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June 18, 2005

Gov. Jeb Bush Writes Letter to the Editor on Schiavo Case

Topics: News

In a letter to the New York Times, Flordia Governor Jeb Bush calls the nation to remember that life is fragile and must be valued. Despite criticism, he pledge to "continue to strive to protect our most vulnerable citizens. All innocent human life is precious, and government has a duty to protect the weak, the disabled and the vulnerable."

Yesterday asked Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney Bernie McCabe to investigate an alleged gap in time between when Michael Schiavo found Terri and called 911 in February 1990.

Schiavo's Life and Death

Published: June 18, 2005

To the Editor:

The New York Times's grotesque and chilling disrespect for the sanctity of life has never been more apparent than in your June 16 editorial "Autopsy on the Schiavo Tragedy."

Terri Schiavo was a deeply loved daughter, wife, sister and friend. The fact that her brain was atrophied or that she was blind or could not have been rehabilitated doesn't change that fact.

While many medical professionals said she was in a persistent vegetative state, still other highly respected neurologists said there was a chance that she was not.

In cases where patients do not have an expressed written directive regarding end-of-life decisions and where the patient's guardian has a conflict of interest, it only makes sense to err on the side of life.

Terri's life and her death remind us all that life is fragile and must be valued.

Despite claims of cynicism and being "agenda-driven," we will continue to strive to protect our most vulnerable citizens. All innocent human life is precious, and government has a duty to protect the weak, the disabled and the vulnerable.

Jeb Bush
Tallahassee, Fla., June 17, 2005

Posted by tim at June 18, 2005 1:41 PM

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Ummm...kinda late, isn't it?

Posted by: thedegu at June 18, 2005 3:16 PM

I am so glad Gov. Bush is saying what he is saying...what we all were saying, regarding Terri's 'collapse'.

Bernie McCabe is not the right man for the job though, as stated in commments to the blogs below this, due to the Pinellas County collusions. Remember the excellent work done by Myopic Zeal ( http://myopiczeal.blogsome.com/2005/03/25/cast-of-characters-in-the-schiavo-case/ ) and The Title or Liberty ( http://titleofliberty.typepad.com/ttol/2005/03/the_web_of_lies.html ) on this collusion in that county.

Posted by: juleni at June 18, 2005 8:19 PM

I *do* think Gov. Bush should move forward on this desire to seek out the truth. I am praying he finds good people not involved in collusion to work through in this investigation, though.

Posted by: juleni at June 18, 2005 8:21 PM

I guess the citizens of Florida are most pleased that their tax dollars are being used on a witch-hunt. Do you honestly think that anything is going to be proved? Put yourself in this situation - you find your spouse collapsed in the hallway - unresponsive. You attempt to revive them. You dial 911 and her brother. Are you sitting there - staring at your watch - noting if it is 4:45 or 5:10?

If Michael Schiavo wanted to kill his wife - why not finish the job? Why call her brother to the scene?

It is time to give this up.

Posted by: Blogging Beth at June 19, 2005 4:32 PM

Blogging Beth,

If it were your sister or your loved one you thought was murdered... would you give up? Or would you want to try to find the answers even after they were killed?

I wish Govenor Bush has done this earlier, though.

Posted by: Sirena at June 20, 2005 4:46 PM

For those of you wanting a murder indictment - read!

Husband's timeline expected to clear review
Michael Schiavo's account of what happened the morning his wife collapsed withstood previous scrutiny.
Published June 18, 2005

