CNN, Fox featured ex-Schiavo nurse whose affidavit was dismissed as "incredible" by judge


On March 22, both CNN's Live From... and Fox News' Fox and Friends aired interviews with Carla Sauer Iyer -- a former nurse for Terri Schiavo who in 2003 submitted an affidavit with inflammatory accusations against Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo -- but failed to report questions about Iyer's credibility. Judge George W. Greer, the Florida circuit judge who has presided over several aspects of the Schiavo case, dismissed Iyer's allegations as "incredible" and noted in a September 17, 2003, order that not even Terri Schiavo's parents sought her testimony in the case.

In both appearances, Iyer was presented as a former nurse for Terri Schiavo. Fox introduced her as a "registered nurse in Florida" who "cared for Terri for more than a year between '95 and 1996." In addition, on-screen text described Iyer as "Carla Sauer Iyer; Cared for Terri Schiavo." On CNN, Iyer was introduced as a "nurse who says that she cared for Terri Schiavo [for] more than a year in the mid-1990s." As with Fox, CNN's on-screen text described Iyer as "Terri Schiavo's former nurse." Another on-screen text line presented on CNN stated that Iyer "testified about Terri Schiavo's physical state." However, according to Greer's September 2003 order, Schiavo's parents had not subpoenaed Iyer to testify.

In both a 2003 court affidavit (posted on the website operated by Terri's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler) and her March 22 cable appearances, Iyer maintained that Terri Schiavo was constantly "alert and oriented" while under her care, "saying such things as 'mommy,' and 'help me.' " She claimed that "Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death. Michael would say 'When is she going to die?' 'Has she died yet?' and 'When is that bitch gonna die?' " The affidavit also included her claims that Michael Schiavo expressed the desire to "accelerate" Terri's death, that when Terri was sick and looked as if she might die, "He [Michael] would blurt out 'I'm going to be rich,' " and the assertion that "[i]t is my belief that Michael injected Terri with Regular insulin" to intentionally make her sick. She claimed in her affidavit that "I ultimately called the police relative to this situation, and was terminated the next day."

Greer dismissed Iyer's charges, noting that they -- along with a similar affidavit given by Heidi Law, another nurse who formerly took care of Terri Schiavo -- were "incredible to say the least" and that "[n]either in the testimony nor in the medical records is there support for these affidavits as they purport to detail activities and responses of Terri Schiavo." From Greer's decision:

The remaining affidavits deal exclusively with events which allegedly occurred in the 1995-1997 time frame. The court feels constrained to discuss them. They are incredible to say the least. Ms. Iyer details what amounts to a 15-month cover-up which would include the staff of Palm Garden of Lago Convalescent Center, the Guardian of the Person, the Guardian ad Litem, the medical professionals, the police and, believe it or not, Mr. and Mrs. Schindler. Her affidavit clearly states that she would "call them (Mr. and Mrs. Schindler) anyway because I thought they should know about their daughter." The affidavit of Ms. Law speaks of Terri responding on a constant basis. Neither in the testimony nor in the medical records is there support for these affidavits as they purport to detail activities and responses of Terri Schiavo. It is impossible to believe that Mr. and Mrs. Schindler would not have subpoenaed Ms. Iyer for the January 2000 evidentiary hearing had she contacted them as her affidavit alleges.

Posted In
Health Care, End of Life Issues
Terri Schiavo
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