Judge: Schiavo's Parents Can Challenge Custody

A judge ruled Wednesday that the parents of a severely brain-damaged woman at the center of a right-to-die battle can seek to have the woman's husband removed as her guardian.

Bob and Mary Schindler, parents of Terri Schiavo (search), want Circuit Judge George W. Greer to appoint the woman's brother or sister as guardian instead of her husband, Michael Schiavo.

Michael Schiavo had asked for the Schindlers' request to be dismissed, but Greer refused. Now, he will likely have to respond in court to the Schindlers' charges, including that he withheld proper care from his wife.

Terri Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped due to a chemical imbalance. Doctors have said she has no hope for recovery from a vegetative state (search).

Her husband has fought to have her feeding tube (searchremoved, saying his wife did not want to be kept alive artificially.

Her parents dispute that claim and believe she could be rehabilitated.

Michael Schiavo also has challenged a hastily passed state law that allowed Gov. Jeb Bush to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted Oct. 21, six days after her husband had it removed.

An attorney for the governor asked another judge Wednesday to dismiss that lawsuit, but there was no immediate ruling.