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D-Day For Terri Schiavo, Again

5:00PM Eastern time is when the stay preventing the court sanctioned the death of Terri Schiavo expires.

(CNN.com) -- A Florida judge is expected to decide Wednesday whether Terri Schiavo's husband can remove the feeding tube that keeps the severely brain-damaged woman alive.

A hearing in front of Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer was under way, on a request by her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, to block the tube's removal until they can pursue additional legal challenges.

Greer agreed Tuesday to issue a stay until the hearing after a state appeals court cleared the way for the tube to be removed.

Schiavo, 41, has been at the center of a court battle between her husband, Michael, and her parents since suffering heart failure in 1990 that left her severely brain damaged.

She breathes on her own but needs a feeding tube for nutrition and hydration to stay alive. She isn't terminally ill or comatose.

Terri Schiavo's fate rests in the hands of Judge Greer who has previously ruled that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state. His previous rulings have been in Michael Schiavo's favor. Should Judge Greer not grant a further stay, Michael Schiavo's lawyer has indicated that he will begin the process of starving Terri to death immediately, meaning this evening.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who shepherded the passage of a special bill in 2003 to save Terri, is still looking for ways to legally intercede. You can send him an e-mail by clicking this link: [email protected], or you can call his office at the Florida State Capitol at 850-488-4441.

Update: As Jeff notes below, the stay has been extended until Friday.


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Comments (31)

DUNEDIN, Fla. - A judge has... (Below threshold)

DUNEDIN, Fla. - A judge has extended an emergency stay that will keep Terri Schiavo's feeding tube in place until 5 p.m. EST Friday.

What cause or legal tennant... (Below threshold)

What cause or legal tennant continues to require these "stays". Is there a point of fact that has not been distinguqished or ruled on? These continued "stays" are only prolonging the enevitable and probably doing more harm than good.

Dammit all.<... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

Dammit all.

~Cindy

Isn't killing Terri doing m... (Below threshold)

Isn't killing Terri doing more harm than good?

Let's say the "pro-dead Terri" people are right: Terri's in a PVS. She has no brain function left at all. She doesn't think. She doesn't feel joy, sorrow, fear or pain. Especially pain. If that's true, then what's the harm in keeping her alive? It can't cause her any pain or suffering to be kept alive because she feels no pain or suffering.

Would keeping her alive cause anyone else any pain, sorrow or suffering? I can't see that it would. Her husband has obviously moved on from any pain, sorrow or suffering he felt. He's engaged to another woman and has already had children with her.

So would murdering Terri cause anyone else any pain, sorrow or suffering? Very much so! Her parents would be absolutely devastated. Many others would be, too.

So let me ask, why again are "we" killing Terri?

Jinx,Because the law... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Jinx,
Because the law in Florida says the next of kin gets to make the decision. In this case, that is Michael Schiavo. I for one think it would not be a bad thing for Terri's parents to take over her care and keep her alive, and I wonder why her husband doesn't just give them control. If in fact the insurance money is already gone, it may be that he believes Terri would not want to go on like this.

What I don't get is why her... (Below threshold)

What I don't get is why her husband is so damned intent on terminating her. It's not as if her parents wouldn't be overjoyed to take over.

Truely, I haven't followed every bit of this saga, but I just don't get it.

Why doesn't he just walk away and let her parents care for her?

Evidently he has children by another woman, now. How would he feel if a veritable stranger demanded the right to terminate the life of one of his children?

All this means is that on 5... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

All this means is that on 5PM Friday they can disconnect her she can remain disconnected until they are able to file another motion on Monday and a judge rules on it. If it takes a while to work it's way through channels and the judge drags his feet she may be dead before he's forced to file a response. Straight out of the Judge's Book of Dirty Tricks. That judge has done nothing more than pass the buck.

If her husband is "allowed... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

If her husband is "allowed" to murder her by withholding food, I only wish that Judge Greer and other proponents of that process (including those who comment here and on the recent previous thread), could somehow be forced to watch the entire process. Vindictive? You bet.

