A judge in Clearwater, Fla., has set Oct. 15 as the date to begin the starvation death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, the 39-year-old brain-disabled woman whose husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, is anxious to have the feeding tube removed that his wife depends upon for sustenance.
Probate Judge George Greer of the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court announced his decision in a fax sent this afternoon to attorneys on both sides in the case.
At the same time, Greer said no to two requests by Terri’s parents for rehabilitation of the woman.
Terri Schindler-Schiavo before her disability.
An Aug. 26 request by Robert and Mary Schindler of Gulf Port, Fla., asking that their daughter be allowed an eight-week trial of speech, occupational and physical therapy, was rejected, along with a motion made Sept. 10 that Terri be taught to swallow food so she could be spoon-fed once the feeding tube is removed.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Terri’s parents have been fighting with their son-in-law for 10 years over the lack of care and therapy he has provided their daughter, who suffered massive brain damage when she collapsed at her home 13 years ago under questionable circumstances at the age of 26.
Probate Judge George Greer (Photo: Bay News 9)
The contentious family dispute escalated into a major euthanasia battle in 1998 when Schiavo sought court permission to remove her feeding tube, insisting she is in a “persistent vegetative state” and that in casual conversations she had told him she would not want to be kept alive “artificially.” Although she breathes on her own and maintains her own blood pressure, she requires a simple tube into her abdomen to her stomach for nourishment and hydration.
Terri’s parents and siblings have claimed for years Terri recognizes them and tries to communicate, and over a dozen prominent doctors and therapists have stated with therapy she could be rehabilitated, while a handful of doctors have testified she is “vegetative” or “comatose” and will never regain consciousness. Nonetheless, despite a scarcity of expert testimony and evidence for Schiavo’s position, Greer and Florida’s appellate courts have consistently sided with him and his attorney, George Felos, the well-known “right-to-die” advocate.
Last month, in a unanimous ruling, the seven-member Florida Supreme Court washed its hands of the matter by turning down an appeal by the Schindlers to review the case. The court’s refusal to intervene cleared the way for Schiavo to starve his wife.
“It is clear that Florida is not the state in which to get sick,” said Patricia Anderson, the Schindlers’ attorney. “This case demonstrates that we all need to be very, very careful in choosing a spouse. It is Mr. and Mrs. Schindler’s firm belief that Terri could have been weaned off her feeding tube years ago and would be speaking today if Michael Schiavo had only cared enough about her to see to it she received the proper therapy.”
Anderson says she is not giving up and is preparing her case for the federal level.
Information on the fight to keep Terri alive is posted on the family’s website.