Hospitals & Asylums    

Schindler v. Schiavo HA-18-3-05

Ordering Reinserting the Feeding Tube, Divorcing the Schiavo’s and Restraining Judge Greer from the Case

Abby Goodnough from the New York Times wrote on 18 March 2005.  Over the years, the case has traveled all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Yet it always returns to Judge Greer, 63, who most recently ordered that Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube be removed on Friday. His finding that Mrs. Schiavo would rather die than be kept alive artificially, based on testimony from her husband, Michael, has prompted protests around the world.  Opponents have sent hundreds of letters and e-mail messages to the judge, picketed his courthouse in Clearwater, and, in a few cases, friends said, threatened his life. He stopped attending his longtime church, Calvary Baptist in Clearwater, in 2003 after it sent a publication to the congregation sharply criticizing him. The case, Schindler v. Schiavo, landed on his desk in 1998. Michael Schiavo wanted to remove the feeding tube, eight years after his wife suffered extensive brain damage when her heart briefly stopped, possibly due to a potassium deficiency. But Mrs. Schiavo's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, immediately challenged him. They say that Mrs. Schiavo, 41, is conscious and responds to them, and that she could improve with therapy. After a trial in 2000, Judge Greer found there was clear and convincing evidence that Mrs. Schiavo would never recover and would not want to be kept alive. But the battle has not ceased, and the case has often dominated Judge Greer's calendar. He ordered Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube removed twice in the past, only to see it replaced within days. The last time, in October 2003, the Legislature enacted a law that authorized Governor Bush to order the tube reinserted. Judge Greer declared the law unconstitutional, and although higher courts backed him, appeals delayed any action for 17 months. Now Mr. Bush and the Legislature are rushing to agree on a bill that would outlaw the withholding of food and water from certain people in a persistent vegetative state, including Mrs. Schiavo.

Judge Greer's friends say it has been particularly difficult for him to bear the hate mail and fliers like the one that people who contributed to his 2004 re-election campaign received this week, saying, "Please help stop a judicial murderer!" A petition to impeach Judge Greer, circulated online by religious groups, has nearly 7,000 signatures. Cheryl Ford, a nurse who heads the National Fight for Terri Action Volunteer Group in Tampa, dismissed the possibility of violence against the judge, saying: "I haven't heard one person say they wanted to do anything violent. The people here are not people who would commit violence. The only ones committing violence are Judge Greer and Michael Schiavo, who are murdering Terri by removing her feeding tube."

The issues presented in this case present a highly criminal situation where a brain damaged invalid is being threatened with death by her husband in a conspiracy with a judge who is flagrantly breaking the law for an unjust cause-to kill someone’s wife.  The fact that someone, her parents, contests the case automatically grants custody to the people who support her right to life.  Attempted murder both disqualifies the husband as a custodian and creates enforceable grounds for a divorce.  The life threatening situation that now exists demands that the Governor issue a new order reinserting the feeding tube…see Abolition of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act HA-9-11-01.    

   Autopsy Report of John R. Thogmartin, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, Fla. (June 13, 2005)

  Federal Court Order Denying Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Petition for a Rehearing (March 30, 2005)

  A Second Federal Court Order denying another attempt by Terri Schiavo’s parents to reinsert her feeding tube (March 25, 2005)

  U.S. Supreme Court Order denying the application of Schiavo’s parents for a stay of enforcement of the Florida judgment (March 24, 2005)

  Michael Schiavo’s Opposition to application by Terri Schiavo’s parents (March 24, 2005)

  Emergency Application for Stay of lower court orders filed with U.S. Supreme Court by Terri Schiavo’s parents (March 23, 2005)

  Rehearing Denial The 11th Circuit denies Terri Schiavo’s parents’ request for a rehearing (March 23, 2005)

  11th Circuit Opinion In 2-1 vote, a federal appeals court denies a legal request to reinsert a feeding tube into Terri Schiavo (March 23, 2005)

  Court Order denying the request of Terri Schiavo’s parents to reinsert a feeding tube into their daughter (March 22, 2005)

  Michael Schiavo’s Opposition (March 21, 2005)

  Government’s Statement of Interest in support of Schiavo’s parents (March 21, 2005)

  Motion by Schiavo’s parents for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”), declaratory and injunctive relief (March 21, 2005)

  Congressional Bill Signed into Law concerning Terri Schaivo signed into law by Pres. Bush after being passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (introduced March 19, 2005; signed into law March 21, 2005)

  Order U.S. Supreme Court Order rejecting a request to consider arguments on the case (March 17, 2005)

  Emergency Motion by Schiavo’s parents to the U.S. Supreme Court (March 16, 2005)

  Order setting March 18, 2005 as the day to withdraw Schiavo's feeding tube (Feb. 25, 2005)

  Order by Fla. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denying motion for a stay (March 16, 2005)

  Opinion Florida’s Supreme Court rules that the law enacted by Gov. Jeb Bush to reinsert a feeding tube into Schavo “violate[d] the fundamental constitutional tenet of separation of powers” between Florida’s executive branch, the judiciary, and the state’s legislature. (Sept. 23, 2004)

  Guardian ad Litem’s Report on Terri Schiavo -- Prepared by Jay Wolfson, DrPH, JD, (Dec. 1, 2003). Schiavo’s guardian ad litem concluded:

“...that the trier of fact and the evidence that served as the basis for the decisions regarding Theresa Schiavo were firmly grounded within Florida statutory and case law, which clearly and unequivocally provide for the removal of artificial nutrition in cases of persistent vegetative states, where there is no advance directive, through substituted/proxy judgment of the guardian and/or the court as guardian, and with the use of evidence regarding the medical condition and the intent of the parties that was deemed, by the trier of fact to be clear and convincing.”

  Gov. Jeb Bush's Executive Order that feeding tube be reinserted for Schiavo; Subsequently ruled unconstitutional (Oct. 21, 2003)

  Text of Fla. Bill SB35e a/k/a “Terri's Law”; Subsequently ruled unconstitutional (Oct. 21, 2003)                                                                                                                                                                                       Order by Judge Greer setting Oct. 15, 2003 as the date when removal of the feeding tube can begin (Sept. 17, 2003)