A federal appeals court in Atlanta, Georgia has denied a second request from the parents of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo to hear arguments in favor of reinstating her feeding tube, which was removed last Friday at the request of her husband.
The case is now expected to move quickly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Florida's legislature on Wednesday defeated a bill aimed at allowing state authorities to take custody of Ms. Schiavo in a bid to keep her alive.
Terri Schiavo's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, had asked the full 12-member 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency re-hearing of their motion. Wednesday afternoon the court denied the request.
Earlier Wednesday in a two-to-one majority decision, a three judge panel of the 11th Circuit found that Terri Schiavo's parents had "failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims."
However, the dissenting judge on the panel wrote that refusing the request to have the feeding tube re-inserted amounts to "frustrating Congress' intent", because Congress on Sunday passed emergency legislation allowing Ms.Schiavo's parents to take their case into federal courts.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Terri Schiavo's mother, Mary Schindler, warned that time was running out for her daughter.
"When I close my eyes at night all I can see is Terri's face in front of me dying and starving to death. Please someone out there stop this cruelty, stop the insanity. Please let my daughter live," said Ms. Schindler.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush, addressed the issue on Wednesday when he told reporters that state authorities have reviewed Ms. Schiavo's medical records and report there is some question as to whether or not she is actually in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state, with no hope of regaining consciousness.
"The neurologists review indicates that Terri may have been mis-diagnosed and it is more likely that she is in a state of minimal consciousness rather than in a persistent vegetative state,” Jeb Bush said. “This new information raises serious concerns and warrants immediate action."
Mr. Bush said it was imperative that Ms. Schiavo's medical condition be stabilized so that state authorities can review the case. However, late Wednesday Florida's Senate rejected a measure to intervene in the case.
On Tuesday, a federal judge found that Terri Schiavo's "life and liberty" interests had been protected by Florida courts, which have ruled consistently in favor of her husband Michael. Mr. Schiavo's attorney, George Felos told reporters that all legal issues surround the case have been exhausted.
"Every possible issue in this case has been litigated and re-litigated over and over again,” he said. “If we had 100 lawyers enter the case the result would be no different because there are no new issues, there no new things for any court to review."
President George Bush who signed emergency legislation early Monday allowing Ms. Schiavo's parents to pursue their case in the federal courts also addressed the issue on Wednesday. Speaking in Waco, Texas at the three nation summit of The United States, Mexico and Canada, he defended his actions and the actions of Congress.
"This is an extraordinary and sad case,” Mr. Bush said. “And I believe that in a case such as this, the legislative branch and the executive branch ought to err on the side of life, which we have. And now we will watch the courts make their decisions, but we look at all options from the executive branch perspective."
Terri Schiavo has been without food or water since Friday, although medical experts say it could take a week or longer for her to die if her feeding tube is not reconnected.