3/17/2005

Terri Schiavo's husband speaks out

This is very sad.
From the St. Pete Times:
Michael Schiavo says he looks into his wife's eyes and sees no spark of consciousness, no recognition, no glimmer of any sort of response. He says he wishes he did. And he invites Gov. Jeb Bush to have a look himself. "If he had any care at all," Schiavo said, "he would take us up on the offer and visit Terri and examine the record. He hasn't. He could come and sit in that chair and talk." Schiavo said Tuesday in a rare interview that he would gladly allow Bush to visit his wife, Terri Schiavo, at the Pinellas Park hospice where she lives to see her condition. During the hourlong interview at his attorney's office in Dunedin, Michael Schiavo said he believes state and federal lawmakers have little information on his wife and have acted to serve politics, not medicine. "They're all pandering to the religious groups and the antiabortion groups and the Christian Coalition," said Schiavo, 41, a registered nurse. "They're doing this for votes. There's not one person up there who would say, "I would take Terri's place.' I'd like to see who would. Who there would take Terri's place?" The interview comes as the date for removing his wife's feeding tube approaches Friday. Both state lawmakers and Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, are working furiously to find a way to keep her alive. "Jeb Bush's personal feelings can change the law?" Schiavo said. "We have to save her life? Who's he to make that decision?" Schiavo said he didn't expect the governor to take him up on an offer he said he has made before. "He was 20 minutes away from Terri on Saturday" in Seminole and didn't stop by the hospice, Schiavo said. "Lawmakers shouldn't be in this. They should not be butting their nose in private family matters." And Schiavo's response to a move by the Department of Children and Families to intervene in the case: "DCF can't even keep track of kids in their care and they want to stick their noses in my business?" Schiavo said he tires of people watching a video clip on the Schindler's Web site and concluding from it that his wife can recover. "There's a whole other world on the other side of that Web site," he said. Schiavo said he has avoided interviews with reporters because he doesn't have anything to prove. He said his family and friends and the courts all believe Terri Schiavo would not want to live by artificial means. He said he has tried to continue living his life despite the right-to-life groups that have protested against him, even outside his Clearwater home. And he acknowledges there have been some intrusions on his life. For example, he said, someone recently got a hold of his phone bill and an investigator has been calling friends. Still, for the most part, Schiavo said he is able to go out in public without people trying to convince him that his wife should live. "Never, since this started, has one person come up to me and said, "You're wrong,"' he said. Schiavo said in the early days, he was like the Schindlers. He said he wanted to believe she would get better. He did everything, Schiavo said, to help her, even taking her to California for treatment. Time eroded hope of any recovery at all, he said. "Terri doesn't talk. That's so ludicrous," he said of people who suggest Terri Schiavo sometimes tries to speak. "Look at her CAT scan. The cerebral cortex is completely gone. Terri's emotions are gone. What's there is a shell of Terri. There's nothing there anymore." Schiavo said he was puzzled when, in recent weeks, people began offering him money to walk away as his wife's guardian. A businessman offered him $1-million. Someone else offered $10-million. He turned both down. "I laughed," Schiavo said. "It was absolutely bizarre. They should take their money and use it to educate people about dying and living wills. Give it to the legislators. They need a lot of educating about that. Ten million? Start a foundation. Teach people how to do living wills properly. You want to give me $10-million? That will keep a foundation going for a while. They could write your living will for free." Schiavo said Floridians should be enraged at lawmakers for meddling in the private affairs of families.

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