Prosecutor to probe Schiavo call ‘delay’

FLORIDA governor Jeb Bush said yesterday that a prosecutor has agreed to investigate why Terri Schiavo collapsed 15 years ago, citing an alleged time gap between when her husband Michael found her and when he called for an ambulance.

Mr Bush said his request for the probe was not meant to suggest wrongdoing by Michael Schiavo.

“It’s a significant question that during this ordeal was never brought up,” Mr Bush said.

Mr Schiavo’s attorney has said his client called for help right away.

In a letter faxed to Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney Bernie McCabe, the governor said Michael Schiavo testified in a 1992 medical malpractice trial that he found his wife collapsed at 5am on February 25, 1990, and he said in a 2003 television interview that he found her about 4.30am. He called the emergency services at 5.40am.

“Between 40 and 70 minutes elapsed before the call was made, and I am aware of no explanation for the delay,” Mr Bush wrote. “In light of this new information, I urge you to take a fresh look at this case without any preconceptions as to the outcome.”

Mr Bush said Mr McCabe has agreed to his request.

Mr Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, said on Wednesday his client did not wait to call for help and has conceded that he confuses dates and times.

“We’ve seen the baseless allegations in this case fall by the wayside one by one ... That’s what I would call it, a baseless claim to perpetuate a controversy that in fact doesn’t exist.”

Terri Schiavo died on March 31 from dehydration after her feeding tube was disconnected at her husband’s request, despite years of efforts by her parents, Mr Bush, his brother President George W Bush and others to keep her alive.

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