Friday, April 29, 2005

Terri Schiavo's Final Hours -- An Eyewitness Account
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
President, National Pro-life Religious Council

You may have seen on the news that I was at Terri Schiavo's bedside during the last 14 hours of her earthly life, right up until five minutes before her death. During that time with Terri, joined by her brother and sister, I expressed your care, concern, and prayers. I told Terri over and over that she had many friends around the country, many people who were praying for her and were on her side. I had also told her the same things during my visits to her in the months before her feeding tube was removed, and am convinced she understood.

I've known Terri's family for about six years now and they put me on the visitor's list. Terri was in a hospice but there were police officers stationed outside her room. If I were not on that visitor's list I could not get in that room beyond the armed guard because the visitor's list was kept very, very small and very well controlled. The reason? The euthanasia advocates had to be able to say that Terri was an unresponsive person in some kind of vegetative state, coma or whatever terminology they want to use to suggest that she was completely unresponsive. The only way to prove she was responsive was to see her for yourself.

I went down to see her in September 2004 and again in February 2005.

When her mom first introduced her to me, she stared at me intently. She focused her eyes. She would focus her eyes on whoever was talking to her. If somebody spoke to her from the other part of the room she would turn her head and her eyes towards the person who was talking to her.

You know what some of the doctors have dared to say about this? "Oh, it's just reflex reactions. Unconscious reflex reactions." Interestingly, that's exactly the same thing they say about the unborn child when you look at the video The Silent Scream when the child opens his mouth and tries to move away from the instrument that is about to destroy him. They say, "Oh, that's just an automatic reflex." That's the phrase they always use to dehumanize the person.

I told Terri she has many people around the country and around the world who lover her and are praying for her. She looked at me attentively. I said, "Terri now we are going to pray together, I want to give you a blessing, let's say some prayers." So I laid my hand on her head. She closed her eyes. I said the prayer. She opened her eyes again at the end of the prayer. Her dad leaned over to her and said, "OK Terri now here comes the tickle," because he has a mustache. She would laugh and smile and after he kissed her I saw her return the kiss. Her mom asked her a question at a certain point and I heard her voice. She was trying to respond. She was making sounds in response to her mother's question, not just at odd times and meaningless moments. I heard her trying to say something but she was not, because of her disability, able to articulate the words. So she was responsive.

Now, the night before she died I was in the room for probably a total of 3-4 hours, and then for another hour the next morning -- her final hour.

Brothers and sisters to describe the way she looked as peaceful is a total distortion of what I saw. Here now was a person, who for thirteen days had no food or water. She was, as you would expect, very drawn in her appearance as opposed to when I had seen her before. Her eyes were open but they were going from one side to the next, constantly oscillating back and forth, back and forth. The look on her face (I was staring at her for three and a half-hours) I can only describe as a combination of fear and sadness … a combination of dreaded fear and sadness.

Her mouth was open the whole time. It looked like it was frozen open. She was panting rapidly. It wasn't peaceful in any sense of the word. She was panting as if she had just run a hundred miles. But a shallow panting. Her brother Bobby was sitting opposite me. He was on one side of the bed I was on the other facing him. Terri's head in between us and her sister Suzanne was on my left. We sat there and we had a very intense time of prayer. And we were talking to Terri, urging her to entrust herself completely to the Savior. I assured her repeatedly of the love and prayers and concern of so many people.

We held her hand and stroked her head. During those hours, one of the things I did was to chant, in Latin, some of the most ancient hymns of the Church. One of the chants I used was the "Victimae Paschali Laudis," which is the ancient proclamation of the resurrection of Christ. There, as I saw before my eyes the deadly work of the Culture of Death, I proclaimed the victory of life. "Life and death were locked in a wondrous struggle," the hymn declares. "Life's Captain died, but now lives and reigns forevermore!"

And then we had just times of silence … just sitting there in silence trying to absorb what was happening.

