Date Set Again For Removal Of Terri Schiavo's Feeding
Parents Allege Conflict Of Interest On Husband's Legal Team
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 18, 2003
TAMPA, FLORIDA--A judge has scheduled 2:00 p.m. October 15 for the removal of a feeding tube that provides nourishment for Terri Schiavo.
If the removal goes as scheduled, Terri is expected to die of starvation and dehydration within 10 to 14 days later.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court Judge George Greer's order Wednesday was at least the fourth time in the past 2 1/2 years that he has scheduled Terri's feeding tube removed at the request of her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo, and against the wishes of her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. In each of those cases, the most recent of which was last November, legal efforts by Terri's parents and supporters of her right to continue living have successfully postponed the removal or got the tube reinstalled.
Earlier this week, Greer refused to order swallowing therapies that could help Terri to be spoon-fed once the feeding tube is removed from her stomach. On Wednesday, he also refused speech therapy for Terri that her parents had requested.
Disability groups are watching the case carefully, worried that Terri's death will send a message that people with severe disabilities are not worth keeping alive.
"It is clear that Florida is not the state in which to get sick," Pat Anderson, a lawyer representing Terri's parents, said in a statement. "This case demonstrates that we all need to be very, very careful in choosing a spouse."
Anderson continues to work on a federal lawsuit that would require therapy for Terri and possibly postpone her death.
In February 1990, Terri's heart stopped and she was without oxygen for about five minutes. Since then, she has been in what some doctors describe as a "persistent vegetative state" from which Judge Greer and Michael Schiavo believe she cannot recover. Mr. Schiavo first petitioned to have Terri's feeding tube removed in May 1998, several years after receiving $700,000 in an insurance settlement.
Terri's parents say their daughter responds to her surroundings, laughs and tries to talk with them. Since the mid-1990s they have consistently fought for Terri to receive rehabilitative therapies, which her husband has refused. They have also tried, unsuccessfully, to get Terri's husband removed as guardian.
Judge Greer and Florida's appellate courts have sided consistently with Michael Schiavo, who claims Terri told him she would not have wanted to be kept alive by artificial means.
In a related development, Terri's parents claimed Tuesday that there was an improper connection between Michael's attorney and a doctor that testified for the court in April 2002. They alleged that there may have been a conflict of interest because of a personal relationship between George Felos and court-appointed physician Dr. Peter Bambakidis, who was supposed to have provided an impartial review of the medical evidence.
"Judge sets new date to remove food tube" (St. Petersburg Times)
"Conflict of Interest Charged in Florida Euthanasia Case" (Cybercast News Service)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation