« Captain's Quarters Email: Callers can call in and discuss Terri (updated) | Main | Senate to Convene at 5pm Saturday »

March 19, 2005


Topics: News

The following are Terri Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo's and Attorney Barbara Weller's sworn testimony submitted to Judge Greer in Pinellas County Court today.

Barbara Weller, Esq., is putting her entire professional reputation as an officer of the court on the line. If she is not telling the truth she would not only be found guilty of perjury, she would sacrifice her career by being disbarred.

I said to her, "Terri if you could only say ‘I want to live' this whole thing could be over today." I begged her to try very hard to say, "I want to live." To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri's eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, "Ahhhhhhh." Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, "Waaaaaaaa." She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne's husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri's door, clearly heard her. At that point, Terri had a look of anguish on her face that I had never seen before and she seemed to be struggling hard, but was unable to complete the sentence. She became very frustrated. From the Declaration of Barbara J. Weller, attorney for Terri Schiav o

Terri Schiavo's Attorney Declares Terri Wants to Live


I, BARBARA WELLER, Attorney for Respondents in the above-styled case, hereby declare under penalty of perjury:

1. I visited with Terri at various times during the day on March 18, 2005, the day her feeding tube was removed.

2. During the morning I was in the room with Terri and various members of her family. Terri was in good spirits that morning. The mood in her room was jovial, particularly around noontime, as we knew Congressional attorneys were on the scene and many were working hard to save Terri's life. For most of that time, I was visiting and talking with Terri along with Terri's sister Suzanne Vitadamo, Suzanne's husband, and Terri's aunt, who was visiting from New York to help provide support for the family. A female Pinellas Park police office was stationed at the door outside Terri's room.

3. Terri was sitting up in her lounge chair, dressed and looking alert and well. Her feeding tube had been plugged in around 11 a.m. and we all felt good that she was still being fed. Suzanne and I were talking, joking, and laughing with Terri, telling her she was going to go to Washington D.C. to testify before Congress, which meant that finally Terri's husband Michael would be required to fix her wheelchair. After that Suzanne could take Terri to the mall shopping and could wheel her outdoors every day to feel the wind and sunshine on her face, something she has not been able to do for more than five years.

4. At one point, I noticed Terri's window blinds were pulled down. I went to the window to raise them so Terri could look at the beautiful garden outside her window and see the sun after several days of rain. As sunlight came into the room, Terri's eyes widened and she was obviously very pleased.

5. Suzanne and I continued to talk and joke with Terri for probably an hour or more. At one point Suzanne called Terri the bionic woman and I heard Terri laugh out loud heartily. She laughed so hard that for the first time I noticed the dimples in her cheeks.

6. The most dramatic event of this visit happened at one point when I was sitting on Terri's bed next to Suzanne. Terri was sitting in her lounge chair and her aunt was standing at the foot of the chair. I stood up and leaned over Terri. I took her arms in both of my hands. I said to her, "Terri if you could only say ‘I want to live' this whole thing could be over today." I begged her to try very hard to say, "I want to live." To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri's eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, "Ahhhhhhh." Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, "Waaaaaaaa." She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne's husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri's door, clearly heard her. At that point, Terri had a look of anguish on her face that I had never seen before and she seemed to be struggling hard, but was unable to complete the sentence. She became very frustrated and began to cry. I was horrified that I was obviously causing Terri so much anguish. Suzanne and I began to stroke Terri's face and hair to comfort her. I told Terri I was very sorry. It had not been my intention to upset her so much. Suzanne and I assured Terri that her efforts were much appreciated and that she did not need to try to say anything more. I promised Terri I would tell the world that she had tried to say, "I want to live."

7. Suzanne and I continued to visit and talk with Terri, along with other family members who came and went in the room, until about 2:00 p.m. when we were all told to leave after Judge Greer denied yet another motion for stay and ordered the removal of the feeding tube to proceed. As we left the room, the female police officer outside the door was valiantly attempting to keep from crying.