But besides Bobby and his sister and Terri herself, you know who else was in the room with us? A police officer. The whole time. At least one. Sometimes two. Sometimes three armed police officers in the room. You know why they were in the room? They wanted to make sure that we didn't do anything that we weren't supposed to do, like give her communion or maybe a glass of water. In fact, Bobby, sitting on the other side of the bed, would occasionally stand up to lean over his sister. When he stood up and did that, the officer would change position. He would move around towards the foot of the bed so that he could have a direct line of sight on what we were doing. The morning that she died we went in there fairly early and I had to go back outside in front of the hospice to do an interview. In order to go out on time I had a little timepiece in my hand and at the beginning of our visit I put it in my left hand, leaned over Terri and extended my right to bless her and we began praying. I closed my eyes and I felt a tap on my left hand. It was the police officer who said, "Father, what do you have in your hand?" I said, "Oh, officer, it's a little time piece." "I'll have to hold it while you're here," he said. We couldn't have anything in our hands. He didn't even know what it was. Maybe I was going to try to give her communion. Maybe I was going to try to moisten her lips. Who knows what terrible thing I was about to do?

You know what the most ironic thing was? There was a little night table in the room. I could put my hand on the table and on Terri's head all within arms reach. You know what was on that table? A vase of flowers filled with water. And I looked at the flowers. They were beautiful. There were roses their and other types of flowers and there was another one on the other side of the room at the foot of the bed. Two beautiful bouquets of flowers filled with water. Fully nourished, living, beautiful. And I said to myself, this is absurd. This is absurd. These flowers are being treated better than this woman. She has not had a drop of water for almost two weeks. Why are those flowers there? What type of hypocrisy is this? The flowers were watered. Terri wasn't. The other irony is - had I dipped my hand in that water and put it on her tongue - the officer would have led me out probably under arrest. He would have certainly led me out of the room. Something is wrong here.

As you may have also seen, those who killed Terri were quite angry that I said so. The night before she died, I said to the media that her estranged husband Michael, his attorney Mr. Felos, and Judge Greer were murderers. I also pointed out, that night and the next morning, that contrary to Felos' description, Terri's death was not at all peaceful and beautiful. It was, on the contrary, quite horrifying. In my 16 years as a priest, I never saw anything like it before.

After I said these things, Mr. Felos and others in sympathy with him began attacking me in the press and before the cameras. Some news outlets began making a story out of their attacks and said I was "fanning the flames" of enmity and hatred.

Actually, there's a simple reason why they are so angry with me. They had hoped that they could present Terri's death as a merciful and gentle act. My words took the veil of euphemism away, calling this a killing, and giving eyewitness testimony to the fact that it was anything but gentle. Mr. Felos is a euthanasia advocate, and like all such advocates, he needs to manipulate the language, to sell death in an attractive package. Here he and his friends had a great opportunity to do so. But a priest, seeing their work close-up and then telling the world about it, just didn't fit into their plans.

One of the attacks they made was that a "spiritual person" like a priest should be speaking words of compassion and understanding, instead of venom. But compassion demands truth. A priest is also a prophet, and if he cannot cry out against evil, then he cannot bring about reconciliation. If there is going to be any healing between these families or in this nation, it must start with repentance on the part of those who murdered Terri and now try to cover it up with flowery language.

Another aspect of the Terri Schiavo tragedy is that many people misunderstand its cause and therefore its solution. They think the problem was that Terri did not leave any written instructions about whether she wanted to be kept alive. In order to avoid any such problem in their own lives, they are now told that they have to draw up a "living will." This is both erroneous and dangerous.

Terri's case is not about the withdrawal of life-saving medical treatment, but rather about the killing of a healthy person whose life some regarded as worthless. Terri was not dying, was not on life support, and did not have any terminal illness. Because some thought she would not want to live with her disability, they insisted on introducing the cause of death, namely, dehydration.

So what good is a living will supposed to accomplish, aside from saying, "Please don't argue about killing me, just kill me?"

The danger in our culture is not that we will be over-treated, but rather that we will be under-treated. We already have the right to refuse medical treatment. What we run the risk of losing is the right to receive the most basic humane care — like food and water — in the event we have a disability.

