CLEARWATER, Fla. – The parents of a brain-damaged woman at the center of a contentious right-to-die case — banned from visiting her after marks were found on her arms — have gone to court to regain visitation rights.
Bob and Mary Schindler say despite a police finding that no crime was committed in the March 29 incident, they continue to be barred from seeing their 40-year-old daughter, Terri Schiavo, on order from her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo.
[The Schindlers will appear exclusively on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren at 10 p.m. EDT.]
The police last week determined the marks on Terri Schiavo (search), which appeared to be puncture marks, were likely caused by the apparatus used to lift her in and out of bed at the nursing home where she lives.
Bob Schindler said the family was turned away when they tried to visit Friday.
"It's mean and it's cruel," Schindler said Monday. "It's just something else to harass us."
A hearing in the Schindlers' suit to regain visitation was set for May 26.
George Felos, an attorney for Michael Schiavo, said the Schindlers have been offered the chance to visit — if they hire private security to accompany them. He said the incident raised enough suspicion to warrant a more restrictive visitation policy.
"We think that raises questions and suspicions, and we'll just let the judge decide," he said.
The Schindlers' lawyer, George Tragos, called the incident "a red herring" designed to sway public opinion against the family.
Terri Schiavo was left severely brain damaged more than 14 years ago after her heart stopped because of a chemical imbalance brought on by an eating disorder. She left no written directive about her wishes if she were ever incapacitated.
Michael Schiavo has been trying to remove the feeding tube (search) that has helped keep her alive, saying that would be her wish. Her parents have successfully blocked his attempts.
The case garnered national headlines in October when Gov. Jeb Bush (search) stepped in to save Terri Schiavo's life after a court ordered a feeding tube removed. Michael Schiavo sued, contending the law giving Bush authority to reinsert the tube was unconstitutional.
A judge agreed; the decision is under appeal. The 2nd District Court of Appeal indicated last week it wanted the case expedited to the Florida Supreme Court.