by Steven Ertelt
March 17, 2005
Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband Michael has spent virtually all of the money meant for Terri’s medical care and rehabilitative treatment. As a result, Florida taxpayers are picking up the tab to house her in a southwest Florida hospice.
When Terri collapsed in 1990, Michael claimed that doctors failed to diagnose beforehand the causes that led to it. A court agreed and, in 1993, awarded Michael and Terri $1 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
At the time, Michael promised to use the money to provide rehabilitative and medical care for Terri.
Shortly afterwards, Michael decided to ask doctors to remove Terri’s feeding tube — a decision that led to the lengthy legal battle with Terri’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler.
Since then, Michael has spent virtually all of the money on legal bills in his quest to starve Terri to death.
Michael Schiavo’s attorneys told the Associated Press they haven’t been paid in more than tow years because the money from the award has nearly run out. They say just $40-50,000 remains and it has been placed in a trust fund to pay for final legal fees associated with the ongoing litigation.
Terri lives at Woodside Hospice, and is only allowed to be there because it is a nonprofit entity and part of a state network of homes for disabled patients. She is permitted to stay there at no cost because she is considered indigent, Michael’s attorney Deborah Bushnell told AP.
Normally, patients pay as much as $80,000 annually to live at Woodside.
Meanwhile, what little medical care has been afforded to Terri has been paid for by the state’s Medicaid program, which helps poor residents.
The lack of medical care has caused Terri health issues and she recently had to have four teeth extracted because of poor care.
Bushnell told AP she has been paid just over $80,000 by representing Michael since 1993. Michael’s lead attorney, euthanasia advocate George Felos, has brought home nearly $360,000.
Bushnell indicated that more than half of the medical malpractice award has been spent on Michael’s legal bills.