Our culture also promotes the idea that as long as we say we want to die, we have the right to do so. But we have a basic obligation to preserve our own life. A person who leaves clear instructions that they don’t want to be fed is breaking the moral law by requesting suicide.

If you want to make plans for your future health care, do not do so by trying to predict the future. The reason you cannot indicate today what medical treatments you do or don't want tomorrow is that you don't know what medical condition you will have tomorrow, nor what treatments will be available to give you the help you need. Living wills try to predict the future, and people can argue over the interpretation of a piece of paper just as much as they argue about what they claim someone said in private.

The better solution is to appoint a health care proxy, who is authorized to speak for you if you are in a condition in which you cannot speak for yourself. This should be a person who knows your beliefs and values, and with whom you discuss these matters in detail. In case you cannot speak for yourself, your proxy can ask all the necessary questions of your doctors and clergy, and make an assessment when all the details of your condition and medical needs are actually known. That's much safer than predicting the future. Appointing a health care proxy in a way that safeguards your right to life is easy. In fact, the National Right to Life Committee has designed a "Will to Live," which can be found at and which I recommend highly.

I am in regular contact with Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, and her siblings, Bobby and Suzanne. They are strong Christians with a beautiful, gentle spirit. If you wish to relay a personal message to them, you can send it to and I will pass it along to them myself.

Meanwhile, let us continue to commend Terri to the Lord, mindful of the equal value of every life, no matter how prominent or obscure, healthy or sick.

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172
Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-PFL-3448, (718) 980-4400
Fax 718-980-6515

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Audio From Hospice During Terri's Final Days

April 24, 2005

Dear Friends of Terri,

The link below will take you to an audio that was put together by Carlos, a friend and reporter who has been covering Terri's story for quite some time. Carlos shares with us the audio he made at hospice during Terri's final days. I warn you, there are some portions of the audio that may be painful to listen to, however, I think it is important for all of us to hear.

The anguish you will hear in Mary Schindlers voice as she begged for her daughters life, I hope and pray will never have to be heard again from any Mother in this world, let alone, be heard from a Mother here in America. The only way we can prevent a murder like Terri's from happening again, will be to remember the sounds and comments we hear in the audio and use them to keep ourselves motivated to write our legislators.

We MUST hold the Leaders of our country accountable to represent and protect the people in America. Let them know we NEED laws in place NOW...NOW....NOW.... to protect all people from experiencing the HORRIBLE and INHUMANE death of starvation and dehydration that Terri endured for 14 long days.

In addition, we must work together to find ways to see that a criminal investigation is done to seek the legal justice against those responsible for Terri's tragic death. We can find forgiveness, but we must not forget how an innocent human being was murdered.

We thank you Carlos for shaing the audio with us.
Below, please find an email and link from Carlos.

Thank you,
Cheryl Ford RN
Tampa, Florida

Hi, everyone,
I want to tell you about an audio story I did that reveals the scene outside the hospice where
Terri was living after her feeding tube was pulled. It starts on the day they began to starve her to death and ends with her death. It features interviews with those who support the Culture of Death and those against it and shows the day-by-day progression of events that culminates with her death.
You can access the story by going to and clicking on the "Podcasts for Terri" section. Then click on "Terri's Death" by Catholicradio123, which should be at the top.
Please forward this to those whom you think may be interested in listening to it or post it on your websites or blogs, if you have them. Thanks.
Yours in the Lord,

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Michael Tells Philadelphia Daily in 2002 that He is Engaged To Another Woman.

RN Ford Comments: It seems to me that when Michael openly admitted in a daily Newspaper that he was engaged to another woman, attention and focus should have moved to having him immediately removed as Guardian and a divorce should have been filed in a court other than Greer's.

Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) and Philadelphia Daily News (PA) - April 18, 2002

Deceased Name: William F. Schiavo Sr.

