A federal appeals judge on Friday effectively ended all legal appeals for a brain damaged woman's parents, who have been fighting to keep her alive. A series of last-minute court decisions have ruled in favor of the woman's husband, who says she would not want to be kept alive in what doctors call a permanent vegetative state. The parents, who are trying to reattach their daughter's feeding tube, also received a setback in the Florida Supreme Court.
For the second time in a week, U.S. Federal Judge James Whittemore ruled against Terri Schiavo's parents. He said Bob and Mary Schindler failed once again to show that, at any point in the legal process, their daughter's rights had been violated to the point where they could show cause for reattaching her feeding tube.
The ruling followed a Florida Supreme Court decision quashing any attempt by Florida Governor Jeb Bush to have state officials take Terri Schiavo into protective custody, in order to re-evaluate her medical condition. On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court also rejected a plea from the Schindlers.
Gorge Felos a lawyer for Michael Schiavo, Terri Schiavo's husband and legal guardian, said he believes the legal process has essentially come to an end in the case, and it is time for emotions to cool, as Americans move into the Easter holiday.
"I mentioned before, I sincerely hope that the great focus and media attention in this case can peacefully settle, and allow people to move into this weekend in a frame of contemplation. I think that is what Mrs. Schiavo would want," he said.
Terri Schiavo's husband has been fighting in Florida courts for more than a decade to have his wife's feeding tube disconnected, saying she had told him she did not want to be kept alive by artificial means. The Florida woman has been hospitalized with severe brain damage since 1990, after she suffered a heart attack, believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder.
Opposing their son-in-law in the courts have been Bob and Mary Schindler who say their daughter could regain some brain functions with proper therapy. The Schindlers have expressed bitterness at their defeats in the courts. Bob Schindler says his daughter is dying a tortuous death.
"She is being murdered. She is being starved to death," he said.
Court appointed doctors say Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of regaining consciousness.
Medical experts say the brain damaged woman, who has been without food or water for one week, is beginning to show severe signs of malnutrition and dehydration. They say she could live another week, even if her feeding tube is not reattached.