Schiavo's Feeding Tube Is Removed + other Terri Discussion

  1. Source: Schiavo's Feeding Tube Is Removed
    Mar 18, 3:53 PM (ET)


    PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) - Doctors removed Terri Schiavo's feeding tube Friday despite an extraordinary, last-minute push by Republicans on Capitol Hill to use the subpoena powers of Congress to keep the severely brain-damaged woman alive, a source close to the case told The Associated Press.

    It is expected that it will take one to two weeks for Schiavo to die, provided no one intercedes and gets the tube reinserted. The source had been briefed on the situation but spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The removal came amid a flurry of maneuvering by Schiavo's parents, state lawmakers and Congress to keep her alive. Committees in the Republican-controlled Congress issued subpoenas for Schiavo, her husband, and her caregivers demanding that they appear at hearings on March 25 and March 28.

    But the judge presiding over the case later refused a request from House attorneys to delay the removal, which he had previously ordered to take place at 1 p.m. EST.

    "I have had no cogent reason why the (congressional) committee should intervene," Greer told attorneys in a conference call, adding that last-minute action by Congress does not invalidate years of court rulings.

    The tube's removal signals that an end may be near in a decade-long family feud between Schiavo's husband and her devoutly Roman Catholic parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. The parents have been trying to oust Michael Schiavo as their daughter's guardian and keep in place the tube that has kept her alive for more than 15 years.

    The tube has twice been removed in the past, but was re-inserted within days in both cases.

    Michael Schiavo says his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents dispute that, saying she could get better and that their daughter has laughed, cried, smiled and responded to their voices. Court-appointed physicians testified her brain damage was so severe that there was no hope she would ever have any cognitive abilities.

    Several right-to-die cases across the nation have been fought in the courts in recent years, but few, if any, have been this drawn-out and bitter.

    The case has garnered attention around the world and served as a rallying cry for conservative Christian groups and anti-abortion activists, who flooded members of Congress and Florida legislators with messages seeking to keep Schiavo alive.

    Outside Schiavo's hospice, about 30 people keeping vigil dropped to their knees in prayer when word spread of the judge's ruling calling for removal of the tube.

    "What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus," they sang. Messages on protest signs included "Impeach," a reference to the judge, and "Execution - It's Not Just for the Guilty Anymore."

    House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, told reporters in Washington earlier Friday that removal of the tube amounted to "barbarism."

    But Rep. Henry Waxman of California, senior Democrat on the Government Reform Committee, called the subpoenas a "flagrant abuse of power" and amounted to Congress dictating the medical care Terri Schiavo should receive.

    "Congress is turning the Schiavo family's personal tragedy into a national political farce," Waxman said.

    Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when a chemical imbalance apparently brought on by an eating disorder caused her heart to stop beating for a few minutes. She can breathe on her own, but has relied on the feeding and hydration tube to keep her alive.

    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 also said that Michael Schiavo wants their daughter dead so he can marry his longtime girlfriend, with whom he has young children. They have begged him to divorce their daughter, and let them care for her.

    The tangled case has encompassed at least 19 judges in at least six different courts.
    In 2001, Schiavo went without food and water for two days before a judge ordered the tube reinserted when a new witness surfaced.

    When the tube was removed in October 2003, her parents and two siblings frantically sought intervention from Gov Jeb. Bush to stop her slow starvation. The governor pushed through "Terri's Law," and six days later the tube was reinserted.

    That set off a new round of legal battles which culminated in September 2004 with the Florida Supreme Court ruling that Bush had overstepped his authority and declared the law unconstitutional.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has been unwilling to hear arguments in the case.

    On Feb. 25, Greer gave Michael Schiavo permission to order the removal of the feeding tube at 1 p.m. Friday.

    The family and lawmakers continued with their fight in recent weeks.

    In Tallahassee, the Florida House on Thursday passed a bill to block the withholding of food and water from patients in a persistent vegetative state who did not leave specific instructions on their care. Hours later, however, the Senate defeated a different measure 21-16.
  2. 279 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    This is a difficult thing for me to figure out how i feel on this. She'll starve now. But i also feel it's not just about life, it's about the quality of life.

    (and her "husband" is a ****)
  4. by   webblarsk
    So sad for everyone involved.
  5. by   fergus51
    I think it's about time. Hopefully no one will interfere and she can go in peace.
  6. by   barbiedee
    There are no real winners in this situation. I pray I am never involved in making a decision like this.
  7. by   Spidey's mom
    My heart is breaking.

  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am very conflicted on this. That is all I will say. I dont' want to take an attack for my point of view.
  9. by   danu3
    Quote from barbiedee
    There are no real winners in this situation. I pray I am never involved in making a decision like this.
    There are actually winners in this - laywers.

    Are there any news about the nurses and CNAs who took care of Terri all these years? What are theri feelings?

  10. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    I am very conflicted on this. That is all I will say. I dont' want to take an attack for my point of view.
    Deb - I don't think I've read any "attack" posts.

    It is a hard subject. We nurses work with folks in these conditions and it is hard to think of us there. But the truth is we can't make decisions for Terri based on how we feel.

  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    This amounts to an execution, IMHO.
  12. by   Nikki730
    I just saw Teri Schiavo's brother on TV, pleading with viewers to help in the fight to save Teri. This is just making me so sad (and also angry).

    I'm not thinking in terms of quality of life. You see people everyday that seem to be living lives so sad and messed up that we would kill ourselves if we woke up in their shoes, but they go on everyday with life. It's not ours to decide.

    What do you call a man who has 2 wives? (And that's what he's got...he can call her his "girlfriend" or whatever, but come on...he lives wither her, has 2 kids with her...sounds like "common law" to me.) As a parent, would you like it if your incapacitated child were married to a bigamist, who gets the right to dehydrate your child to death, which you don't want to see happen...all based on hearsay. No paperwork drawn up or anything regarding what she wanted. :angryfire

    People say things like..."He has every right to move on," etc. But I think you can't have it both ways. If you "move on," which is your right, then you can't claim that the sanctity of your marriage...which you disregarded in order to "move on"... entitles you to basically press a button...and kill someone from afar. He doesn't have to look at her die, and probably won't be there that day...but her parents and siblings probably will be there. Yes, it's their choice you might say, but they love her. It would be almost impossible not to be by her side if you had been through all this, and love her as they seem to. I just don't see how that man could do this...and I don't see how the Supreme Court could refuse to hear this case. What are they paid for anyway. What's more important than life or death?
  13. by   Mkue
    Quote from mjlrn97
    This amounts to an execution, IMHO.
    I was thinking the same thing actually.
  14. by   Mkue
    I see no winners here except for the husband, now maybe he will be able to move on with his life once his "burden" is gone. In many cases I've agreed with decisions to remove feeding tubes but this case is very difficult for me to comprehend after seeing videos of Teri interacting with her family and the unconditinal love they have for her.