A judge today refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube, yet another setback for the parents of the brain-damaged woman in their battle against her husband to keep her alive.
For a second time, Judge James Whittemore ruled against the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who had asked him to grant their emergency request to restore her feeding tube while he considers a lawsuit they filed.
The tube was removed a week ago on a state judge’s order that agreed with her husband, who has said she has no hope for recovery and wouldn’t want to be kept alive artificially. The Schindlers believe their daughter could improve and wouldn’t want to die.
Terri Schiavo, 41, has been without food or water for almost seven days and was showing signs of dehydration – flaky skin, dry tongue and lips, and sunken eyes, according to lawyers and friends of the Schindlers.
Doctors have said she would probably die within a week or two of the tube being pulled.
Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler today held onto the slim hope that state Governor Jeb Bush – the president’s brother – would somehow find a way to intervene or a federal judge who had turned them down before would see things their way.
Bush warned, however, that he was running out of options.
“We’re minute by minute right now. But it doesn’t look like we have much left,” said Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri Schiavo’s sister.
Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, says his wife would not want to be kept alive artificially, and he has been backed by years of court rulings affirming doctors’ diagnoses that she lives in a persistent vegetative state.
“It’s very frustrating. Every minute that goes by is a minute that Terri is being starved and dehydrated to death,” said her brother, Bobby Schindler, who said seeing her was like looking at “pictures of prisoners in concentration camps”.
Michael Schiavo’s brother, Brian, strongly disagreed with that assessment, saying Terri “does look a little withdrawn” but insisting she was not in pain. He added that starvation is simply “part of the death process.”
A lawyer for Michael Schiavo said he hoped the woman’s parents and the governor would finally give up their fight.
“We believe it’s time for that to stop as we approach this Easter weekend and that Mrs Schiavo be able to die in peace,” lawyer George Felos said.