LARGO - Michael Schiavo's account of the time his wife collapsed in 1990 has varied for years. He has said it was as early as 4:30 a.m. and as late as 6 a.m.
But on one point he has always been consistent: He called 911 right after finding Terri Schiavo unconscious in their St. Petersburg home.
"I have consistently said over the years that I didn't wait but "ran' to call 911 after Terri collapsed," Michael Schiavo said in a statement released Friday.
Still, Gov. Jeb Bush was troubled enough by the time discrepancies to request Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe sort out the varying reports. McCabe has agreed to look into the matter.
It's unclear what McCabe could uncover 15 years later, but it seems unlikely he will find anything that will discredit Michael Schiavo's claim that he dashed to the phone that morning.
"We don't have any reason to doubt that," said Bill Pellan, the chief investigator in the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office, which conducted the autopsy of Terri Schiavo's body. "Can we prove that occurred? No. It goes back to the same lingering issue: It's 15 years ago."
Several facts seem to back Michael Schiavo:
The issue never arose during a hotly contested malpractice trial in 1992 in which Michael Schiavo successfully sued his wife's doctors. If there was evidence he delayed calling for help, the doctor's attorneys likely would have used it to discredit the lawsuit.
Medical experts are astonished Terri Schiavo's vital signs returned that morning after the 911 call was placed. It seems unlikely she would have lived had her husband delayed calling for help.
The question did not come up in the 2000 trial in which Michael Schiavo was first given permission to remove his wife's feeding tube over the wishes of her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Though the Schindlers' attorneys sought to discredit Michael Schiavo in that trial, court transcripts reveal their lawyers spent little time questioning what happened the morning Terri Schiavo collapsed.
Schindler family members also have given different times for various events that morning. During the recent autopsy investigation, they could not recall exact times.
Michael Schiavo has said he was not wearing a watch and did not look at a clock that morning. He has previously testified he isn't good at recalling dates or times.
Still, the Schindlers are suspicious because the autopsy found no definitive reason for Terri Schiavo's collapse. They have suspected Michael Schiavo abused his wife, an accusation he vehemently denies and which the autopsy does not support.
The autopsy found her heart was strong, essentially ruling out a heart attack. There also was no evidence the collapse was caused by an eating disorder, which had been the leading theory and the jury's conclusion in the malpractice case.
"What we're trying to get a handle on is what really happened that night," said David Gibbs III, the Schindlers' attorney. "Why did a healthy, 26-year-old girl collapse like this? And there's only one witness to the event. And with all these inconsistencies, we're trying to get some answers."
Michael Schiavo has said he was getting out of his bed when he heard his wife collapse in the hallway. Most doctors say she slipped into a persistent vegetative state, a nonrecoverable state in which she was unaware of her surroundings.
Her parents fought Michael Schiavo's efforts to have her removed from a feeding tube. Her tube was removed in March and she died 13 days later at age 41.
Gibbs sent a letter to Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin in April that presented his own time line of what happened that morning. Gibbs said the time line was based on court records, interviews of family members by investigators with his office and independent detectives.
Gibbs identified one as Mark Fuhrman, the former Los Angeles detective best known for his role in the O.J. Simpson case. Fuhrman is writing a book on the Schiavo case that is due out later this month.
Gibbs' time line puts Terri Schiavo's collapse at 5 a.m. and says this is the time "used in all depositions, trials and media reports."
But it's not.
Admitting records at the hospital the day of Terri's collapse say it was about 6 a.m. During a malpractice trial in 1992, Michael Schiavo said it was about 5 a.m. In a TV interview in 2003 he said 4:30 a.m., which he repeated during the autopsy investigation.
Gibbs's time line also says Michael Schiavo called Bob Schindler between 5:38 and 5:40 a.m., though the Schindlers couldn't remember specific times in their interview for the autopsy.
Thogmartin met with Bush this week before the autopsy was released. When Bush learned of the time discrepancy, his office tracked down McCabe.
The governor sent a formal letter to McCabe on Friday asking for a broader investigation than just the time issue. It mentions the possibility of drugging or poisoning, among other things.
McCabe's chief assistant, Bruce Bartlett, said he could not comment on the letter. McCabe is out of town and could not be reached for comment.
Bush's request was immediately criticized by some state lawmakers.
"Enough is enough," said Sen. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton. "I don't want to see it on TV anymore, I don't want to hear politicians talk about it. Let her be at peace."
Bush defended his request.
"I'm not asking for an investigation, what I'm asking for is the state attorney, based on new information, review that information so there can be closure," he said.
He acknowledged in his letter that an investigation might be difficult.
"I understand that these events took place many years ago, and that you may not be able to collect all the relevant records and physical evidence. However, Mrs. Schiavo's family deserves to know anything that can be done to determine the cause and circumstances of her collapse 15 years ago," Bush wrote. "The unanswered questions may be unanswerable, but the attempt should be made."
Even if Michael Schiavo admitted he delayed calling 911, the statute of limitations would have expired long ago on any crime arising from it.
"I can't imagine what in the world he could be charged with," said Mark Lipinski, a Bradenton lawyer who is not involved in the case but has followed it closely. "So the governor's request sounds more like a political request rather than a law enforcement request because there is absolutely nothing they could do."
Clearwater defense lawyer Denis de Vlaming also predicted the investigation will go nowhere.
"I think absent a confession that he had waited, knowing that she was going into a deep coma or what have you, and deliberately decided to wait, there would be nothing to go on," de Vlaming said. It also seems likely a delayed 911 call would have been discovered in the 1992 malpractice trial.
"If there was any evidence that there was any delay in Michael calling 911, the defense attorneys in our case would have been all over it," said Gary D. Fox, who represented Michael and Terri Schiavo in that case. ... "Of course there wasn't and they didn't and that ought to be the end of the issue. And this is back when it was fresh in everybody's mind."
Fox said if Michael Schiavo delayed calling 911, that would have hurt his case.
"There were people investigating Michael trying to defeat Michael in any way possible," Fox said. "The defense lawyers in that case went out and hired physicians - a bunch of them - to analyze the medical records . . . and none of them said or suggested Michael was in any way responsible for this.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

