Thursday, March 31, 2005

March 31, 2005 --- God Takes Terri Home

Today at 9:05 AM ET, after 14 days Terri lost her battle with dehydration and starvation, a terrible situation inflicted upon her by estranged spouse Michael Schiavo.

Terri brought more people together in her 41 years than most accomplish in an
entire life time.

She will be missed terribly.

March 31, 2005 --God Takes Terri Home at 9:05 AM ET

Press Release

For Immediate Release – 03-31-05 12:00 PM (GMT-5)

Statement of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation

Clearwater, FL – It is with heavy hearts that the volunteers of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation acknowledge the passing of Terri on this day at approximately 9.00am ET.

Terri has demonstrated to us a tremendous will to live by enduring more than 13 days of deprivation.

So many people from every walk of life have expressed their love and support to Terri and her family throughout this struggle and we thank them for their kindness. Messages of condolences and prayers have begun coming in from all parts of the world and we are touched and comforted by the kind words of so many people.

It was reported to us that Terri’s family was not permitted to be at her bedside when she passed and it is our hope that they will be comforted in this very difficult hour by your kindness.

Michael's Attorney Backs Kicking Out Terri Schiavo's Parents

Email this article
by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 31, 2005

Pinellas Park, FL ( -- In comments made to reporters outside of Terri Schiavo's hospice, the lead attorney for her estranged husband Michael defended him against his actions this morning kicking Terri's parents out of the hospice 10 minutes before she passed away.

Michael asked Terri's family to leave to avoid a "potentially explosive" situation, euthanasia advocate George Felos said.

"I can just tell you that Mr. Schiavo's overriding concern here was to provide for Terri a peaceful death with dignity, and I emphasize it because this death was not for the siblings, and not for the spouse and not for the parents," Felos claimed. "This was for Terri."

Felos told reporters that Michael's main concern was making sure Terri's final moments were not filled with a squabble between him and Terri's family.

He claimed the decision to ask the Schindler family was made because hospice staff wanted to check on Terri's condition.

"I don't think it was made out of spite or animus but out of regard to Terri," Felos said. "She had a right to spend her final moments on earth...without the possibility of altercation."

Terri's parents and family were with her 10 minutes before she died before being asked to live.

Paul O'Donnell, a Franciscan monk who has been a spokesman for the Schindlers during the last two weeks, said, "At that point, they pleaded with the police -- the police were acting under the orders of Michael Schiavo - that Michael allow them to stay in the room as Terri was about to pass away."

The Schindler family told police they would agree to be in the room with Michael there at the same time.

Police passed on the plea to Michael, who denied it and instructed police to threaten them with arrest if they did not comply with his wishes to leave.

"They not only escorted them out of the room, but also off the hospice property. Within ten minutes, it was reported that Terri passed away," O'Donnell said.

Related news stories:

CBS News Posts Prewritten Story Saying Terri Schiavo Died

Terri Schiavo's Parents' Last Motion on Terri Saying "I Want to Live"

Terri Schiavo Case Reveals How We Treated Disabled Americans

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo's parents -

Top Neurologist's Report on Terri Released

Top Neurologist's Report on Terri Released Wires
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Here is a comprehensive report by Dr. William Hammesfahr, a world-reknowned neurologist, on Terri Schiavo's condition as of September 12, 2002:

Re: Terri Schiavo
Story Continues Below

I was asked to examine Terri Schiavo per the request of the Second District Court of Appeal. They requested that current information about her present medical condition be obtained. They also requested that an evaluation be performed to ascertain treatment options.

Ms Schiavo was in her usual state of good health until 2/25/90, when her husband reported that he was awakened from sleep approximately 6 Am by her falling. He reports that she was unresponsive.

Paramedics were called, and aggressive resuscitation was performed with 7 defibrillations en route.

In the Emergency Room, a possible diagnosis of heart attack was briefly entertained, but then dismissed after blood chemistries and serial EKG's did not show evidence of a heart attack. Similarly, a pulmonary or lung cause of the disorder was ruled out in the Emergency Room after normal blood gases and Chest X-Rays were obtained. The possibility of toxic shock syndrome was also entertained. The diagnosis of the cause of her condition was unknown. Her admission laboratory studies showed low potassium level, markedly elevated glucose level, and a normal toxic screen without evidence of diet pills or amphetamines.

The abnormal potassium level and sugar level were found on admission to the Emergency Room and were successfully corrected by the hospital staff over the next several days. The patient had a difficult hospital course with the development of poorly controlled seizures and prolonged coma state requiring, for a time, ventilator support. However, the staff noted improvement, and it was recommended by several physicians that she be discharged to an intensive rehabilitation center.

She was eventually transferred to Mediplex in Bradenton for intensive rehabilitation. She was poorly responsive. However, after a brain stimulator was placed in 11/90, the staff started to report greater interactions of the patient with her environment, including intermittently apparently following commands, turning her head to voice, tracking visually, etc.

This pattern continued even after discharge to a nursing home, although her course from that time on included multiple medical problems including recurrent urinary tract infections and hospitalizations, at times with severely low episodes of blood pressure due to a lack of treatment of urinary tract infections ordered by the husband and subsequent urinary sepsis requiring hospitalization.

During 1998, she was evaluated by Dr. James Barnhill, neurologist, who testified that he examined her for ten minutes and determined that she had no chance for recovery, and was in a persistent vegetative state. He also identified that her skull was filled with spinal fluid; there was no brain present on the scans. All responses he identified were reported as "reflexes." He obtained no blood pressure nor did anyone else, apparently, on the day of his exam, the closest documented blood pressures being obtained two days earlier and five days later. No tests including Urinary Tract infection evaluations, blood tests, EEGs, evoked potentials, or new CT/MRI exams were ordered.

One year later he again reconfirmed his earlier diagnosis. He felt no tests of any sort were needed for evaluation. In the spring of 2000, three physicians, including Dr. Jay Carpenter, who is a former Chief of Medicine at Morton Plant Hospital, filed affidavits after observing Ms. Schiavo. All three physicians stated that it is visually apparent that Ms Schiavo is able to swallow and, in fact, does swallow her own saliva.

The patient continued with no physical therapy, communication or speech therapy, or routine medical screening evaluations and treatment such as dental care, mammography, gynecological exams or pap smears during this time.

In May 2002, access to the patient was allowed for two physicians appointed by the family. At that time, my observation of Terri Schiavo in person occurred, having previously viewed videotape that was first shown at her first trial.

The examination

Medical examination and evaluations were performed on Ms Schiavo on September 3 and 4 with videographers present. Medical reviews of the charts provided were carried out, from which the above history is obtained.

On September 3, I spent from approximately 11AM until 4PM with Ms. Schiavo, returning the next day to also observe Dr. Maxfield and complete my portion of the exam (which duplicated that of Dr. Maxfield, so I observed without myself specifically repeating that part of the exam that same day).

The exam was videotaped at my request.

The exam started with the setting up of the video camera by the videographers, with Mr. Michael Schiavo present. I then came into the room and introduced myself to Ms. Schiavo. The patient was looking at the ceiling in a chair. She had a wide-eyed look to her. She appeared to be aware of my presence with slight facial changes and tone changes in her body, She did not look at me, or turn to look in the direction of my voice, continuing instead to look directly forward. Her mother then entered the room, coming toward her and speaking her name. The daughter immediately showed awareness of the presence of her mother, looking for her, then finding her visually when the mother was approximately 8 inches from her face. She then smiled and made sounds. Her father also entered the room with further apparent recognition by the daughter.

The first part of this exam included observing her interactions with her mother and her father. Here she clearly was aware of them and attempted to interact with them: the sounds, facial expressions, and searching out and tracking them. There are several previous reports by medical personnel and others of her responding to live piano music. Accordingly, I asked the mother to bring a tape of piano music. Two separate pieces were listened to. The first she appeared aware of the sound, but would not sing or interact significantly. The second she did interact making sounds with the music. She stopped making these sounds, when the music stopped.

During this time, she would move her head and track her head and eyes to the sound of music, or her mother's voice. I started my exam first on her right side, introducing myself and then examined her contracted right arm, the goal being to get a blood pressure, as neurological abilities are very sensitive to blood pressure. She looked at me and would track me with voluntary facial and upper torso movements. I later moved to the left arm and attempted to release contractures there. In order to get significant relaxation of the arm to a degree necessary to obtain a blood pressure, I worked for approximately 35 minutes to release the contractures enough to get arm extension to approximately 140 degrees. During this time, the patient would track the mother or the father, depending on who was interacting with her. Interestingly, she appeared to respond to her mother or father by tone of voice. At one time, after working on her arm for approximately 20 minutes, and no further extension of the elbow was to be had, the father walked up and started speaking reassuringly to his daughter. The elbow immediately extended approximately another 20 degrees. This was during a time period that I had been talking with Ms. Schiavo, and the music was also running. Yet with neither the addition of the music nor my voice did the elbow extend. With the father coming to his daughter and speaking, she immediately extended the arm further. At other times, he would speak more sharply to her, and she would immediately tighten, and appear to lose her spot of visual focusing, and her expressions would change. At times during and immediately after this part of the exam, she would also appear to voluntarily move her right upper extremity.

Multiple takes of her blood pressure were taken, and there were several readings of "error." During the reading of her blood pressure, I also palpated the median artery at the wrist. In general, the systolic readings on the blood pressure cuff correlated well with the wrist palpations. Thus, the systolic readings are probably fairly accurate, although the diastolic readings cannot be independently confirmed. Three readings were successfully obtained 96/65 pulses of 70, 107/78 pulse of 72, and 101/71 pulse of 70. The pulse was erratic by both machine and palpation. The blood pressure errors occurred due to spasticity in the arm being evaluated.

