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Judge Postpones Schiavo Feeding-Tube Removal While Considering Swallowing Therapy
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 15, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court Judge George Greer refused Monday to order swallowing therapy for Terri Schindler Schiavo, but said he will make a decision on the matter later in the week.

The order had been requested by Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who have been waging a battle against her husband, Michael Schiavo, to keep Terri alive. The Schindlers had also requested to have Michael Schiavo removed as guardian, claiming that he has a conflict of interest because he is engaged to another woman with whom he has one child and is expecting another.

Greer said the Schindlers' attorneys had not used the proper legal process in asking for the order.

Greer has postponed scheduling the removal of the feeding tube that provides Terri with food and water.

Terri collapsed and was without oxygen for several minutes in 1990 when she was 26 years old. Since then she has been in what some doctors describe as a "persistent vegetative state". For several years, her husband has said that Terri told him prior to the event that she would not want to live in that condition. Courts have supported him in his desire to have the feeding tube removed so Terri will die.

Terri's parents have produced documents from medical professionals that argue that Terri is alert, responsive and could benefit from rehabilitative therapies, including spoon-feeding. The Schindlers claim that Michael wants Terri to die, in part, so he will be able to take advantage of what is left of a $700,000 insurance settlement.

Last week, a family representative said that a group of advocates had put together a formal request to state's attorney, Bernie McCabe, asking him to investigate allegations that Michael has abused his wife and refused to allow any rehabilitation for her. Affidavits from former caregivers suggest that Michael Schiavo was uncaring and abusive to his wife when she was in a nursing home during the mid 1990s.

Terri's parents also asked Judge Greer to be removed from their daughter's case, claiming he violated Florida's Code of Judicial Conduct by discussing details of the case with colleagues and the media.

Greer has reportedly denied that motion, but his decision is expected to be appealed.

Related resources:
"Woman's food-tube dispute nears end" (Orlando Sentinel)
"Disabled Woman's Family, Former Nurses Seek Inquiry" (Cybercast News Service)
"Too thin a line between life, death for Schiavo" (St. Petersburg Times)
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation


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