WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Dr. Ben Carson said media reports of his comments about Terri Schiavo were misconstrued – but her family, and some pro-life leaders, are not so sure.
This weekend, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Carson called the fight to keep Terri Schiavo alive “much ado about nothing.”
After reading his remarks Terri's brother, Bobby Schindler, said that “Dr. Carson owes every pro-life advocate an apology.” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said the comments “disqualified” him from being president. And Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition called his words “insensitive and uncaring.”
“When I used the term 'much ado about nothing,' my point was that the media tried to create the impression that the pro-life community was nutty and going way overboard with the support of the patient,” Dr. Carson told LifeSiteNews this morning.
“I regret that my recent comments about Terri Schiavo have been taken out of context and misinterpreted,” he said.
“I know all too well how mainstream media can distort and misrepresent good faith remarks,” Bobby Schindler wrote in an e-mail to LifeSiteNews. “Still, Dr. Carson's explanation leaves the impression that he remains confused about key aspects of Terri's situation.”
Carson told LifeSiteNews that his medical advice “to keep them comfortable” and “not to treat everything that comes up” applied to terminally ill patients with no prospect of recovery. Diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for 15 years, Schiavo died 13 days after a Florida judge ordered medical personnel to deny her all nutrition and hydration.
After his sister's ordeal, Bobby Schindler dedicated his life to fighting for the dignity of brain injured patients, especially those in danger of being denied treatment because they are diagnosed as brain dead.
“The idea that family and physician consensus alone should decide the fate of those like my sister is problematic,” Schindler continued. “At the root of the issue is that starving and dehydrating someone to death is always wrong, whatever the beliefs of physicians or family members.”
Other pro-life leaders told LifeSiteNews they question the veracity of Dr. Carson's statement.
Newman told LifeSiteNews that Dr. Carson's explanation seemed “dubious” considering the context of the story.
Cheryl Sullenger, a senior policy advisor at Operation Rescue, agreed that the doctor seemed dodgy.
“I appreciate that Dr. Carson felt the need to explain his comments concerning the Terri Schiavo situation, but I am not completely convinced that his explanation isn't just an attempt at damage control,” she told LifeSiteNews. “I am concerned that he made his original comments while appearing not to completely understanding the fact that Terri was brain damaged, but not terminally ill.”
“I remain skeptical about whether Dr. Carson is ready to serve as president, where public policy set by him could mean life or death for innocent people like Terri,” Sullenger told LifeSiteNews. “Therefore, I will not be supporting his candidacy.”
Rev. Mahoney did not immediately return LifeSiteNews' call.
Schindler held out hope that Dr. Carson, who is in second place for the Republican presidential nomination in the most recent poll, would come to share his point of view.
“Every a brain injured person needs unconditional love, understanding, and rehabilitation, which is what we fight for every day at the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network,” Schindler said.
“I'd be grateful for the opportunity to speak privately with Dr. Carson to share our perspective in good faith,” Schindler told LifeSiteNews.