News of the Day ... in Perspective3/14/2005
Judge denies almost all motions, but fight for Terri Schiavo’s life continues
The Florida Judge who is called Death Judge Greer by Ron Panzer, President of the Hospice Patients Alliance, has denied nearly all motions brought in a last-ditch effort by her family to save Terri Schindler Schiavo from an agonizing death by dehydration and starvation.
Among others, he denied the motion to permit efforts to feed Terri by mouth if her gastrostomy tube is removed, and he refused to hear 33 affidavits filed by physicians and other medical experts, including Lawrence Huntoon, M.D., a board-certified neurologist and editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
The medical experts contested the assertion that Mrs. Schiavo is in a “persistent vegetative state,” and asked for sophisticated imaging tests that could demonstrate that she is in a “minimally conscious state” and aware of her surroundings.
The Vatican issued a statement that pulling her feeding tube would be a “pitiless way to kill.” While the Roman Catholic Church does not ordinarily intervene in specific cases, the Holy See said that the Schiavo case “goes beyond the individual situation because of its exemplary character” (Associated Press, Mar 12, 2005).
Some legal scholars argue that Governor Jeb Bush has the constitutional authority to intervene. He could, for example, take Mrs. Schiavo into protective custody pending a criminal investigation into alleged wrongdoing by her husband.
Judge Greer should be impeached for violating Florida law, state Terri Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Ordering that no food or water be offered by mouth is a violation of Florida Statute 744.3215, which forbids depriving incapacitated persons of necessary services including food and water. The denial of further neurologic tests violates Florida Statute 765.404, which requires that a persistent vegetative state be demonstrated before food or water can be withdrawn, according to Pamela Hennessey, a spokeswoman for the Schindlers