Terri Schindler-Schiavo – the brain-damaged woman whose continued existence has been at the center of an intense legal battle – has been transferred from a hospice facility in Pinellas Park, Fla., to the Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, due to an emergency medical crisis.
Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler of Gulf Port, Fla., were not notified of the situation by either the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, where she has been a patient for three years, or Terri’s husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, and did not learn of their 39-year-old daughter’s whereabouts until nearly 24 hours after she had been admitted to the hospital Wednesday.
The staff at Morton Plant is apparently under instructions from Schiavo not to disclose details of Terri’s medical condition to her parents, and they remain in the dark as to what she is suffering from or the prognosis for recovery.
As reported by WorldNetDaily,
the Schindlers have been embroiled in a contentious legal dispute with their
son-in-law for a decade over Terri’s care. The ongoing battle accelerated in
1998 when Schiavo petitioned the court to allow removal of the feeding tube
that provides nutrition and hydration to his disabled wife. Schiavo and
three doctors – two of whom are prominent “right-to-die” advocates – claim
Terri is in a “persistent vegetative state” from which she will never
recover. Removal of the feeding tube will cause her death, but Schiavo says
Terri told him she would not want to be kept alive through “artificial”
assistance, and the courts have accepted his testimony as “credible.”
Her parents doubt Terri ever made such a statement. They further maintain she is not in a persistent vegetative state and could recover if given proper therapy. Over 13 physicians are on record as being in agreement with the Schindlers as to Terri’s condition and chances of rehabilitation.
Sara Mele, a speech pathologist on the staff of the prestigious Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, in an affidavit stated Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state but is clearly trying to talk and would be an excellent candidate for speech, occupational and physical therapy.
But Schiavo has adamantly denied his wife therapy of any kind. His orders to the staff at Morton Plant would seem to duplicate similar orders he gave to the staff at the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast – which have been consistently upheld by probate court Judge George Greer – of keeping Terri isolated as much as possible from family and friends. With court approval Terri is not allowed to receive cards or flowers. She is denied any form of therapy, and Schiavo keeps tight control over the visitor list.
When Terri’s brother and sister, Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Carr, asked nurses at the hospice if they would attempt to spoon-feed Terri, and Schiavo was told about this, he obtained a six-month injunction against their visiting their sibling.
Schiavo to notify parents
This kind of action on Schiavo’s part is at odds with a court ruling that has recently surfaced. A 1996 court order filed in the Circuit Court for Pinellas County requires that any nursing home where she is placed for care may discuss Terri’s medical condition with her parents and that he shall notify the Schindlers of any important changes. Specifically, the document states:
“Michael Schiavo, as Guardian of the Person of Theresa Schiavo, shall notify in writing any nursing home, which now or in the future provides care or medical services for Theresa Schiavo that he has no objections to the nursing home discussing [his wife’s] medical condition with [her parents]. [He] shall promptly provide [them] a copy of any neurological reports regarding Theresa Schiavo. In addition [he] agrees to inform Robert and Mary Schindler as to any significant changes in Theresa Schiavo’s condition.”
This order has been consistently ignored by Schiavo and later courts, but not overturned.
According to Pat Anderson, the attorney for Terri’s parents, this is the
first euthanasia case in Florida to be tested in the courts. It is being
appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.