Florida Agency May Take Terri Schiavo Into Custody for Investigation

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Agency May Take Terri Schiavo Into Custody for Investigation Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 23
, 2005

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A state agency may take Terri Schiavo into custody while it investigates allegations of abuse and neglect by her estranged husband Michael. The Miami Herald newspaper reported that state officials are considering taking the action so Terri’s can receive food and water before she dies.

Officials with the Florida Department of Children Families indicated that no timetable had been put in place, but the idea was in motion, according to a Herald report.

Florida DCF secretary Lucy Hadi told the Palm Beach Post newspaper that her staff is relying on a state law giving authority to intervene on behalf of a vulnerable adult "suffering from abuse or neglect that presents a risk of death or serious physical injury."

Hadi said a petition must be filed with local courts to remove Terri from Woodside Hospice, where she lives, but that the agency could remove her without approval if it feels such action is warranted to protect her life.

"We’re not compelled to look at prior judicial proceedings," Hadi told the Post. "What we’re compelled to look at is the presenting circumstance and any allegation of abuse and neglect that we’ve received. So we have to deal with those and fulfill our statutory responsibility, notwithstanding anything else that may have gone on before."

Meanwhile, Governor Jeb Bush confirmed the idea was being considered when he discussed the Schiavo case with reporters Wednesday afternoon.

Bush said a neurologist, Dr. William Cheshire, has uncovered new information alleging that Terri may have been misdiagnosed as in a persistent vegetative state.

According to a WorldNetDaily report, Cheshire believes Terri is in a "minimally conscious state," not a "persistent vegetative state" as courts have alleged.

"It is imperative that she be stabilized so the DCF team can fulfill their statute to review the facts surrounding the case," Bush said.

Terri has been without anything to eat or drink since Friday afternoon.

"They have no more power than you or I or a person walking down the street to say we have the right to take Terri Schiavo," attorney George Felos said in a Wednesday hearing in state courts about the possible DCF actions.

Felos asked Circuit Judge George Greer for advice on what to do if DCF officials come to take Terri away and Greer told Felos to contact him if that happens, the Herald reported.

Florida law indicates that emergency medical treatment can be given to the vulnerable adult as long as "such treatment does not violate a known health care advance directive prepared by the vulnerable adult."

Terri Schiavo has no advance directive indicating the type of medical care she would prefer in her current condition and that has led to the years-long legal battle between her parents and Michael.

Related news stories:
Terri Schiavo’s Hospice Nurses Want Her to Die, Dissenter Fired

ABC News Poll on Terri Schiavo Case Uses Inaccurate Question

Terri Schiavo Tried to Tell Parents’ Attorney She Wanted to Live

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