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Conflict of Interest Charged in Florida Euthanasia Case ^ | 9/17/03 | Jeff Johnson

Posted on 09/17/2003 9:40:57 AM PDT by kattracks

Capitol Hill ( - Supporters of Terri Schindler Schiavo, the 39-year-old disabled Florida woman whose husband is attempting to remove her feeding tube which would end her life, charged a possible conflict of interest in the case Tuesday, one day after the judge postponed a decision on therapy for the woman to help her re-learn to swallow nutrients given to her by mouth.

The group working to get therapy and rehabilitative services for Terri alleges an improper link between the husband's attorney, George Felos, and court-appointed physician Dr. Peter Bambakidis, who was charged with providing an impartial review of the medical evidence in the case. Felos refused to comment on the allegation.

"Supporters of Terri believe that attorney George Felos had a personal relationship with either the Bambakidis family or with Peter Bambakidis prior to Dr. Peter Bambakidis being assigned as an independent examining physician in April of 2002," said Pamela Hennessy, spokeswoman for the group.

Hennessy referred to marketing materials distributed by Felos in which he lists some of the professional and social organizations in which he holds membership.

"A member of the Florida Bar and Clearwater Bar Association, Felos served as a member of the Clearwater Bar Appellate Law Committee, as governor of the American Hellenic Education Progressive Association (AHEPA), and as chair of numerous National Association of Securities Dealers arbitration panels," the document states.

AHEPA is a Greek fraternal organization that counts among its members Gust Bambakidis, chairman of the physics department at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and the older brother of Peter Bambakidis.

The elder Bambakidis confirmed to Tuesday that it was his brother, Peter, who testified in the Terri Schindler Schiavo case.

"He was down in Florida because he was, I think he was asked to be an expert witness in a case. I think that's what that was all about" Gust Bambakidis said.

Gust Bambakidis said his younger brother is not a member of AHEPA, which was confirmed by the group's national headquarters. The older brother also said that he does not know George Felos.

Peter Bambakidis did not return calls to his office seeking comment for this report.

Felos refuses to answer questions

Felos Tuesday refused to answer questions about his client's case or about any possible relationship with the Bambakidis family, saying's coverage of the controversy was "atrociously biased so I'm just not going to participate in it."

"In one of your articles ... I was described, not by someone else, but by the author of the article as a 'euthanasia attorney,' or 'pro-euthanasia attorney,'" Felos claimed, "which is inaccurate. I don't support euthanasia, I never have, I've been very clear about my position."

Felos was unable to identify any article in which the alleged description of him occurred.

Of the 16 articles has published regarding the Terri Schindler Schiavo case, only six have contained the word "euthanasia" and none have done so referring directly or indirectly to Felos.

He has been identified by as "a noted author and advocate in Florida's so-called 'right to die' movement," and as "a well-known advocate of the so-called 'right-to-die'," along with variations of the phrase "Michael Schiavo's attorney."

Felos authored the book Litigation as Spiritual Practice, which includes in its promotion by Blue Dolphin Publishing the statement that "Attorney George Felos became the legal advocate of Estelle Browning's right-to-die and in the process plumbed the depths of death and dying and spearheaded a social revolution to enable death with dignity in the state of Florida."

Felos has been described as a "right-to-die lawyer" by the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Orlando Sentinel has described Felos as the author of "a book about his right-to-die advocacy."

Judge set to rule on removal of feeding tube, swallowing therapy

Pinellas-Pasco, Florida, Circuit Judge George Greer refused to hear the Schindler family's motion that Terri be given immediate therapy to help her re-learn to swallow food on her own, before her feeding tube (technically referred to as a "gastrostomy" or "g-tube") is removed. Greer told attorney Pat Anderson that the issue is still being considered as part of the decision about when the tube will be removed.

"He told litigating attorneys that he would deliver a ruling on the removal of Terri's feeding tube as well as the emergency motion for immediate therapy ... on Wednesday," Hennessy told "But he's not calling another hearing. It's assumed, at this stage, that he's going to deliver whatever ruling he has via facsimile or courier."

Terri Schindler Schiavo suffered a brain injury due to oxygen depravation in 1990 under questionable circumstances. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, first petitioned the court to remove her feeding tube in 1998 shortly after winning a $1.2 million medical malpractice lawsuit on his wife's behalf. Terri's parents and siblings are seeking therapy and rehabilitation for her based on claims by some medical professionals that she could partially recover with additional care.

See related articles:
'Death Date' Delayed in Terri Schindler Schiavo Case
Disabled Woman's Family, Former Nurses Seek Inquiry

E-mail a news tip to Jeff Johnson.

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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: schiavo

1 posted on 09/17/2003 9:40:58 AM PDT by kattracks
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To: kattracks
Felos claimed, "which is inaccurate. I don't support euthanasia, I never have, I've been very clear about my position."

Yes Mr. Felos, euthanasia is much too classy a word for STARVING SOMEONE TO DEATH!

2 posted on 09/17/2003 9:47:34 AM PDT by katnip
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To: kattracks
I would say prayers are working in this case. Nothing is impossible with Our Lord on our side!
3 posted on 09/17/2003 9:48:30 AM PDT by netmilsmom (I may hide, but I never leave!)
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