A general physical exam was also performed, although pelvic, breast, rectal, fundoscopic, sinus and ear exams were not performed. Technical difficulties prevented the fundoscopic exam from being performed.

The general physical examination and the neurological examination tended to be performed in an extremity-by-extremity fashion, as her cooperation was best by focusing on specific regions, and then not coming back to those regions at a later time. Moving rapidly and from side to side tended to result in apparent confusion and stress in the patient, manifested by increased tone and less facial interactions, eye contact, and less accessibility to her limbs due to the increased tone causing contractures to redevelop.

The general facial exam was significant for acne, probably due to a chronic stress induced steroid responses. No bruits were identified. Cranial nerves were intact, and the patient was able to swallow and handle all secretions.

The neck exam was abnormal. She had severe limitation of range of motion in the flexion, and to a lesser degree in extension. Indeed, I was able to pick up her entire torso and head and neck area with pressure on the back of her neck in the suboccipital region. These findings of cervical spasm and limitation of range of motion are consistent with a neck injury. No bruits were identified.

Lung exam showed scattered wheezes in the right lung fields. No rhonchi or rales were identified. Cardiac exam was normal to my exam. Interestingly, the significant arrhythmias identified by the electronic cuff, as well as my palpation of her wrist exam was not identified during this cardiac portion of the exam, suggesting the arrhythmia is intermittent.

Abdominal exam showed good GI sounds throughout, and was non-tender. No masses or aneurysms were palpated.

Extremities exam showed severe contractures in all four extremities. On the left upper extremity, she initially showed 4/4 on the Allen's spasticity scale about the wrist, fingers, and the elbow. However, with approximately 40 minutes of massage and release, the exam in this upper extremity showed spasticity on the Allen's scale, and at times, later in the exam, would show 2/4 on the Allen's exam.

The right upper extremity also showed 4/4 on the Allen's scale, and also improved with efforts at muscular tension release. However, time did not allow me the same degree of effort on her right upper extremity, and thus I am unsure of the degree of relaxation available in this area.

In the lower extremities, she has 2/4 about the hips and the knees, meaning full range of motion, but spasticity still present. However, about the ankles, she is 4/4 and I could obtain no improvement in the range of motion.

With levels of 3/4 and 4/4 spasticity, it is frequently difficult to determine the degree of voluntary control if any a patient has over an extremity. The internal spasticity and stiffness of the limb, makes gauging voluntary efforts very difficult.

Efforts that may be easily seen or felt in a patient with no spasticity may be completely missed or only able to be identified from sophisticated testing in a patient with 3/4 or 4/4 levels of spasticity.

Spasticity generally is due to neurological injuries, and is aggravated by lack of physical therapy and muscle stretching. To understand spasticity, it is important to understand what is normal with muscle activity

In a normal person, a leg, arm, or other part of the body moves because a muscle contracts and moves a nearby bone. However, muscles exist on both the front and the back of joints. When the muscles in the front of the joint move, the bone moves forward. When the muscles on the back of the joint move, the bone moves backwards. If the bone is your arm, then when the biceps contracts, the arm bends. When the triceps contracts, the arms straightens. Another characteristic of normal is that when one set of muscles contracts, the opposite muscles relax. Thus, when the biceps contracts, the triceps relaxes and vice versa.

In spasticity, that relaxation of opposing muscles does not occur. Thus, even if the biceps tries to contract to move a muscle, the opposing contractures of the triceps, prevents motion. In severe cases, like Ms. Schiavo, the contractures of the opposing muscles may be so severe, that voluntary motion appears very weak or non-existent. In fact, in some of her muscle groups, the severity of the contractures has grown so severe, that even an outsider cannot move the joint.

The Allen's scale is a 0-4 scale with 0 as normal or no spasticity. The scale is as follows:

0 Normal, no spasticity

1 Slight spasticity, palpated by the physician, but full range of motion of a joint.

2 Moderate spasticity, but full range of motion. Here the examiner may be allowed to use a great deal of his own muscle contraction to straighten a joint. If the joint can be straightened to its full range of motion, this is a 2.

3 Severe spasticity, but some motion can be identified. Full range of motion does not exist.

4 Severe spasticity, no range of motion.

Pulses in these extremities were symmetrical. Skin was intact in these areas.

The patient wore a diaper, and this was not removed for the exam.

Back exam was carried out and there were no evident areas of tenderness, masses, or other abnormalities seen.

The first two hours of the exam, focusing on cognitive awareness of her surroundings, was carried out in a chair. The last one hour on videotape was carried out in her bed. In neither position did she have difficulty handling any saliva or secretions. Only briefly, for a few minutes at a time, did she appear to tire and lose the ability to respond, track or interact with her surroundings.

She had no tube feedings or water during the entire time of the exam.

Alertness: The patient was alert throughout essentially the entire exam.


The patient would immediately respond to sound, tone of voice and to touch and pain. With respect to responding to those around her, she had limited responsiveness to me personally until approximately 45 minutes into the exam. She started to look at me, against her traditional right gaze preference, about the same time that we started getting significant relaxation in her contracted left arm (the arm that had been contracted for several years.) She appeared to identify the sound of my voice, with the relaxation of the arm. From that point, she would generally look toward the sound of my voice when heard, attempt to find me visually, then track the sound of my voice in its movements, or track me if I was within approximately one foot of her eyes. Prior to that time, she did not track me, or try to locate me visually. When playing music, she had a clear preference to the specific sound track played, and would listen to piano music, but change levels of listening depending on the track played. Her attention to the music would not wander during the track she preferred. She would pick out her mother's voice or her father's voice separate from the music or other voices or sounds in the room, and re-fix her gaze to those people. She would tend not to blink when watching those people. She ignored her husband's loud foot-tapping that went on for approximately five minutes at one point. She also ignored his voice and did not try to seek him out visually when he would at times interject comments during the exam or immediately afterwards.

During various portions of the exam, she would be moved or have her position readjusted. She continued to handle her saliva during this time, never being observed to choke on her saliva.

Following Commands: At various times during the exam, I asked her to close her eyes, or open her eyes widely, look towards her mother, or look towards me. At times, she appeared to properly follow these commands. Interestingly, some of the commands, such as close your eyes, open your eyes, etc. she tended to do several minutes after I gave her the command to do so. She had a delay in her processing of the action. However, when praised for the action, she would then continue to do the action repetitively for up to approximately 5 minutes. As we had moved on to other areas of the exam, at times she was continuing to do the previous command, then at inappropriate times since the focus of the exam had changed. During different portions of the exam, I would ask her to squeeze my hand on command, or, in the lower extremities, to pick up her right lower leg to command.

The upper extremities are contracted and weak. She appeared to squeeze my hand, and then relax her grip, in the upper right extremity, possibly in the upper left extremity. I am unsure if she was doing it to verbal command, or in response to body language; however, it was voluntary activity and not reflex. In the lower extremities, she showed these same abilities, marked on the right and to a lesser degree on the left (voluntary control over the ankles could not be determined due to the severity of the contractures there). However, in the right lower extremity, I again gave verbal commands, but also noted that she would oppose activity voluntarily. Thus, moving a hand against a thigh would elicit an equal and opposite reaction from her. She would gauge the degree of pressure, and counteract it equally. This is not a reflexive movement. With respect to her lower leg, we were able to clearly show that on videotape. I had her push her lower leg against my hand; my hand was on the top of her leg. Removing my hand suddenly, allowed her leg to suddenly continue voluntarily rising up and be seen on videotape. We had her do this repetitively on videotape.

Her right lower leg is quite strong. Other areas are either not as strong, or have such high spasticity brought on by neglect that voluntary activities are able to be felt, but difficult to show large degree of motion that are represented on videotape so well. The voluntary control is there, but does not show up well on videotape, as the range that the motion goes through is less.

Cranial Nerve Exam: Cranial nerve function is present and appears normal in all groups tested. The fundoscopic exam and ophthalmic nerve function could not be tested directly. She tracks well and voluntarily. She does not exhibit "Doll's Eye" motion, an abnormality seen in coma patients whose eyes move back and forth like a doll's when their head is moved.

Coma patients cannot direct their gaze to specific things and maintain their gaze on those things regardless of head motion or motion of the object.

She can do these things. She appears to see things best at approximately the.8-12 inch area. She was best able to track large reflective objects like aluminum balloons or sparkling lights (for which a focal length limitation is not an issue.)

This is a patient who has very poor language abilities. Her interactions with the world, as well as her ability to convey thought will depend in large part on her visual abilities and limitations. Thus a complete opthamological exam and evoked potential exam needs to be performed. This needs to be performed in comfortable situation and the patient needs to be comfortable with the examiner and the examinations. I would estimate that at least one day should be allotted for the exam and should be carried out her in room.

Sensory Exam: The patient was tested to light touch, pressure, and sharp touch and pain in all four extremities and on her face. The pain portion in the extremities was conducted by pinching the nail beds of her hands and feet. She clearly feels pain as the videotapes show.

On the face, noxious stimulation including cotton swab up the nose and gag sensation and papillary touch with cotton evidenced a pain response. These were more than just reflexes, as she appeared to be annoyed by these painful responses long after they had stopped, and would not smile at me again for the rest of the day.

She certainly feels pressure, as was discussed earlier, and opposes pressure with voluntary motor activity. When using a sharp piece of wood, which she found uncomfortable, and going over her entire body (except diapered areas and breast areas), we found that sensation is present everywhere. Sensation on the right side as evidenced by moaning or tightening up muscles or withdrawal and was more prevalent than on the left.

