U.S. Judge Refuses to Have Woman’s Feeding Tube Reinserted
U.S. District Judge James Whittemore denied an emergency request by Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to replace the feeding tube.
The tube was disconnected Friday on the orders of a state judge, which led to an extraordinary push by Congress over the weekend to pass a bill — signed by President Bush early Monday morning — to have Schiavo’s case reviewed by federal courts.
Whittemore wrote that Schiavo’s “life and liberty interests” had been protected by Florida courts.
“This court appreciates the gravity of the consequences of denying injunctive relief,” he wrote, reported Bloomberg News. “Even under these difficult and time-strained circumstances, however, and not withstanding Congress’ expressed interest in the welfare of Terri Schiavo, this court is constrained to apply the law to the issues before it.”
Rex Sparklin, an attorney with the law firm representing Schiavo’s parents, said lawyers were immediately appealing the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. That court was already considering an appeal on whether Terri Schiavo’s right to due process had been violated, according to the Associated Press.
Schiavo’s brother Bobby Schindler said his family was crushed by Whittemore’s ruling.
“To have to see my parents going through this is absolutely barbaric,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday. “I’d love for these judges to sit in a room and see this happening as well.”
The 41-year-old woman suffered severe brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped beating because of a chemical imbalance brought on by an eating disorder.
Her husband fought in state courts for years to have the feeding tube removed, saying Terri Schiavo had previously told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents dispute that.