Justice Department Will Investigate Terri Schiavo Abuse Complaint

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 6, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Justice Department Will Investigate Terri Schiavo Abuse Complaint Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 6, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Bush administration will investigate a discrimination complaint regarding the treatment of Terri Schiavo filed shortly after the disabled woman was euthanized in March. The section of the Justice Department that handles disability rights has instructed the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate.

The investigation will center on whether or not any discrimination occurred against Terri under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, according to the Empire Journal.

Terri became severely disabled following an unknown incident that occurred in 1990. Her husband Michael claims he found her lying face down on the floor with her arms crossed.

Though some say Terri’s collapse was the result of a potassium imbalance, members of Terri’s family point to medical documents that make it appear there may have been foul play.

After Michael received final court permission to euthanize his wife, Terri died on March 31 following a painful two-week long starvation and dehydration death.

Several days before Terri died, a New York special education teacher filed an eight-page complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice on Terri’s behalf and cited what he believed were violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The complaint requested a stay preventing Terri’s death while authorities looked into the allegations.

According to the Empire Journal, the Department of Justice did not receive the complaint until April 5.

Danielle Miller, a teacher at Central Islip High School in Suffolk County filed the complaint and also sent it to various Florida elected officials and authorities with other states.

The Empire Journal reports that it named as defendants the various members of the local, state and federal courts that denied Terri’s parents the right to stop the euthanasia.

The complaint cites numerous abuse allegations, including improper medical care and treatment denied by Michael, his prohibition of her obtaining a divorce, an confusion over whether Terri would have wanted to be killed because of her incapacitated state.

There is no word on how long it will take the HHS Department to look into the matter. The Justice Department directed HHS to investigate and provide a written report back to the federal agency.