Thirteen misconceptions on the death of Lisa McPherson. While I was picketing in DC recently, I heard a lot of False Data about the death of Lisa McPherson. I've also read letters to various newspapers from Scientologists putting their own spin on the events surrounding her death. Here is the True Data. If you are being told any of these misconceptions by somebody at your org or mission, ask some questions about the source of the data. Ask to see a copy of the FSO logs written by people who cared for Lisa during her stay at the Fort Harrison.
1) Lisa was involved in a near-fatal car accident, which caused the blood clot that killed her.
False - Lisa was involved in a fender bender. Lisa and the car were not harmed. She was examined in the hospital and found to have no physical injuries. If Lisa had not removed her clothing at the scene, it is doubtful she would have been taken to the hospital. There is no indication that the fender bender caused the clot.
2) Lisa was about to be committed to a mental institution.
False - Lisa was examined for physical injuries, but did not receive an evaluation as to her mental state. There were no plans to commit her to an institution.
3) Lisa decided she wanted to be at the Fort Harrison.
False - The logs written by Scientologists are quite clear that Lisa wanted to leave. "She was trying to go out of her bed." "She tried to go out of the door."
4) Lisa was resting and comfortable in the Fort Harrison.
False - Lisa was talking nonsense, claimed she was L. Ron Hubbard, was sleeping very little, spat out food and water, attacked staff, and bruised her body by throwing herself around the room.
5) Lisa died from an unpredictable blood clot.
False - While the blood clot was the immediate cause of death, it was totally predictable based on the level of dehydration she suffered. Her weight dropped from about 155 lbs. at the time of the accident to 108 lbs. at death, 17 days later.
6) The blood clot caused her to lose weight.
False - The blood clot was not immediately fatal, as it was a partially occluding clot. A fully occluding clot would have been almost instantly fatal. But the embolism (clot) Lisa suffered was fatal within a few hours after it reached the lung.
7) There are no indications that Lisa was dehydrated.
False - The tests showed a urea nitrogen level of 300 mg/dl and sodium level of 180 mmol/l are clear indications that Lisa was severely dehydrated.
8) Lisa was seen by a doctor three times during her stay in the Fort Harrison.
False - There is no evidence or claims that Lisa was visited by a doctor. Dr. Minkoff did prescribe Valium for her, but never examined Lisa. "Dr." Janis Johnson wrote up questions about her condition, but there is no evidence that she ever saw Lisa. Even if she had, Janis Johnson resigned her medical license following an investigation into drug abuse at an Arizona hospital, and is not a doctor.
9) Five other Medical Examiners have concluded that Lisa died of a blood clot.
Uncertain - Scientology has submitted some expert opinions to the prosecutors office, but these reports are not public at this time. There are apparently three experts, not five. It is not known who these "experts" are, what evidence they were given on which to base their opinion, or what their conclusions are.
10) There are two slides that show Lisa died of a blood clot, not dehydration.
False - The slides are of the clot in the lung, and the remaining part of the clot left behind in the leg. There is no way to tell from a slide what the cause of the clot was.
11) Dr. Wood lied, and didn't even perform the autopsy.
False - Dr. Wood is the Medical Examiner, but other doctors in her office perform autopsies. She signed the autopsy, but never claimed to have performed the examination of Lisa's body.
12) Dr. Robert Davis, who performed the autopsy, disagrees with Dr. Joan Wood, the Medical Examiner, on the cause of death.
False - Dr. Davis refused to make a determination on the cause of death, since he left the Medical Examiner's office before the cause of death was decided upon.
13) The death of Lisa McPherson was unpreventable, a random event.
False - The death was due to severe dehydration and excessive bed rest. These conditions caused a clot in the leg which moved to her lung and killed her. Her death was preventable. It is possible that her life could have been saved even after the clot moved to the lung, if she had been taken to nearby Morton Plant Hospital, and not all the way to New Port Richey.