We found that she had two sensory levels. The first is the side-to-side asymmetry, where she feels more on the right than the left. The second is a major increase in pain approximately C4 and cephalic to the head. This is consistent with a spinal injury and spinal cord injury near this level.

Motor Exam: As discussed earlier, it is difficult to measure motor strength on the classical scales. The classical motor strength scale is a 0-5 scale and is described as patient's voluntary motor strength score /normal which is represented as a 5. Thus a person with no voluntary motion would be 0/5 and a person with normal voluntary motion is a 5/5. Normal motor strength requires relaxation of the muscles around the muscle being tested. Thus, if grip squeeze is being tested, the muscles that straighten the fingers must relax in order to have a good squeeze. Ifthose muscles don't relax, they tend to keep the fingers straight, and thus give a weaker squeeze than if they did relax. When the muscles near the area being tested don't relax, that is called spasticity, and makes the exam less accurate. At times the spasticity is so severe that a muscle tested may not be strong enough to overcome the opposing muscles, and no evidence of voluntary muscle movement is seen even though there is in fact voluntary control over those muscles.

This is the problem that we have with Ms. Schiavo. She clearly has voluntary control that is good control over her facial musculature. Formal testing of those cranial nerves showed no weakness or facial asymmetry.

In the upper and lower arms, however, the spasticity is severe. She at times would voluntarily move her right arm/ hand complex against gravity, which is considered a strength of 3/5 or greater by convention. When squeezing my hand and relaxing on the right side, she had approximately a 2-3 (-)/5 but range of

activity was severely limited by spasticity. On the left side, it appeared weaker. In the upper extremities, she would oppose pressure on her, or try to move her arms with approximately 3/5, but not to command (probably due to the aphasia). The right side was stronger than the left.

The leg motion on the right was generally approximately 2-3/5 in all groups except around the ankle. However, when opposing my hand in the lower leg, she was 3+ -4-/5 and the voluntary action caught on videotape was clearly a strong 3/5 or better. On the left side the strength appeared to be more of a 2/5 range in all groups, but due to the difficulty of the exam, may actually have been stronger than this.

The convention of the 0-5 scales for testing voluntary motor strength is as follows:

0 No voluntary movement

1 Trace movement able to be felt

2 Movement of an extremity if gravity is removed. Thus if movement of a leg occurs in a bed while a patient is lying down, but he cannot move that same area up off of the bed, this is considered 2/5.

3 Movement against gravity

4 Movements against examiner's actively resisting the patient's muscular activity

5 Normal

The scale has some additional aspects, in that a - or + sign may further allow an examiner to delineate a specific number into sub-gradations. Reflexes: Were 2+ throughout on the left side, and slightly brisker on the right side.

The reflexes to my exam were slightly brisker in the upper extremities than in the lower extremities. These reflex findings may be related in part to differing level of tone due to spasticity. No clonus was identified. The reflexes at the pectoralis muscles were 2++ and symmetrical. Reflexes at the ankles could not be obtained due to the severe contractures. Babinski exam did not show abnormal reflexes, probably due to the severity of the contractures in the feet. Both glabellar and palmomental reflexes were mildly abnormal.


The patient is not in coma.

She is alert and responsive to her environment. She responds to specific people best.

She tries to please others by doing activities for which she gets verbal praise.

She responds negatively to poor tone of voice.

She responds to music.

She differentiates sounds from voices.

She differentiates specific people's voices from others.

She differentiates music from stray sound.

She attempts to verbalize.

She has voluntary control over multiple extremities

She can swallow.

She is partially blind

She is probably aphasic and has a degree of receptive aphasia.

She can feel pain.

On this last point, it is interesting to observe that the records from Hospice show frequent medication administered for pain by staff.

With respect to specifics and specific recommendations in order to carry out the instructions of the Second District Court of Appeal:

From a neurological standpoint: The patient appears to be partially blind.

She needs a full opthamological evaluation and visual evoked potentials done to flash and checkerboard patters. The opthamological examination is to evaluate her retina and her ophthalmic nerve to try to determine the cause of her visual limitations and if any treatment exists. The evoked potentials looks at the nerve between the eye and the visual centers in the brain, to see if there is treatable damage and the type of damage, if any in these areas. This is important, as for individuals to interact with her, and possibly teach her better ways of communicating with others, they must know what sort of limitations she has. This even extends to whether she can see people or objects in specific areas of her vision, and what size objects need to be to be accurately seen. Additionally, if one were to properly examine her, it would help if one knew the full extent of these test results.

Communication: She can communicate. She needs a Speech Therapist, Speech Pathologist, and a communications expert to evaluate how to best communicate with her and to allow her to communicate and for others to communicate with her. Also, a treatment plan for how to develop better communication needs to be done.

Rehabilitation Medicine: The patient has severe contractures. She needs a specialist to evaluate these and develop a treatment plan.

Endocrine: The patient has clinical evidence of an abnormally functioning endocrine system. Her blood pressure is abnormally low. Many patients with severe neurological injury have low blood pressure due to an abnormally functioning endocrine system. The reason for this should be determined and corrected, as with a more normal blood pressure, she is likely to have even better neurological functioning. She has facial acne consistent with hormonal abnormalities.

ENT: The patient can clearly swallow, and is able to swallow approximately 2 liters of water per day (the daily amount of saliva generated). Water is one of the most difficult things for people to swallow. It is unlikely that she currently needs the feeding tube. She should be evaluated by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist, and have a new swallowing exam.

Mammography needs to be performed.

Spinal Exam: The patient's exam from a spinal perspective is abnormal. The degree of limitation of range of motion, and of spasms in her neck, is consistent with a neck injury. The abnormal sensory exam, that shows evidence of her hypoxic encephalopathic strokes (right side sensory responses are different from left) also suggests a spinal cord injury at around the level of C4. Her physical exam and videotapes also suggest a spinal cord injury is also present, as she has much better control over he face, head, and neck, than over her arms and legs. This reminds one of a person with a spinal cord injury who has good facial control, but poor use of arms and legs. It is possible that a correctable spinal abnormality such as a herniated disk may be found that could be treated and result in better neurological functioning. This should be looked for, as may be treatable. Thus, there may be an injured disk or spinal cord; the disk injury is more treatable, the spinal cord injury, if present without a disk injury, may be more difficult to treat. A person with a spinal cord injury and hypoxic encephalopathy will need different treatment and rehab recommendations than one who just has a hypoxic encephalopathic.

Interestingly, I have seen this pattern of mixed brain (cerebral) and spinal cord findings in a patient once before, a patient who was asphyxiated.

A urological consultation should be obtained: I disagree with Dr. Gambone's view that the patient's bacteria in the urine may be ignored. In my experience, colonization of the bladder can very distinctly affect the patient's neurological status and affect their rehabilitation. The patient needs a urological consultation both to examine the bladder issue, resolve if there are possibly colonized and kidney stones (that may be the source of recurring bladder infections). Also, one significant mechanism of diagnosing and finding and diagnosing spinal cord injuries is through sophisticated bladder EMG and other testing. This should be done.

The neurosurgeon who placed the implant should be contacted for recommendations. A neurological examination can only be carried out in the context of a complete understanding of the patient's physiology, including current blood tests. Thus the tests that Dr. Gambone did months ago, before we had access to the patient, should immediately be repeated.

EEG: I have reviewed the EEG recently obtained. The EEG has large amounts of artifact. The technician's attempted to remove artifact by filtering. Unfortunately, filtering also affects and reduces evident brain electronic activity. This EEG is not adequate and should be repeated. It should be repeated at the patient's bedside, with the patient in a non-agitated state.

SPECT scan: A SPECT scan prior to and after several days of Hyperbaric Trial should be obtained. Such a Hyperbaric Oxygen trial does not constitute treatment, as the length of time of such hyperbaric is inadequate to render any treatment. However, it is a useful technique to assess the likelihood of improvement using hyperbaric oxygen. I would defer to Dr. Maxfield on the specifics of testing, but believe that it is generally accepted by those in the field who have experience with hyperbaric treatment, that Dr. Maxfield's recommendations in this area are accurate.

William M. Hammesfahr, M.D.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Dear Friends of Terri,

MARCH 29, 2005
DAY 12

Dear Friends of Terri,

There aren't many words I can say at this moment with regard to what is happening to Terri, other than she is now on day 12 without food and water, and is slowly dying as the life is literally being sucked out of her. While Michael Schiavo fills his face with food and water, and Laura Bush flies to have lunch with the Afghanistan women, ....Terri lays weak, looking toward her parents and siblings for relief of the pains associated with hunger and dehydration. She is still fighting for her life.

How interesting! Michael stated Terri did not wish to live, yet she continues to fight back and has more of a will to live without food and water, than many of us who are nourished and hydrated.

I remain appalled at the media for reporting there are more people in this country who are willing to say, our President is better off to fight for the lives in foreign lands than to involve himself in saving a life here in America! This I find, is yet, another insult to the American people and to the many millions of veterans who lost their lives fighting for freedom and preservation of human life.

For the past two years, I have been involved day and night helping the Schindlers fight for their daughters life. I have come to know and love them like my own family. They are a family who possess a bond of love, unity, devotion, caring, values, morals, and religious beliefs that we all struggle to maintain in our modern day world. I continue to sit and wonder; how does the ideal family end up in such a situation as this? They have struggled for 14 years to obtain help saving their daughters life. Sadly, in spite of their daughter being locked away as a hostage in one room for five years, they were not able to gain national attention from the news media until it came time for their daughter to be starved and dehydrated. Does this say something about our news media or what is happening to America? What is wrong with this entire picture? What does it mean when we as a society close our eyes to the important news topics, which assure us of our own survival and existence?