“She's my life and I wouldn... (Below threshold)
WendiSue:

“She's my life and I wouldn't trade her for the world. I believe in my wedding vows,” testified an emotional Michael Schiavo during the medical malpractice trial in 1992. “I believe in the vows that I took with my wife, through sickness, in health, for richer or poorer. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that.”

Impressed with his pledge, the jury took pity on him and awarded him money that was placed into trust for Terri’s medical care and rehabilitation.

Soon after the money was in the bank, Michael Schiavo became intent on doing the precise opposite of what he promised the court he would do. He instructed doctors not to treat his incapacitated wife for an infection as early as 1993 and again in 1995. He would later testify that he knew doing so could be fatal to her.

From: http://pamelahennessy.com/blog/2005/02/promise-is-promise.html

We don't know that the money is gone. MIchael and his lawyers say it is gone. If this is true, he spent money he received for Terri's therapy on lawyers devoted to finding a way for him to kill her.

We don't know what other money there might have been- property, for instance. We do know that Michael has another life and Terri's parents want their daughter home with them where they will care for her. We know MIchael went to court promising to provide therapy and care for Terri, and once he got the checks, he broke that promise and went back to court trying to kill her.

She is not brain dead as ma... (Below threshold)
Clay Jarr:

She is not brain dead as many have asserted. She has cognitive abilities, recognizes and responds to others and makes attempts at verbal communication. Twelve medical experts, nurses who cared for her, family members and, recently, a Catholic Priest, confirmed these facts. With the exception of a removable feeding tube, which experts testified could be eliminated if she were given therapy, she is not on any life support.

The big questions for me are where does the line get drawn? Who draws it? An ethically bankrupt judge from an immoral system? Wow, just look at how far we've come.

Thanks, Wendi! That's exac... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Wendi! That's exactly what I was talking about. Once all that money showed up, Michael's tune changed radically. Violently, even.

Since when have Catholic Pr... (Below threshold)

Since when have Catholic Preists become experts on neurological defecit? So many of you believe what you want, yet ignore any contradictory evidence. I'd love to see the names of these "experts" and do a little digging. I bet I wouldnt' be suprised at what I would find.

Gabriel,Re-read wh... (Below threshold)
Clay Jarr:

Gabriel,

Re-read what I posted. I never asserted any expert credentials for the Catholic priest. Please don't misrepresent what I said and we'll get along just fine.

In what kind of sick, fucke... (Below threshold)
James:

In what kind of sick, fucked-up world does a judge get to decide what constitutes a "persistent vegetative state"? Shouldn't that be, like, a panel of doctors or something? And if they can't agree, shouldn't they err on the side of not killing people?


Also, way back when this first went to the courts last year, I seem to remember somebody saying that the woman had said (but, sadly, not written out) that she didn't want to be "unplugged" in just such a situation -- something about her religious beliefs, I think. Anybody else hear that?

James: The last I heard, T... (Below threshold)

James: The last I heard, Terri's parents asserted that she would never have wanted to be terminated in such a state, but her husband maintains that she'd communicated the opposite during the course of their marriage.

Four words: Living Will. Get one.

My wife and I are clear in our wishes: if we go PVS, we want the plug pulled. I don't consider the state Terri is in to be "living", as Ayn Rand would put it, as man qua man.

In this case, of course, the courts must comply with their best understanding of Terri's wishes. Whether it's "best" for Terri to live or die is not something strangers should decide FOR her. But if the timing laid out above re: the money received by Michael Schiavo is accurate, there are ample grounds to believe he is not acting in his wife's interests.

I don't remember anything a... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I don't remember anything about Terri expressing a wish to not be unplugged, but I think the evidence provided that she wanted to be unplugged is pretty flimsy.

I can't imagine deciding something like that, and not telling anyone in my family that that is what I wanted. As a matter of fact my mom, sister and I had lots of discussions over what we would want done, not done and in what circumstances.

Also, I would have more confidence in Michael Schiavo's testimony had he not been all about the therapy and loving his wife, when it came to getting money, then all about killing her, when the checks were cut.