Posted by: Blogging Beth at June 20, 2005 9:14 PM


You've been nothing but negative on here. Why? Why do you come here and like to be pro-Michael and not supportive of the Schindlers?

Posted by: Sirena at June 21, 2005 10:13 AM

I am not pro-anything other than I am pro - its a personal and private choice/decision and should not be played out in the media.

Michael was the guardian - he had the authority to act in this matter - he did - some people did not like the outcome - so now we have a media circus and right wing conservatives trying to legislate every issue.

The above article is meant to inform - to present another opinion. This needs to end. It needs to be buried. It has gotten out of hand. I am sick of conspiracy theories - sick of lets try this tact since the other did not work. Let's look at my own timeline - since Terri died:

[1] Autopsy - yea we want one
[2] Oh - we got one but Michael wanted one too - so it must be fixed
[3] Autopsy results - well, they're gonna be fixed because we didn't have an independent witness. No validity there.
[4] Wait - she didn't have an heart attack - didn't have bulima - we like this autopsy.
[5] No - wait another minute - atrophied brain - must have been blind - no hope of rehabilitation - we like PARTS of the autopsy.
[6] Michael is going to bury her ashes in PA - how horrible - away from her parents.
[7] Michael buries her ashes in FLA - well, still bad - we don't like the plaque.

I am waiting for the lawsuit to remove the inscription. I'll bet you it is coming!

Can you see my point Sirena? Think about how this looks! Nothing will ever change regarding the education of people on end of life issues with this type of drivel going on.

Posted by: Blogging Beth at June 21, 2005 11:07 AM

I think if you're not here to support the Schindlers, there is no reason to be here. This is a website for "Blogs for Terri". You've done nothing positive for this site. I do see your points, and can see where you're coming from. There are some here that aren't as conspiracy crazy as you think they are. But for you to mock those who believe Terri was wrongfully killed, is just not nice.

It's okay to disagree, but every comment I've ever see you post here since this website began is one that is supportive of Michael Schiavo's position. And that is not appreciated by those who fought hard for Terri to get the rehabilitation she so deserved. I don't think if people care that much about something, they give a hoot about what it looks like to others.

Posted by: Sirena at June 21, 2005 11:24 AM

And I think you SHOULD care what it looks like to others. Or else your point will never be judged as valid.

Do you want to hear something we may agree on? YES - I think the memorial plaque was a low blow - not necessary.

Posted by: Blogging Beth at June 21, 2005 12:04 PM

I didn't say *I* don't care what it looks like, I was saying, some do.

The memorial plaque was just another thorn in the Schindler's side. It was sick and showed he has no sympathy for the Schindlers at all. It was his one last jab at them. He's a cold, heartless man.