Michael Schiavo is not only torturing this loving family by forcing them to watch their daughter in this situation (knowing they can turn her around by providing her with nutrition and fluids,) he is now blasting all over the news the word "autopsy"; a word which associates itself with images of their daughter they should not be forced to digest before necessary. How callous and cruel! Schiavo does not even have the compassion in his heart to wait until she is dead before discussing such a topic. A topic he clearly is addressing at this time, only to vindicate himself of any wrong doings! Another clear demonstration regarding how all of this has nothing to do with Terri, but how it's all about Michael, and what Michael wants and needs!

Does Schiavo think he can insult those of us who are aware of the fact he will most likely pay the Pinellas County Medical Examiner to do Terri's autopsy? How convenient of him to announce that he is doing this to prove to the people that she has no brain function.
It appears Terri's supporters will now be forced to prove some more documentation and corruption involving her autopsy.

I am not certain which avenues we as Terri's supporters need to take in order to force the courts to have an unbiased autopsy performed from someone not associated with this case, and who isn't from the corrupt state of Florida. I do know, that if we are forced to deal with this topic before it is absolutely necessary, than we must act now and help to ensure that the Schindlers are permitted to hire their own Medical Examiner, or, have an examiner of their choice in the room as well.

In addition, be advised, Michael is insisting Terri be cremated and not buried. To add even more insult to injury, he will send her ashes out of Florida to be taken miles away from her loving family. This will prevent them from being able to visit her and grieve at her gravesite. A healing process surely Terri's family will need.

Michael resides in Florida. How many loving husbands do you know, starve their wives to death and then have their ashes shipped miles away so their family cannot pay respects to their gravesite? I guess he would answer by saying, these were Terri's wishes as well.

I have nothing more to say at this time.

Cheryl Ford RN

March 24, 2005
Cybercast News Service

( - A nurse, who worked until Monday at the hospice where Terri Schiavo is dying of dehydration and starvation under court order, claims Terri feels pain and the nursing staff medicates her for that pain. Nora Wagner also claims she was fired Monday after expressing support for keeping Terri alive.

Wagner has been a nurse for 30 years and spent the last two years as a contract employee of an agency that provides nurses to the Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., where Terri has been kept since April of 2000. She told a Florida television station that Terri's feeding tube should not have been removed.

"She's not physically ill, other than being brain damaged," Wagner told WPTF reporter Sarina Fazan.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Death doesn't become her

It was supposed to be his finest hour. Just hours before Judge George Greer had turned down the 11th hour pleas of the Schindler family and now Schindler lawyers were admitting that they had run out of court appeals.

The sweet smell of victory overpowered the odour of Easter lilies. It was George Felos The Conqueror’s made-for-television shining moment. In terms of media attention, surpassing even O.J.’s Dream Team.

With cameras recording, George Felos took careful steady aim-- and shot himself in both left feet.

Academe teaches graduates to be gracious in victory, that it is not nice to gloat and to never kick the underdog when it’s down.

Lessons all lost on Mrs. Felos’ little boy George, who took the low road.

Within the first minutes of his self-aggrandizing media conference, he came on like the power drunk tinpot dictator, proclaiming that Terri, a Catholic, wouldn’t be having her Easter Eve Holy Communion.

Why this televised deathbed denial?

As far as Felos was concerned, she already had it on March 18. Terri was given Communion through her feeding tube before it was detached.

The dying woman, however will be "allowed" to receive the Sacrament one more time. At the time of death, Catholics are administered Extreme Unction. But in Terri’s case not by the Catholic priest who ministered to her for more than four years, but by the chaplain at the hospice that will be her death house.

That’s the decree of Dying with Dignity-crusader George Felos.

By the way, we’re perhaps overreacting, because Felos said death for Terri is not imminent. According to the voluble Felos, Terri could be around longer than we think.

How any self-respecting attorney could stand on national television and expect folk to believe someone starved of food and water could last much longer is breathtaking in its sheer audacity.

Interesting how Felos could possibly know how long Terri would endure.

Surely, it has nothing to do with his having served on the board of directors of the hospice where Terri is wasting away?

Sounding like the title of the movie, Death Becomes Her, Michael Schiavo’s favourite lawyer also pooh-poohed all this talk about Terri looking gruesome.

There is no bleeding nose, sunken eyes or flaking skin. People under the control of the Dying with Dignity gang always look good.

In fact, Felos told reporters he’d "never seen such a look of peace and beauty upon her".

Coolly, he spoke of cremation. His client Michael Schiavo is insisting that immediately upon her death, Terri will be cremated.

Felos had the colossal nerve to advise the great unwashed to reflect upon how life on earth does not last.

This peon of the politically correct, whose conversation is laced with words like "inappropriate" and who would lecture all about "dying with dignity", has already snatched the laurel wreath.

It wasn’t the actual act of denying Terri Schiavo Holy Communion, but his apparent gesture of dismissing the Sacrament as something not sacrosanct that insulted Catholics at their holiest time of the year.

Like so many crusaders of the politically correct, the boorish George Felos is a hypocrite.

Having seized the moral high ground to lecture the rest of us, and seeming to have won the day for the Death Culture, Felos won’t be stepping down from the podium Michael Schiavo raised for him anytime soon.

Canada Free Press founding editor Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 25 years experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard and the former Brampton Daily Times.

What Happened To "The Best of America?" by Cheryl Ford RN

March 27, 2005

The realities of Terri lying in a bed as a victim being murdered on this 10th day of no food and water is incredibly difficult for many civilized people to digest. The leaders of our country have deserted not only Terri, but all of us. My emotions vacillate; I am numb, angry, appalled, and very saddened by what is happening to Terri. I still cannot believe this is happening to her, here in America. Furthermore, I cannot understand how our government and court system has endorsed the act of killing a person, who last week was not dying.

Please! I ask that with all due respect to those who are terminally ill and who are wrongly euthanized each year, I implore the people of this nation not to sweep Terri's situation into the definitions of euthanasia. Euthanasia is indeed wrong, and is happening to many who are terminally ill. However, that is NOT what is happening to Terri. Terri is being MURDERED! To allow Terri to die with the notion she was euthanized because of a terminal illness would be another miscarriage of justice to her and to us as a society. We must acknowledge what is actually happening to Terri in order to stop this from ever happening again. Terri is being murdered by an estranged spouse who lied to the courts with his hearsay evidence that Terri did not wish to live as a disabled person.

I cannot tolerate hearing the media repeatedly rationalize murdering a healthy human being with a disability, and then classify her KILLER as a caring husband! Let us not forget, aside from her brain injury, Terri is a healthy human being who could have easily lived another 30 plus years without any problems. She has a healthy heart, healthy liver, healthy lungs, healthy kidneys and could swallow her own saliva. She breaths on her own and is not on life support. She communicates with her family and has a loving spirit. I am outraged at the media for their ignorance and promotion of her MURDER! There are over 220 documented entries in Terri's medical records by physicians and therapists stating Terri could have been rehabilitated.

Murder is wrong! Once upon a time, murder was against the laws of our land and our judicial system. It is no longer. For this reason, I grieve for not only Terri, but for our entire country right now. For America to endorse murder, will only bring forth the same problems here on American soil, that we are spending billions of our tax dollars trying to stop over in Iraq.

I am outraged by our Government and courts who have supported the inhumane killing of an innocent girl on American soil. You should be as well! How dare they allow a healthy disabled citizen of the United States of America to spend 10 long days without food and water and then deny the Department of Children and Family Services the right to go in and save her after they exposed her abuse and neglect? How dare our Government and courts allow a small time Florida judge, a death attorney and an evil estranged spouse the right to get away with the most heinous crime known to man......the torture and murder of an innocent human being by starvation and dehydration!

People can deny the facts of Terri's murder all they want, however, what we have done by allowing Terri to be starved and dehydrated, is to turn on gas in the death chambers for disabled people all over America. We have set the foundation for the construction of many new chambers soon to come. Many will now follow in Terri's wake.

I feel for my colleagues; the dedicated nurses who have compassion and respect for the preservation of life, who still have to work in hospitals and nursing homes to make a living. If society thinks the world of medicine is suffering from a nursing shortage now, wait until they see what will happen to the profession when nurses are forced to carry through with physicians orders which read, discontinue the feeding tube on those patients who are disabled and smiling at them.

Sadly, on the clock of the Bush Administration, our President will be known for initializing future forums for legalized murder of the disabled. Thousands who have supported President Bush in his election, and hundreds from the Pro Life organizations, have written to me in disbelief of his actions. I suppose we all had expected him to take the same stand he did when he stood on the pile of rubble at ground zero. The speech our President made on the evening of September 11, 2001, "Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America." I must ask our President, is the cruel and inhumane starvation and dehydration of one innocent disabled girl on American soil, allowed by our judicial system, not as evil? Yes, President Bush, I ask...."What happened to the best of America?"

As for our dear Terri, while Michael Schiavo succeeds in MURDERING her, I know her legacy will live on. She will go down in history as the first disabled person, who was led as a martyr through the American doors of legalized murder.

In conclusion, the involvement of the US Congress and their inability to intercede
in a case involving blatant judicial homicide has helped to remind me of a time in our history when disabled people were once marched to their death. I can now see how critical
it is for me to go on fighting for Terri in the quest to STOP the legalized murder of our innocent disabled citizens.

