Terri Schiavo’s Parents Sue to Restore Visitation Rights
by Steven Ertelt
April 28, 2004
Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — After Terri Schiavo was found with so-called puncture marks on her arms, in what her family is calling a setup, Terri’s estranged husband Michael has refused to allow her parents and family to visit her. As a result, Bob and Mary Schindler haven’t seen their daughter in nearly a month.
The Schindlers filed a lawsuit Monday with the Florida Circuit Court in Clearwater saying that Michael has continually been late in filing the required annual health care plans for Terri. As such, he should have no right to prevent Terri’s family from spending time with her.
"I’m asking the judge to have a hearing and determine that Michael has been acting without authority and to restore visitation," Pat Anderson, the Schindlers’ attorney told the Associated Press.
Since 1990, the lawsuit says, Michael has never received approval for a care plan on a prospective basis. Michael last obtained approval for a care plan in May 2002 for a plan for the year ending June 2001. Michal has not filed a care plan since then.
But Deborah Bushnell, an attorney for Michael, says he has been responsible in providing care for Terri. She said the annual care plans have often been delayed because of ongoing legal battles.
The lawsuit asks the courts to direct Michael to "demonstrate his authority to act on behalf of the Ward or in derogation of her rights retained under Florida law."
After being taken to the hospital for unknown puncture wounds on her arms, possibly caused by a hypodermic needle, Terri Schiavo left the hospital and returned back to the assisted living facility on March 31.
Toxicology tests taken at the hospital came back negative, indicating nothing was injected into Terri’s system.
Local police say nothing has indicated to them that any foul play was involved and there is no evidence anyone attempted to harm Terri.
However, Michael said visitors will be banned from seeing Terri until after police finish conducting the investigation.
Authorities aren’t sure what caused five puncture marks on her arms — four on one and one on the other.
Pamela Hennessy, a representative of Terri’s family, told LifeNews.com that Terri’s personal doctor has said he’s "not 100 percent sure" if the marks on Terri’s arms were caused by a needle.
But George Felos, the assisted suicide advocate who is the attorney for Terri’s estranged husband Michael is certain Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler are responsible.
Felos accuses them of trying to inject her with something during a 45-minute visit prior to staff at the assisted living facility finding the marks on Terri’s arms.
"The evidence we have is that somebody stuck a needle in Terri Schiavo numerous times but for what purpose we don’t know," Felos said. "What appeared to be a purple needle cap was found in [Terri’s] gown, confirming the belief that the puncture wounds were caused by a hypodermic needle."
George Tragos, an attorney representing Terri’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler, said the whole ordeal was an attempt to keep the Schindlers from receiving information on Terri’s medical condition.
"That’s exactly what this is aimed at — trying to prevent them from getting the records," Tragos told the St. Petersburg newspaper. "It is a desperate attempt to gain publicity and to smear her parents, who are trying to save her life."
Tragos said when the Schindlers visited Terri — four hours before police were called — Terri was in street clothes, not a hospital gown.