Gov. Bush Asks Court to Delay Terri Schiavo’s Fate

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 26, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Gov. Bush Asks Court to Delay Terri Schiavo’s Fate

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 26, 2003

Tallahassee, FL ( — Governor Jeb Bush on Tuesday sent a letter to the judge who has Terri Shiavo’s fate in his hands and asked him to postpone the decision to end her life by removing her feeding tube.

In a letter sent to Circuit Judge George Greer, Bush ask that Terri Schiavo not be killed until a court-appointed guardian can "independently investigate the circumstances of this case and provide the court with an unbiased view that considers the best interests of Mrs. Schiavo."

The Governor went on to say: "I am disturbed by new rumors about the guardian’s actions related to the current care of Mrs. Schiavo. It has come to my attention that Mrs. Schiavo has contracted a life threatening illness and that she may be denied appropriate treatment."

Terri’s family and pro-life groups have been pressing for Bush to intervene. The family sponsored a petition campaign to the governor asking him to help. Bush’s office confirmed that he has received 27,000 emails from people asking him to assist Terri’s case.

Bush said he has been limited by the decisions of the court and the fact that she already has a legal guardian.

However, Greer is unlikely to grant Bush’s request for a special guardian.

Greer said he is bound by court rulings, probably will not delay the removal of the tube, and is "not inclined” to appoint a guardian.

"Frankly, I think I’m operating under a mandate from the 2nd District Court of Appeal, and frankly I don’t think I can stray from that mandate,” Greer told The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Terri’s husband Michael, who has been pushing to end her life, asked Greer on Monday to allow treatment for Terri to be withheld.

Terri is in the hospital a second time for undisclosed reasons, after an initial hospitalization last week because she was coughing up blood. Michael’s attorney George Felos says Terri was hospitalized this time with "a substantial infection" and lung congestion.

Felos filed an emergency motion Monday to stop medical treatment for Terri following a decision by the Florida Supreme Court refusing to take the case and placing Terri’s fate in Judge Greer’s hands.

Felos admitted that Terri would likely "tun the corner" and beat the infection if she is treated.

Pat Anderson, an attorney for Terri Schiavo’s parents accused Michael Schiavo of trying to make sure his wife dies before any more legal steps can be taken to save her life. She will ask Greer to order that aggressive treatment continue as necessary.

Greer did not act on the emergency motion Monday and Terri’s fate may be in limbo for two more weeks.

Greer scheduled a hearing for September 11 at the request of Terri’s family because Michael appeared to have violated a 1996 court order requiring him to allow visitors for Terri and to provide her family with updates about her medical condition. Michael refused to allow visitors or give the family information about Terri’s condition in during both hospitalizations.

Anderson said she also planned to file a motion with Greer asking for testing to determine if Schiavo can be kept alive by spoon-feeding after her feeding tube is removed.

Related web sites:

Governor Jeb Bush’s Letter –
Terri’s Parents’ Web Site –