8. About four in the afternoon, several hours after the feeding tube was removed, I returned to Terri's room. By that time she was alone except for a male police officer now standing inside the door. When I entered the room and began to speak to her, Terri started to cry and tried to speak to me immediately. It was one of the most helpless feelings I have ever had. Terri was looking very melancholy at that point and I had the sense she was very upset that we had told her things were going to get better, but instead, they were obviously getting worse. I had previously had the same feeling when my own daughter was a baby who was hospitalized and was crying and looking to me to rescue her from her hospital crib, something I could not do. While I was in the room with Terri for the next half hour or so, several other friends came to visit and I did a few press interviews sitting right next to Terri. I again raised her window shade, which had again been pulled down, so Terri could at least see the garden and the sunshine from her lounge chair. I also turned the radio on in her room before I left so that when she was alone, she would at least have some music for comfort.

9. Just before I left the room, I leaned over Terri and spoke right into her ear. I told her I was very sorry I had not been able to stop the feeding tube from being taken out and I was very sorry I had to leave her alone. But I reminded her that Jesus would stay right by her side even when no one else was there with her. When I mentioned Jesus' Name, Terri again laughed out loud. She became very agitated and began loudly trying to speak to me again. As Terri continued to laugh and try to speak, I quietly prayed in her ear, kissed her, placed her in Jesus' care, and left the room.

I hereby declare, under penalty of perjury, that the foregoing is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief. Executed this 22nd day of March, 2005, at Seminole, Florida.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 25nd day of March, 2005.

Source: earnedmedia

Posted by tim at March 19, 2005 2:07 PM

Articles Related to News:

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ATTORNEY'S LAST VISIT WITH TERRI SCHIAVO:

When asked by her parents and their attorneys if she wanted to live, Terri Schiavo made two conscious attempts to say “Yeah” and began to cry when told that .... [Read More]

Tracked on March 19, 2005 2:25 PM

» Last Visit With Terri from ChristWeb
From BlogsforTerri: The Empire Journal has obtained an exclusive, first hand last visit narrative by Barbara Weller who with David Gibbs III of the Gibbs Law Firm of Seminole, Fl., is representing the Schindler family in their efforts to save... [Read More]

Tracked on March 19, 2005 3:15 PM

» A Flower Speaks for Terri from Cheat-Seeking Missiles
This wildflower, growing out of a rocky cliff face, speaks to the tenancity of the Will to Live, so I let it speak for Terri ... [Read More]

Tracked on March 19, 2005 3:17 PM

» Much Remains to be Done from Sierra Faith
As you may now know, the House and Senate have reached a compromise on restoring Terri Schiavo's hydration and nutrition. The evidence that she wants to live is far greater than anything her husband has explained. [Read More]

Tracked on March 20, 2005 2:37 AM


I don't understand....

Why not let God decide Terri's fate? If she's meant to die without that tube, she'll die, if she isn't meant to die, she won't.

Why not let this end in a natural way?

Posted by: Jesse at March 19, 2005 2:28 PM

Jesse: would you let your pet starve to death or dehydrate to death for 2 weeks?

Posted by: Ruth at March 19, 2005 2:32 PM

Could we try that on you Jesse? Let's cut off all access to food for you and see how long you would survive.

Posted by: sujata at March 19, 2005 2:33 PM

It is very heartbreaking. :( :( :( I feel so helpless......

Posted by: Jane at March 19, 2005 2:36 PM

Gee Jesse, please permit me to do the same to you! I'm sure you have a good chance of living without food or water! People never cease to amaze me!

Posted by: Darrell at March 19, 2005 2:36 PM

Well, no one may want to hear this, but if terri does have some remaining cortical function, she may have been saying, please, let me die!
After 15 years in a flesh prison with munged controls, there is that possibility.

Posted by: jinnderella at March 19, 2005 2:40 PM

The MSM has done a great job of misinforming people!

The majority of people think that she is being kept alive by machines. That machines are doing the breathing for her. She is simply feed, and given water. Like you and me! Don't think that million will forget the stupid, vindictive acts of Judge Greer. Terri's feeding stub could have simply been capped. There was no need to surgically remove it! All he has done is to place Terri at risk of additional medical complications if and when his rulings are reversed. How petty can a man be?

Pray for Terri now.
Prayers always work.

