Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Terri Schiavo Situation Critical; Advocates Hope For Gov. Bush Intervention
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 25, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Terri Schiavo's family, along with supporters of her right to continue living, were dealt three serious blows in recent days. They are hopeful, however, that help may come from Governor Jeb Bush before a judge orders Terri to starve to death.

Terri has been the center of a battle between her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo, who claims she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" for the last 13 years and would want to die, and her parents, who believe she is responsive, aware of her surroundings, would benefit from rehabilitative therapies and should be allowed to continue living.

On Friday, the Florida Supreme Court refused for the second time to intervene on her parent's behalf. All seven of the justices signed the brief order, which noted that the court would not allow any future motions.

The ruling gives the green light to Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer to schedule the removal of the feeding tube that is providing Terri with food and water. That decision could come as early as September 11, when a visitation hearing is scheduled. Once the tube is removed, Terri would likely die in 10 to 14 days. Her parents want an assessment done to see if Terri can be spoon-fed.

Sunday night, Terri was moved back to Morton Plant Hospital with lung congestion and "a substantial infection", just a few days after she was released from the hospital. Terri's parents were not informed of the second hospitalization until Monday afternoon.

Later on Monday afternoon, an attorney for Michael Schiavo submitted a motion to Judge Greer asking that all medical treatment at the hospital be stopped and that Terri be moved back to the hospice that has been her home for the last five years, so she can "die in a peaceful setting with comfort care".

Attorney George Felos admitted in his motion that Terri Schiavo would likely recover from the infection because she is getting antibiotics intravenously at the hospital. Felos wrote, however, that "further treatment (other than comfort care) for the ward's infection and other medical conditions is unnecessary, unwarranted, inappropriate and futile" since it is inevitable that Greer will allow her to starve to death.

Terri's parents and supporters do have one last hope: Governor Jeb Bush.

The Florida Coalition for Disability Rights asked Bush to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem "to protect the best interests of Terri Schiavo as an individual" and "to ascertain Terri Schiavo's current status and potential for recovery."

"Erring on the side of caution so that the state never takes a human life improperly is a reasonable request," the FCDR said in a media statement. "The fundamental policy issue at stake is whether or not the state can deprive a person with a disability of life because their medical need has become too expensive or some members of the family are no longer willing to care."

"The state stands on a slippery slope. Without caution, the slope leads to a precipice and the precipice leads to death for Terri Schiavo and all like her."

Bush responded that his options are limited by the court's decisions, along with the fact that Terri already does have a legal guardian. According to the Associated Press, Bush said he is "looking at another option," but declined to elaborate.

"We're trying to find a way to intervene in a thoughtful way that recognizes ultimately the decision in court," Bush is quoted as saying Monday.

"Terri Schindler Schiavo Placed in Hospital in Critical Condition" (
"Schiavo's husband wants medical treatment stopped" (Associated Press via Lakeland Ledger)
"Terri Schiavo's Reasonable Doubt" (FCDR)
"Terri' Fight" (Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.