Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology

Subject: TRANSCRIPT OF "INSIDE EDITION" 7/23/97 From: jigsaw6452@aol.com (Jigsaw6452)

Date: 24 Jul 1997 05:55:30 GMT

Descriptions of video portions are in [brackets]. VOICEOVER refers to Matt Meagher.


DEBORAH NORVILLE [photo of Lisa in backdrop]: Hi, everybody. Welcome to "Inside Edition", I'm Deborah Norville. There is some bizarre new information in the case of a 36-year-old woman who died while in the care of the Church of Scientology. The dead woman's family says this proves that she was being held against her will, while Scientologists say it shows just the opposite. Our Matt Meagher has the followup investigation:

[videotape of Lisa out dancing; photo of Fort Harrison Hotel; photo of Lisa; medical examiner's report; autopsy photos of Lisa, arms covered with cockroach bites]

MATT MEAGHER--VOICEOVER: In November of 1995, a perfectly healthy Lisa McPherson was taken by members of the Church of Scientology to their spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, FL. They say she was having a psychotic episode and needed rest to come out of it; 17 days later, she was dead. Cause of death: A blood clot due to bed rest and severe dehydration. It is estimated she had lost more than 45 lb. Her body was covered with bruises and insect bites. She had been kept in a room with a security guard at the door 24 hours a day, and she had somebody inside the room with her the entire time.

LAURA VAUGHAN, SCIENTOLOGY ATTORNEY: What they were trying to do was to feed her, to give her fluids, to get her to rest.

KEN DANDAR, LAWYER FOR LISA McPHERSON'S FAMILY: She was banging on the walls trying to get out. She was screaming, yelling at them, kicking them, punching them.

[photos of Lisa and her family; CoS building]

VOICEOVER: McPherson had been a Scientologist for 18 years. Her family contends she was getting ready to leave Scientology. Church officials say that's untrue.

MATT MEAGHER, IN STUDIO:One of the few things both sides agree on in this case is that in November of 1995, Lisa was a very troubled person. Church officials say her problems were job related, but her family says they were the result of Scientologists subjecting her to stressful treatments designed at keeping her in the church.

KEN DANDAR: We have no evidence that she was having trouble at work.

What we have evidence of is that she went through Ethics handling. In Ethics handling, they tell you that all of your problems are your fault and you have to deal with it.

[legal papers, photo of Lisa, cars in traffic]

VOICEOVER: Ken Dandar is representing Lisa's family in a wrongful death suit against the church. He agrees that on the evening of November 18, Lisa was having a psychological breakdown. After a minor traffic accident near downtown Clearwater, she took off all her clothes. EMS workers said she asked them for help.

BONITA PORTOLANO, EMS ATTENDANT [in deposition video]: She said that she wanted people to think she was crazy because she wanted people to help her.

[Morton Plant Hospital, photo of Lisa, CoS-made poster showing evil psychs putting an elderly person in a chokehold with the words "PSYCHIATRY: VICTIMIZING THE ELDERLY, DENYING RESPECT]

VOICEOVER: Lisa was taken to a nearby hospital for a psychological evaluation. Soon after she arrived, officials of the church showed up and told the doctor they did not want Lisa to see a psychiatrist, and that they would be able to handle Lisa themselves. Scientologists believe and teach that psychiatry is evil.

KEN DANDAR: They persuaded, in some way, Lisa to sign herself out. The doctor didn't want her to leave, so she signed out against medical advice.

[Fort Harrison]

VOICEOVER: Scientologists say Lisa went willingly to their spiritual headquarters at the Fort Harrison Hotel and that she was never held against her will.

ELLIOT ABELSON, SCIENTOLOGY GENERAL COUNSEL (from earlier broadcast): She rested, she slept a lot; uh... nothing unusual, uh, really until the end of her stay. Uh, she did, uhh, get food...uh, water. Obviously people talked to her, ummm...but she got rest and relaxation.

[church documents]

VOICEOVER: That's what Scientology's lawyer told us six months ago. But since a judge recently ordered some church documents unsealed, that lawyer directed us to a new spokesperson, who has a new story.

LAURA VAUGHAN: What the memos show is that Lisa McPherson was talking in non sequitur language, she wasn't saying things that made sense. She was taking off her clothes. She was, um, talking to people who weren't there.

She was spitting food. She was jumping in the toilet. She was throwing water out of the toilet. She was doing things that a person who is psychotic does.

[Lisa's hand-written "babywatch" logs]

VOICEOVER: According to diary-like notes kept by five women who had been assigned to watch Lisa, she sometimes seemed appreciative, thankful, and loving; but at other times, she was violent, punching, kicking, and scratching the people who were watching over her.

MATT MEAGHER, INTERVIEWING: She wanted to get out of there, didn't she?--

LAURA VAUGHAN: She did not want to get out of there, that is not in there. And Matt, for you to say that, that is sensationalistic and that may be something you want to put on a TV show--

MATT (reading out of logs): "She tried to get out of the door. I let her sit outside for 5 minutes. She snuck away." Repeatedly, security guards had to be called into the room.

LAURA: That is so, that is so disingenuous and so--um, I can't even describe how you're trying to pull those things out of context to make this an exciting story.

MATT MEAGHER, IN STUDIO (holding copy of logs): The notes *are* open to a great deal of interpretation but they make one thing abundantly clear: Almost from the day Lisa McPherson entered the Fort Harrison Hotel, her health deteriorated rapidly.


