
even kill Terri.
Michael Schiavo should still be made to answer for abusing his wife
after her brain injury.
Whether or not the implanted neurological stimulator worked, Michael
Schiavo should have made sure that Terri had a neurologist following
The implant had the potential to cause intracranial bleeding,
infection, and loss of function.