Judge denies latest request to reinsert tube

UPDATED Noon, EST, 3/26/05

CLEARWATER, Fla. (BP)--On Saturday, Mar. 26, Judge George W. Greer refused to order the reinsertion of the feeding tube that once provided hydration and nourishment to Terri Schiavo.

Greer’s ruling followed a motion filed by Schindler attorney David Gibbs III asking Greer to vacate his Feb. 11, 2000, order authorizing the removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube, and his Feb. 25, 2005, order that the feeding tube be removed on Mar. 18.

According to the motion, new affidavits showed there may be new “clear and convincing” evidence regarding Terri Schiavo’s medical condition and her end-of-life wishes.

Dr. William Cheshire Jr., a neurologist at Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic, in his affidavit said it is his medical opinion after seeing Terri Schiavo in person and examining her medical records that she is not in a persistent vegetative state, but instead may be in a minimally conscious state.

Florida statutes currently allow the removal of a person’s nutrition and hydration if they are in a persistent vegetative state with no chance for recovery and they have previously stated with end-of-life wishes in writing or by “clear and convincing evidence” made their wishes known verbally.

An affidavit filed by Barbara Weller, an attorney for the Gibbs Law Firm, said she was with Terri Schiavo after her feeding tube was removed Mar. 18, and heard her try to say, “I want to live.”

In Wellers’s statement, she said Schiavo had been in “good spirits” and responding to her sister Suzanne’s bantering, even laughing out loud when Suzanne joked that her sister was like the “bionic woman.”

What happened next, Weller said, shocked her.

“I stood up and leaned 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, ‘Waaaaaaa.’ 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.”

The attorney’s motion asked for immediate relief aid. Schiavo is about to enter her ninth day of starvation and dehydration.


With reporting by Joni B. Hannigan, managing editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, online at www.FloridaBaptistWitness.com.

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