Various news reports transcribed from video - from July 9, 1997 regarding the death of Lisa McPherson:
July 9, 1997 Lisa McPherson Caretaker Logs Released Various News Reports This news report has no channel of origin -
Footage of lawyers entering judges chambers Pictures of Lisa McPherson Footage of reporter with documents Picture of Lisa McPherson Footage of the Fort Harrison Hotel
Man News Reporter: As lawyers file into a judges chambers for the umpteenth battle in the war over the death of Lisa McPherson, the attorney representing her family is claiming a victory of sorts. Public access to these handwritten notes by those who watched over her, during her last month of life here inside the Church of Scientology headquarters in downtown Clearwater.
Man News Reporter (holding documents): This proves what?
Ken Dandar (Attorney for McPherson family): Well this proves that it's not just simple neglect. This proves that there's knowledge by the higher officials of Scientology that their member is in need of urgent medical care and nothing gets done about it.
Footage of reporter holding documents Picture of Lisa McPherson with excerpts from Fort Harrison Hotel records
Man News Reporter: Scanning the notes reveals a woman in trouble. November 19, 1995 - "This afternoon Lisa walks like a robot. She is out of control. November 20th - She has difficulties even to swallow a bit of water." November 30th - "On the floor, scooting around, groaning. She's using her legs to kick again." December 2 - "She has tried to stand several times, but is not strong enough yet."
Ken Dandar: But the most interesting and damning aspect of these medical records is what's not there. The last four days are missing.
Sandy Weinberg (Scientology Attorney): We have turned over everything that we have. Everything that we have.
Picture of Lisa McPherson Pictures of autopsy photos of Lisa McPherson Footage of someone pouring two liters of water into a sink Excerpt from Fort Harrison Hotel record, "Dec. 1, 1995, Janice Johnson, M.D. -Given 2gm MgCI (2) IM and Needs 2 liter fluids when awake." Footage of someone holding two 1 liter bottles of water
Man News Reporter: Attorneys from Scientology say McPherson was killed by a blood clot brought on by infection. But the medical examiner says it was dehydration - that she was deprived of water for up to seventeen days. And this entry three days before her death shows the Scientologist's medical director ordering at least two liters of fluid for the woman. This much fluid, as soon as possible.
Ken Dandar: That is an admission right there that she's severely dehydrated.
Sandy Weinberg: These reports show that that is not true. Uh, These reports show that in fact uh, Lisa McPherson was provided food and fluids uh, throughout the seventeen days.
Man News Reporter: December 1st, two liters of fluid, that's, that's quite, quite a bit of fluid. Doesn't that suggest right there that she needs something more, that she might need some sort of hospital care at this point?
Sandy Weinberg: Uh I, I don't read it that way, no. I don't read it that way. I mean, if somebody was drinking, I mean I, I don't know what I drink a day. But I think I drink uh, at least two liters of fluid a day. There's nothing in the record that would indicate that anybody was intentionally trying to hurt Lisa McPherson. These documents show just the opposite.
Man News Reporter: Don't they show overall to you uh, reading through this, that this was somebody who needed hospital care? I mean, the descriptions of the behaviors, scooting around on the floor, speaking, groaning?
Sandy Weinberg: Well, see, no. It describes a woman who had deep psychological problems and, and it describes the effort that her friends, and church, uh employees went to, to try to help her through those problems.
Channel 28 Tampa Bay News Tampa, St. Petersburg, Florida "Scientology Msytery - Last Four Days"
News caption "New Information" News Caption "Scientology Msytery - Last Four Days"
News Anchor Brendan McLaughlin: There's new information in the Lisa McPherson death investigation. McPherson is the Scientologist who died in 1995 while in the care of other Scientologists. Tonight, 28 Tampa Bays Dawn Witt tells us what she learned about Lisa's last four days.
Ken Dandar: When Lisa was put in isolation, there's 24 hour around the clock records. These records show that there was a guard at the door.
Footage of someone paging through documents Picture of Lisa McPherson Footage of the Fort Harison Hotel Picture of autopsy photos of Lisa McPherson Picture of Lisa McPherson Footage of Scientology Attorney Laura Vaughan
Dawn Witt (Voiceover): Records released today by a Hillsboro County judge raised questions about what was going on with Lisa McPherson during her stay in the Fort Harrison Hotel just prior to her death. McPherson died in 1995 under the care of Scientologists. Now her family is suing the church in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Laura Vaughan (Scientology Attorney): Yes, it is a bit of a witch hunt.
Footage of the Fort Harrison Hotel
Dawn Witt (Voiceover): The church of Scientology has maintained all along it's members did nothing but try to help Lisa in her final days.
Laura Vaughan: The paperwork is going to show that people were with Lisa McPherson, and that contrary to what Mr. Dandar has said in the press and contrary to some of the implications that people were trying to uh, feed her and take care of her and stay with her.
Picture of a certificate of death Pictures of autopsy photos of Lisa McPherson Excerpts from Fort Harrison Hotel records
Dawn Witt (Voiceover): Lisa's family blames the church for not getting Lisa proper medical attention. In the Fort Harrison Hotel records - In November 1995, Janice Johnson a Scientologist wrote "Lisa was given chloral hydrate, a prescription sedative." Johnson was a doctor who lost her license in Arizona. She is not licensed to practice medicine in Florida either. In those records Johnson wrote, "squirt as much chloral hydrate as possible into her mouth." On that same day Johnson wrote, "Lisa needed fluids."
