by Steven Ertelt
March 31, 2005
Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — Terri Schiavo’s parents were denied access to their daughter at the time of her death, according to comments from a spokesman on Thursday. Although Terri’s parents and family were with her 10 minutes before she died, Terri’s estranged husband Michael prevented them from being with her at the moment of her death.
Paul O’Donnell, a Franciscan monk who has been a spokesman for the Schindlers during the last two weeks, told reporters the news.
"They were denied access at the moment of her death,” O’Donnell said. "They are in there now praying at her bedside.”
O’Donnell told CNS News that at the end of their scheduled one hour visit, police instructed them to leave.
"At that point, they pleaded with the police — the police were acting under the orders of Michael Schiavo – that Michael allow them to stay in the room as Terri was about to pass away," O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell told CNS News that the Schindler family told police they would agree to be in the room with Michael there at the same time.
Police passed on the plea to Michael, who denied it and instructed police to threaten them with arrest if they did not comply with his wishes to leave.
"They not only escorted them out of the room, but also off the hospice property. Within ten minutes, it was reported that Terri passed away," O’Donnell said.
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life also visited Terri with her family Thursday morning. He confirmed to MSNBC that Michael instructed Terri’s parents, family and friends to leave.
"And so his heartless cruelty continues until this very last moment,” he said.
Pavone said he and Terri’s parents were praying with Terri when they were excused from her hospice room.
"We were saying to her, ‘Terri, there are a lot of people around the country praying for you,”’ Pavone said. "We were all saying the same things, assuring her that we are here, we’re not going away.”
Michael and the Schindlers have not spoken in years and they never visited Terri at Woodside Hospice at the same time.
As Terri’s legal guardian, Michael controls which people are allowed to be placed on an approved list of visitors and denied Terri’s family the right to visit with her a total of eight months during the last three years of the legal battle.
LifeNews.com previously reported on the possibility that Terri’s family may not be able to be with Terri when she died.
Last week, Hamden Baskin, one of Michael’s attorneys, said Michael would "be in a position to be with her in the end as he should as her husband."
David Gibbs, the lead attorney for the Schindler family, said they were "heartsick" over Terri’s death.
"They believe that Terri is now ultimately at peace. They intend to comfort themselves with their faith and their family at this time.”
"This is not only a death, with all the sadness that brings, but this is a killing, and for that we not only grieve that Terri has passed but we grieve that our nation has allowed such an atrocity as this and we pray that it will never happen again," Pavone added.
Visitation rights have always been an issue for the Schindlers.
In May 2004 they had to go before Judge George Greer and argue that their visitation rights should be restored.
This came after wild accusations by Schiavo’s attorney, euthanasia advocate George Felos, that the parents had caused puncture marks on the disabled woman’s arms and caused her feeding tube to be wrapped around her back.
Related news stories:
Terri Schiavo Case Reveals How We Treated Disabled Americans
Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org