Feb. 22, 2005, 1:02PM
Ruling allows removal of woman's feeding tube
DUNEDIN, Fla.-A Florida appeals court allowed a stay to expire today that had blocked the husband of a severely brain-damaged woman from removing her feeding tube.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal offered no specific instructions in a one-page mandate issued in the case of Terri Schiavo, who was left brain damaged 15 years ago. That means Michael Schiavo could order his 41-year-old wife's tube removed within hours of the appeals court action, which ended the last judicial stay blocking the tube's removal.
But Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, were seeking an emergency stay from a Pinellas County judge in hopes of keeping their daughter alive long enough for them to file additional legal pleadings in the case.
It would likely take several days for Terri Schiavo to die if the tube is pulled.
The appeals court's mandate allowed Michael Schiavo to act under previous court rulings in the years-long, highly emotional legal battle.
The appeals court has consistently upheld lower court rulings that Terri Schiavo had expressed wishes not to be kept alive artificially, although she left no written directive.
In October 2003, she went without food or water for six days before Gov. Jeb Bush pushed through a new law letting him order the tube be reinserted. The Florida Supreme Court later struck down his action as unconstitutional.
The courts also sided with Michael Schiavo when he had the tube removed for two days in 2001.
Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who twice has granted Michael Schiavo permission to remove the feeding tube, was asked to issue an emergency stay that would keep Terri Schiavo alive while her parents seek to oust their son-in-law as her guardian. The parents are also seeking additional medical tests which might back their assertion that their daughter has some mental capabilities.
George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney, did not have any immediate reaction.
Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage on Feb. 25, 1990, when a chemical imbalance believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder caused her heart to stop beating and cut off oxygen to her brain.
While she breathes on her own, she relies on the feeding tube to survive. Doctors have ruled she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery.
Still, her parents who visited her nearly every day report their daughter laughed, cried, smiled and responded to their voices. Video showing the dark-haired woman appearing to interact with her family has been televised nationally. But the court-appointed doctor has said the noises and facial expressions are reflexes.
Both sides accused each other of being motivated by greed over a $1 million medical malpractice award from doctors who failed to diagnose the chemical imbalance. The Schindlers argue Michael Schiavo should divorce their daughter.http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printsto.../front/3051584
Feb 23, '05
Help Save My Daughter From Starvation! (from Terri Schiavo's father)
Dear Friend of Life,
By now you have probably heard about a young woman who is threatened with starvation in Florida.
That young woman is my daughter, Terri. In 1990, through circumstances which are shrouded in mystery (and may involve a criminal act by Terri's estranged husband), my daughter was left severely brain-damaged.
But before I go any further, I must put an end to the lies and misinformation that are circulating around the country through the media concerning my daughter's condition.
Contrary to anything you may have heard, Terri is NOT brain dead; Terri is NOT in a coma; she is NOT in a "persistent vegetative state;" nor is she on ANY life-support system.Terri Schiavo responds to her mother's touch, Terri laughs, Terri cries, she moves, and she makes child-like attempts at speech with her mother and me. Sometimes she will say "Mom" or "Dad" or "yeah" when we ask her a question. When I kiss her hello or goodbye, she looks at me and "puckers up" her lips.
This may not seem like much to you, but it means everything to Terri's mother and me. It tells us she is still here, she still knows us, and with therapy and time she can have some level of recovery.
I know that there are some hard hearted people who believe that due to my daughters condition, she is better off dead. Words cannot describe the pain and anger such sentiments cause us. This is our daughter, our little girl, and even in her disabled condition, she still has the right to life and the right to be loved and cared for by her family.
Why, you may ask, is Terry in danger of death by starvation?
It is a long and outrageous story, but I'll give it to you as briefly as I can.
After the "incident" that left Terry in this condition, her husband Michael Schiavo sued various members of the medical community for money, saying that they did not treat or diagnose her properly at an early stage, and that he needed this money to provide for Terri's therapy and rehabilitation and care.
After lengthy court battles, he finally won upwards of $1.7 million under the guise of caring for our daughter, and then to our horror, he immediately began spending the money on himself and his Playboy lifestyle.
