Skip to comments.Schiavo life fight waged in Tampa court, state capitol
Posted on 10/20/2003 1:00:20 PM PDT by MarMema
TAMPA, Fla. --
A watchdog agency for the disabled pleaded Monday with a federal judge to keep a brain-damaged woman in the process of starving to death alive long enough to investigate a claim that she is being abused by her husband.
The court argument came on a day of frantic activity from Tampa to Tallahassee by backers of Bob and Mary Schindler's efforts to keep their daughter Terri Schiavo alive and reverse a court order which is allowing their son-in-law to end her life with last week's removal of a feeding tube.
U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday did not immediately rule on the request for an injunction from the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, the state-appointed organization which monitors the treatment of disabled adults in Florida. Merryday said he intends to issue a decision by the day's end.
Gordon Scott, an attorney for the Tallahassee-based organization, wants a 10-day injunction to give it time to investigate whether the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube is an act of abuse. Scott said after talking to her parents and a neurologist, he is not convinced that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and is not feeling pain from starvation and dehydration.
Scott said his agency has a right to investigate whether Terri Schiavo was mistreated regardless what the judge rules, but wanted to keep her alive in the event the investigation turns up evidence she can feel what is happening to her. He didn't specifically ask that the feeding tube be reinserted, but that doctors do what is needed to keep her alive during the investigation.
George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney, said the federal judge has no jurisdiction to involve itself in the case and characterized the group's efforts as yet another attempt to undo repeated state court rulings giving Michael Schiavo permission to carry out his wife's wishes.
Michael Schiavo ordered his wife's feeding tube removed last Wednesday following a long-legal battle with his in-laws over her fate. Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 following a heart attack and has been declared by a Pinellas Circuit Court judge to be in a persistent vegetative state.
Michael Schiavo has said his 39-year-old wife never would have wanted to be kept alive artificially. Her parents contend she has enough brain function to respond to them and express emotions.
Meanwhile, at the Pinellas Park hospice where Terri Schiavo is being cared for, her family said Terri Schiavo appears to be in stable condition.
"She seems to be alert," said her brother, Bob Schindler Jr. "But every day that goes by, we're getting into a crucial time for her. She's got an incredible will to live."
In Tallahassee, some lawmakers who gathered for the special session on economic development issues on Monday discussed trying to pass legislation that could save Schiavo's life.
House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, R-Plant City, said negotiations were under way to see if some kind of a moratorium could be passed Monday to keep Schiavo alive.
Lawmakers were eyeing "moratorium on the removal of nutrition and hydration from those who do not have a written directive and where there's a contest among the family about how to deal with this," Byrd said.
"So it would be a very, very narrow approach, but it would be one that would apply to Terri's case," he said.
Senate President Jim King, R-Jacksonville, said he was not in favor of taking up the Schiavo case.
"Our family prays that the members, including Senate President Jim King, will put any politics aside and approve this bill for the sake of Terri's life and also for the sake of future Terri Schiavos," said sister Suzanne Carr.
Gov. Jeb Bush told the Schindlers that his staff would search for legal ways to save their daughter's life, but they haven't yet found a way.
"The legal ways, the remedies, don't exist," Bush said Monday. "We've tried every possible legal remedy and have been shut down by the courts."
Bush said he's done everything he can.
"I wish I could wave the magic wand and resolve this but every effort that we've had or every effort that has been proposed has either been thwarted by the courts or would be inappropriate," he said.
Attorneys last week crafted a motion to compel Bush to order an investigation into their allegations that Michael Schiavo has abused his wife. They wanted him to order to the tube reinserted so law enforcement can investigate, but two separate state courts rejected the motion.
Either he doesn't tell his office people anything or the woman many of us spoke to is a terrific liar.
In the long run, trust Phenn..
My God I hope this is not true. I would love to see this evil troll put out of business.
Why? He looks as though he's well-fed.
A Please Keep Us Posted bump!
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