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Hannity

Does Terri Schiavo Want to Live or Die?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Mar. 28, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: As we continue on "Hannity and Colmes," I'm Sean Hannity, outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo is.

Joining us now, the attorneys for Schindler family. David Gibbs, who's been heading up the effort and Barbara Weller, who works in your office. Thank you both for being with us.

Any legal avenues left, David?

DAVID GIBBS, ATTORNEY: Sean, what we're looking at right now, is there is still an appeal for the Department of Children and Families that is going to be heard in the next day or two and that looks like the last major legal hope for Terri Schiavo, but we're watching the days go by and right now, really Terri is in God's hands and we continue to pray and hope for a miracle.

HANNITY: Barbara, you were part of a big legal flurry that took place last week. You were inside Terri's room and you tell the story and you testify to the story that you said to Terri, "Terri, if you'd only say you want to live. And you felt she responded and that resulted in a flurry of legal activity. Tell us what you saw.

BARBARA WELLER, ATTORNEY: Absolutely. I visited Terri pretty regularly since Christmas. And this was the third time that I actually wrote about it. Suzanne and Michael and the aunt and uncle were all in the room. And we were sitting on the bed. And Terri had been very responsive that morning.

And I just had the urge to kind of ask her, if she could say something. And I first thought I wasn't going to do it because I thought, well, this going to be silly, she's not going to say anything anyway but I got up and I took her arms in both my hands and I said Terri, if you could just say "I want to live" this whole thing could be over this afternoon.

I said, just please try, you know, really hard. And I just really begged her to try and say it. And I was most shocked person in the room when all of a sudden she just fixed her eyes on my face and opened them really wide. And she just kind of got this look of determination on her face, and she said, "Ahhh, ahhh, " and then she kind of paused and kind of got her strength again and really loud, she almost screamed "waaaant."

HANNITY: You felt she was saying directly what you had said to her.

WELLER: I repeated the phrase, and she was trying to repeat it back.

HANNITY: I've never understood this. Because there's all the conflicting testimony. At the very least, even those people that may have disagreements with you, David, or the family, why not find out for sure on the issue of permanent vegetative state? Why not find out for sure on whether or not this was Terri's will. If she were a convicted murderer, she would get that opportunity, David.

DAVID GIBBS, SCHINDLER FAMILY ATTORNEY: What happened in that room, Sean, would have required a new trial in a murder case. And we took it to the court and we also had the affidavit from Dr. Cheshire from Mayo Clinic, where he said she's feeling pain. She can communicate. She's not in that vegetative state. She's alive. She's worthy of protection.

And when we put that to the court, the court rejected it and said, "No, we have made the decision, her life is one that we don't view as worth living. She's made this decision, in our opinion." And the court refused to hear from Barbara. They refused to hear from the others who saw what — and certainly, they refused to hear from Dr. Cheshire.

COLMES: Hey, David — David and Barbara, it's Alan Colmes in New York. Thank you for coming on our program.

Let me show you what in 2000 in a deposition in court, actually, here's what the Schindlers had to say and here's what was reported on this by "The Miami Herald."

"We do not doubt that she's in a persistent vegetative state,' Pam Campbell, then the Schindler's lawyer, told the court. Later, Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos asked Mary Schindler, [COLMES: of course, the mother,] 'Is Terri in a vegetative condition now?" to which she replied, "Yes. That is what they call it."

Why would that have been said then and then a totally different story now?

GIBBS: Well, Alan, I think you have to look at the facts as they were then and what we know about science in 2005. Certainly, that issue was re-reviewed in 2002 by the courts, and we've asked the court to re-review it again in 2005.

But just because they didn't have the understanding as to brain injury back in 2000, we believe Terri should have gotten the advantage, as Dr. Cheshire indicated in his report from the Mayo Clinic, to 2005 medicine, science and technology.

We need to remember, Terri never had an MRI done. There's one CAT scan and the CAT scan just takes a picture for a short time period. All we wanted was accurate testing which a temporary medical standard.

COLMES: As I understand it, as a neurologist, basically like Dr. Canfield — Cranford, rather, said that there would be no point in doing that because the brain was already determined to be liquefied.

But Barbara, let me ask you, as you tell your story of what you experienced a week ago, and we heard Father O'Donnell talking about her lifting her arms up. Why would priests give her last rites if what you're saying is true, and why not have it on tape to prove that what you're saying is true?

WELLER: Well, Terri is, first of all, she was ordered to be starved to death by a judge so she's obviously going to need last rites. And that same judge who has issued the order to starve her to death has also issued an order that there may be no pictures taken of her, there may be no videotape taping of her. So we would be arrested if we did that.

HANNITY: Last question, do you have the governor has any authority to act, David? Real quick...

GIBBS: The governor could take some action at this point. He's working with DCF. And we hope and pray that anybody that could save Terri would do what they could.

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