So You Think Terri Schiavo is Alone?


We have heard on the TV news outlets about the Terri Schiavo case in Florida. From all sides of the political spectrum people have taken a position and a stand. The issue of whether Terri’s family has the right to take care of her vs. Michael Schiavo’s spousal rights have been at the forefront of this battle. It has become a MSM 24-7 news story.

However, have any of you heard of Lester Nichols and his parents, Lorette and Robert Nichols of Nashua, NH? Much like Terri Schiavo and her family the Nichols family finds itself in the same position dealing with a son who in 1978 was involved in a motorcycle accident that left Lester “lacking brain function, according to court documents.”

But, in an echo of the Terri Schiavo case that has riveted the nation, his mother says he does communicate.

“He’s responsive with his eyes,” Lorette Nichols told The Telegraph of Nashua. “When I come in the room he’ll blink twice to say hello, and when I say we’re leaving, he’ll give us two blinks to say goodnight.”

The parents wanted to move their son closer to them so that they could visit him more often in their later years. In a familiar but different twist in this case, the man’s wife or ex-wife is not his legal guardian.

But the couple, both 81, can’t act because they are not his legal guardians. His wife was, but she gave it up when she divorced him in 2003. The woman, who has remarried and lives in Massachusetts, declined to comment on her ex-husband’s situation.

Ultimately, the state Office of Public Guardian became his guardian, according to court documents.

In what appears to be a case of de ja vous, the parents are looking to gain more control of their sons health care and eventually make their daughter Lester’s guardian. This situation that we see ever day with regards to Terri Schiavo more often than you think. However, in this particular case the spouse stepped away, divorced the son and left the care in the hands of the parents. Interesting how things look when the spouse does the right thing. Michael Schiavo could take some notes and learn something.

However, we do see a similar action done by the ex-wife that parallels Michael Schiavo’s actions in considering other aspects rather than the welfare of the patient.

At about the same time, a hospital social worker informed them that the ex-wife had asked to have Nichols’ $1,900 monthly Social Security disability payments paid to the couple’s children. The family opposes the move, calling it “nothing less than the pilfering of Nichols’ current and future assets, thus placing his future housing, health, welfare, standard of care and quality of life at great risk.”

Clear and convincing evidence is the standard in these cases. Seems pretty clear to most of us who cares for the welfare of these patients.

Posted March 29, 2005 by
Terri Schindler Schiavo | no comments

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