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THE NATION

Spouse of Brain-Damaged Woman Heading to Court

October 24, 2003|From Associated Press

DUNEDIN, Fla. — The husband of a brain-damaged woman at the center of a legal tug of war between her family members will go to court to fight Gov. Jeb Bush's order that reinserted her feeding tube, the husband's lawyer said Thursday.

Michael Schiavo, husband of Terri Schiavo, will go back to court Monday to challenge the constitutionality of the governor's actions, attorney George Felos said.

Felos said his client has been bolstered by the outpouring of public support on his behalf.

"He's a fighter, and he's feeling in some ways encouraged," Felos said.

The legal battle is one of the nation's longest and most contentious right-to-die cases. Terri Schiavo has been in what doctors call a "persistent vegetative state" since 1990, when her heart stopped, from a suspected potassium imbalance. Her eyes are open, but doctors say she has no consciousness.

Michael Schiavo contends his wife told him she would rather die than be kept alive artificially, but family members dispute that. They believe she still could recover and have fought Michael Schiavo in court for a decade.

The tube was removed by a court order on Oct. 15, but the Legislature this week rushed through a bill intended to keep Terri Schiavo alive. Bush quickly invoked the law and ordered the feeding tube reinserted.

Meanwhile, Terri Schiavo's parents and brother visited her Thursday in the hospice where she was taken after the tube was reinserted.

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