15 years in the Terri Schiavo case

Private Tragedy, Public Uproar

April 01, 2005


Feb. 25: Terri Schiavo suffers cardiac arrest, apparently caused by a potassium imbalance, leading to brain damage from lack of oxygen. She is hospitalized and later given a feeding tube.

June 18: Court appoints Michael Schiavo as guardian. Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, do not object.

November: Michael Schiavo takes his wife to California for experimental treatment.


January: The Schiavos return to Florida; Terri Schiavo is moved to a rehabilitation center, where she receives 24-hour care.

July: Terri Schiavo is transferred to a skilled-care facility where she receives continuing neurological testing, and regular and aggressive speech-occupational therapy.


August: Terri Schiavo is awarded $250,000 in an out-of-court medical malpractice settlement.

November: The jury in the medical malpractice trial against another of her physicians awards more than $1 million. Michael Schiavo receives about $300,000, and $750,000 goes to a trust fund for his wife's medical care.


February: Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers have a falling-out over the course of therapy for Terri Schiavo; Michael Schiavo claims that the Schindlers demanded that he share the malpractice money with them.

July: The Schindlers attempt to remove Michael Schiavo as their daughter's guardian; the court later dismisses the suit.


March: A court-appointed guardian submits his report, stating that Michael Schiavo has acted appropriately and attentively toward Terri Schiavo.


May: Michael Schiavo petitions the court to authorize the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube; the Schindlers oppose, saying that their daughter would want to remain alive. The court appoints a second guardian ad litem.

December: The second guardian ad litem issues a report concluding that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state with no chance of improvement and that Michael Schiavo's decisions may be influenced by the potential to inherit the remainder of his wife's estate.


Feb. 11: Pinellas-Pasco County Circuit Judge George Greer rules that Terri Schiavo would have chosen to have the feeding tube removed and orders it removed.

March 24: Greer stays his order until 30 days beyond the final exhaustion of all appeals by the Schindlers.


January to April: The Schindlers appeal unsuccessfully to the Florida Appeals Court, the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

April 24: The feeding tube is removed.

April 26: The Schindlers file a new civil lawsuit. Judge Frank Quesada orders the tube reinserted, and the case is sent back to Greer.

August: Greer rules that the tube can be removed but delays removal pending appeals.

December: Order is stayed as Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers enter mediation.


Feb. 13: Mediation fails.

Nov. 15: The Schindlers contend Michael Schiavo might have abused his wife.

Nov. 22: Greer rules that the tube should be removed Jan. 3, 2003. Order is stayed pending appeals.


Oct. 15: The feeding tube is removed for a second time.

Oct. 21: Gov. Jeb Bush signs emergency bill allowing him to intervene and orders the tube reinserted.

Dec. 2: Independent guardian finds "no reasonable medical hope" Terri Schiavo will improve.


Sept. 23: Florida Supreme Court strikes down the law that allowed Bush to intervene.


Feb. 25: Greer gives permission for removal at 1 p.m. March 18.

March 18: Feeding tube is removed.

March 19: Congressional leaders from both parties agree on a bill that would allow a federal court to review the case and prolong Terri Schiavo's life.

March 20-21: Congress passes the bill after members scramble to return to Washington for an early morning vote. President Bush signs the bill outside his White House bedroom.

March 22: U.S. District Judge James Whittemore refuses to order the reinsertion of the tube. Parents appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

March 23: The 11th Circuit declines to order the reinsertion of the tube. The Schindlers turn to the U.S. Supreme Court.

March 24: The U.S. Supreme Court denies the appeal.

March 25: The Schindlers again ask Greer to intervene, saying she tried to say: "I want to live."

March 26: Greer rejects another plea from the Schindlers; Florida Supreme Court declines to intervene.

March 29: 11th Circuit agrees to consider the Schindlers' emergency bid for a new hearing.

March 30: The 11th Circuit declines to intervene. Hours later, the Schindlers appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which also refuses to intervene.

March 31: Terri Schiavo dies.

Sources: Kathy Cerminara, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, Kenneth Goodman, University of Miami Ethics Programs, Associated Press.

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