Congressional Subpoenas Delivered to Terri Schiavo’s Hospice

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congressional Subpoenas Delivered to Terri Schiavo’s Hospice Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 18, 2005

Pinellas Park, FL ( — The deadline has approached for Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband Michael to remove her feeding tube and begin the 7 to 10 day process of starving Terri to death. Just before the deadline, administrators at the Florida hospice where Terri lives confirmed they received subpoenas issued by Congress.

Now, the Woodside Hospice is consulting with its attorneys to determine whether it can allow Michael to proceed with removing the feeding tube.

Woodside spokeswoman Louise Cleary told the Associated Press that the hospice received the subpoenas late Friday morning.

"At this time, we are monitoring developments and consulting with legal and ethical advisers to determine what to do,” she said.

Attorneys for Michael are also trying to determine if subpoena’s issued on Friday by Congress are sufficient to stop the removal of Terri’s feeding tube this afternoon.

The Senate Health Committee has asked that Terri and her estranged husband Michael appear before the committee on March 28 to discuss, according to a statement by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, "health care policies and practices relevant to the care of non-ambulatory people such as [Terri]."

Meanwhile, the House Government Reform Committee said it would issue a subpoena to the doctors and hospice administrators who would be responsible for removing Terri’s feeding tube.

According to the Fox News Channel, which obtained the subpoenas, they specifically direct that Terri’s feeding tube not be removed.

"This request is continuing in nature and applies to any newly deployed things required for the continued hydration and nutrition of Theresa Schiavo," the subpoenas say.

"None of those things reflecting data, information or records called for by this request shall be destroyed, modified, transferred, disconnected, discontinued or otherwise made inaccessible to the committee," the subpoenas warn.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president appreciates the last-ditch effort of Congressional leaders to save Terri’s life.

"We appreciate action by members of Congress to defend life," he said.

"The president believes very strongly in building a culture of life in America. And that means welcoming and protecting and valuing all Americans, particularly, or, I should say, including those with disabilities. And the president will continue to stand on the side of defending life," the White House spokesman said.

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