May God Bless You Theresa Marie Schindler. Though we never met, you will always remain a part of my life.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Police 'showdown' averted

Comments From Ford:
I spoke to Mary Schindler last night. She is being forced to watch her daughter die. This mother will have in her memories, a daughter who was not taken from this earth by natural causes, instead was taken from this earth as a result of murder. How can our government not step in and stop judicial homicide?

Michael Schiavo won't allow Terri's cousins or extended family who have flown into the area in to visit Terri. He continues control over the visitor list. The family is understandably very upset. Michael has the Schindlers' leave their daughters bedside every time he arrives because he refuses to be in the room with them. Then, he takes his time in the room with Terri, so they have less time with her. They were not able to visit with Terri for 12 hours on Thursday. Will someone explain to me why is it that Jack Kvorkian is in prison, and Michael Schiavo walks away a free man?

Posted on Sat, Mar. 26, 2005

Police 'showdown' averted


Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to resume her feeding.

For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called ``a showdown.''

In the end, the squad from the FDLE and the Department of Children & Families backed down, apparently concerned about confronting local police outside the hospice.

''We told them that unless they had the judge with them when they came, they were not going to get in,'' said a source with the local police.

''The FDLE called to say they were en route to the scene,'' said an official with the city police who requested anonymity. ``When the sheriff's department and our department told them they could not enforce their order, they backed off.''

The incident,known only to a few and related to The Herald by three different sources involved in Thursday's events, underscores the intense emotion and murky legal terrain that the Schiavo case has created. It also shows that agencies answering directly to Gov. Jeb Bush had planned to use a wrinkle in Florida law that would have allowed them to legally get around the judge's order. The exception in the law allows public agencies to freeze a judge's order whenever an agency appeals it.


Participants in the high-stakes test of wills, who spoke with The Herald on the condition of anonymity, said they believed the standoff could ultimately have led to a constitutional crisis and a confrontation between dueling lawmen.

''There were two sets of law enforcement officers facing off, waiting for the other to blink,'' said one official with knowledge of Thursday morning's activities.

In jest, one official said local police discussed ``whether we had enough officers to hold off the National Guard.''

''It was kind of a showdown on the part of the locals and the state police,'' the official said. ``It it was not too long after that Jeb Bush was on TV saying that, evidently, he doesn't have as much authority as people think.''

State officials on Friday vigorously denied the notion that any ''showdown'' occurred.

''DCF directed no such action,'' said agency spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez.

Said Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre: ``There was no showdown. We were ready to go. We didn't want to break the law. There was a process in place and we were following the process. The judge had an order and we were following the order.''

Tim Caddell, a spokesman for the city of Pinellas Park, declined to discuss Thursday's events.


The developments that set Thursday morning's events in motion began the previous afternoon, when the governor and DCF chief Lucy Hadi held an impromptu news conference to announce they were considering sheltering Schiavo under the state's adult protection law. DCF has been besieged, officials say, by thousands of calls alleging Schiavo is the victim of abuse or neglect.

Alerted by the Bush administration that Schiavo might be on her way to their facility, officials at Morton Plant Hospital went to court themselves Wednesday, asking Circuit Judge George Greer, who ordered the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube last week, what to do.

''It's an extraordinary situation,'' said Beth Hardy, a hospital spokeswoman. ``I don't think any of us has seen anything like it. Ever.''

Greer signed an order Wednesday afternoon forbidding DCF from ''taking possession of Theresa Marie Schiavo or removing her'' from the hospice. He directed ''each and every and singular sheriff of the state of Florida'' to enforce his order.

But Thursday, at 8:15 a.m., DCF lawyers appealed Greer's order to judges at the Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland.

That created the window of time to seize Schiavo. When DCF filed its appeal, it effectively froze the judge's Wednesday order. It took nearly three hours before the judge found out and canceled the automatic stay, shortly before 11 a.m.

Administrators of the 72-bed hospice, who have endured a withering siege of their facility by protesters since Greer ordered Schiavo's feeding tube removed on March 18, declined to discuss Thursday morning's events in any detail.

''I don't really know, or pretend to know, the specifics of what is going on behind the scenes,'' said Mike Bell, a spokesman for Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, which operates Woodside.


According to sources, DCF intended to take Schiavo to Morton Plant Hospital, where her feeding tube had been reinserted in 2003 following a previous judicial order allowing its removal. But hospice officials were aware that the hospital was not likely to perform surgery to reinsert the tube without an order from Greer.

''People knew that taking [Schiavo] did not equate with immediate reinsertion of the feeding tube,'' a source said. ``Hospital officials were working with their legal counsel and their advisors, trying to figure out which order superseded which, and what action they should take.''

Hardy, the hospital spokeswoman, said she does not believe the hospital was made aware Thursday morning that DCF and state police planned to bring Schiavo in. ''We were not aware of that three-hour period,'' she said. ``It's not a discussion we even had, really.''

George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney, said he does not think DCF officials knew of the window of opportunity they had created until well after they filed their appeal.

''Frankly, I don't believe when they filed their notice of appeal they realized that that gave them an automatic stay,'' Felos said. ``When we filed our motion to vacate the automatic stay . . . they realized they had a short window of opportunity and they wanted to extend that as long as they could.

``I believe that as soon as DCF knew they had an opportunity, they were mobilizing to take advantage of it, without a doubt.''

Friday, March 25, 2005

Press Release Written By: Cheryl Ford RN

Press Release written by:
Cheryl Ford RN, nurse activist and spokesperson
March 25, 2005
1:00 PM ET

Despite the hundreds of pieces of evidence from nurses, physicians, speech pathologists, physical therapists, attorneys, the DCF, along with more recent statements made by:

Expert/specialist Dr. George Eddington McClane, M.D. Director
Forensic Medical Unit Department of the Family Justice Center City of San Diego, stating in writing.. " Terri Schiavo's condition is consistent with attempted strangulation. Her healthy heart functioning for the last 14 years is not consistent with a "heart attack from an eating disorder" having ever occurred. Disallowing replacement of the feeding tube in this woman is homicide. Critical facts in plain view must have time to be reviewed. This can be accomplished in 7 days. "
Evidence showing how Terri was fraudulently admitted into a hospice facility by Dr. Victor Gambone in April 2000, admitting in a 2002 evidentiary hearing Terri was placed in into a hospice because Michael Schiavo told him to do so;
Evidence how Victor Gambone and Medical Director William Moore had signed and written on Terri's chart in 4/11/2000 -- "based on the patient's diagnosis and current condition, I expect this patient has a limited life expectancy of (six) months or less, if disease continues to take its usual course, and hereby certify patient as eligible for hospice" ..Yet Terri was NOT and NEVER was terminal or diagnosed with any DISEASE giving her 6 months or less to live...
Despite Evidence that Terri's so called "wishes " were only hearsay and not written testimony of them by her estranged husband was never Admissible under Florida's evidence code under FS 90.602.
Despite the fact that Michael testified that he found Terri face down and rolled her over, yet Paramedics (according to St. Petersburg Police Report) found her face down.
Despite Evidence from NOBEL PRIZE nominee Dr. William Hammesfahr, expert neurologist giving a complete review of his extensive hands on exam of Terri.
Despite evidence that Michael Schiavo announced his engagement to Jodi Centonze and made two children with her, clearly showing that by FLA MARITAL LAW he is an adulterer and has deserted Terri as her husband.
Despite Evidence from several board-certified neurologists that Terri is not PVS and the affidavits of more than 40 physicians that she can be rehabilitated.
Evidence that Michael Schiavo filed a 1992 malpractice suit for 20 million dollars, and was awarded 1.7 million after convincing the jury he needed the money to care for his wife, but later after having the money in his hand placed a DNR on her chart and motioned the courts to remove her feeding tube
Despite evidence that Michael has been carrying on in affairs for almost as long as Terri has had her unexplained tragic accident
Despite the affidavit of nurse Carla who cared for Terri stating Michael tried to harm Terri.
Despite the statement from Michael's previous girlfriend Cyndi Shook stating Michael stalked her and did not care about Terri.
Despite the statement of the recent nurse, Nora Wagner who came forth from Woodside Hospice on March 21, 2005, stating she worked with Terri and Terri laughed at her jokes. (Note: Mrs. Wagner immediately was fired from her job for speaking up about Terri)
Despite recent statement by Dr. Chesire of the Mayo Clinic stating he did not believe Terri was in a PVS
Despite affidavit from Dr. Craddock stating Terri's 5 teeth were extracted due to dental neglect.
Despite the fact that Terri's husband (as her supposed legal guardian) denied her dental care for more than 10 years.
Despite Terri never been allowed her OWN legal representation or DUE PROCESS
Despite the hundreds of other pieces of evidence showing Terri was neglected and there was possible abuse, provided by the DCF(Department of Children and Family)
Despite the majority vote in the United States Congress LAST WEEK passing a bill that would save Terri's life
Despite President Bush's recent statement on national TV" stating it is better "to err on the side of life" and his making a special trip to fly from his vacation home to sign the bill into legislation

-Federal Judge Whittemore in Tampa Florida AGAIN DENIED AT 7:30 AM ET hearing what was to be a de novo review (allowing the Schindlers to open the case from the beginning with ALL the EVIDENCE) thus allowing the Schindlers the opportunity to have Terri's tube immediate reinserted while it is reviewed.

- The Schindlers' have now filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit court and are awaiting a decision.

- Terri lays inhumanely suffering from starvation and dehydration on her 7th day without food and water while the local judicial system denies her parents the legal right to provide ALL the pertinent evidence necessary to give her water and save her life.


