- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 27, 2005

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Terri Schiavo’s parents kept watch over their dying daughter yesterday after another round of losses in the courts, and their attorneys acknowledged the fight to reconnect the brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube was nearing an end.

Late yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court dismissed a request from Bob and Mary Schindler to have their daughter’s feeding tube reinserted, turning aside an emergency petition arguing that a Pinellas County judge ignored new evidence of Mrs. Schiavo’s wishes and her medical condition.

The Schindlers’ attorneys decided not to file another motion with a federal appeals court, essentially ending their effort to persuade federal judges to intervene — something allowed by an extraordinary law passed by Congress.

At least two more appeals loomed by the state and Gov. Jeb Bush, but those challenges were before the state 2nd District Court of Appeal, which has rebuffed the governor’s previous efforts in the case.

“Time is moving quickly, and it would appear most likely … that Terri Schiavo will pass the point that she will be able to recover over this Easter weekend,” Schindler attorney David Gibbs III said.

Family supporters said Mrs. Schiavo’s breathing became increasingly labored during the day. An attorney for the Schindlers, Barbara Weller, said hospice workers began giving morphine to Mrs. Schiavo to ease pain brought on by her body’s failure.

She said Mrs. Schiavo cried when her mother, Mary Schindler, hugged her last night. “She knows what’s going on. She was trying to vocalize something with Mary.”

Meanwhile, Paul O’Donnell, a Roman Catholic Franciscan monk, said the family is urging Mrs. Schiavo’s husband, Michael, to allow his wife to receive Communion to commemorate the Easter holiday.

“I beg Michael Schiavo, for the love of God, to allow Terri Schiavo, a practicing Roman Catholic, to have Holy Communion on the highest feast of our church.”

Earlier, Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer rejected the family’s latest motion, which claimed Mrs. Schiavo tried to say “I want to live” hours before her tube was removed.

Doctors have said her previous utterances weren’t speech, but were involuntary moans consistent with someone in a vegetative state. Judge Greer agreed.

Mr. Schiavo’s brother, Scott, said his family was pleased to see the Schindlers’ efforts nearing an end.

“He [Michael] knows in his heart he is doing the right thing, he is doing what Terri wanted,” Scott Schiavo said. “He’s having a hard time understanding why people are fighting him on this, why they are calling him a murderer. It’s very tough on him.”

Michael Schiavo has said his wife has no hope for recovery and wouldn’t want to be kept alive artificially. The Schindlers think their daughter could improve and say she laughs, cries, responds to them and tries to talk.

Doctors have said Mrs. Schiavo probably would die within a week or two of her feeding tube being pulled, which was done March 18 after Judge Greer sided with her husband.

“She’s doing remarkably well under the circumstances,” Mr. Schindler said after visiting her inside the hospice yesterday. “She has put up a tremendous battle to live. She’s not throwing in the towel.”

Mr. Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, denied reports by the parents’ attorneys that her tongue and eyes were bleeding.

“She is calm. She is peaceful. She is resting comfortably,” Mr. Felos said.

Mrs. Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, called that “absurd” and challenged Mr. Felos to allow videos and photos to be released, so the public can see his sister’s condition.

“They’re mischaracterizing the condition today, just as they have been. … It’s sick. It’s heinous,” he said.

Mr. Felos said earlier that allowing videos to be recorded inside Mrs. Schiavo’s room during her death process would violate her privacy rights.

Outside the hospice, about 60 protesters maintained a subdued vigil and, like her parents, hoped for a miracle. Some said they thought it was not a coincidence that the woman lay dying during the Easter weekend.

“Things are all done in God’s timing,” said David Vogel, 47, a Steubenville, Ohio, musician who was arrested for trespassing last week when he tried to enter the hospice to take water to Mrs. Schiavo. “Does He have His hand upon this? Oh, yeah. The parallels are there with what happened to Jesus Christ. He was condemned to death, an innocent man. She’s an innocent woman.”

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