VOICEOVER: On November 20, just two days after she arrives, she has difficulty even to swallow a bit of water.

MATT, INTERVIEWING (reading out of logs): On November 22, "she was like an ice cube. She talked incoherently hour after hour. She refused to eat. She spit out everything she took. She looked ill, like measles or chickenpox; had a fever to my touch."-- (to Laura) Shouldn't somebody have called a doctor then?

LAURA: What you're trying to do, Matt--first of all, you pull one thing out of the entirety of the report, and now you want to substitute your judgment for the judgment of the women who were with her for two weeks who were caring for her.

[photo of Dr. Janice Johnson, apparently New Fort Richey Hospital form with Dr. Johnson's name in "Who to notify in emergency" slot, Sea Org members walking down street in their uniforms, copy of medical license suspension notice]

VOICEOVER: Some people think the judgment of *this* woman should have been a lot better. Her name is Dr. Janice Johnson. She was the church's Medical Officer. She surrendered her medical license in Arizona without admitting any wrongdoing after she was accused of abusing drugs.

[from earlier show, Dr. Johnson driving away in her van without answering question]

MATT: Were you with Lisa McPherson when she died?

VOICEOVER: We tried to talk with her for our last report, but she declined. The Scientologists deny she was practicing medicine with Lisa.

MATT, INTERVIEWING: When you read these--"Dr. Johnson came in and checked on her. Dr. Johnson told me no more chloral hydrate"--there are numerous references to Dr. Johnson supervising her medical care.

LAURA VAUGHAN: Janice Johnson is an M.D. but she is not a licensed physician in the state of Florida and was not a doctor for the church.

[Doctor's note, pills, photo of Dr. David Minkoff]

VOICEOVER: On December 1, Dr. Johnson writes something that sure looks like a medical report. It says Lisa's extremities are cool. She needs two liters of water when she wakes up. She had given her an injection of magnesium chloride and squirted 1000 mg of chloral hydrate, a prescription sedative, into her mouth. Chloral hydrate is a sedative that was prescribed by a fellow Scientologist, Dr. David Minkoff; but he never examined Lisa. The note says that she swallowed and fell asleep in the middle of a sentence.

KEN DANDAR: You can see that all of their efforts are to keep her asleep, just keep her doped up and asleep.

LAURA VAUGHAN: They believe that part of the reason that she was in the psychotic state that she was, was because she had had a lack of rest.

They trying to help her in a way that was consistent with her religious beliefs.

[logs, picture of a bottle of valerian root]

VOICEOVER: The notes indicate that Lisa was being given, sometimes force-fed, a variety of medicines, herbal potions, and vitamins. We asked veteran forensic pathologist Dr. Klaus Spaeth to review the notes and Lisa's autopsy.

DR. KLAUS SPAETH: Under the circumstances I can say that this entire thing is bizarre, to say the least.

[photo of Lisa, photo of bottles of vitamin B1, calcium magnesium, chloral hydrate]

VOICEOVER: Dr. Spaeth believes the variety and amount of treatments Lisa was receiving resulted in severe dehydration, and that led to the blood clot.

DR. SPAETH: For example, the high doses of vitamin B1 can produce insomnia, severe irritability and headaches. Magnesium is a sedative, but it also produces severe dehydration. Chloral hydrate can produce hallucinations; it can produce severe damage to the kidneys.

[Fort Harrison]

VOICEOVER: Dr. Spaeth says none of the treatments alone are necessarily dangerous, but the combination of all, outside of a hospital, without lab tests and proper monitoring, are *very* dangerous.

MATT--INTERVIEWING: You're telling me that the combination of herbs and potions and prescription medicines that they gave her may have interacted to kill her.

DR. KLAUS SPAETH: I would go beyond that. I wouldn't say "may have"; in fact, we have no other explanation for her condition.

[logs, photo of Lisa]

VOICEOVER: By November 29, things were getting worse. "The watch said she was quieter, but suspect is because she's weak." On Saturday, December 2, "she has tried to stand several times, but is not strong enough yet". There are large gaps in the hand-written notes. The most conspicuous are that there aren't any for the last two days of Lisa's life, a time the medical examiner has speculated that Lisa may have gone into a coma.

LAURA VAUGHAN: I am telling you that we are not holding anything back, that there are not, if they are not here, we have done a search in Florida and L.A., anywhere that we could think of to look for any hand-written notes or documents.

[Fort Harrison, photo of Lisa, Dr. Johnson driving away in van again,

part of the route van took to hospital, New Fort Richey Hospital, Dr. David Minkoff]

VOICEOVER: Before the release of the notes, church officials told us that Lisa had become suddenly ill on December 5 and was rushed to a hospital in a church van. We now know that Dr. Janice Johnson was driving the van. She drove 25 miles, past four emergency rooms, to get to a hospital in New Port Richey where fellow Scientologist Dr. Minkoff was on duty. According to the notes, Lisa was dead on arrival.

DEBORAH NORVILLE: Laura Vaughan, a lawyer for Scientology you saw in Matt's report, told us that the church strongly disagrees with Dr. Spaeth's conclusion. She says that one must look at the totality of what Lisa ate and drank and re-emphasized that church members were trying to help Lisa. She added that the church has hired a number of prominent forensic experts, and they are preparing reports on Lisa's death.


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