Schindlers Ask Court To Hold Son-in-law In Contempt
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 26, 2004
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA--The parents of Terri Schiavo claimed Friday that their son-in-law is not providing them with medical information about their daughter, in violation of an 8-year-old court order.
Bob and Mary Schindler asked Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer to hold a hearing to look into their allegations that Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband and legal guardian, is withholding information about her medical condition and has instructed caregivers to do the same. The Schindlers said that Mr. Schiavo should face contempt-of-court charges because a 1996 court order requires him to share information regarding her medical status with her parents in a timely manner.
Mr. Schiavo's attorney argued that his client has followed the order by providing information to the Schindlers through their attorneys.
The Schindlers' attorneys, however, said they have not been receiving sufficient information as requested.
Judge Greer said he would decide as early as Monday whether to proceed with the hearing.
"We've been fighting this for eight years," said Terri's brother, Bob Schindler Jr.
Terri, 40, currently lives in a Clearwater nursing home. Court appointed doctors, along with her husband, believe that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" -- that she cannot interact with her surroundings, cannot feel pain, and cannot recover -- since she collapsed and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes in 1990. She regulates her own heart rate and breathing, but is given food and water through a feeding tube installed through the wall of her stomach.
The courts have consistently supported Michael Schiavo's claims that his wife would not have wanted to live in her presented condition. He successfully petitioned to have her feeding tube removed so she would die of starvation and dehydration on October 16, 2003.
Terri's parents believe that she is alert and responsive and that she could improve with therapies which Mr. Schiavo has refused to allow. The Schindlers want him removed as Terri's guardian and have pushed for an investigation into their claims that he has abused, neglected and financially exploited her. They also suspect that he may have caused Terri's initial collapse.
The Schindlers and disability rights advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. With their urging and that of right-to-life advocates, Governor Jeb Bush championed "Terri's Law" which allowed the legislature to give him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted on October 22, 2003.
Mr. Schiavo immediately sued the governor, claiming that the law violated Terri's privacy, along with the Florida Constitution.
That case is pending.
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)