Terri's estranged husband Michael Schiavo has been living with another woman for years, and has two children by her. He is determined to see Terri dead. Why? We believe it's because he gets to keep whatever money is left... and he may have even darker motives than that.
To add insult to all of this injury toward my daughter, Michael Schiavo is still her "legal husband" and therefore is her "guardian." And since they are not legally divorced, he controls whatever health care she will and will not get. We are not even allowed to know if she is getting aspirin.
In 1993 my family initiated litigation against Michael Schiavo solely for the purpose of acquiring medical, physical and neurological assistance for our daughter Terri. The litigation escalated in 1998 when Michael Schiavo petitioned the court to stop Terri from receiving food and water, thereby starving her to death.
In filing this legal action, he retained the services of a high profile euthanasia attorney and the financial backing of powerful euthanasia organizations. He also used Terri's medical rehabilitation money to underwrite much of the legal expenses associated with his effort to starve our daughter to death.
We know that he has spent nearly $500,000 of Terri's money in attorney's fees for just one attorney trying to obtain a court order to have Terri starved to death. The very money that was supposed to be used for Terri's rehabilitation is being used to have her killed.
We very quickly discovered it was impossible for us to compete with the abundance of financial and legal resources the pro-death organizations were providing Micheal Schiavo in their effort to kill Terri. They are pouring time and effort into her starvation because they want to use this case to further the agenda of legalized euthanasia.
My wife and I are not wealthy people. Throughout those years, we did not have any large organizations trying to help rescue our daughter. Consequently, we had to rely on the generosity of attorneys who were willing to offer their legal expertise at no cost or at reduced fees.
The bottom line is that we are in the final weeks or months of our struggle to rescue our daughter from an untimely death by starvation. Death by starvation is very slow, and extremely painful. As you must know, it is against the law to deliberately starve an animal to death. There are members of the Florida court who would not treat a dog the way they plan to treat my daughter.
At this point we must pull out all the stops in our fight to rescue our daughter.
As parents, we are desperate to save our daughter's life. As people who love life, we are determined to deprive the euthanasia advocates of successfully legalizing this form of homicide. We believe that their efforts to kill Terri are designed to set a precedent for the future eradication of defenseless disabled human beings. I was alive when Americans fought the Nazis; I do not want my daughter to meet the same fate of thousands of disabled people in Nazi Germany, and I do not want our country to go down that same dark path.
Our adversaries believe that by our family's financial attrition and difficulties, they will attain their objective of killing our daughter. Presently, Terri's starvation may only be a few weeks away, unless we find the financial resources to prevent this atrocity from becoming a reality.
I implore you to please help us. We are writing to you, because we believe you have a heart for justice and mercy. ........
....Please do whatever you can, and forward this e-mail to any friends or family that you have who you think might be interested in saving Terri's life.
I thank you for your time, your concern, and I solicit your prayers for Terri and our entire family. These have been very trying times for us all.
Bob Schindler Sr.
Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 23, '05
: Reason: edited to conform with TOS re solicitation
Feb 23, '05
That's fine that YOU guys feel that way. All I'm saying is that some people don't (I don't). She might be one of them, she might not. My point is we don't know, so all we can do is put our own beliefs into it and interpret the situation based on those beliefs.
I'll say again, I would never forgive anyone for leaving me in a persistent vegetative state like this woman is just because I can still breathe. I can't imagine any hypothetical husband of mine allowing me to live like that by simply passing the buck to my parents. I also hope my parents love me enough to accept a medical diagnosis instead of hiding from their grief in denial and let me go. I've seen too much suffering inflicted because people are unwilling to accept reality. I don't want to be the one in the hospital bed being poked and prodded with no hope of recovery just to spare my parents feelings. Maybe that makes me a bad daughter, but I really don't care. I'd want them to deal with it and let me go with dignity. Those are my beliefs and biases and you can imagine they cloud how I see this story.
Can people even acknowledge that it's possible that living in a persistent vegetative state isn't what this woman would have wanted? Just possible.
Last edit by fergus51 on Feb 23, '05