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Monday, October 27, 2003

George Felos and Jack Kevorkian--Separated at Birth?

You decide!

The Spiritual Attorney:

Felos' spiritual and professional lives intersected in a public way 12 years ago, in the case of Estelle Browning. The case gained him a reputation as the person to see when you want to let someone die.

Browning, of Dunedin, had written a living will in 1985, saying she did not want to be kept alive by artificial means if she ever became ill. A year later, she had a stroke. But the nursing home refused to stop feeding her because she was not technically brain dead. Her cousin and former roommate, Doris Herbert, asked Felos to take the case.

He wanted to see Browning for himself. She could not speak, but Felos says his spiritual side picked up on something. He says her soul cried out to his soul and asked, "Why am I still here?"

* * *

Felos does not mention Schiavo in Law as Spiritual Practice, but says he wants to start a second book when the case is over. He may talk about his spiritual journey with Schiavo then. For now, he is preparing for a hearing before the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland on June 25. He thinks the court will agree that her feeding tube should be removed.

That is what is necessary, he says, "to accomplish what I believe are Terri's wishes."

Does Felos believe Terri Schiavo's soul has spoken to his?

Felos declines to answer, showing his lawyerly side. "It's a pending case," he says.

The Incarcerated Pathologist:

Five times the young resident had gotten his ophthalmoscope to a patient's bedside minutes after death. This time, as he wheeled in the bulky mounted camera, he was elated to find the patient still alive. Finally, he could get shots of a cornea before, during and after death. He taped open the sick woman's eyelids and focused his lens.

He had asked to work nights at Detroit Receiving Hospital because more patients died then. His mission was to discover how eyes changed at the moment of death. Jokingly, he called his quest the Death Rounds. For added effect, he sometimes would wear a black arm band. Co-workers called him Doctor Death. He accepted the nickname.

"I was sort of the laughingstock of the hospital," the doctor admitted later in life.

This night, Doctor Death got what he wanted. As the woman went into convulsions and died, the blood vessels in her cornea quickly faded from view. Jack Kevorkian got it all on film.

For the American Journal of Pathology, Kevorkian wrote up his research in "The Fundus Oculi and the Determination of Death." It was a fine feather in the cap of a 28-year-old pathologist.

Hmmm. Tough to say. We need a tie-breaker. Does the Attorney paint?

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