Terri Schiavo Judge Orders Release of Records on Her Abuse

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo Judge Orders Release of Records on Her Abuse Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 15
, 2005

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — A local judge has asked a state agency to make public records and information concerning its investigation into allegations that Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband Michael abused and neglected her.

The move is a change of position for Circuit Court Judge George Greer who, earlier this month, refused a request by Florida media outlets to obtain copies of the Florida Department of Children and Families report.

Greer now wants DCF officials to release summaries of the reports and gave the agency until Monday to do so.

"The public interest includes the need for citizens to know of and adequately evaluate the actions of DCF and the court system in providing vulnerable adults with the protections provided" under state law, Greer wrote in his order, according to the Associated Press.

DCF officials previously opposed making the records public, but the chief of staff for the agency said it will comply.

Before Terri’s death, the agency was seeking a complete investigation of the allegations and had asked Greer to prevent starving Terri for 60 days while it proceeded.

Greer denied the request and also prevented the state agency from taking Terri into protective custody to prevent her death and investigate the charges.

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

The report also included concerns about a bone scan taken on Terri that showed signs of possible physical abuse and broken bones.

Michael has denied abusing Terri and one of his attorneys, Hamden Baskin, told the Associated Press "the fractures resulted from osteoporosis caused by the woman’s years of immobility and complications of her medication."

However, the bone scan was taken in August 1991, just 18 months after Terri’s February 1990 collapse that put her in the disabled state she was in before her starvation death.

Baskin applauded the release of the DCF records, saying they "will be helpful for all concerned to evaluate the frivolity of the continuing investigation."

Other DCF concerns included 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 caused her "severe contractures."

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

Earlier this month, Greer initially ruled against the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune newspapers and said the DCF records belong to the DCF. He said at that time that Michael Schiavo could have access to them, but they can’t be made public.

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