31/03/2005

Terri Schiavo succumbs after 13-days

Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old brain-damaged Florida woman, at the centre of a long-running legal dispute has died.

Mrs Schiavo had her feeding tube disconnected on March 18 and had been without food for 13 days.

Mrs Schiavo had been in what was termed as a "persistent vegetative state" since suffering a heart attack in 1990, at the age of 26, which resulted in her brain being deprived of oxygen.

Her case had been the subject of a seven-year-long legal battle between Mrs Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler and her husband, Michael Schiavo, who was her legal guardian. Mr Schiavo had argued that Terri would not want to be kept alive in her condition. However, Mrs and Mrs Schindler had believed that she had a chance of recovery and insisted that she responded to stimuli and could interact with loved ones.

Mr Schiavo had first launched an attempt to have his wife's feeding tube removed in 1998. Mr and Mrs Schindler had taken him to court to try to regain guardianship of their daughter and prevent the feeding tube being removed.

Mrs Schiavo's case had repeatedly been rejected by the US Supreme Court, which refused to intervene. The case had even gained the support of President Bush, who signed an emergency bill, passed by the Senate, ordering a federal court to review the case. However, a Florida court ruling ordered the tube to be removed.

It has been reported that the Schindler family were not at Terri's side when she died, but were allowed into the room afterwards to pray.

(KMcA/SP)

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