CALL: 800.962.2873





IN PINELLAS PARK -County Pinellas-
6774 102nd Avenue N.
Pinellas Park, Florida 33782-2909



They are very compassionate!



American Family Raped by Judicial Corruption... By Cheryl Ford RN

March 25, 2005

American Family Raped by Judicial Corruption
By Cheryl Ford RN

These last several evenings, I have been sitting in a small thrift store located directly across from Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida. A few weeks back, the local owner decided to temporarily close her thrift store business to the public. Her kindness and compassion for Terri's tragic situation led her to create a small makeshift gathering area inside her little store. This little space is where the Schindlers and close friends now find solace from the crowds and media while Terri lies dying from starvation and dehydration.

During these past two years, I have been watching the Schindlers' anguish as they ventured down every legal avenue to save their daughters life. I have witnessed a family whose expressions resembled the faces depicted in old photos of parents who stood petrified and helpless, as their children were torn from their arms in Nazi, Germany. I've watched the Schindlers' cry, plead and beg the Government to look into the inhumane execution of their daughters life. Once again, with a race against time, and for the second time in two years, I feel helpless as a nurse and their friend. I see the pain in their eyes when they look at me with desperation asking silently how much time their daughter has remaining without food and water.

Two nights ago, Terri's mother Mary, worn and extremely tired, looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked, "What am I going to do Cheryl, I am watching them kill my daughter and I am not allowed to help her?" We both cried. Her words barely audible as she desperately described Terri laying in her bed inside the death camp across the narrow street, "I love my daughter, she wasn't dying last Thursday, but she is dying now." Mary tired and numb continued...... "She responds to me, she smiles at me, we love each other, but her eyes are sinking in now and her face is beginning to show signs she is starving and is thirsty." Mary cried out......"Please, this is America, who can we get to help stop my daughters inhumane death?"

Bobby, Terri's brother emotionally and physically drained after numerous sleepless nights from traveling to meet with Senators in Washington DC, pleading for his sisters life, held his head in his hands. He exclaimed... "What am I going to do, I cannot believe this is happening to my sister; how can this be happening in America?"
Bobby paced the floor while vocalizing how his worst fears had become a reality......"She looks like a holocaust victim, how can we as a civilized society allow this to happen to any human being?"

The shock of knowing that no more than 300 yards from me laid a young, healthy woman who was dying from starvation only because of the actions inflicted upon her by her estranged spouse due to his mission to see her dead, was almost more than I could bare. Yes, Terri would die because of the initial decisions that had been made by one local probate judge many years back when Michael Schiavo entered as hearsay evidence to his court, Terri had wanted to die. The very notion that this could be happening in a country that delivers a message of freedom, liberty and justice, is unfathomable. What was I missing here? Had I been disillusioned into thinking I was actually standing on American soil, as I stood watching a 10 year old little boy arrested, handcuffed, and then placed into the back of a paddy wagon for attempting to bring water into a woman who he knew was being starved and dehydrated?

Today, Terri is on her 7th day without food and water. Her family is again forced to sit and watch the life sucked out of her. They know very basic nutrition and water could refuel her life. However, they are watched by police and forbidden to give her even a drop of water as her lips dry and crack and she looks to her mother; a loving mother who provided her with nourishment from the time of conception.

After witnessing Terri's tragic situation with my own eyes and ears over these last two years, I have come away knowing America will never be the same for me. As we rallied on the streets for Terri in order to gain attention to her story, telling of the judicial tyranny here in Florida, we have been called names by people who have not a clue what is happening to Terri, let alone how her death will someday soon effect this nation. Sadly, many will never question the truth about what really happened to Terri Schiavo until they someday find themselves in her situation. When she dies it will not be a matter of "if" this will happen to many others, it will be a matter of "when" it will happen.

For any government official to not become involved in this judicial corruption and homicide, but instead choose to hide behind the notion they cannot become involved because of this being a family dispute, only shows the ignorance behind the leaders in our country. Terri's death is not about "conservatives" "radicals" "religious zealots" "Democrats" "Republican's" "family disputes" or gains for political advancements. It is about local, judicial corruption, a woman whose wishes were never in writing, and a man who has used his authority as her so-called spouse (despite his engagement to another woman) to see her dead! He has used the legal system and its corruption to his criminal advantage. When will people awaken to the real issues at hand here?

Our Governor now says he cannot go beyond the scope of his power. But, he always had the power to act, under Florida's laws. Is this a message to us all that one corrupt judge and one estranged spouse who potentially placed Terri in this situation, controls our Government?

In addition, we must remember that from the time of our conception we have needed a source of nutrition in order to survive. When we allow judges to intentionally remove our
basic nutritional elements from healthy human beings so to terminate life, we soon will face our own extinction.

For many years, I had wondered to myself, how did they get away with marching all those innocent people into the gas chambers; why did no one stand up and try to stop them?
I now have a clearer understanding how it was accomplished!

About the Author: Cheryl Ford is a licensed Registered Nurse in the state of Washington. She is the founder and CEO of her own company which assists in the financial, social and clinical assessment and placement of patients requiring a wide range of skilled medical treatment to over 450 licensed Adult Family Homes. The licensed Adult Family homes are owned and operated by physicians and nurses. While also maintaining another residence and an additional business in the state of Florida, her involvement as an activist in the Terri Schiavo case has arisen as a concerned citizen, as well as from the many years of knowledge she possesses as a Clinical Case Manager, licensed Registered Nurse and former firefighter/paramedic.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Update From The Schindler Camp: March 21, 2005 -- 2:40 AM ET

From: Cheryl Ford RN
March 21, 2005 -- 2:40 AM ET

President Bush signed the bill into law at 1:11 AM ET

The attorney's here in Florida will need to locate a Federal Judge now who will agree to hear the case. I've been told that the judge is chosen through a random process. Once a judge is assigned, we believe the Federal judge will sign a protective stay and will authorize permission to have Terri's feeding tube reinserted. The attorney's are still awake and are working to quickly obtain the necessary signatures so they can be prepared to move forward with the next legal step.

The Schindlers are very tired but are holding up remarkably well. They are at the Hospice facility. Their primary focus at this time is on their daughters safety and having her feeding tube reinserted as soon as possible.

Mr. Schindler reports that Terri is doing fine. He said Terri is alert and her skin is cool. He said she appeared a bit more tired today, however, she is still doing well.

Terri's parents are very grateful for all the support they have received from every one here on the internet. They know that it was due to all of your hard work calling and writing the Senate that helped to have Terri's story heard in Congress.

Please note, Terri's situation is not over until we have a judge who is willing to give a protective stay and we are assured that her her feeding tube can be reinserted.

The family request that you please continue to pray for Terri's safety and health.

I will keep you posted as I hear anything new from the Schindlers.

Thank you again for the dedication and caring you continue to provide to the Schindler family.

You are an amazing group of people and I personally thank you as well.

Cheryl Ford RN

Attorney Barbara Weller's Last Visit With Terri --March 18, 2005

This narrative is also found on Terri's website

Last Visit Narrative

by Attorney Barbara Weller

When Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed at 1:45 p.m. on March 18, 2005, I was one of the most surprised people on the planet. I had been visiting Terri throughout the morning with her family and her priest. As part of the legal team working throughout the previous days and nights to save Terri from a horrific fate, I was very hopeful. Although the state judicial system had obviously failed Terri by not protecting her life, I knew other forces were still at work. I fully expected the federal courts would step in to reverse this injustice, just as they might for a prisoner unjustly set for execution—although by much more humane means than Terri would be executed. Barring that, I was certain that sometime around noon, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services would come to the Woodside Hospice facility in Pinellas Park and take Terri into protective custody. Or that federal marshals would arrive from Washington D.C, where the Congress was working furiously to try to save Terri, and would stand guard at her door to prevent any medical personnel from entering her room to remove the tube that was providing her nutrition and hydration.

Finally, I was sure if nothing else was working, that at 12:59,just before the hour scheduled for Terri’s gruesome execution to begin, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would at least issue a 60-day reprieve for the legislative bodies to complete the work they were attempting to do to save Terri’s life and to make sure that no other vulnerable adults could be sentenced to starve to death in America. I had done the legal research weeks before and was fully convinced that Gov. Bush had the power, under our co-equal branches of government, to issue a reprieve in the face of a judicial death sentence intended to lead to the starvation and dehydration of an innocent woman when scores of doctors and neurologists were saying she could be helped.

All morning long, as I was in the room with Terri and her family, we were telling her that help was on the way. Terri was in good spirits that morning. The mood in her room was jovial, particularly around noontime, as we knew Congressional attorneys were on the scene and many were working hard to save Terri’s life. For most of that time, I was visiting and talking with Terri along with Terri’s sister Suzanne Vitadamo, Suzanne’s husband, and Terri’s aunt, who was visiting from New York to help provide support for the family. A female Pinellas Park police office was stationed at the door outside Terri’s room.

Terri was sitting up in her lounge chair, dressed and looking alert and well. Her feeding tube had been plugged in around 11 a.m. and we all felt good that she was still being fed. Suzanne and I were talking, joking, and laughing with Terri, telling her she was going to go to Washington D.C. to testify before Congress, which meant that finally Terri’s husband Michael would be required to fix her wheelchair. After that Suzanne could take Terri to the mall shopping and could wheel her outdoors every day to feel the wind and sunshine on her face, something she has not been able to do for more than five years.