PA United States SCHIAVO WILLIAM F. SCHIAVO, SR., April 15, 2002. For the past 10 years he was a resident of Seminole, FL, living formerly for 30 years in Junewood, Levittown. Engineer Associate at AT&T for 35 years and was a member of Hope Lutheran Church in Levittown for 30 years. Beloved husband of the late Clara M. Schiavo (nee Henkell), devoted father of William F. Jr. and his wife Joan of Mayfair, Stephen G. of Fairless Hills, Brian J. and his wife Donna of FL, Scott E. and wife Karen of Levittown and Michael R. and his fiancee Jodi of FL. Loving grandfather of Margaret M., William J., Aleen C., Steven G., Kelly M., Scott R., Lisa M., Thomas M. and Ryan A.; also survived by his sister Helen Hillman and brother Richard Schiavo. Relatives and friends are invited to his service Sat. April 20, at Hope Lutheran Church in Levittown, 2600 Haines Rd., cor of Haines Rd. and Millcreek Pkwy at 9 A.M. Interment Sunset Memorial Park.

Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) and Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Date: April 18, 2002
Record Number: 298823
Copyright (c) 2002 The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Side Effects of Witnessing Murder

The Side Effects of Witnessing Murder
by Cheryl Ford RN

April 21, 2005

Three weeks have passed since Terri Schindler-Schiavo was forced to die an inhumane and tragic death. Thousands who were against Terri's killing claim they find themselves awake at all hours of the night trying to come to terms with what happened to Terri. Many state they are suffering from overwhelming depression, frustration, and feelings of powerlessness. Others find themselves struggling to understand how America stood by and allowed Terri to be publicly murdered and not receive judicial or police protection.

Only a few short weeks ago, we witnessed thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world rise in protest to the heinous crime involving the murder of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. During the long 14 day period, as Terri laid suffering from starvation and dehydration, members of the US Congress gathered in a weekend forum to vote on a bipartisan bill that would assure Terri's constitutional rights. The bill was aimed at saving her life. The President of the United States who was preparing for Easter with his family, was urgently flown from his vacation ranch home in Texas to the White House to sign a bill that was passed in a 203 to 58 vote. So, why now are we faced with feeling the unsettling side effects of Terri's murder? Why do many seek answers to questions such as: How does a nation justify, publicly watching the death of an innocent disabled woman while no one was capable of stopping her murder?

When trying to find any sense of understanding or acceptance regarding Terri's murder, we must discuss some aspects surrounding the topics of death. Death, as we all know, is defined as: "A permanent cessation of all vital functions." Due to its permanency, we find death very disturbing under any circumstance. Death creates a destabilization of our existence, knowing there is no turning back. Normally, we experience death when it results from illness, unexpected trauma, or old-age. We are seldom, if ever, confronted with the unique emotions associated with murder happening in our family. When we hear about a murder we usually find ourselves gasping at the crime as it makes headline news. The loss of human life is final and emotionally traumatizing on any society. Any way we wish to view it, the intentional infliction of death on a human being, will always be defined as murder. Our country bases its philosophy on the value of "preservation of all life," thus, creating its laws to say, under no circumstances should anyone take the life of an innocent human being. We ask then, why was Terri allowed to be murdered as the world stood by and watched?

Once we are subjected to loss of life, we naturally emerge into what is known as the grieving process. Grief as we know it, has limitless boundaries. Often when we are forced to grieve, we flail aimlessly and timelessly into what appears to be an open abyss. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross describes in her book "Death and Dying," the 5 stages of grief as: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. In order to move through the grieving process, we must at some point encounter the 5 stages of grief. Many will vacillate between the phases of grief for an undetermined period of time.

We also know there are thousands of people who routinely struggle with the controversial issues surrounding the death penalty. It is not unusual, or unreasonable for people to find difficulty digesting the legal liberties that are given to man when they are authorized to inflict the finalities of death upon any human being. Be the death penalty right or wrong, even those who struggle with it can often find some sense of rationale and acceptance in knowing that those on death row were convicted and tried for a crime which brought forth their death sentence. However, what happens to the thousands who are reaching for that same sense of understanding and acceptance when grieving for Terri's publicly inhumane murder? Terri, was not a criminal and never hurt anyone. She was not tried or convicted of any crime. She was not terminally ill, or unhealthy. She was not taken off to the hidden ominous fields where victims are murdered by their unknown killers. Despite all, we had a nation that was forced to watched Terri's tragic and unnecessary death, making it difficult, if not impossible, to transition into the acceptance phase of grief.