Also, the money is gone now (if what he says is true) but remember that had he had his way back when he decided to kill her, if he had his way, he would have been sitting on a lot of money. His motivations are suspect all through this, and therefore he should not be the one making these decisions. If we think the Schindlers are too emotinoally involved to decide, then at the very least somebody should have been appointed to make these decisions.

This whole case convinces me that courts shouldn't even entertain removing people from food/water, if they didn't have some written directive.

James,since the pa... (Below threshold)
Bill:

James,

since the parents and husband disagreed the court held trial (actually 2 trials) to determine Terri's wishes.

The last trial the husband picked 2 doctors, the parents 2 doctors, and since neither side could agree on a 5th doctor the court picked one.

The opinion presented by the husband's physicians as well as by the physician picked by the court did establish that Terri is in a PVS with no hope of recovery. This was backed up with credible, verifyable references to peer-reviewed medical literature.

OTOH, the doctors picked by the parents were never able to present any verifyable evidence of their claim that Terri was not in a PVS.

But they went much further than that, claiming their proprietary and very expensive treatments could substantially improve or even cure Terri. The trial and appellate courts deemed their testimony anecdotal, and not medically credible.

Both of the doctors picked by the parents were alternative practitioners. Simply put, what that means under Florida law is that they cannot realistically be held accountable for whatever medical claims they make. One was not even a neurologist, just a radiologist who claimed he could cure Terri via Michael Jackson-style pressurized oxygen therapy.

The other doctor picked by the parents was at the time fighting for his medical license with the Florida medical board, who felt he was such an immediate threat to patients that they sought to place him on probation under the supervision of another physician!

At this point it would take a real neurologist (not alternative practitioner) reviewing entire Terri's medical file and referencing the relevant literature, if you want to make a credible case that she is not in a PVS.

In 15 years, that's never happened.

Well, aren't they in essenc... (Below threshold)

Well, aren't they in essence trying to execute this poor woman?

Can't Jeb grant her clemency?

There's considerable variat... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

There's considerable variation in the "facts" and the interpretation of them and very few people grasp them all. I would suggest that anyone that is really interested in this particular case, and not the general debate of Right-To-Life etc. review Pinellas County Court records to go straight to the source (legal record) and skip the bias of everyone assembled. That is the closest record we will ever acquire and allows everyone the fairest view. Would it require time and effort? You bet - but the ping-pong ball keeps gettting bounced back and forth unneccessarily.

Just a $0.02 idea.

Michael wants her dead fore... (Below threshold)

Michael wants her dead fore wayyyy more than the money. I'd say he has something to do with her "mysterious" collapse. He's scared that if she does regain her ability to communicate complexly, she'll tell exactly what happened and he'll be in deep trouble.

Terri's brother was on days... (Below threshold)

Terri's brother was on dayside today. He said that Michael (the husband) did not "reveal" the "wishes of Terri" until 2 yrs after the accident. He says that the speech therapists that have seen Terri says she is verbally communicating, and could learn to speak again (and could have) if therapy was given. The thing is Michael has been in charge and has not allowed any rehabilitation. THis is not a person in a coma lying there. Her brother says she reacts and verbalizes when they are in the room.
Michael is obviously in love with another woman, why doesn't he just divorce Terri and let her parents take her home and care for her (which is what her brother said they wanted to do) There has to be more money invovled somewhere. Or he just wants to be done with her, or as someone mentioned before, may not want her to speak.

I don't usually bother gett... (Below threshold)
Beth:

I don't usually bother getting into Michael's motivations because the whole issue is much bigger than just him, but what SilverBubble just said might explain why he has since 1993 (when the malpractice lawsuit was settled and he received over $1 million to be used for her rehab) REFUSED to allow any rehabilitative therapies/treatments to be used for her. She WAS receiving some rehab before the lawsuit. Many (neuro) doctors have stated that she may respond quite well to rehabilitative services, even after this extended period of deprived (yes, it has been disallowed) stimulation.

