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Court Rules in Brain-Damaged Woman’s Case

February 13, 2004

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Gov. Jeb Bush and the parents of a severely brain-damaged woman won appellate court rulings in their favor Friday on two legal issues in their quest to keep the woman alive against her husband’s wishes.

Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that Pinellas Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird did not follow judicial rules when he denied Terri Schiavo’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, the ability to intervene in the constitutional challenge to a law aimed at keeping the 40-year-old woman alive.

The appeals court also ruled that Bush’s attorneys will be allowed to question witnesses in the court battle over the law, which gave the governor authority to reinsert Schiavo’s feeding tube after her husband had it removed in October.

The appeals court ordered Baird to hold further proceedings on the issue.

Schiavo’s husband, Michael, has been battling the Schindlers in court for years to remove his wife’s feeding tube so she can die. He says she would not have wanted to be kept alive artificially.

The Schindlers doubt their daughter, who lives in a Clearwater nursing home, had any such end-of-life wishes and believe her condition could improve with therapy. She has been in a persistent vegetative state since 1990 when she collapsed from a chemical imbalance.

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