We recognize that Terri was not any more special to her parents, than any other child is to their parents who love them. It is a given that she will be just as missed by her family, as others tend to miss their family members when they die. However, as we seek some rationalization, and acceptance in dealing with Terri's death, like we do in the normal grieving process of others, we find ourselves with an unsettling set of uncomfortable emotions. Could it be due to the disturbing visions of a Mother publicly pleading for the life of her daughter; a daughter who would not be dead if it weren't for an estranged spouse who intentionally starved and dehydrated her to death?

These visions leave the sane population very distraught. We find ourselves asking, how do we move into the acceptance phase of grief after watching a disabled member of our society be murdered and denied the right to receive help? We will remember Terri as the innocent woman who through her means of natural communications waited patiently each day for her loving and very dedicated family to visit her so she could smile and laugh with them. We will recall how her biological family had struggled for years to be capable of providing her with the therapy that we all naturally reach for when we are hurting, or injured. We shall remember the look of love and warmth on the faces of Terri and her Mother as they embraced each other. Was the love and unity of the Schindler family so wrong a bond that we had to remove one of its members?

For Terri, sadly, the help that we normally would have expected to come her way, never arrived. Where does this leave the thousands of civilized people who are in shock, remembering the agonizing expressions on Mary's face as she pleaded for someone, anyone, to help rescue her daughter? How do we as a nation cope with Terri's unnecessary and brutal murder; a murder that we not only heard about over and over again though out every media source, but were also forced to watch as it appeared on national television for 14 long days? How do we justify the murder of a woman who was healthy and did not have to die, yet, we did nothing to stop it? When did America begin denying a family the right to care for one of its members? Who will be next?

I personally refuse to accept the notion that we have become a barbaric society living amongst many others like George Felos, Michael Schiavo, George Greer, and Deborah Bushnell. The four people who comfortably watched Terri slowly have the life sucked out of her, and then later rationalized Terri's death as merciful. Terri's death cannot be defined as anything but cold, callous, inhumane, unnecessary, unmerciful, wrong, and against all the laws that our country was founded upon. Laws that still read, MURDER is illegal! Assuming the majority of our world still believes murder is wrong, we must ask ourselves what can we do to prevent Terri's situation from happening to another individual? How can we seek justice for Terri and see to it that the four people who are responsible for the 14 days of her inhumane killing are brought to legal justice?

We must also ask ourselves, is it reasonable to suggest that the thousands who supported Terri, who were appalled and against her death, the emotionally unstable religious zealots that George Felos suggested they were? Or, is it more reasonable to say that it was Terri's estranged spouse, his euthanasia attorneys, and the judge in Pinellas County, who are the emotionally unstable death zealots who need to be convicted for their criminal actions?

Most importantly, as a civilized society, we must question, are we prepared to challenge the inhumane laws that killed Terri? Or, are we willing to allow her death to be in vain and chalk it up to becoming the new season preview for Reality Guardianship Murders? I do believe that it is vitally important for every person who grieves Terri's tragic death to have all of these questions answered in an effort to enter into the Acceptance phase of grief.

© by C Ford 2005- All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Compassionate Healthcare Network

Highly recomended website:

Cheryl Eckstein's, Founder President

Compassionate Healthcare Network (CHN)

Visit at

CHN is a not for profit organization, formed 1990.
CHN - 11563 Bailey Cres., Surrey, B.C.
V3V 2V4 Canada
Phone - 604 582 3844

Friday, April 15, 2005

Mrs. Felos Attempts To Capitalize on Terri

R.N. Ford Comments:

How is it so that State Licensing agencies fail to make it mandatory for media personnel, attorneys, judges and lay people to not be permitted to discuss as "so-called medical authorities" the diagnosis, prognosis, or other serious related medical issues involved in patients lives? Perhaps, another one of the contributing factors that lead to Terri's death! People need to stay within the realms of their professions. In all fairness, I watched this repeatedly occur during Terri's fight even with supporters who were on Terri's side.

