Terri Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed;
Governor Bush Pledges Action
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 15, 2003
TAMPA, FLORIDA--Doctors on Wednesday afternoon removed the feeding tube that provided nourishment to Terri Schiavo.
If the feeding tube is not replaced, Terri is expected to die within the next two weeks.
About 100 disability rights advocates and right to life activists have been keeping a 24-hour vigil outside the hospice that has been Terri's home for the last several years. Some hold signs with "Keep Terri alive" and "Starvation is murder."
The advocates are hoping for a last-minute reprieve. Two years ago, Terri's feeding tube had been removed for two days before the court ordered it replaced after new evidence was found in her case.
Earlier Wednesday, Governor Jeb Bush told Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, that he was directing his legal staff to find a way to block the court order that allows Michael Schiavo to end his wife's life.
"We are going to seek whatever legal alternatives are available and seek the best minds to find another avenue to submit to the courts to see if there can be a change in this ruling," Bush said.
"I am not a doctor, I am not a lawyer," the governor added. "But I know that if a person can be able to sustain life without life support, that should be tried."
Terri's family visited her shortly after the feeding tube was removed.
"She's OK for the next couple of days," said Suzanne Carr, Terri's sister. "We are just going to try to work some magic and hopefully a miracle. I have to believe that somebody is doing something, somewhere to stop this judicial homicide."
Mr. Schiavo, Terri's husband and guardian, said he will not allow Terri's parents to visit her alone.
The Schindlers have exhausted nearly every legal alternative to keep their daughter alive, against Mr. Schiavo's wishes. They believe that she is alert, responsive, and that she could benefit from rehabilitative therapies.
Several doctors have sided with Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed from a potassium imbalance in February 1990, and that she cannot recover. While other doctors and therapists have disputed those claims, the courts have held that Mr. Schiavo could have her feeding tube removed.
In 1993, more than $1 million were awarded to the Schiavos in a medical malpractice suit against the doctors who failed to diagnose her chemical imbalance. Mr. Schiavo told the jury he planned to take care of his wife for the rest of her life, which medical experts predicted would be until she was about 51 years old. She is now 36.
The Schindlers say Michael Schiavo failed to mention that his wife didn't want to be kept alive "by artificial means" until after the $1 million settlement. They claim that he wants his wife to die so he can have what's left of the settlement, and so he can marry another woman.
On Tuesday, an Edmonton, Alberta disability rights group asked Canada's Immigration Minister Denis Coderre to offer emergency asylum to Terri.
"It was the most blatant and brutal case of anti-disability discrimination ... that I had ever come across," said Human Life Matters founder Mark Pickup. "They were doing no more than I would do if it was my daughter in that position, so I said we'd try to help."
Joni Eareckson Tada, Christian broadcaster and disability rights advocate, is one of the activists at the vigil.
"Terri's fundamental right to life has been denied, all because she is severely disabled," Tada wrote recently on her Website. "And I cannot begin to tell you the enormous sadness I feel. I cannot begin to describe the outrage . . . actually the righteous indignation I feel . . . to think that the Florida State Supreme Court as well as the U.S. Federal Court . . . they have turned their backs on this young woman."
"Doctors remove feeding tube keeping disabled woman alive" (Naples News)
"Starvation begins for Terri Schiavo" (World Net Daily)
"Dramatic Decision In Terri Schiavo's Case" (Joni Eareckson Tada)
"Media Ignore Fight for Woman's Life" (Accuracy In Media)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation