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The Schiavo case.

Clearwater, Florida -- A 39-year-old Florida woman, Terri Schiavo, suffered a heart attack in 1990 resulting in brain damage that has left her in what court-appointed doctors describe as a "permanent vegetative" state. She is unable to swallow or eat and, until recently, received nourishment by means of a feeding tube.

Her husband, Michael Shiavo, who presently lives with another woman with whom he has a child, stands to inherit $750,000 if she dies as his wife. This is the balance of a medical malpractice settlement obtained after she became ill. Terri never made a "living will" to cover her situation, but Mr. Schiavo contends that, under these circumstances, she would not have wished to continue to live. As her legal guardian, he brought a court case to have her feeding tube removed and this request was granted mid-October, 2003.

Michael Schiavo's case has been opposed all along by Terri's parents, Mary and Bob Schindler, who volunteered to take over the care of their daughter, supported by many Florida pro-lifers. Six days after the tube was removed, when the process of leaving Terri to die slowly from starvation and dehydration was underway, the Florida legislature rushed through a law permitting intervention by the governor in such cases. It was signed into law within an hour by Governor Jeb Bush. As Terri was being removed from her hospice to another hospital to be started on an IV as a preliminary to reinserting the tube, her husband's attorney was already filing an injunction to oppose the procedure. This was rejected on technical grounds, but Mr. Schiavo seems determined to continue the legal battle to end his wife's life.

Since October 21, when the law was passed, Schiavo has filed suit to sue Governor Bush, legal documents on both sides have proliferated, and the very constitutionality of the new law is also being challenged.

In the meantime, Terri remains in hospital, her feeding tube reinserted, while her family and many supporters continue with their prayers. Her parents are now advocating the appointment of a fair, impartial guardian to replace Michael Schiavo.
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Title Annotation:United States
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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