I can see where there is an urgent movement for Licensed Healthcare Professionals to come together and enforce new legislation into place; legislation which would prevent non licensed medical professionals from discussing patient issues as though they are licensed medical authorities.

* MD's, DO's, RN's LPN's LVN's ARNP's and PA's, if you would like to attend a discussion surrounding these concerns, please email me at for further info.

Press Release

For Immediate Release – 04-15-05 03:00 PM (GMT-5)

Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation has harsh words for the former Mrs. Felos’ attempts to capitalize on Terri

Clearwater, FL – The volunteers with the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation were astonished to learn of the behavior of former Dunedin, Florida Attorney Constance d’Angelis. d’Angelis is the former wife of George Felos, legal representative to Michael Schiavo.

In a press release issued through PR Web, titled “Lawyer Who Presented CT Scan & Medical Evidence in Court Analyzes Autopsy Results in Terri Schiavo Case” Ms. d’Angelis claims she will be available to interpret the anticipated Medical Examiner’s report on the late Terri Schiavo.

Quoted from her release: “Upon the release of the autopsy report, she can analyze the results and weigh in on the important matters of how--by reason, not emotion--the "persistent vegetative state" diagnosis of Terri Schiavo was arrived at, and why.”

The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation would like to take this opportunity to point out that not only was Ms. d’Angelis co-counsel to George Felos during the guardianship proceedings on behalf of Michael Schiavo, she is not qualified to interpret or analyze a Medical Examiner’s report. She is only licensed as an attorney and as a massage therapist.

Ms. d’Angelis is the former owner of and the author of “Pancha Karma -

A Life Changing Experience”. She aided George Felos in bringing forth a petition to remove ‘artificial life support’ from Terri Schiavo that originated in 1998 though current law at that time did not provide for the removal of a feeding tube under Terri’s circumstances.

Her release goes on to say: “The judge's February 2000 ruling was sustained throughout numerous appeals in both the State and Federal Courts.” However, Ms. d’Angelis fails to make clear that no Federal Court has ever reviewed either Terri’s case or the medical evidence presented to the lower court. Instead, they have declined jurisdiction.

It is, therefore, our conclusion that the Ms. d’Angelis is either attempting to capitalize on this tragic situation or preparing to support her former husband’s contentions on a subject matter she is wholly unqualified to remark on.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Terri's Memorial Online Website

Light a candle and leave a message for Terri's family at her
online Memorial Website. - Memorial website in memory of Theresa Schindler (1963-2005)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

A Good Time??? How dare Matthews say this!

Ford Comments: If you can make only one last effort on behalf of Terri with your letters, I pray you will take to your keyboards and write a letter to Chris Matthews. How dare he say such a thing about Mr. Schindler? I personally watched Bob Schindler lose weight, struggle with his own health throughout this ordeal, and just about collapse to his knees at what Schiavo and Felos did to his daughter. How dare a reporter stoop so low to say such a thing about a man who just watched his daughter inhumanely starved and dehydrated?
What is this world coming to?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews: Terri Schiavo's Dad Having "Good Time"
by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 1, 2005

New York, NY ( -- Chris Matthews, the host of the "Hardball" political talk show on MSNBC shocked listeners of the Don Imus radio show yesterday when he claimed Terri Schiavo's father Bob Schindler was having a "good time" as his daughter starved to death.

Just hours before Terri Schiavo succumbed to a thirteen day starvation and dehydration death, Matthews made the comments.

"There's nobody here who looks particularly compelling or attractive," Matthews told Imus on the his program.

"The father seems to be having, I hate to say this, a good time. I don't know why, maybe it's the focus, maybe he's giddy with sadness of the tragedy that has been going on for so long," Matthews said.

