An appeals court today paved the way for Michael Schiavo to remove the feeding tube keeping his severely brain-damaged wife alive, but a local judge followed with an emergency stay barring any action until tomorrow afternoon.
Schiavo is living with another woman with whom he has two children but refuses to give up guardianship of his wife, Terri, to her parents Robert and Mary Schindler.
The Schindler family says there is evidence Terri’s sudden brain injury Feb. 25, 1990, resulted from trauma at the hands of her husband.
Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal issued a one-page mandate today dissolving its stay — the last judicial block to removing the tube.
Later, however, Pinellas-Pasco, Fla., Circuit Court Judge George Greer ordered an emergency stay until 5 p.m. tomorrow, ensuring the tube will remain in place until after a scheduled 2:45 p.m. hearing.
At tomorrow’s hearing, Greer will give attorneys for both sides his instructions regarding the appeals court mandate. The Schindlers plan to file a motion for another stay.
This afternoon, Robert Schindler issued a statement saying he and his wife were “begging and pleading” Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the state Legislature to save their daughter from being “murdered in cold blood.”
Family spokesman Gary McCullough told WorldNetDaily the Schindlers are very distraught as they face the prospect of seeking their daughter begin the process of starvation again.
In October 2003, Terri went without food or water for six days before a new state law allowed Gov. Jeb Bush to order the tube reinserted. “Terri’s Law” later was struck down by the the Florida Supreme Court as unconstitutional.
The starvation process normally takes about seven to 10 days.
In the previous instance, Michael Schiavo, as Terri’s guardian, ordered that a nurse be placed on guard to prevent the Schindlers from trying to sneak in water or give their daughter comfort by putting ice on her lips as she lay dying, McCullough said.
Schiavo has insisted his wife had told him that if she ever were in such a condition, she would not want to be kept alive artificially.
But the family, noting Terri is not hooking up to any machines, sees the feeding tube more as a convenience and believes that with physical therapy, she could be taught to swallow.
The problem legally, for the family, however, is that in the original hearings more than 10 years ago, they followed the advice of a lawyer who had them agree to stipulate that Terri was in a “persistant vegetative state.”
Subsequently, they provided the court with “reams of medical evidence” indicating Terri could be rehabilitated, but the court would not consider it because of the stipulation, McCullough explained.
“It was a huge error on the part of lawyers at the front end,” he said.
Judge Greer, said McCullough, is “simply playing by the rule book,” but “some other judge should have been able to start from square one.”
Court documents and other information are posted on the Schindler family website.
Links to all “Terri briefs” regarding the governor’s defense of Terri’s Law are on the Florida Supreme Court website, public information.