Independant Guardian Tells Bush Terri’s Condition Hopeless, Should Get Swallowing Test

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 2, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Independant Guardian Tells Bush Terri’s Condition Hopeless, Should Get Swallowing Test

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 2, 2003

Tallahassee, FL ( — An independent guardian appointed for Terri Schiavo told Governor Jeb Bush Tuesday that her medical condition is hopeless. He claimed Terri is in a permanent vegetative state, but added that she should be allowed to have a swallowing test to see if she can eat and drink.

Under Terri’s Law passed by the state legislature, an independent guardian was authorized to provide Governor Bush with recommendations about Terri’s situation.

On October 31, Chief Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge David Demers appointed Dr. Jay Wolfson, a professor of health and law at Stetson University in Florida, as Terri’s guardian ad litem, despite the suggestion of bias from Terri’s family.

Wolfson submitted a lengthy thirty-eight page report to Bush on Tuesday.

The report says swallowing tests should be administered to determine whether Terri can eat and drink on her own. That’s something Terri’s family has been advocating for a long time.

"Clearly Dr. Wolfson has come to the same conclusion that we have had for some time,"said Pat Anderson, attorney for the Schindler family. "Further medical and scientific testing is required about Terri before any further decisions can be made."

Governor Bush said nothing in the report persuaded him that the actions he took to save Terri’s life were improper. He told the Associated Press he agreed with Wolfson that swallowing tests should be given to Terri.

"That’s the good news part of this," Bush said.

Wolfson describes Terri as being in a persistent vegetative state and claims there is no liklihood she will improve. However, numerous doctors say otherwise and videos made by Terri’s parents show her responding to doctors and her family.

Dr. William Hammesfahr, a neurologist from Clearwater, where Terri was hospitalized, is a recognized national expert on PVS and is a Nobel prize nominee. He says Terri’s eyes clearly fixate on her family and she tries to follow the simple commands her parents give her.

"She looks at you, she can follow commands," Hammesfahr said.

Wolfson hopes to remain affiliated with Terri’s case as guardian ad litem and wants to broker a peace between Michael and Terri’s family.

The report indicated he attempted to resolve the dispute between Michael and Governor Bush over Terri’s Law, but it was not successful.

Following the passage of Terri’s Law, Wolfson told WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida: "If this law stands the constitutional test of the courts, then it certainly implies the executive of our state has the prerogative of injecting the state into your life, or your family member’s life."

Anderson, the family’s attorney, told that they met with Wolfson after his appointment and were "very hopeful he can get his work done in the thirty days given to him."

Related web sites:
Terri’s family –