One pro-life leader told the comments were "mean-spirited" and "insensitive" and made with "terrible timing."

However, Bob Schindler has been grieving throughout the entire process and told the media earlier in the week that he was "scared to death" to visit his daughter because he was so worried about her fate and weakening condition.

"She's shown such a determination to live. It's incredible," he said at the time.

In a press conference with reports after Terri's death, Bob told the media that Terri "spoke loudly" even thought she was unable to speak for herself.

"As a member of our family unable to stand under your own power, you stood with a grace and a dignity that made your family proud," he said. "Terri, we love you dearly, but we know that God loves you more than we do. We must accept your untimely death as God's will."

ACTION: Send your comments to Chris Matthews on his remarks at:

Related news stories:

Statement of the Schindler Family Following Terri Schiavo's Death

Michael Will Hide Where Terri Schiavo is Buried From Family

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

Catholic Priest: Terri Schiavo Responsive Til Death, Prayed With Family

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo's parents -

Friday, April 01, 2005

Statement From The Schindler Family

Pinellas Park, FL – As you are aware, Terri is now with God and she has been released from all earthly burdens. After these recent years of neglect at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and care for her, she is finally at peace with God for eternity. We are speaking on behalf of our entire family this evening as we share some thoughts and messages to the world regarding our sister and the courageous battle that was waged to save her life from starvation and dehydration.

We have a message for the volunteers that have helped our family:
Thank you for all that you’ve done for our family. Thank you to the hundreds of doctors who volunteered to help Terri. Thank you to the fifty doctors who provided statements under oath to help Terri. Thank you to the lawyers who stood for Terri’s life in the courtrooms of our nation. From running our family’s website, to driving us around, to making meals, to serving in so many ways—thank you to all of the volunteers who have been so kind to our family through all of this.

We have a message for the supporters and people praying worldwide:
Please continue to pray that God gives grace to our family as we go through this very difficult time. We know that many of you never had the privilege to personally know our wonderful sister, Terri, but we assure you that you can be proud of this remarkable woman who has captured the attention of the world. Following the example of the Lord Jesus, our family abhors any violence or any threats of violence. Threatening words dishonor our faith, our family, and our sister, Terri. We would ask that all those who support our family be completely kind in their words and deeds toward others.

We have a message to the media:
We appreciate your taking Terri’s case to the nation. Please afford our family privacy to grieve at this time.The patience and graciousness of the on-site media here at hospice has been deeply appreciated by our family.

We have a message to the many government officials who tried to help Terri:
Thank you for all that you’ve done. Our family will be forever grateful to all of the outstanding public servants who have tried to save Terri.

We have a message to all of the religious leaders who tried to help Terri:
Thank you to all people of faith who demonstrated love for Terri and strength of conviction to defend the sacredness of all human life as a precious gift from God.

Our family is highly honored that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, would speak out so boldly on behalf of our sister, Terri.

We have a message of forgiveness:
Throughout this ordeal, we are reminded of the words of Jesus on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Our family seeks forgiveness for anything that we have done in standing for Terri’s life that has not demonstrated the love and compassion required of us by our faith.

We have a message to parents worldwide:
Our family would encourage parents to spend time with their children and to cherish each and every moment of each and every day with them as a precious gift from God.

We have a message to Terri from her family:
As a member of our family unable to speak for yourself, you spoke loudly. As a member of our family unable to stand under your own power, you stood with a grace and a dignity that made your family proud. Terri, we love you dearly, but we know that God loves you more than we do. We must accept your untimely death as God’s will.

Terri, your life and legacy will continue to live on, as the nation is now awakened to the plight of thousands of voiceless people with disabilities that were previously unnoticed. Your family intends to stand up for the other “Terri’s” around this nation and we will do all that we can to change the law so others won’t face the same fate that has befallen you.

We have a final thought to share:
Our family had hoped this day would never come, but as it has now arrived, we ask ourselves a question in these incredibly sad circumstances: What would the Lord Jesus ask us to do in a moment like this? In John’s Gospel, Jesus responded to the questions of the rabbis, who asked why a man had been born blind. He said: “it is so that the works of God might be made manifest through him.”

