Schindler Family Attorney Responds to Michael Schiavo

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, October 27, 2003. Click here to order the entire transcript of the show.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST:  The husband of a severely brain damaged woman has until Wednesday to challenge Florida Governor Jeb Bush's (search) order to reinsert his wife's feeding tube.

Last Tuesday, Bush ordered the -- issued the order, six days after Michael Schiavo (search) won court approval to disconnect his wife Terri Schiavo's feeding tubes.

Tonight, in an interview, Michael Schiavo said, "This is Terri's wish, and I'm going to follow that wish if it's the last thing I can do for her."

Joining us from Tampa is Pat Anderson, the attorney for the parents of Terri Schiavo.

Welcome, Pat.


You know, Michael Schiavo also said nobody ever talks about death, and I think he's got it quite right.  He knows that these are not Terri's wishes.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.

ANDERSON:  She was only 26 years old.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  Well, let's -- let's talk about it.  I want to talk a little bit about her last day before she ended up in the hospital and the unfortunate things that unfolded since then.  But when was the first time he ever said that Terri would not want to be on life support?

ANDERSON:  The first time that anybody in the family ever heard about that was in January of 2000.  He sprung that on the family.  And he brought his brother and one of his sisters-in-law down to back him up on that, but nobody had ever heard that before...

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, let me tell you what I'm a little...

ANDERSON:  ... certainly not that...

VAN SUSTEREN:  Let me tell me you what I'm a little confused about.  I've got a deposition that I've got from two different occasions.  Maybe you can explain it to me.

The first one that I'll pull up, admittedly only part of it, from November 19, 1993, in which Michael said, "He was talking about removing the feeding tube," meaning the doctor, "and I said I couldn't do that to Terri."  Now, that means that his intention was not to remove the -- at least in 1993.

That same day in the same deposition he said this: "I put a -- after speaking with my doctor, I gave an order not to treat a bladder infection Terry had."  The attorney then asked the question, "So when you made that decision not to treat Terri's bladder infection, you, in effect, were making a decision to allow her to pass on?"  Michael Schiavo: "I was making a decision on what Terry would want."

So, in that same day, we have two conflicting things that he's saying in 1993.  How do I know what to believe?

ANDERSON:  It's hard to know what to believe with him because he says what the occasion demands or what's in his financial interests.  He told a medical malpractice jury, just exactly one year before that deposition fragment that you put up, that he would always take care of Terri for the rest of his life, and yet there he was, within a matter of months, directing that antibiotics be withheld.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  Let's go back.

ANDERSON:  It's hard to know.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  Let's go back.  Give me a quick rundown.  The day that -- the day -- tell me what happened her last day before she ended up in the hospital.

ANDERSON:  Terri got her hair done that day and spent more money than he thought they should have.  They had a great big fight before he went off to work.

She was so upset about the fight that she called her best friend from work, a girl that she had discussed perhaps both of them getting a divorce and taking an apartment together.  She called this girl, Jackie Rhodes, told her about the big fight.

She was sufficiently upset that Jackie Rhodes asked her should I come over, should I come over and spend the night with you so you'll be safe, and Terri said, no, I'll either be asleep or pretend to be asleep when he gets home from work.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  We've got one minute.

ANDERSON:  The next thing Jackie heard, she was in the emergency room.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Was she was -- all right.  Is there any indication she had any head injuries from any of the records there are, any physical injury at all?

ANDERSON:  There is a notation that her neck was ridged and stiff and that her body was stiff when she...

VAN SUSTEREN:  What does that mean -- and what does that mean in the 40 seconds left?  I'm sorry to do this time thing to you?

ANDERSON:  Well, Dr. Hammesfahr, a neurologist who testified at a big evidentiary hearing last year, said he had only seen one other neck that ridged, and that was in an attempted strangulation victim.

There's lots of questions about this case...

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  We're going to...

ANDERSON:  ... lots of unanswered questions.

VAN SUSTEREN:  And we're going to continue to follow this.  I'm sorry to give you so little time, but these fires have consumed a lot of our time tonight.

Pat, thank you.

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