Final word awaited in Schiavo case

Husband plans to remove wife's feeding tube today

February 22, 2005|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Unless a court grants her parents another delay, Michael Schiavo plans to remove the feeding tube keeping his wife alive early this afternoon, allowing the severely brain-damaged woman to die.

An attorney for Schiavo said he is authorized to remove the life support for his wife as soon as the 2nd District Court of Appeal issues an order that finalizes its last ruling against his in-laws in their seven-year legal battle to keep their daughter alive.

Yesterday, the Lakeland court said it would release the order, known as a mandate, at 1 p.m. today.

Exactly what the order will say could prove critical. But Schiavo's attorney was confident it would be a perfunctory ruling sending the case back to the trial judge, who has repeatedly ruled that Terri Schiavo would reject the artificial life support that has kept her alive for 15 years.

If so, attorney George Felos said, Michael Schiavo will immediately withdraw his wife's feeding tube.

"I will not comment on the mechanism, but it's fair to say the tube will come out as soon as the mandate is issued," Felos said yesterday.

But it will not happen without a fight from Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Their attorney, David Gibbs, adamantly disagrees that Michael Schiavo can have his wife's artificial feedings discontinued without another court order and vowed to seek contempt charges if he proceeds.

Gibbs made that promise yesterday. He also filed an emergency request asking Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer to bar the tube's removal until the Schindlers resolve several long-standing issues they have pending in his courtroom.

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