Ken Dandar: These are records where she indicates on December 1 that she needs two liters of fluid stat. And that Lisa needs to be attended by trained, medical personnel.
Excerpts from Fort Harrison Hotel records
Dawn Witt (Voiceover): On another day another someone else wrote "Lisa feels the pain of the bruises on her body and complains about it a lot." On still another day, a woman watching Lisa was apparently so devastated by Lisa's condition, "she sat in the corner of Lisa's room and cried."
Dawn Witt (holding documents): But as detailed as these records are, there are some missing. Namely, any records that detail anything that happened of the last three and a half days of Lisa McPherson's life.
Ken Dandar: They claim that they searched around the world in all the offices of Scientology, looking for these last four days of records. My question is, why do you have to search around the world? Why aren't they right here with all of the other records?
News caption "Scientology Mystery" with picture of Lisa McPherson
Dawn Witt (holding documents): In these records there are also references to Lisa's money running out while she was at the Fort Harrison. There are a few sentences discussing where more money could be found for what Lisa was being given. And some of the other authors also talked about Lisa being incoherent, not sleeping much, then sleeping a lot, and crying. These records certainly raise a lot of questions about the case. Brendan -
News Anchor Brendan McLaughlin: Thank you, Dawn. Late today, church attorneys reiterated their claim that church members did not realize Lisa was in danger of dying. And they say everybody around her tried to help her. The complete medical examiners records on Lisa McPherson are expected to be released by October.
WFLA News Channel 8 Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Lakeland, Florida "Missing Records"
News caption - "Missing Records" with question marks and picture of Lisa McPherson
News Anchor Gayle Sierens: It's the mystery of the missing records. What happened in the last three days of Lisa McPherson's life? Tonight, Scientologists scramble to fill in the gaps. Good evening everyone, I'm Gayle Sierens.
News Anchor Bob Hite: And I'm Bob Hite. Thanks for joining us tonight. New leads reveals records detail most of the care McPherson received from Scientologists in the day before she died. Most, but not all. As news Channel 8 Pinellas reporter Mark Douglas tells us, attention now focuses on a critical gap in the records.
Picture of Lisa McPherson Footage of Attorneys in the Hillsboro County Courtroom Footage of Attorneys
Reporter Mark Douglas: The debate over Lisa McPherson's unsolved death heated up today. In a Hillsboro courtroom attorneys for the Church of Scientology tried to block the release of records that detail her care in the weeks before her death. The attorney for McPherson's estate says those records help prove McPherson died because she did not receive the proper medical attention.
Ken Dandar: Those documents have some uh, very uh, alarming information contained in them.
Footage of the Fort Harrison Hotel Excerpts from Fort Harrison Hotel records
Mark Douglas (Voiceover): During her seventeen day stay at Scientology headquarters, caregivers attempted to feed McPherson protein shakes, herbal teas, vitamins and bananas. One wrote, "she really likes bananas." But McPherson often refused food. One caregiver writes, "she lets everything in her mouth come out. When she refuses to swallow and just spits everything out, I leave her alone and try again later. At times she's weak and others violent." A caregiver says, "this a.m., she is deliberate and nasty, even evil."
Sandy Weinberg (Scientology Attorney): Lisa was being nasty and evil because uh, uh as you'll see through there, um, uh, she was uh, not coherent, she said a lot of abusive things.
Mark Douglas (holding documents): attorneys from McPherson's estate say the most compelling thing about these documents is what's not here. The notes from her caretakers end abruptly three days before her death.
Ken Dandar: They say they scoured the world looking for these records and they can't find them anywhere.
Sandy Weinberg: We have, we have been able to locate what we located, and that's it
Footage of news reporter Mark Douglas and Scientology attorney Sandy Weinberg Picture of Lisa McPherson Footage of the Fort Harrison Hotel Picture of Lisa McPherson
Mark Douglas: Scientology lawyers deny there's any gap in the information. They say careful notes written after her death reconstruct what happened and claim a sudden infection killed her. But McPherson's family believes neglect lead to the dehydration that the medical examiner says killed Lisa McPherson. I'm Mark Douglas, News Channel 8.
News Anchor Bob Hite: The McPherson believes the Scientologists should have provided professional medical care for McPherson much sooner. Scientologists say they rushed her to the hospital when she became ill, and that she died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism.
News captions - "McPherson Timeline" Breakdown of events
News Anchor Bob Hite: Here is a breakdown of the events leading up to today's events. Lisa McPherson joined the church of Scientology in 1977. In November 18, 1995, she was involved in a minor car accident, then ran naked down the street. She was hospitalized briefly and later released into the care of Scientologists later that day. Three weeks later she was pronounced dead at New Port Richie Hospital. The next day, Clearwater Police launched a criminal investigation. In October 1996 ten months later, the autopsy listed bed rest and severe dehydration as the cause of death. In January, her family filed a wrongful death suit against the Church of Scientology. Today the judge released records detailing McPherson's care and treatment. By October 1997 prosecutors plan to make a decision to whether or not to charge or not to charge.