The parents of Terri Schiavo won another round in court as a judge on Wednesday extended an emergency stay keeping Schiavos feeding tube in place until Friday.
Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer extended the stay that was to expire Wednesday afternoon, saying he needed time to decide whether Terri's husband Michael, who has for seven years attempted to remove her feeding tube, is fit to be her guardian. Her husband also lives with his longtime girlfriend, with whom he has fathered two children.
Greer, who ruled in 2000 that Terri was in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) and should have her feeding tube removed, also said he needs more time to determine whether Terri should receive more medical tests to determine if she has greater hopes for recovery.
Terris parents, Bob and Mary Schindlers, who have been in a seven year legal battle against Michael to keep Terri alive, have long argued that their daughter was not in PVS, and that she is fully aware of her surroundings.
In an interview with the Christian Post last week, Mary Schindler explained that Terri knows how to swallow, but has not been given the proper therapy to help her develop the skill. She also said Terri can speak, but needs the proper training to help her express her thoughts.
Greer will rule by Friday, upon the request of the Schindlers attorney David Gibbs III, to consider further arguments regarding Terris state.
Gibbs filed for an emergency stay to halt the removal of Terris feeding tube on Tuesday and was granted the stay for 24 hours. Today, Gibbs asked Greer to extend the emergency stay indefinitely.
"The stay is extended by 48 hours, by which time the court will have some order fashioned on Mr. Gibbs' motion for emergency stay," Greer said in court.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Children and Families moved to intervene in the case and handed Greer a petition for the hearing. Greer denied a DCF attorney an opportunity to speak at the afternoon hearing, and the details of the agencys involvement in the case was not made available.
According tot the Associated Press, Michael Schiavos attorney, George Felos, criticized the DCF move, saying it reeks of the intervention of politics into the case and is an affront to the court.
However, Gibbs countered that there exists serious allegations of abuse in the case; the Schindlers have accused Michael who has kept Terri in a hospice without access to therapy for the past five years - of mistreating his wife prior to the accident that caused her collapse. According to doctors, oxygen flow to her heart stopped for several minutes; Michael denied the accusations and claimed Terri had an eating disorder that prompted the accident.
To date, Michael succeeded twice to get Terris hydration and nutrition tube removed, but was forced to reinsert it. Terri starved for six days without food or water in October 2003, but Governor Jeb Bush pushed through a law to reconnect the tube.
After the Wednesday victory, Gov. Bush told Terris supporters that he will do whatever I can within the means, within the laws of our state to protect this womans life.
"People with deep faith and big hearts are concerned, as I am about the circumstance that Ms. Schiavo is in," the governor said, according to the Associated Press. "I want them to know I will do what I can, but there are limits to what any particular person irrespective of the title they currently hold can do."
During the interview last week, the Schindlers explained that God has helped them through the ordeal by giving them hope and strength.
He has been keeping us with strength, and he has helped Terri tremendously. We pray every day, and if we didnt have God, we wouldnt be able to keep our sanity, said Mary Schindler.
We have faith in God, and he has provided us with miracles, agreed Bob Schindler. We have seen it, and we know he is involved. We have trust in God and in people the people who have been supporting us.