Posted by: Sirena at June 21, 2005 12:20 PM

The plaque is disgusting. No where do you see Beloved Daughter, Beloved Sister. It's a final kick in the heart to Terri's family. Considering he terminated their daughter's life the least he could have done was to notify them of her burial and included some mention of her family on the plaque. The only ones present were MS, his brother and the priest. What a coward he truly is!!

Posted by: Bella at June 21, 2005 1:57 PM

bless my soul! My first post on here stated how politicians are backpedalling away from the case, citing Tom Delay and Bill Frist as examples. Just when I think no politician will stand up for Terri, up jumps Jeb Bush...Bravo, Jeb..It'll probably prove fruitless (my cynical side talking), but I'm glad to see someone with backbone in the political arena calling for some answers.

Posted by: wookiee2112 at June 21, 2005 1:59 PM

Some Ku Klux Klan members thought they got by with murder for years and then they were put on trial. Who knows what kind of medical advancements will occur or what DNA testing will be able to reveal in future years.

We all know there was no political corruption in Mississippi anymore than there is in Florida. That's why the KKK got by with what they got by with for so many years (sarcasm).

I think Jeb Bush is right to do what he is doing. This case will be studied by historians centuries from now. We may not find the reason she collapsed today, but every investigation that is run may provide clues for hopefully a more enlightened generation.

Imagine a politician being political? Isn't that what America is about? So that we can decide who to vote for based upon the political stands they take?

One would think that if Michael Schiavo is as innocent as he claims to be, his supporters would welcome a thorough investigation if only to prove Michael did not cause the collapse for future generations.

Who knows what the future holds or what future science might reveal. There was a time when rapists didn't lose a minutes sleep over dna evidence yet people are being sentenced and pardoned based upon the truth that finally came out.

Truth that no one ever would have guessed would ever be available. Put that under your pillow, Michael, and try sleeping on that!

Posted by: gentledove at June 21, 2005 2:06 PM

Sirena, you go girl. Excellent response to blogging goober

Posted by: Maggie4life at June 21, 2005 10:14 PM

Thanks Maggie. LOL "Blogging Goober". LOL Great term. ;-)

Posted by: Sirena at June 22, 2005 10:37 AM

So Blogging Goober is at it again with her spiteful hateful comments and lack of understanding about the pain being experienced by the Schindler family.

How pathetic can a person get. How pathetic that she ignores the obvious 15 years of psychological abuse that was endured by a cognizant woman who was in a locked in state; who could not tell the world that her husband attempted to murder her by asphyxiation and that he continued his taunts and other attempts to murder her until he "kept his promise"; That promise folks is "I am going to kill you". Well yes he kept his promise, but Terri did not make him promise anything.

Every time that bastard opened his mouth about what Terri allegedly said he was digging his own grave and indicting himself over his attempt to murder her on the morning of February 25 1990.

The remark on the tombstone is highly offensive to decent people.

Of course Goober Beth does not care because she participated in her own grandmother's death through starvation and dehydration. She needs to have her own clear conscience.

It is because of my sister's death and my family's witness to the circumstances of her death that I am all too painfully aware of what happens when a person cannot eat and drink. Imagine being told to go home and drink plenty of fluid when you cannot drink at all. Imagine the cries of pain. Dehydration is shockingly painful. There is nothing peaceful about it for a person who is not dying. Terri was not dying. What was forced upon her was legally sanctioned homicide. Everyone who participated and agreed to allow it to happen deserves a punishment that will last into Eternity.

Posted by: Maggie4life at June 23, 2005 9:45 PM

I have been lurking for awhile and am most upset about the comments going around here.

So, you defend your opinions by -

[a] Calling people goobers
[b] accusing people of starving their grandparent to death

I am confused - please explain what your purposes are. I thought - after logging onto this site - it was to try and better a system.

Looks like you are just inciting people and don't have any point to make.

And don't come back with the "goobers" are here just to cause trouble. Seems like some have valid questions and points - that I would think people who to proclaim themselves as knowledgable on this issue could answer.

Posted by: VeggieLuver at June 27, 2005 6:51 PM

Veggie.....you wish not to be called a , goober troll, yet you freely admit you've been
" Lurking " ...
I would Presume, you've been reading much about this board and this case. However, by again, your own admissions, YOU find the ONLY thing on here to be upsetting, is people's comments????

