Governor Bush Ends Inquiry Into Terri Schiavo's Collapse
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 7, 2005
TAMPA, FLORIDA--Governor Jeb Bush has officially closed the investigation into whether Michael Schiavo acted in a criminal manner 15 years ago when his wife, Terri, collapsed in their home and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes.
Bush had asked Pinellas and Pasco County Prosecutor Bernie McCabe to investigate a perceived time gap between when Mr. Schiavo claimed he found Terri unconscious on the floor and when he called 9-1-1 on the early morning of February 25, 1990. Terri's brain was injured from the lack of oxygen and she lapsed into a coma. Some doctors later diagnosed her as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). She died from dehydration on March 31 of this year, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed under a court order at her husband's insistence.
Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, had fought through the courts for nearly a decade to keep their daughter's feeding tube in place, and to get Mr. Schiavo to pay for therapies that they believed could help her to regain some abilities, particularly the ability to swallow. They believed that Terri was alert and aware of her surroundings, and would not have wanted to die in the manner she did. They and many of their supporters had also suggested that Mr. Schaivo might have brought about Terri's initial collapse.
Last week, McCabe reported to the governor that he could find no fact or evidence indicating that Terri's death was caused by a criminal act by Mr. Schiavo. Without such a fact or evidence, there was no legal basis to open a homicide investigation, he said.
On Thursday, Bush responded to McCabe: "Based on your conclusions, I will follow your recommendation that the inquiry by the state be closed."
The Associated Press has also reported that Michael Schiavo had Terri's cremated remains buried on June 20 in a Clearwater, Florida cemetery. He notified the Schindler family by fax after the memorial service was over.
Mr. Schiavo, who claimed that he had told Terri he would not keep her alive by artificial means, had the words "I kept my promise" inscribed on her grave marker. He also had February 25, 1990 listed as the date Terri "Departed this Earth", even though she did not die until more than 15 years later.
In a related story, the American Medical Association has voted to oppose any state legislation which assumes that patients would want life-sustaining treatment unless they have clearly state otherwise.
In its annual meeting on June 21, the nation's largest physicians group said decisions surrounding Terri Schiavo's treatment should have stayed between her family and her doctors.
More than two dozen disability groups supported the Schindlers in their efforts to keep Terri alive. They also urged a national debate over the rights of people represented by guardians who may not have their best interests in mind. Disability rights activists joined right-to-life groups in protests and vigils outside the facilities where Terri's feeding tube was pulled on three separate occasions -- in April 2001, October 2003, and, finally, March 2005.
"Attorney: Schiavo's Remains Buried in Fla." (Associated Press)
"Autopsy suggests Schiavo cognizant" (WorldNetDaily)
"Autopsy proves one thing: Schiavo's dead -- now" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"Poll: Bush wrong about Schiavo" (Orlando Sentinel)
"American Medical Association acts on Terri Schiavo-inspired policy" (Associated Press via FindLaw)
"Mark Fuhrman Eyes Schiavo Husband" (CBS News)
"No Crime Found In Schiavo Collapse" (CBS News)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)