Abuse, Neglect of Terri Schiavo Can’t be Investigated, Judge Says

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abuse, Neglect of Terri Schiavo Can’t be Investigated, Judge Says Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 10, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The judge in the Terri Schiavo case has ruled that a Florida state agency can’t investigate the thirty allegations of abuse and neglect it says have come at the hand of Terri’s estranged Michael. The Florida Department of Children and Families hoped to delay Terri’s starvation death for 60 days to look into the concerns.

Circuit Court Judge George Greer claimed the request from DCF "appears to be brought for the purpose of circumventing the court’s final judgment … in violation of the separation of powers doctrine."

After hearing testimony about the charges of abuse yesterday, Greer told DCF officials, "All of the things (the witness) ticked off … were all issues that have been in open court in front of the media and in the court files which the media has access to."

Yesterday, Department of Children and Families supervisor Susan McPhee told Judge Greer that Michael has denied her medical treatment and isolated her in her hospice room with the blinds closed and prevented her from going outdoors.

Those are just some of the "30 detailed allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation" the agency received in a 34-page document in February.

"This is a heightened situation because we are talking about the life of Terri Schiavo," DCF attorney Kelly McKibbe told Greer Wednesday.

Greer’s decision follows a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, which threw out Terri’s Law, a measure passed by the state legislature authorizing Governor Jeb Bush to ask doctors not to starve Terri to death. The Florida high court ruled the legislation violated the separation of powers clause in the state constitution.

Euthanasia advocate George Felos, Michael’s lead attorney, agreed with that line of thought.

"DCF is simply acting as an arm of the executive branch to try to undo a court order they don’t like," Felos said after the court hearing Wednesday.

Other DCF concerns include Michael’s failure to follow state law and provide an annual guardianship and medical care plan for Terri, failure to provide Terri with medical care and rehabilitative therapy as he told a court he would do, and lack of moving Terri from her bed which has caused her "severe contractures."

"The allegations … go to the heart of whether abuse, neglect and/or exploitation has been perpetrated by the guardian such that any relief afforded by this court to this guardian prior to the conclusion of such investigation would be tragically misplaced," the petition said.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org