Both Sides of the Debate Over Terri Schiavo

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," March 22, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Joining us in Philadelphia are two of Terri Schiavo's longtime friends, Steve Meyer and Sue Pickwell.

Welcome to both of you. Sue, how do you know Terri?

SUE PICKWELL, TERRI SCHIAVO'S LONGTIME FRIEND: Terri and I grew up together. We actually met in elementary school.

VAN SUSTEREN: And did you remain friends over the years?

PICKWELL: Yes, when they moved down to Florida, we didn't keep in touch as much with the distance and all, but we did remain friends.

VAN SUSTEREN: And Steve, how about you? How do you know the Schindlers and how do you know Terri?

STEVE MEYER, TERRI SCHIAVO'S LONGTIME FRIEND: Actually, the Schindlers and our family have been longtime friends since I was 2 years old, you know, close to 38 years. Bobby Schindler, that many people have seen, is a close friend of mine. I've gone to college with him and stayed close. And Diane, my sister, who was actually on your show last night, was one of Terri's best friends, if not her best friend, prior to her marriage.

VAN SUSTEREN: Steve, prior to Terri's collapse in 1990, did you ever hear that there were any sort of marital problems between Michael and Terri, or did they have a good marriage?

MEYER: You know, I don't really think I can comment on did they have a good marriage. You know, I didn't see any, you know, evidence that they had a bad marriage. But again, they did move away to Florida before Bobby and I finished college. So I really didn't see any evidence that they had a bad marriage at that point.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sue, how old was Terri, the last time you saw her or talked to her before she collapsed?

PICKWELL: Actually, Terri and I were back on the phone in January of 1990. I was making my family vacation plans to go down to see her in April, and so she and I had been talking back and forth on the phone from January all the way up until a few days before her collapse.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sue, did you have any opportunity to discuss — and probably you didn't — but any opportunity to discuss long-term care, whether or not Terri had any views about feeding tubes or life support — she's not on life support now — but any of that type of discussion with her?

PICKWELL: No. No. We were very young. But I have made comments before and I will say it again, anybody who knew Terri or who knows Terri would know for a fact that Michael's claimed wishes that Terri made are false.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you say that, though, if she never expressly stated that to you? What makes you say that?

PICKWELL: I knew her compassion for life and how she felt about people living, the right to life. That was Terri. Terri was not one to talk about dying and death and, I wouldn't want to live like this. That's just not her nature.

MEYER: Yes. Greta, I'd second. Anybody that knew Terri knew how important and precious life was to her. You know, at the end of the day, you know, we can sit here and I can passionately tell you that I know Terri would never want this to happen. And whether she actually made a comment, I think my sister told you last night that my sister testified in court, where there's, you know, hope, there's life, and vice versa. And I know life was so precious to her.

But, you know, at the end of the day, you know, we can give you our opinion. Michael Schiavo and people from his side can give you their opinion. But no one, I think, no one except Terri herself, can look you in the eye and beyond a reasonable doubt say what her wishes are because, unfortunately, Terri didn't leave this in writing. And if anybody looks at this case, they can see clearly that there's more than reasonable doubt that Terri did not wish this.

And I can't believe that we're going to starve this woman to death when a convicted criminal — we have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they're guilty. We don't have to do that with Terri. I don't understand how that can be. And anybody that wants to weigh in on this case owes it to themselves to look at the facts and see how the facts line up and see that there's way more than a reasonable doubt. We know Terri. We know their family. We know that she never would want this. And life was too precious.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, we're continuing to watch, obviously, Steve and Sue, this breaking news story because a decision could come down during this hour from the United States court of appeals, and we are all awaiting that decision. Thank you both very much.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us on the phone right now is Michael Schiavo's brother, Terri Schiavo's brother-in-law, Scott Schiavo. Welcome, Scott.


VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. Scott, how's your brother, Michael?

SCHIAVO: He's tired and, you know, emotionally worn out. But, you know, he's hanging in there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why is he hanging in there, Scott?

SCHIAVO: Well, you know, to complete the promise that he made to Terri. This is the last thing he can give her.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, we hear from both sides of the aisle on this one. Is there any way this could have been worked out without getting to this point?

SCHIAVO: Well, Greta, everything has been going around in cycles, and there's been accusations made and, you know, just ridiculous things. People say that Mike got this check and cashed it and stopped treating Terri — which is totally false.

The whole problem between him and his in-laws is when his father-in-law, you know, didn't get any money. And he started a big argument with him in the hospice room or nursing home room that night in February. It was Valentine's Day and when he found out he wasn't getting any money, he told Mike that he was going to make his life a living hell. And that's basically what he's been doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Were you there, by any chance, during that conversation, or did your brother relay this to you?

SCHIAVO: Well, my brother. But there were people that were there in the facility that heard the argument.

VAN SUSTEREN: And in terms of this money, we're talking about the malpractice judgment. And correct me if I'm wrong, but $700,000 went to Terri and $300,000 went to Michael: Is that right?

SCHIAVO: I have to say you are the first person that has gotten it correct.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. And I take it that with the cost of medical care being so astronomical that there really isn't anything left of that, or at least I assume so. But Ii there anything left of that $700,000 or the $300,000?

SCHIAVO: No, ma'am. The $300,000 was Michael's money that he put himself through respiratory school and nursing school for several years. But the money that was Terri's money is basically all gone.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you remember when you first met Terri?

SCHIAVO: Yes, I do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where was it, and what did you think of her?

SCHIAVO: It was at a birthday party at my oldest brother's house in Philadelphia. And the first night I met her, I mean, she was just a special person. You know, my brothers and I would always like to joke around, so at first, she was kind of shy, which is, you know, par for the course for anybody meeting somebody new, especially somebody's whole family. But within the first half hour, she was right in there with us, laughing, joking and just enjoying herself. You know, I don't think she stopped smiling the whole night.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know the Schindlers are certainly feeling pain. Is there any way to describe the pain in your family?

SCHIAVO: It's very painful. We're losing, you know, basically, a sister. And, you know, it's very tough for us. And you know, people, they throw around that Mike's this and Mike's living with somebody else and he, you know, broke his marriage vows and, you know, all these outrageous comments that come out from these people. But Mike has been at Terri's side day in and day out. He has never, ever walked away from Terri.

VAN SUSTEREN: Scott, thank you very much for joining us. I appreciate it.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

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