Terri Schiavo biography and timeline
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Terri Schiavo was born Theresa Marie Schindler in a small town near Philadelphia, the oldest of three children. Her parents say she loved art, animals and her family.
After moving to Florida, Terri met the love of her life, Michael Schiavo. The couple soon married.
"She had a heart of gold," Michael Schiavo said. "You'd have to know Terri. She was a very down to earth, laid back, very caring, sweet, loving little girl."
Soon after her wedding, Terri's battle with her weight turned into an eating disorder.
In February 1990 her life changed forever.
"I heard a thump on the floor and I ran out to the hall and Terri was laying there," Michael Schiavo said.
Terri suffered cardiac arrest and slipped into a two-month long coma. Her brain was damaged from lack of oxygen.
Terri's estate received a medical malpractice settlement of more than $700,000 in 1991.
But after years of paying legal fees to Michael Schiavo's attorneys, that amount dwindled to just $60,000 before she died.
During the next few years, both Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, sought out various treatments and rehabilitation efforts for Terri, but none of them worked.
Then in 1998, Michael Schiavo asked the courts for permission to remove Terri's feeding tube, saying she wouldn't want to live in that condition. Her parents opposed his petition and a trial began in January of 2000.
After the Schindlers' appeals were denied by various courts, Terri's feeding tube was removed on April 24, 2001, while demonstrators protested outside the hospice she lived at, Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park.
Two days later, the Schindlers filed an emergency motion to reinsert the tube, saying they had new evidence in the case. Judge Frank Quesada ordered Terri's tube to be reinserted on April 26.
During the next two years, both sides filed numerous appeals and motions to the Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland.
Also, in a new trial, five doctors testified about their examinations of Terri to determine if she could improve with treatment. It was ultimately decided she wouldn't improve.
During this period, both Michael Schiavo and Bob Schindler talked with Bay News 9 about their respective battles.
"I think Terri deserves an opportunity to recover," said Schindler. "And I don't think she's ever got that and that's the bottom line. She's never gotten the chance to get better and we resolved ourselves that we do what we could to get her that opportunity."
"I just want to carry out what my wife would want," said Schiavo. "I wouldn't leave Terri in the care of the Schindlers because they wouldn't carry out her wishes."
In September of 2003, Greer again ordered Terri's feeding tube to be removed. The tube was taken out on Oct. 15.
Michael Schiavo then took a lawsuit all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, claiming Terri's Law violated the Constitution. In September 2004, the justices agreed, and declared the law unconstitutional.
The fight to remove Terri's feeding tube was then taken up again, and after various stays were issued by Greer, a 1 p.m.deadline on Friday, March 18, 2005 was set to remove Terri's feeding tube for the third time.
As that deadline approached, the U.S. Congress got involved. The Senate requested Terri and Michael Schiavo to appear before a committee on March 28, and the House of Representatives issued subpoenas to Terri and Michael to testify in front of them in Washington, D.C., in an effort to delay the removal of Terri's tube.
Terri's feeding tube was removed about 1:30 p.m. March 18 and numerous legal motions made on behalf of the Schindler family over the following days failed.
Terri Schiavo died at about 9:05 a.m. on March 31, 2005.
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