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Judge orders Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube removed

ABC Action News report

CLEARWATER – After a month of consideration, a judge has once again given his approval to remove the feeding tube from a comatose Pinellas County woman. The decision by Circuit Judge George Greer may clear the way for Terri Schiavo to die.

Terri has been hospitalized since 1990, when a heart attack temporarily cut off oxygen to her brain. The 38-year-old has been the subject of an ongoing court battle since then; her husband Michael wants have her feeding tube pulled. Her parents are asking that everything be done to keep her alive.

Two years ago, Judge Greer sided with Michael Schiavo and ordered the feeding tube removed. An appeals court put that decision on hold, however, pending a hearing to allow the medical community to examine Terri and offer their opinions on her chances of recovering.

That hearing stretched for almost two weeks last month. Attorneys for Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, played a video showing what they claimed were signs of improvement in her condition, and brought in doctors to testify to that effect.

Bob Schindler hopes the 2nd Court of Appeals will overturn the decision he calls “legalized murder.” Other doctors, however, including an expert from the Cleveland Clinic hired by the court, testified that Terri’s brain damage is irreversible, and she would never improve.

Judge Greer weighed the testimony for a month before issuing the nine-page decision Friday afternoon, which states that Terri’s tube will be pulled January 3.

Michael Schiavo, who claims Terri told him she would never want to live as she is now, welcomed the decision.

“If you want to look at who’s winning here, it’s Terri. And her wishes,” he said.

Terri’s parents, while not surprised, were obviously disappointed. They plan to appeal Judge Greer’s decision. “We see a human being, a live human being, a person,” Bob Schindler said. “This whole thing to me is legalized murder.”