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Gov. Bush Seeks Probe Into Schiavo 911 Call

June 18, 2005|From Reuters

MIAMI — Florida Gov. Jeb Bush asked a prosecutor Friday to investigate why Terri Schiavo collapsed 15 years ago and how long it took her husband to call for help -- a move the husband denounced as an outrage.

Bush, who worked to keep the brain-damaged woman on a feeding tube before her March 31 death, said in a letter to State Atty. Bernie McCabe that the autopsy report released Wednesday showed a gap between the time Michael Schiavo discovered his wife unconscious and the time he phoned 911 to summon medical aid.

"Between 40 and 70 minutes elapsed before the call was made and I am aware of no explanation for the delay," Bush said in the letter.

McCabe agreed to investigate, said an aide to the Republican governor, the brother of President Bush.

Schiavo died about two weeks after her feeding tube was removed by court order and at her husband's request. Her death came after a feud between Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, that provoked fierce political debate over end-of-life issues.

Michael Schiavo called Bush's request for the investigation "an outrage" aimed at deflecting attention from the medical examiner's report, which he said "has shown the Schindlers' claims and governor's position to be untrue."

"It is sickening that the Schindlers and Gov. Bush, for their own selfish reasons, want to keep this case going," he said.

Michael Schiavo has said he phoned for help as soon as he found his wife on the floor in their home on Feb. 25, 1990, and the autopsy report said the call was made at 5:40 a.m.

Bush did not allege in his letter that a crime had been committed. But he said Michael Schiavo testified during a 1992 medical malpractice trial that he found his wife unconscious at about 5 a.m. and said more recently it was about 4:30 a.m.

Michael Schiavo said Friday he ran to phone 911 immediately, that he did not know the exact time because he was not wearing a watch or looking at a clock and that he had testified to that effect consistently and repeatedly.

He released excerpts from his testimony over the years, each describing the time in approximations.

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