You're confused...stay that way. Obviously,you had nothing better to do, and went net-surfing.
You THOUGHT, was your second mistake. It's more than just TRYING to better a system...the system works, it's the PEOPLE who are corrupt IN the system which break it.

Like the nimrod before you, and those nimrods who'll pop in after you....It wouldn't matter what is said, discussed, printed or debated.
You people are just plain brain dead.

ONE woman, leaves no written instructions, in order to CLARIFY her status should something happen too her.
ONE MAN ( where are the feminists? ) says his wife wanted to die. So called, 4 others say the same thing.

If I got 5 people together with me, to agree that YOU said to blow your brains out when you sleep, is that okay??

The ' system ' as you call it...didn't protect the innocent.
This CASE, didn't take much brain power to understand the ever so SIMPLISTIC FACT ( for schmoy's slow self )...
There was NO written instrucion. Keep her alive until all relative facts are explored. FACTS< said she had no tests for a years. Give her some more. ( And question Michael for their denial )

Lastly, why did her marker say , DIED Feb 1990??
FACT says, she had an ACCIDENT, that put her in a SITUATION called, HANDICAPPED. No different than 1000's of people who are handicapped today!
Instead of being protected, she's slaughtered in a way NO HUMAN in THIS nation had/has been executed.

For you whacko's who like to LURK, and ask quesions EXPECTING answers?? Answer this:

If all the procedures were so on the UP AND UP, why CAN"T this case be retried, FROM THE VERY BEGINNING??

Perhaps, there is something to hide??


At anyrate, keep Lurking......goobertroll.

Posted by: LNaranjoiv at June 27, 2005 7:27 PM

Mr Potato Head (potato is a vegie and people who are in a coma are referred to as vegetatbles so I think in your case the cap might just fit) it is amusing how little goober trolls like yourself love to pop up all over the place, with nothing at all to say except to start a flaming war.

Excuse me, goober beth stated that when her grandmother was ill the family decided not to allow a feeding tube. She obviously wants to be able to relieve her own conscience regarding her grandmother by sticking to the tired line that Terri was the same. Well if Beth's grandmother was end of life she was not in the same condition as Terri. However, if goober Beth's grandmother was not end of life and she could have received treatment for her condition then that family is culpable for their decisions.

The difference here is that when a person is terminal it is not always appropriate to continue feeding (depending upon the condition). If this was the case for Beth's grandmother then there is no reason to have a guilty conscience. If on the other hand her condition was not so terminal that nutrition and hydration were contraindicated then that family need to answer a few questions about their cavalier attitude.

You did not read what I had to say about my late siser's death. She was in a terminal state when I learned for the first time that she had been admitted to hospital. It was only 5-6 weeks prior to her death that we learned of her bone cancer. By that stage she could not eat or drink and the appropriate treatment was to give her a drip so that she could be rehydrated.

What I have learned about her fight to get a diagnosis has left me feeling disgusted and disgruntled.

Killing a disabled woman who was cognizant but unable to speak because of the damage of the muscles and ligaments on the right side of her neck is murder. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR MAKING THE REQUEST TO TERMINATE HER LIFE. The so called conversations between Terri and her faithless husband's family did not happen. It was all a sham, a lie, and the family members were coached by George Felos to tell their story. They were not credible witnesses.

That 70 minute discrepancy gave Michael Schiavo enough time to tidy the apartment so that there would not be any sign of a struggle.

Yes, strangulation is still the most likely cause. Ever heard of the policeman's hold? It does not leave marks and the hydoid bone does not get broken, but the muscles and ligaments of the neck do get damaged.

Yes that brain injury is consistent with someone who has been strangled. Now to prove it and how it happened......

Posted by: Maggie4life at June 27, 2005 10:01 PM

Folks, need I remind you, this is not a place to throw insults at eachother. Be warned that the moderators can ban you at anytime.

Posted by: Sirena at June 28, 2005 5:07 PM

Said, with love of course! ;-)

Posted by: Sirena at June 28, 2005 5:20 PM