Posted by: Darrell at March 19, 2005 2:44 PM

Why can't her husband be but in jail, what he is doing is agaist the law in Georgia and I bet it is against the law in Fla. What I'm talking about is the adultery, which is against the law, I would think that if he is living a life of adultery then have him charged, and put in jail, while he is in jail file to take over care of Terri. Please I have not read every item related to this, but do not wish to assume that this was done. Also if there is a common law marriage law in Fla, it could be said he is married to two women, which also should be agaist the law in Fla. Someone please let me know if this angle as been tried. Rob Clements


Posted by: Rob at March 19, 2005 2:45 PM

Please educate yourselves as to terri's actual physical condition:


Jesse: I'm glad your mother did not let your life go on in the "natural way" when you were a helpless baby, unable to feed or care for yourself. If she did, you would have starved to death, just like they are trying to do to Terri. She is just as precious as you and me (or anyone else) but she is DISABLED. Compassonate people do not torture people to death through starvation.

Posted by: Bryan at March 19, 2005 2:51 PM

this is absolutley disgusting.
you get 10 years for starving a dog in florida, but this is a HUMAN BEING!
and the news media is so corrupt they dont give you the TRUTH.
she is NOT a vegetable, she responds and even tries to kiss her parents goodbye.
i just feel so helpless and angry and I despertley WANT to do something

Posted by: djd at March 19, 2005 2:56 PM

The biggest lie of all is the lie about the state of Terri's brain. Without the necessary tests what has been stated as if it is fact is in fact nothing more than a sham, a Cranford lie.

Posted by: Maggie at March 19, 2005 3:35 PM

You probably didn't realize that they are not allowing Terri to eat or drink with her mouth. They are intentionally dehydrating her to death. She is not dying, otherwise. She is not on any other life support. She is being executed in a very painful and cruel way.

Thanks for your interest in this situation. I hope you can investigate more and learn what is really happening.


Posted by: Jack at March 19, 2005 5:03 PM

Yes, this angle has been researched, Florida does have laws against adultery, yet noone is willing to prosecute. They no longer have laws that would support "common law" marriage though.

Keep thinking!


Posted by: Jack at March 19, 2005 5:07 PM

Irregardless of what Terri said...the point is...she has responded. So called "vegetative" (& I HATE that term because humans can never be a vegetable just as vegies can never be human) people cannot respond. Isn't the "vegetative" state diagnosis the foundation of all these judgements against Terri? Is it possible that the communication between lawyer & Terri was captured on tape?

Posted by: Pat Hogge at March 19, 2005 5:27 PM

I am watching Tom Delay, David Dreier, & Steve King's and others announcement about the compromise bicameral and unanimously approved legislation that reinstates Terri's hydration and nutrition. This legislation will turn Terri's case over to Federal court and out of the hands of the dumb and blind Judge Geer. May God bless these leaders. May God continue to shine His light upon this great nation. Perhaps, we can live up to Thomas Jefferson's belief that "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government." May God bless all these great people who finally heeded the family's plea to save Terri.

Posted by: casditto at March 19, 2005 5:36 PM

I heard where Terri's husband is "shaming" congress for trying to save his wife's life! What a nerve this man has! Here he is trying to get the state to murder her for him...and he says,"shame on someone"!! May God forgive this society, when human life is no longer valuable. What next? Are there going to be hundreds of people trying to starve folks in nursing homes?
It's funny to me that all the people like PETA are so silent on something like this! If she were a dog...there'd be a malestorm of protest!I read that the judge is supposed to be "conservative"?? I believe he will have blood on his hands now!Under NO circumstance should anyone be allowed to die in this manner! I could understand if it was complete life support ie. breathing etc...but for Gods sake!! don't take away someones food supply...

Posted by: Debbie at March 19, 2005 5:52 PM

I must say I have no sympathy for the policewoman "valiantly" holding back tears as she dutifully plays her appointed role in this crime. Just following orders, don't you know. What a bunch of good Germans we are!