At one point, I noticed Terri’s window blinds were pulled down. I went to the window to raise them so Terri could look at the beautiful garden outside her window and see the sun after several days of rain. As sunlight came into the room, Terri’s eyes widened and she was obviously very pleased. At another point, Suzanne and I told Terri she needed to suck in all the food she could because she might not be getting anything for a few days. During that time, Mary Schindler, Terri’s mother, joined us for a bit, and we noticed there were bubbles in Terri’s feeding tube. We joked that we didn’t want her to begin burping, and called the nurses to fix the feeding tube, which they did. Terri’s mother did not come back into the room. This was a very difficult day for Bob and Mary Schindler. I suspect they were less hopeful all along than I was, having lived through Terri’s last two feeding tube removals.

Suzanne and I continued to talk and joke with Terri for probably an hour or more. At one point Suzanne called Terri the bionic woman and I heard Terri laugh out loud heartily for the first time since I have been visiting with her. She laughed so hard that for the first time I noticed the dimples in her cheeks.

The most dramatic event of this visit happened at one point when I was sitting on Terri’s bed next to Suzanne. Terri was sitting in her lounge chair and her aunt was standing at the foot of the chair. I stood up and learned over Terri. I took her arms in both of my hands. I said to her, “Terri if you could only say ‘I want to live’ this whole thing could be over today.” I begged her to try very hard to say, “I want to live.” To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri’s eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, “Ahhhhhhh.” Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, “Waaaaaaaa.” She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne’s husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri’s door, clearly heard her. At that point, Terri had a look of anguish on her face that I had never seen before and she seemed to be struggling hard, but was unable to complete the sentence. She became very frustrated and began to cry. I was horrified that I was obviously causing Terri so much anguish. Suzanne and I began to stroke Terri’s face and hair to comfort her. I told Terri I was very sorry. It had not been my intention to upset her so much. Suzanne and I assured Terri that her efforts were much appreciated and that she did not need to try to say anything more. I promised Terri I would tell the world that she had tried to say, ”I want to live.”

Suzanne and I continued to visit and talk with Terri, along with other family members who came and went in the room, until about 2:00 p.m. when we were all told to leave after Judge Greer denied yet another motion for stay and ordered the removal of the feeding tube to proceed. As we left the room, the female police officer outside the door was valiantly attempting to keep from crying.

Just as Terri’s husband Michael has told the world he must keep an alleged promise to kill Terri, a promise remembered a million dollars and nearly a decade after the fact; I must keep my promise to Terri immediately. Time is running out for her. I went out to the banks of cameras outside the hospice facility and told the story immediately. Now I must also tell the story in writing for the world to hear. It may be the last effective thing I can do to try to keep Terri alive so she can get the testing, therapy, and rehabilitative help she so desperately needs before it is too late.

About four in the afternoon, several hours after the feeding tube was removed, I returned to Terri’s room. By that time she was alone except for a male police officer now standing inside the door. When I entered the room and began to speak to her, Terri started to cry and tried to speak to me immediately. It was one of the most helpless feelings I have ever had. Terri was looking very melancholy at that point and I had the sense she was very upset that we had told her things were going to get better, but instead, they were obviously getting worse. I had previously had the same feeling when my own daughter was a baby who was hospitalized and was crying and looking to me to rescue her from her hospital crib, something I could not do. While I was in the room with Terri for the next half hour or so, several other friends came to visit and I did a few press interviews sitting right next to Terri. I again raised her window shade, which had again been pulled down, so Terri could at least see the garden and the sunshine from her lounge chair. I also turned the radio on in her room before I left so that when she was alone, she would at least have some music for comfort.

Just before I left the room, I leaned over Terri and spoke right into her ear. I told her I was very sorry I had not been able to stop the feeding tube from being taken out and I was very sorry I had to leave her alone. But I reminded her that Jesus would stay right by her side even when no one else was there with her. When I mentioned Jesus’ Name, Terri again laughed out loud. She became very agitated and began loudly trying to speak to me again. As Terri continued to laugh and try to speak, I quietly prayed in her ear, kissed her, placed her in Jesus’ care, and left the room.

Terri is alone now. As I write this last visit narrative, it is five in the morning of March 19. Terri has been without food and water for nearly 17 hours. I’m sure she is beginning at least to become thirsty, if not hungry. And I am left to wonder how many other people care.

Friday, March 18, 2005


MARCH 18, 2005
1:50 PM ET



MARCH 18, 2005
11:45 AM







Thursday, March 17, 2005


March 18, 2005
3:00 AM ET





House Speaker Dennis Hastert
Phone: 202-225-2976
Fax: 202-225-0697

Majority Tom Delay
Ph. (202) 225-5951
Fax (202) 225-5241

Representative James Sessenbrenner
(202) 225-5101


MARCH 18, 2005
3:00 AM ET







Senator J.D. Alexander, Majority Whip
Phone: (850) 487-5044

Senator Nancy Argenziano
Phone: (850) 487-5017
Senator Dave Aronberg
Phone: (850) 487-5356

Senator Mike Bennett
Phone: (850) 487-5078

Senator Larcenia Bullard
Phone: (850) 487-5127

Senator Walter “Skip” Campbell
Phone: (850) 487-5094

Senator Lisa Carlton
Phone: (850) 487-5081

Senator Paula Dockery
Phone: (850) 487-5040

Senator Dennis Jones
Phone: (850) 487-5065

Senator Jim King
Phone: (850) 487-5030

Senator Dave Aronberg
Phone: (850) 487-5356

Senator Evelyn J. Lynn
Phone: (850) 487-5033

Senator Burt L. Saunders
Phone: (850) 487-5124

Please call Florida Senators

The following Florida Senators may not be giving favorable consideration to SB 2128 (the companion now to HB 701). If you can, please hit the phone lines. If you can email, please do. This is to be considered in both chambers today in Florida. We need your help.

I've been asked to relay that the best use of language is something very concise and brief, such as "Pass a law that is constitutional, good public policy and that will protect the interests of Florida's disabled and elderly."

Nancy Argenziano (R)
(850) 487-5017
Rm 311

"Mike" Michael S. Bennett (R)
(850) 487-5078
Rm 216 (senate office building)

She might be willing? Maybe
Larcenia J. Bullard (D)
(850) 487-5127
Rm 218

Lisa Carlton (R)
(850) 4875081
Rm 412

Alex Diaz de la Portilla
(850) 487-5109
Rm 314

Paula Dockery
(850) 487-5040
Rm 326

Friend of Jim King probably will go the same way
Dennis L. Jones
(850) 487-5065
Rm 222

"King" James E. King
(850) 487-5368
Rm 416

Evelyn J. Lynn
(850) 487-5033
Rm 324

Burt L. Saunders
(850) 487-5124
Rm 418

Alex J. Villalobos
(850) 487-5130
Rm 330

Skip Campbell

JD Alexander

Tony Hill

Les Miller

Al Lawson

Burt Saunders

Ken Pruitt

Rod Smith

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Transcript: Schiavo on Nightline

Transcript: Michael Schiavo on 'Nightline'

Husband at the Heart of the 'Right to Die' Case Speaks to Chris Bury

March 15, 2005 -- Michael Schiavo won a series of lengthy court battles for the right to take his severely-disabled wife Terri off life support, but now faces a new challenge from Florida lawmakers who are seeking to pass a bill that would stop him from doing so.

Terri Schiavo collapsed in 1990 and suffered severe brain damage. She has been kept alive by a feeding tube ever since and has been unable to speak or care for herself. Her parents have insisted she is not in a persistent vegetative state, as doctors appointed by the court have concluded. They also believe she would not have wanted to be allowed to die.

While Michael Schiavo has only rarely spoken to the press, he gave an interview to ABC News' Chris Bury as the bill moves through the state legislature and the day for removing his wife's feeding tube approaches.

The following is a transcript of their conversation.

BURY: Joining us now from Dunedin, Fla., Michael Schiavo and his lawyer George Felos.

Michael, you've had very little to say outside of what's been filed in the legal briefs over the last year or so. Why have you decided to come out tonight and have something to say?

SCHIAVO: The reason why I've been keeping private for the longest time ever here, I've always wanted to protect my wife's privacy. I don't like — I didn't want to put her picture all over the news. I just wanted to keep her private.

And today, and what's going on in the legislation, is really the reason why I'm starting to speak out, because it's outrageous.

BURY: When you say the legislation, I assume what you're talking about is the bill back now in the Florida legislature, which actually passed a committee in the legislature today and could be on Gov. Bush's desk by Friday, which is the same day that Terri's feeding tubes are to be removed. Is that right?

SCHIAVO: That's correct.

You know, it's really uncomprehensible to think that a private family matter that has gone through the judiciary system for the past seven years — I mean, we're talking all the way up to the United States Supreme Court — and for a governor to come into this without any education on the subject and push his personal views into this and have his Republican legislation pass laws so that this doesn't happen.
He's basically jumping right over the state court's decision. We might as well not have any state courts.

BURY: Just, Michael, so we can all understand the legislation — as I understand it, this would require that before the feeding tubes could be removed from someone in a vegetative state, they would have had to have left written instructions to the effect that that was OK with that. Is that correct?

SCHIAVO: That's what they're trying to pass now, yes.

BURY: And let me ask your lawyer, George Felos: How problematic is this legislation for you?

FELOS: Chris, this is the second time this has happened.

As everyone knows, in October 2003 the governor sent armed men to Terri's death bed, took her to a hospital and had surgery performed on her against her will.

The Florida Supreme Court said that was unconstitutional, and it also said there is absolutely nothing the Florida legislature can pass that can undo the result in Terri Schiavo's case. Yet, in response to political pressure, the legislature is poised to pass another unconstitutional bill.

