Schindler-Schiavo Scheduled to Die in January.
"I'm sickened and I'm very angry," Terri's father Bob Schindler told WorldNetDaily (WND). "Over the past two and a half years [Greer] has made about 60 decisions adverse to Terri and our family, from denying swallowing tests and other tests to denial of visitation. ... He even denied us the right to take photographs of her."
Terri sustained brain damage when she collapsed in her home on February 25, 1990, after an apparent heart attack deprived her brain of oxygen for several minutes. Now 38, Terri can breathe, swallow, and maintain a heartbeat and blood pressure on her own. She currently lives at Hospice House Woodside in Pinellas Park.
Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, first requested the removal of Schindler-Schiavo's feeding tube in 1998. He has said that Terri would not want to be kept alive through artificial means. Terri's family disputes the claim and has been fighting a long court battle to block his efforts.
Greer, of the 6th Judicial Circuit Court in Clearwater, Florida, first authorized Schindler-Schiavo's death in February 2001, and she was without food and fluids for 60 hours beginning April 24, according to the Times. Her parents obtained a temporary injunction of the order and she was fed, but Judge Greer again ordered her feeding tube to be removed.
Terri never authored a written directive. At the trial in 2000 Greer based his decision on testimony by Schiavo, his brother, and his sister-in-law that Terri had made "casual statements" to them that she would not want to be kept alive artificially.
This latest ruling came after an October hearing in which five doctors testified about Schindler-Schiavo's prognosis. Two doctors selected by the Schindlers stated that she could improve if given proper therapy.
They testified that Terri shows cognitive function and would benefit from vasodilatation and hyperbaric therapy, according to the Times. As evidence, Schindler attorney Pat Anderson presented videotape in which Terri appears to interact with her mother, follow commands to open and shut her eyes and lift limbs, and track a Mickey Mouse balloon across the room.
However, doctors selected by Schiavo and the court disagreed and testified that Schindler-Schiavo would never get better. Greer's decision relied on the testimony of these doctors.
"Viewing all the evidence as a whole, and acknowledging that medicine is not a precise science," Greer wrote, according to the Associated Press (AP), "the court finds that the credible evidence overwhelmingly supports the view that Terry [sic] Schiavo remains in a persistent vegetative state."
Greer refused to consider Terri's actions in the videotapes as proof that she is aware of her environment.
"At first blush, the video of Terry [sic] Schiavo appearing to smile and look lovingly at her mother seemed to represent cognition," Greer wrote. "This was also true for how she followed the Mickey Mouse balloon held by her father. The court has carefully viewed the videotapes ... and does find that these actions were neither consistent nor reproducible."
Anderson criticized this conclusion. "That's a bizarre way to analyze the evidence," she told WND. "As Dr. [William] Hammesfahr testified, with brain-damaged patients sometimes the neurons will go online and offline for as much as 20 minutes. [Greer] is applying a performance standard that might not be applicable to a brain-damaged woman."
Greer also determined that the therapies recommended by the Schindlers' doctors "don't offer the `sufficient promise of increased cognitive function' in her cerebral cortex to significantly improve her quality of life," WND reported.
The Schindlers said that they will again try to appeal Greer's ruling. "If we can get an objective panel to hear this, I think we are in good shape," Bob Schindler told the Tampa Tribune. "They are not even giving her a chance. Let her get therapy. What's that going to hurt?"
Michael Schiavo's attorney, on the other hand, said he hoped the appeals court would let Greer's ruling stand. "I'm hoping the appeals court, when they read [Greer's] opinion, will say five years of litigation is enough for this case and they won't grant a stay," he told the Tribune.>EN