Posted by: Elizabeth at March 19, 2005 6:55 PM

It seems as though Terri has more communicative ability than Stephen Hawling the physicist.With speech therapy, she might be able to let everyone know about her wishes. If she were allowed to learn to use assistive technology, she may very well tell every one how she really feels. There are many devices on the market (computers, signaling devices) which with proper therapy could help her to again get her voice back.

Posted by: Calo at March 19, 2005 7:13 PM

In my eyes Terri's so called husband relinquished all rights to that title when he went off to co-habit with another woman and sire two children with her. How dare he still call himself Terri's husband. He has no right to act on her behalf. He is not thinking of her best interests and he needs to be investigated fully regarding this whole case from the onset. You would not think that this kind of thing could be allowed to happen in this day and age in this country. Shame on everyone involved in this murderous barbaric event. I hope Judge Greer can sleep at night He has blood on his hands and I pray that the recent legislation to reinstate terri's hydration and nutrition are successful. If terri is given the proper care and rehabilitation maybe the truth in all this will come out and maybe that is what her husband is so hell bent on stopping.

Posted by: Nicole at March 19, 2005 7:54 PM


Posted by: Ted Power at March 19, 2005 7:59 PM


Thanks, for letting me know things like all of this are the main reason I have the drive at 38 to go to law school, which will occur in 2007, when my youngest is in daug is out of day care. I will make it a point to fight the small battles that wrong, but no one wishes to fight.

Rob Clements

Posted by: Rob at March 19, 2005 8:35 PM

Please Read


Mr Schiavo says politicians working against his wishes should be ashamed of themselves.

"I should be with my wife right now holding her hand but I felt the importance to get out there and talk about what this Government is doing," he said.

"They're stepping into my personal life and they're getting in the middle of something they know nothing about.

"It's sad what this Government's doing - and if they can do it to me, they'll do it to everybody in this country."

Ms Schiavo's mother, Mary Schindler, has urged the US President George W Bush to keep her daughter alive: "President Bush, politicians in Washington, please, please, please save my little girl."

It is very sad that he states they government is fighting about "his wishes", not her wishes. His words make it sound as if it is he who wishes her to die not her. I welcome feedback


Posted by: Rob at March 19, 2005 8:43 PM

I hope that if this is not corrected before she is gone, that has soon as it happens, that some fils charges against everyone connected with her death.


Posted by: Rob at March 19, 2005 10:29 PM

I agree that death by starvation wouldn't be on my top ten list of ways to die. However, Terri is at a hospice and the point of a hospice house is to let people die naturally and peacefully.

I'm sure Terri is in good hands if this is her time to go.

Posted by: Jesse at March 20, 2005 10:26 AM

People who say that just taking the tube out allows Terri to have a natural situation are forgetting that our ability to help people by way of medical means is hardly ever "natural". My sister once had open heart surgery. That was not natural. But if she had not had the surgery, she would probably be dead now.

On a more parallel note, nurses regularly feed babies born prematurely with feeding tubes, and this is a well-established practice. Those babies would die if they were not given nourishment, and no one suggests that they should be left to starve to death. I suspect that the same people arguing for nourishment to be witheld in Terri's case would be appalled if the nursery scenario I just described were to ever occur.

In care homes, people who can't lift a spoon to their mouths are helped to eat and drink all the time. Everyone would be horrified if their food and drink were witheld and they were no longer helped to get sustenance. So why should Terri be considered an exception not deserving of the same assistance?

And it is horrible that the tube is removed, inserted, removed repeatedly. As long as Terri has any legal recourse for appeal, then it seems only reasonable that the tube remain in place or that she at least be fed in some way if it is removed.

And why isn't Terri being given all the physiotherapy and other therapy possible? Doesn't her right for proper care override all other decisions or desires of her husband? I don't know all the ins and outs of the law in the US, but aren't there some human rights provisions that could be relied on to give her the same degree of dignity and rehabilitation that would ordinarily be granted to a person living with brain damage? Please pass my remarks on if they seem useful. And I wish Terri and her family all the best.

Posted by: Marilyn at March 21, 2005 6:44 AM

today I am ashamed to live in the State of Florida - may all of the people responsible for this horrible crime be punished and live with Terri's blood on their hands forever.

Posted by: Denae at March 22, 2005 1:00 PM