Appeals Court Hears Arguments In Schiavo Case
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 4, 2003
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA--An attorney for Theresa "Terri" Schiavo's parents tried Friday to persuade an appeals court to keep their daughter alive.
Pat Anderson urged the 2nd District Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling last fall by a Pinellas County court judge, that would have had Schiavo's feeding tube removed so she would die.
"The fact that she cannot bring a spoon to her mouth should not be a death warrant," Anderson told the three-judge appellate panel Friday.
Anderson explained that there is a chance Schiavo might improve, if certain therapies are tried -- therapies that have not been attempted since Schiavo fell into a coma 13 years ago.
"What's it going to hurt to give her some therapy she's been entitled to anyway?" Anderson asked the judges.
In 1990, Schiavo had a heart attack which caused her to go without oxygen for five minutes and lapse into a coma. She has been considered by many doctors to be in a "chronic vegetative state" since then.
Her parents say she laughs at jokes, turns her head, smiles, cries, moans and drinks water. They have been fighting in the courts against Terri's husband in order to keep her alive. If Terri dies, Michael Schiavo stands to gain part of a $700,000 malpractice judgment.
Twelve disability rights groups, a university affiliated policy center, a patients' rights group, and two people who have experienced severe brain injury filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief supporting Terri's right to food, water and treatment. They are concerned that a ruling against Schiavo's parents would send the message that people with disabilities are not valuable enough to keep alive.
Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, told the judges that Terri once told Michael she would not want to be kept alive under these circumstances. Felos also argued that there is "overwhelming" evidence Terri will not recover.
The appellate court is expected to rule on the case within the next few weeks.