CLEARWATER, Fla. – The parents of Terri Schiavo (search) won another reprieve in their fight to keep the brain-damaged woman alive after a judge extended an emergency stay keeping her feeding tube in place.
The stay had been set to expire Wednesday afternoon, but Pinellas Circuit (search) Judge George Greer extended it until 5 p.m. Friday.
A lawyer for the parents, Robert and Mary Schindler (search), had asked the judge to block the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube so the family can have more time to determine if she has greater mental capabilities than previously believed.
The Schindlers also want more time to try to remove Schiavo's husband as legal guardian.
They have been in a long, bitter struggle with Michael Schiavo, who said his wife never wanted to be kept alive artificially. She left no written directive.
Also Wednesday, the Florida Department of Children & Families (search) moved to intervene in the case hours after Gov. Jeb Bush told reporters he was seeking a way to keep Terri Schiavo alive.
"I can assure you, I will do whatever I can within the means, within the laws, of our state to protect this woman's life," Bush said, adding that he has received thousands of e-mails and telephone calls from the Schindlers' supporters.
Details of DCF's involvement in the case were not immediately available and both the governor's office and the agency declined to comment. Greer denied a DCF attorney an opportunity to speak at the afternoon hearing.
A court filing by the agency remained sealed, but attorneys for Schiavo's husband and her parents said it was related to allegations Michael Schiavo abused his wife.
Those allegations, which have been raised before, are based partly on bone scans showing Terri Schiavo suffered fractures and statements she made to family and friends that she was unhappy in her marriage. Michael Schiavo has denied harming his wife.
George Felos, who represents Michael Schiavo, said DCF already has investigated the allegations and ruled them unfounded. He criticized the DCF move, saying it "reeks of the intervention of politics into the case."
Terri Schiavo collapsed 15 years ago Friday, when a chemical imbalance caused her heart to stop beating and cut off oxygen to her brain.
In October 2003, Schiavo went without food or water for six days before Bush pushed through a law letting him order reinsertion of the tube. The Florida Supreme Court later struck down his action as unconstitutional. The tube was also removed for two days in 2001.