I know, I know, the courts have ruled. I know some of you say "what ever happened to the rule of law." What ever happened to the BASIC RIGHT we have to life? Do the judgements of a couple of Florida judges supercede our basic Constitutional (and God-given, in most people's opinion) right to life?

You can look all day at court documents, but simple court document examination does not address the basic ethical issues in this. Why do you think disability advocates are just as vehement in their support of Terri as Operation Rescue? It isn't about a religious crusade, folks. Who are we to decide what level of ability or function is worth a right to life, particularly in the absence of a patient's written directive (rather than he said/she said)?

Another thing: Everyone says "get a living will so this doesn't happen to you." YES, DO. But MAKE SURE you know what you are directing! Most people do not order removal of a feeding tube if it's the only life support being used, and neither have I. Just know what you're asking for and listen to people who know what really happens in these situations (specifically, medical professionals)--you might be surprised.

And Kevin, thanks for posting on this again and for posting the phone number and email address for Gov. Bush.

See also: BlogsForTerri.

GabrielActually I ... (Below threshold)

Gabriel

Actually I think even debating whether or not she is PVS is irrelevant. Her parents and her siblings are willing to care for her.

She can be cared for VS she can be killed in a very cruel manner (death through starvation is not fun. Wanna see pics of kids starved to death by their "parents"?) it should have been a slamdunk decision.

I'm a very firm believer in the Rule of Law..and I also recognize that the LAW does good when it serves as a vehicle for morality. When it fails to serve the moral good, it becomes BAD law ...be it Jim Crow laws, or whatever judicial ruling that allows a man with an obvious conflict of interest to withdraw, not extraordinary life support, but basic food and water.

Somehow, I see this as the equivalent of the ancient practice of leaving helpless and unwanted infants outside to die of exposure and starvation.

Terri may be helpless, but she is not unwanted.

RE: Beth's post (February 2... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Beth's post (February 23, 2005 10:02 PM)
You can look all day at court documents, but simple court document examination does not address the basic ethical issues in this.

Simple court document examination? No such animal unless it's a parking ticket.

It is true that some ethical divide may exist in current Florida, and perhaps Federal, law. But we need to remind ourselves that this is a LEGAL issue at this point and not an ethical one. The judicial is supposedly restrained by legislative precedence and it is the system that this society has determined to be the most equitable considering all options available. Hopefully this fabric is not so frayed around the edges that it unravels despite an occasional loose thread.

By all means advocate and petition change for the next group of legislators to address your civil preferences and interpretation of right versus wrong; however, the die has been cast.

To be fair to Liberals, Conservatives are typically quite unwavering in their adherence to law and a desire that an activist bench NOT overstep statutes which currently exist. I find it a bit unfair to take a contrary view in this particular circumstance without recognizing this policy reversal.

Darleen touches on this but does not go quite as far as I do in backing the firmer position. That's a bit puzzling to me but, again, gray area will forever color this debate.

Every time I see this story... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Every time I see this story I try to put myself in Terry's place. Personally,IMHO,just the way I think for myself(just trying to clarify that)I would rather die than spend the rest of my life as she has for the last 15 years. It just is not living to me. I wouldn't treat my dog like that. No one would. Everyone discusses the leagal ramifications,the money,the motives,the husbands feelings,the parents feelings,who should decide what,and I just see this woman living the life of the undead. Anyway you look at it is a very sad story.

To be fair to Liberals, ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

To be fair to Liberals, Conservatives are typically quite unwavering in their adherence to law and a desire that an activist bench NOT overstep statutes which currently exist. I find it a bit unfair to take a contrary view in this particular circumstance without recognizing this policy reversal.

Exactly. Thanks for the link to FL public records Anon.

RE: mantis's post (February... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: mantis's post (February 23, 2005 11:39 PM)
Exactly. Thanks for the link to FL public records Anon.

You're welcome. "Facts is facts", or so I've heard.

