News

Legal Efforts Fading in Schiavo Case

Jim Teeple

Legal efforts to reattach a severely brain-damaged Florida woman's feeding tube appeared to be coming to an end on Thursday, with rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and a Florida judge. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case, and a Florida judge barred state officials from intervening to try to keep Terri Schiavo alive.

Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who ordered Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube removed last week, ruled against a request by Florida state welfare officials to take protective custody of Terri Schiavo and reattach her feeding tube. The Florida judge also ruled against a second motion that would have allowed Florida's Governor Jeb Bush to intervene in the case on an emergency basis.

The decisions followed a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that rejected a plea from Ms. Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to do the same. The Supreme Court decision which came in a brief one-page order was welcomed by George Felos who is the lawyer for Michael Schiavo, Terri Schiavo's husband and legal guardian.

"We are very grateful for the Court's ruling and we believe that effectively ends the litigation in this case, " he said.

Michael Schiavo has been fighting in Florida courts for more than a decade to remove his wife's feeding tube, saying she had told him she did not wish to be kept alive artificially. Terri Schiavo has been hospitalized with severe brain damage since 1990 when her heart stopped briefly, due a chemical imbalance, believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder.

Terri Schiavo's parents say they believe their daughter could recover some brain functions with therapy. On Sunday, the U.S. Congress passed emergency legislation allowing the Schindlers to move their case to the Federal Court system, something that has now come to an end.

Schiavo attorney George Felos told reporters Thursday he believes judicial appeals have now been exhausted.

"I mention again I think it should become obvious to one and every observer that that the entire judicial system of the United States, the state courts of Florida, the entire Federal Judiciary, has said this case must end," he said. "This case is over. Mrs. Schiavo's legal rights have been ruled on again and again, the courts have consistently found that she did not want to remain alive artificially. Her wishes should be carried out."

The latest legal wrangling in Florida was prompted by Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who said on Wednesday that a new medical review by state authorities showed Ms. Schiavo's brain damage might not be as severe as initially diagnosed. Governor Bush said Ms. Schiavo's medical condition needed to be stabilized, so her case could be reviewed by state welfare officials who might need to take her into protective custody.

"The neurologist's review indicates that Terri may have been misdiagnosed, and it is more likely that she is in a state of minimal consciousness rather than in a persistent vegetative state," he said. "This new information raises serious concerns and warrants immediate action."

In addition to the legal setbacks suffered by Terri Schiavo's parents Thursday, Florida's Senate on Wednesday also rejected a measure to intervene in the case.

Supporters of Ms. Schiavo's parents are vowing to pursue further legal avenues to intervene in the case although it is not clear at this point what those might be.

President Bush issued a statement Thursday from his ranch in Texas, saying he was saddened by the Supreme Court Ruling. The statement says "when there is a complex case such as this, where serious questions have been raised, the president believes we ought to err on the side of life."

Law enforcement authorities have reinforced security at the hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida where Terri Schiavo is bedridden. Over the past few days police have arrested a number of protesters who support Ms. Schiavo's parents.

Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected last Friday, but medical experts say the brain damaged woman could live for as long as another week, if her feeding tube is not reattached.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs