DCF Seeks Intervention in Schiavo Case, Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Keep Feeding Tube In Place

With the scheduled removal date of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube drawing near, pro-life lawmakers and supporters acted on several fronts to block the court order from taking effect.

The Department of Children and Family Services sought intervention in the case to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect by Terri’s husband, Michael, while lawmakers introduced a bill that would require doctors to provide hydration and nutrition to incapacitated persons who like Terri did not leave an advance directive on their will to live or die artificially.

The DCF asked Pinellas Court Judge George Greer to delay the removal of the severely disabled woman’s feeding tube for as much as 60 days to allow the organization time to investigate allegations that Michael, who fathered two children with his live-in girlfriend, denied Terri the correct medical treatment and therapy and isolated her in her room with the blinds closed, according to Associated Press.

"This is a heightened situation because we are talking about the life of Terri Schiavo," DCF attorney Kelly McKibben told Greer in a hearing, adding that she believes the court should not impede an agency investigation.

Greer said he would rule on the DCF request as early as Thursday.

Meanwhile, in Tallahassee, a House committee approved a bill requiring doctors to provide nutrition and hydration to incapacitated persons who did not leave an advance directive. The bill would make exceptions for patients who gave specific verbal instructions. It passed 7-4 on a party-line vote and still needs approval from two more committees before facing the full House, according to AP.

The new bill comes one day after two republican congressmen from Florida introduced legislation in Washington that could give Terri and her parents access to federal courts.