God’s plan for Terri is unfolding before our eyes. Our prayer at this time is that our Nation will remember the plight of persons with disabilities and commit within our hearts to defend their lives and their dignity for many generations to come.

Autopsy Performed on Terri Schiavo, Schinders to Help Disabled

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 1, 2005

Pinellas Park, FL ( -- Local officials conducted an autopsy on Terri Schiavo's body on Friday. The Pinellas County medical examiner took six hours to complete the process, which included full X-rays. Results are not expected for six weeks.

Schiavo's body has been released to her estranged husband Michael to begin the burial process. Over objections from Terri's family, Michael will cremate her body and bury her in a plot given to him by his aunt and uncle near Philadelphia.

Bob and Mary Schindler objected to the cremate and Pennsylvania burial, but Judge George Greer rejected requests to bury her body in Florida near her family.

Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, a pro-life group, held a final mass for dozens of Terri supporters who remained Friday at Woodside Hospice, where she lived.

Pavone said what happened to Terri would serve as a "wake up call" for the pro-life movement to renew its efforts to protect the disabled.

"It has re-energized a lot of people," he said, according to an Orlando Sentinel newspaper report.

Paul O'Donnell, the Franciscan monk who helped advise the family during the two weeks Terri starved, said a funeral service the Schindlers and supporters are organizing would be announced soon. He told the Sentinel the Schindlers would make no public statements Friday.

Meanwhile, David Gibbs, the lead attorney for the Schindlers, said they are grieving but also feel embolden by Terri's death to work to protect other disabled people from the same fate, saying they have a "new sense of mission."

"They feel that they have now been entrusted of God with Terri's legacy," Gibbs said. "They want to make sure that she did not die in vain."

Family members plan to tour the nation as advocates for laws that "protect the innocent and the disabled from facing the fate of starvation that Terri had to undergo," Gibbs said in a Thursday interview with CNN

Zogby Poll: Americans Not in Favor of Starving Terri Schiavo Email this article

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 1, 2005

Washington, DC ( -- Polls leading up to the death of Terri Schiavo made it appear Americans had formed a consensus in favor of ending her life. However, a new Zogby poll with fairer questions shows the nation clearly supporting Terri and her parents and wanting to protect the lives of other disabled patients.

The Zogby poll found that, if a person becomes incapacitated and has not expressed their preference for medical treatment, as in Terri's case, 43 percent say "the law presume that the person wants to live, even if the person is receiving food and water through a tube" while just 30 percent disagree.

Another Zogby question his directly on Terri's circumstances.

"If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water," the poll asked.

A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.

"From the very start of this debate, Americans have sat on one of two sides," Concerned Women for America's Lanier Swann said in response to the poll. One side "believes Terri's life has worth and purpose, and the side who saw Michael Schiavo's actions as merciful, and appropriate."

More than three-fourths of Americans agreed, Swann said, "because a person is disabled, that patient should never be denied food and water."

The poll also lent support to members of Congress to who passed legislation seeking to prevent Terri's starvation death and help her parents take their lawsuit to federal courts.

"When there is conflicting evidence on whether or not a patient would want to be on a feeding tube, should elected officials order that a feeding tube be removed or should they order that it remain in place," respondents were asked.

Some 18 percent said the feeding tube should be removed and 42 percent said it should remain in place.

Swann said her group would encourage Congress to adopt legislation that would federal courts to review cases when the medical treatment desire of individuals is not known and the patient's family has a dispute over the care.

"According to these poll results, many Americans do in fact agree with what we're trying to accomplish," she said.

The poll found that 49 percent of Americans believe there should be exceptions to the right of a spouse to act as a guardian for an incapacitated spouse. Only 39 percent disagreed.

When asked directly about Terri's case and told the her estranged husband Michael "has had a girlfriend for 10 years and has two children with her" 56 percent of Americans believed guardianship should have been turned over to Terri's parents while 37 percent disagreed.