Judge Removes Professor as Terri Schiavo’s Guardian ad Litem

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 23, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Judge Removes Professor as Terri Schiavo’s Guardian ad Litem

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 23, 2003

Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — A judge has dismissed Jay Wolfson, the Stetson University professor who had been serving as Terri Schiavo’s guardian ad litem. Though the order was dated December 17, attorneys for Terri family and her estranged husband Michael only learned recently that Chief Circuit Judge David A. Demers in St. Petersburg had removed Wolfson.

When the state legislature passed Terri’s Law, part of the legislation included appointing an independent guardian to report to Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) about Terri’s situation and make recommendations. Wolfson was selected by Demers in October.

Wolfson assessed Terri’s case by reviewing hundreds of court documents, interviewing family members, doctors and specialists, and visited Terri on several occasions.

He eventually claimed Terri is in a persistent vegetative state and determined that Terri had no chance of recovery. However, Wolfson also said a swallow test should be administered to determine if Terri could eat and drink on her own if courts overturned Terri’s law allow Michael to remove Terri’s feeding tube again.

Demers dismissed Wolfson saying he had completed the work assigned to him under Terri’s Law.

Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre told the Associated Press that the governor was disappointed to learn Wolfson was removed. "From the very beginning, the governor stressed the need for an advocate and third party” to represent Terri, DiPietre said.

Bush had sent Wolfson a letter with several questions about Terri the day before Bush found out the news. He wanted to know what type of experiences Terri would have if she dies from starvation and dehydration. He also asked whether Wolfson knew of any indications Terri had made concerning end-of-life care if she were in a situation like the one she is in now.

Bush attorneys are working on a request to Demers asking him to reinstate Wolfson.

Pat Anderson, the attorney for Terri’s parents, said she was surprised by Wolfson’s removal.

George Felos, the assisted suicide advocate who is Michael’s attorney, agreed with Demers that Wolfson should be removed. Felos is getting help in the lawsuit from the ACLU.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org
International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide – https://www.iaetf.org