- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2003

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Acting on orders from Gov. Jeb Bush, a hospital began giving fluids to a brain-damaged woman last night, six days after her feeding tube was removed in one of the nation’s longest euthanasia battles.

A judge later rejected a request by the woman’s husband to overturn the governor’s order.

Terri Schiavo was being rehydrated intravenously after the Legislature passed a bill designed to save her life, according to her parents’ attorney. Mrs. Schiavo’s parents have fought to keep her alive.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, says she would rather die.

An ambulance took Mrs. Schiavo from a Pinellas Park hospice to Morton Plant Hospital after Mr. Bush issued his order to resume feeding her. A crowd cheered outside as she left.

“I’m ecstatic she’s being fed again,” said her brother, Bob Schindler Jr. “I don’t think I can describe the way I feel right now. It’s been unreal.”

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted 23-15 for legislation to save Mrs. Schiavo. Within minutes, the House voted 73-24 to send the final version of the bill to Mr. Bush. The governor signed it into law and issued his order about an hour later.

“It’s restored my belief in God,” said Mrs. Schiavo’s father, Bob Schindler.

Mr. Schiavo was “deeply troubled, angry and saddened that his wife’s wishes have become a political pingpong,” said his attorney, George Felos. “He, as many others, is absolutely stunned at the course of events.”

Mrs. Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed last Wednesday. Doctors said the 39-year-old woman would die within a week to 10 days without nutrition and water.

Suzanne Carr, the woman’s sister, called the lawmakers’ action “a miracle, an absolute miracle.” Her mother, Mary Schindler, broke down and cried after the Senate vote.

But Mr. Felos scrambled to try to stop Mr. Bush’s order. He filed a request for an injunction, but Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer denied it on procedural grounds. Mr. Felos refiled the request and State Circuit Judge W. Douglas Baird also refused to grant it.

“We won. Terri won,” her father said after the ruling.

Mr. Schiavo will have five days to file additional arguments with the judge and the state will have five days after that to respond. The judge will then hold another hearing.

“It is simply inhumane and barbaric to interrupt her death process,” Mr. Felos said. “Just because Terri Schiavo is not conscious doesn’t mean she doesn’t have dignity.”

Lawmakers were already called to the Capitol for a special session on economic development when they decided to intervene in the case. Mr. Bush said he did not think lawmakers were motivated by politics.

“This is a response to a tragic situation.” the governor said. “People are responding to cries for help, and I think it’s legitimate.”

The bill sent to Mr. Bush was designed to be as narrow as possible, while applying to the Schiavo case.

It is limited to cases in which the patient left no living will, has been diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, has had nutrition and hydration tubes removed, and where a family member has challenged the removal.

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