Despite the miraculous recovery story of Sarah Scantlin, a 38 year-old woman who awoke from a near-comatose state after 20 years of silence, a Pinellas County judge turned down Friday a request to set aside his order allowing Terri Schiavos feeding tube to be removed. Circuit Court Judge George Greers refusal to reconsider his controversial ruling could potentially make the painfully slow death-by-starvation of Schiavo begin as early as February 22.
According to Associated Press reports, Sarah Scantlin, who was hit by a drunk driver as an 18-year-old college freshman on Sept. 22, 1984, received a newfound ability to speak and had her memories returned.
For years, she could only blink her eyes one blink for "no," two blinks for "yes" to respond to questions that no one knew for sure she understood, the AP described.
However, for no explicit reason, she began talking last month. Doctors are unable to pinpoint why, but believe critical pathways in the brain may have regenerated.
Dr. James Dobson, the evangelical founder of Focus on the Family, said Scantlins return should prompt a renewed hope for Terris future as well.
"Terri Schiavo deserves the same chance at life that Sarah Scantlin was given. Both cases have involved women who suffered debilitating injuries and continued to live in a disabled state. Today we celebrate the news that Ms. Scantlin has regained her memory and ability to speak, and is apparently on the road to recovery, said Dobson, who reiterated his push for the preservation of Shiavos life.
"Mental disabilities do not damage a person's worth - the preciousness of life is not defined by one's abilities. Those who suffer a disabling injury are entitled to the same right to life as we all are. Those seeking to take away Mrs. Schiavo's right to life should have second thoughts after hearing Sarah Scantlin's story."
The Schindlers, Terris parents who have been fighting against husband Michael Schiavo over the custody of their daughter since he tried to legally starve Terry to death for nearly a decade, agreed that Scantlins story was a hopeful sign for their daughters fight.
"In light of the miraculous awakening of Miss Sarah Scantlin in Kansas and the success of the new brainwave test reported in the New York Times this week, my daughter deserves to have this test before she is starved to death by judicial decree, said Bob Schindler, father of Terri Schindler Schiavo.
The Schindlers will be traveling to Hutchinson, Kansas to meet with Sara and her family.
The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation is the official organization responsible for speaking on behalf of the Schindler family. For more information and background on the case, visit the foundation's website at www.terrisfight.org