Judge Will Not Reappoint Guardian in Terri Schiavo Case

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 13, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Judge Will Not Reappoint Guardian in Terri Schiavo Case

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 13, 2004

Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — A local judge will not reappoint a Stetson University law professor who was previously selected as guardian ad litem for Terri Schiavo.

Professor Jay Wolfson was selected for the position after the state legislature passed Terri’s Law.

Charged with evaluating Terri’s condition, Wolfson claimed Terri is in a persistent vegetative state, though numerous doctors and specialists disagree with his conclusion. Wolfson also said that she deserved to be given a swallowing test to see if she can eat and drink on her own before a decision is made to remove her feeding tube another time.

Chief Judge David Demers said that he would not reappoint Wolfson because of pending litigation.

Terri’s estranged husband Michael, who is engaged to and living with another woman and has two children with her, is challenging the constitutionality of Terri’s Law. Michael’s attorney George Felos, an assisted suicide advocate, claims the law violates Terri’s right to privacy under the Florida constitution.

Governor Jeb Bush, who signed Terri’s Law, wanted Wolfson reappointed and was disappointed by Demers’ ruling.

"Terri Schiavo yet again has been denied an independent voice in the proceedings that may very well determine the outcome of her life," Bush’s office said in a statement.

Bush is hoping that Wolfson can help him establish Terri’s end-of-life care wishes.

A friend of Terri’s says Terri scolded her when she told a crude joke about a woman in a comatose state. Terri said doctors and lawyers couldn’t know whether the comatose woman wanted to stay alive or not.

Michael recalled a conversation he had with Terri where she said she didn’t want any extraordinary measures used to keep her alive. However, Michael remembered the conversation only after Terri’s estate was awarded a large settlement from a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Bush also wanted Wolfson to investigate what happened on the night Terri collapsed. A brain scan shows possible trauma and Terri’s family has been unable to get anyone to investigate whether or not Michael may have abused Terri.

However, Demers said Wolfson completed all of the duties assigned to him under Terri’s Law.

If another judge overturns Terri’s Law, it would allow Michael to remove Terri’s feeding tube for a third time, possibly causing her death. However, it is likely that Bush would appeal the ruling to the Florida Appeals Court.

Terri’s family also disagreed with Demers’ ruling.

They are seeking to have Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, Jr., appointed as Terri’s permanent guardian in place of Michael, who they say has a conflict of interest because of his relationship with his fiancee’. They asked Demers to dissolve the Schiavo’s marriage.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiandler’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org