Months after her death by court-ordered dehydration, the Justice Department has ordered an investigation of a complaint alleging discrimination against Terri Schiavo under the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act.
The Justice Department’s Disability Rights Section directed the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services in July to conduct the probe, reported the Empire Journal, an Internet news site that has published numerous investigative stories on the Schiavo case.
Schiavo died March 31 at age 41 at Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., after her estranged husband Michael Schiavo obtained judicial approval to remove her nutrition and hydration.
The eight-page complaint was filed by a New York special education teacher several days before Schiavo died, but the Justice Department claims it did not receive it until April 5, Empire Journal said.
Danielle P. Miller of Central Islip High School in Suffolk County served copies of the complaint to President Bush, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, secretary of the Department of Children and Families Lucy Hadi and numerous other state and federal officials.
Miller named judges involved in the case as defendants, including Florida 6th Circuit Judge George Greer, members of the Florida Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The complaint alleges Florida 6th Circuit Judge Thomas Penick Jr. failed to enforce his own orders for Michael Schiavo to provide appropriate care as his wife’s guardian. Also named was Judge W. Douglas Baird, who struck down Terri’s Law in 2004, ruling that legislation designed to save Terri Schiavo’s life was unconstitutional.
Miller presents a long list of alleged civil rights violations against Schiavo, including her inability to obtain a divorce.
The complaint also alleges neglect and refusal of medical care and therapy by Michael Schiavo as her guardian.
Miller argues that even if Michael Schiavo’s claim that his wife did not want to be kept alive by “artificial means” is true, the law did not regard a feeding tube as artificial at the time she became incapacitated.
Therefore, the complaint says, she did not have informed consent. Miller also points out that, according to the law, she would have had to be mentally competent to make that decision.
“The rulings of the Florida courts and the subsequent hands off attitude of the appellate courts and the federal courts are a travesty of justice an abortion of human ethics,” the complaint asserts.
The Empire Journal said there is no indication how long it will take HHS to investigate the complaint.
In 1995, HHS initiated collection procedures against Hospice of Florida Suncoast, the owner and operator of Woodside Hospice, where Terri Schiavo died.
The federal agency sought to recover $14.8 million which it contends was unlawfully paid to the hospice as a result of fraudulent claims made for Medicare reimbursement for patients that were not terminally ill, including Terri Schiavo.
The most recent HHS annual report, filed Dec.31, 2004, shows the agency has initiated collection procedures against Florida Suncoast.
Editor’s note: “Life and Death in America” – a stunning special investigative report that starts with the Terri Schiavo story, but goes on to expose as never before America’s rapidly expanding euthanasia/”right-to-die” movement – is the focus of the May issue of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine.
For background on the 15-year saga, read “The whole Terri Schiavo story.”
WorldNetDaily has been reporting on the Terri Schiavo story since 2002 – far longer than most other national news organizations – and exposing the many troubling, scandalous, and possibly criminal, aspects of the case that to this day rarely surface in news reports. Read WorldNetDaily’s unparalleled, in-depth coverage of the life-and-death fight over Terri Schiavo, including over 150 original stories and columns.
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.