And not only that, it's not just Floridians' rights that are at stake, but everyone in the country. There is a bill in the United States Congress, and this bill in the United States Congress would virtually let any family member bring a federal court habeas corpus proceeding, which would tie up a case like that for years in federal court, which would make it virtually impossible for anyone to remove artificial life support.

And I want to mention, too, for everyone listening out there, this bill, filed in federal court, does not pertain just to vegetative patients. It doesn't pertain just to removal of feeding tubes. It pertains to removal or refusal of any type of medical treatment.

BURY: Just for the sake of argument, if this Florida bill moves through the legislature and Governor Bush signs it as early as Friday, does that move the whole thing back into the courts?

SCHIAVO: Well, we'll have to see what, in fact, passes on Friday.

It may very well delay implementation of Terri's rights. We certainly hope that it will not. But it is beyond any doubt that the Florida Supreme Court will once again declare such a law unconstitutional.

BURY: Michael, did Terri, your wife, leave any kind of written instructions about her wishes?

SCHIAVO: She didn't leave any written instructions. She has verbally expressed her wishes to me and other people. BURY: She had verbally expressed them in what context exactly?

SCHIAVO: Through watching some TV program, a conversation that happened regarding her uncle that was very ill.

BURY: And how long ago was that? SCHIAVO: Oh, we're talking — it's now been 15 years. We're talking a couple of year, three years before this happened to Terri.

BURY: So there's no kind of written record at all. It's basically your recollection and those of other family members.

SCHIAVO: Yes, it is.

FELOS: But, Chris…

BURY: Go ahead, George.

FELOS: You have to remember that statistics show that something around 20 to 30 percent of adult Americans have written living wills. And if you're going to try to restrict families and patients from making decisions to stop artificial life support because patient declarations were oral, then the vast majority of Americans are going to be prevented from making these types of decisions.

SCHIAVO: People make these comments all the time. They talk about this with their loved ones every day. People's feedings — tube feedings — are stopped across this country every day. If my wife wasn't the celeb, as everybody is calling her now, there would be no discussion in the legislation right now. My other — are they going to start pushing legislation for removing ventilators? Are they going to start forcing people to take chemo against their wishes? What they're doing is, they're making the decisions for us. That's what this country is coming down to. They're going to make the decisions for us.

BURY: In this…

SCHIAVO: Big Brother is going to do that.

BURY: Michael, in the heated rhetoric that's swirling around this case and has been for a number of years now — all kinds of charges have been flying back and forth. First of all, do you stand to benefit financially in any way from your wife's death?

SCHIAVO: There is no money. I will receive not a penny.

BURY: You did receive something of a malpractice settlement north of $1 million at one point, is that correct?


FELOS: Well, no.

BURY: And what happened to that?

FELOS: Michael didn't receive those funds. Those were received in Terri's guardianship and it was a bank who was her guardian of the property that administered those funds.

BURY: But the question remains: What happened to those funds?

FELOS: Well, those funds have been used for Terri's medical care and guardianship expenses and costs and fees over many, many years. Those funds are virtually gone, and Mr. Schiavo is not going to inherit or gain one penny by the result of Terri's death.

BURY: And so, Michael, who is now — and let's get the camera over to Michael if we can — Michael, who is now paying for Terri's case?

SCHIAVO: Actually, right now, she's listed on the indigent list for hospice. They were taking care of her. They take very good care of her.

BURY: It's got to be very expensive.

SCHIAVO: She had — I haven't received any bills from it, so I couldn't tell you how much it would cost.

BURY: Your wife's family and their supporters have been arguing in the most graphic terms that what you are going to allow happen on Friday, in their words, is in effect condemning your wife to a cruel death by starvation. I'd like you to address that charge from them.

SCHIAVO: That's one of their soapboxes they've been on for a long time. Terry will not be starved to death. Her nutrition and hydration will be taken away. This happens across this country every day. Death through removing somebody's nutrition is very painless. That has been brought to the courts many of times. Doctors have come in and testified. It is a very painless procedure

Terry can't — she has no cortex left. She doesn't feel pain. She doesn't feel hunger. So what's going to happen is slowly — her potassium and her electrolytes will slowly diminish and she will drift off to a nice little sleep and eventually pass on to be with God.

BURY: Michael, as you know, her parents have said they are willing to take on the burden of caring for her. And we want to tackle that question when we come back in just a moment.


BURY: Back now with Michael Schiavo with his lawyer, George Felos.

Michael, you're very well aware of Terri's parents' contention that, to some very limited degree, she is responsive and aware of her surroundings. So now, I want to play, for just a second, what her father, Bob Schindler, said on this program to Ted Koppel in October of 2003.


SCHINDLER: We have yea votes that would outnumber the nay votes by at least three to one. Essentially we have close to 15 doctors that are on record with the courts stating Terry is not in a consistent vegetative state. So we're not just out there on a lark. We have bona fide information from a professional neurologist that Terry can recover.


BURY: Michael, you heard from her father that they believe she can recover. We've also heard that she responds to her mother and responds to objects with her eyes. What have you seen in the last 15 years?

SCHIAVO: Terry does not respond to anybody. She makes noises. She moans. She's been doing the same things for the past 15 years. And they talk about their bona fide doctors. They have a list of doctors that signed affidavits from looking at a picture of Terry. That's where they get their information from, by looking at a picture. And then they sign an affidavit swearing that she's not in a vegetative stage. I'll tell you. That's a doctor you really want; they can look at a picture and make a diagnosis.

BURY: The parents also argue that you have moved on with your life, that you now have children that you're with, another woman, and that you could, essentially, divorce Terri and relinquish guardianship to them. Why don't you do that?

SCHIAVO: If I moved on with my life — and I moved on with a portion of it — but I still have a big commitment to Terri. I made her a promise. And another reason why I won't give Terri back is that Mr. Schindler testified in court, at the 2000 trial, that he would — to keep Terri alive he would cut her arms and legs off and put her on a ventilator just to keep her alive. So why would I give her to a man that would do that to you?

BURY: As I understand it, some people have actually offered rewards. In fact, just in the last week or so, I read that someone was willing to pay you $1 million to give up your guardianship to the parents.

SCHIAVO: Yes, there was an offer. And there was an offer two weeks before that by an attorney in Boca Raton that offered me $10 million. It's not about the money. This is about Terri. It's not about the Schindlers, it's not about the legislators, it's not about me, it's about what Terri Schiavo wanted.

BURY: I understand that that's your feeling about what your wife wanted, but knowing that you believe she is in a vegetative state and knowing that her mother and father have said they're willing to pick up the burden and carry on the cost, what is the harm to you if you agree to their wishes and relinquish guardianship to them?

SCHIAVO: Basically what I just said. Her father stated in court he would cut her arms and legs off. I'm not going to turn over Terri to a person that would do that to you.

FELOS: Chris, the fact is that Terri Schiavo is not a piece of property, not a suitcase that one person can give to another. She's an individual that has constitutional rights that have been adjudicated. It's a constitutional right to say, "I don't want medical treatment" and the state can't force you to have it. She may be in a vegetative state, but her dignity requires that we honor her rights and that's what this case is about now. Everyone's constitutional rights are at stake.

Jeb Bush in Florida is determined to become the George Wallace of his generation, standing on the courthouse steps saying, "We're not going to obey a court order that carries out a patient's constitutional rights." And the thing is is that, if Mrs. Schiavo's rights are frustrated here, if the court order giving her the right to refuse medical treatment is frustrated and overturned by the governor or the legislature or the Congress, it could happen to you. It could happen in any case. If any judicial decision is unpopular, it can be subject to being overturned by popular clamor. That's not what this country is about. That's not what individual liberty is about.

BURY: I understand fully the legal question here, Michael. But let ask you in simply human terms. Can you understand the parents' contention, the bond that they have with their daughter, and their reluctance to let her go? Do you understand that?

SCHIAVO: You know, I have children and, you know, I couldn't even fathom what it would be like to lose a child. But you know, it's been 15 years. They know the condition Terri is in. They were there in the beginning. They heard the doctors. They know that Terri's in a persistent vegetative state. They testified to that at the original trial. Fifteen years — you've got to come to grips with it sometime.

BURY: In that 15 years, what has been the most difficult aspect for you, personally?

SCHIAVO: In the 15 years? This happening to my wife. Just because it's happened to Terri doesn't mean I don't still love her. She was a part of my life. She'll always be a part of my life. And to sit here and be called a murderer and an adulterer by people that don't know me, and a governor stepping into my personal, private life, who doesn't know me either? And using his personal gain to win votes, just like the legislators are doing right now, pandering to the religious right, to the people up there, the anti-abortion people, standing outside of Tallahassee. What kind of government is this? This is a human being. This is not right, and I'm telling everybody you better call you congressman, because they're going to run your life. And I just want to say one more thing: Out of all these lawmakers, be it the Florida Senate, Florida House, the U.S. Congress, Gov. Bush, President Bush — I want to know who will come down and take Terri's place. Who wants to do that?

BURY: Michael, I can imagine many people watching this tonight and looking at you and struggling with your dilemma and wondering, if they were in a similar position, what they might do. Based on your own experience over this past 15 years, what advice do you give to families who might have to cope with this situation one day?

SCHIAVO: Make a living will. Talk about it. Death is going to happen to everybody. Write it down. Even if you write it on a piece of paper at home and have your family witness it, you need to write it down.

BURY: Michael Schiavo, George Felos, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And I'll be back in a moment. «PREVIOUS 1. 2. 3. 4