At any rate, don't get too comfortable and curl up next to the fireplace. I'll throw a bone your way only occasionally since we are sworn enemies. ;)

ADWhen Rosa Park r... (Below threshold)

AD

When Rosa Park refused to move to the back of the bus, she defied The Law.

Sometimes, the Law is an ass.

From what I've read there is enough law on the books in FL now about the purposeful starvation of a human or animal that I wonder exactly who is/is not being an "activist" here.

What if Terri could eat on her own, but functioned little differently than how she does now (there seems to be quite a bit of controversy that she could eat on her own if trained, but such rehab was denied to her)... could she still be starved by her "husband" just because?

I find it amazing that while I work in an office that PROSECUTES people for abusing the helpless in their care, here is a judge endorsing it.

RE: Darleen's post (Februar... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Darleen's post (February 24, 2005 12:31 AM)

And round-n-round we go.

Sometimes, the Law is an ass.
Most assuredly true. I just don't happen to think it is in this particular case and you do. I respect your position and I'd hope you'd respect mine.

From what I've read there is enough law on the books in FL now about the purposeful starvation of a human or animal that I wonder exactly who is/is not being an "activist" here.
Everyone who states a position publicly is an "activist". I've mentioned where my tendencies lie and believe I've done so fairly. Further, I've repeated that there is considerable gray and that almost no one here, if anyone, knows every facet of this case. Further still, I thought it fruitful to suggest that should someone be really interested in the finer points of the Schiavo case and filed law, that they review it on their own rather than blindly follow the potentially uneducated positions of those posting (including mine) or the posting of the intentionally misleading. If the sum total of my contribution is considered "activist" by you, so be it. I've been especially clear or at least as clear and direct as I know how to be about such a polarizing issue. I submit I've been pretty fair too.

I refuse to get stuck in the weeds of the million permutations of ethical "What ifs..." since blogs are typically not fruitful forums for such debate. Too often it escalates into personal affronts subsequent to infinite and excruciating branching with endless assumptions that may or may not be relevant. It would be nice if a blog were conducive to such discourse, but I've yet to see it. The most recent ones at Wizbang have been reasonably civil, but rest assured if it became a serious discourse with true repercussions, I would bet money that things would deteriorate quickly - to that end, I'd relegate such discourse to face-to-face meetings.

I recognize your activism for what it is as well. That's OK and I hope it, as well as the other contrarian views, awaken this country from its typically stupored delay in consideration of such topics. That is the silver lining in this Schiavo cloud that everyone can appreciate should they pause and get past the philosophical thunderclaps that deaden our hearing.

Darleen,I guess I ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Darleen,

I guess I should append that the judge may or may not be acting as "activist" if that was indeed the activism to which your inferred. Clearly the judiciary has been put in an unenviable position of making the best of a bad situation - it will be damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. I'm willing to grant it some flexibility either way though my instincts (obviously non-binding) tell me the law is pretty clear.

"To be fair to Liberals, Co... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"To be fair to Liberals, Conservatives are typically quite unwavering in their adherence to law and a desire that an activist bench NOT overstep statutes which currently exist. I find it a bit unfair to take a contrary view in this particular circumstance without recognizing this policy reversal."

AD it is impossible to say the judge isn't being the activist in this case.

This case was a he said/she said, and she never said to any of her own family members that she wanted to die, and her husband only said she wanted to after he got a nice big fat check (one very large on for himself, and an even larger one for Terri's therapy). I have said it multiple times, I can't imagine never making my wishes known in these cases to my own family. I find it very suspicious that there aren't any real witnesses other than the guy who is going to get rich, if she dies (and the fact that the money is gone now doesn't matter, because had he had his way, and killed her years ago, the money would have been his). In a case like this, where especially it is death by starvation/dehydration I think the government should er on the side of caution and not be in the business of killing people.

I also think the fact that the judge has let Michael pass on his duties as the guardian for years, and hasn't held him accountable indicates this judge is probably in the "kill her camp, because hey she can't have a good quality of life now" and this opinion colors everything else, including letter Michael Schiavo skip out on his duties to his wife.




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