Thursday, March 31, 2005


May she rest in peace and may God be with her and her family:

Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman who spent 15 years connected to a feeding tube in an epic legal and medical battle that went all the way to the White House and Congress, died Thursday, 13 days after the tube was removed. She was 41.

Schiavo died about 9 a.m. at the Pinellas Park hospice where she lay for years while her husband and her parents fought over her in what was easily the longest, most bitter and most heavily litigated right-to-die dispute in U.S. history.

Michael Schiavo was at his wife's bedside, cradling her, when she died a "calm, peaceful and gentle" death, a stuffed animal under her arm, and flowers arranged around the room, said his attorney, George Felos. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, were not at the hospice at the time, he said.

"Mr. Schiavo's overriding concern here was to provide for Terri a peaceful death with dignity," Felos said. "This death was not for the siblings, and not for the spouse and not for the parents. This was for Terri."

The feud between the parents and their son-in-law continued even after her death: The Schindlers' advisers complained that Schiavo's brother and sister had been at her bedside a few minutes before the end came, but were not there at the moment of her death because Michael Schiavo would not let them in the room.

"And so his heartless cruelty continues until this very last moment," said the Rev. Frank Pavone, a Roman Catholic priest. He added: "This is not only a death, with all the sadness that brings, but this is a killing, and for that we not only grieve that Terri has passed but we grieve that our nation has allowed such an atrocity as this and we pray that it will never happen again."

Felos disputed the Schindler family's account. He said that Terri Schiavo's siblings had been asked to leave the room so that the hospice staff could examine her, and the brother started arguing with a law enforcement official. Michael Schiavo feared a "potentially explosive" situation and would not allow the brother in the room, because he wanted his wife's death to take place in a calm and peaceful surroundings, Felos said.
(full article)

MORE: "Bush Offers Condolences to Terri Schiavo's Family"

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