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Attorney claims a beating may have caused Schiavo's coma

An attorney for the husband of Terri Schiavo calls the allegations ''garbage.''

By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 13, 2002


An attorney for the husband of Terri Schiavo calls the allegations "garbage."

A lawyer representing Terri Schiavo's parents said in a legal motion filed Tuesday that newly discovered evidence may suggest someone caused Mrs. Schiavo's persistent vegetative state in 1990 with a beating that broke several of her bones.

In addition, attorney Pat Anderson said the thermostat in Mrs. Schiavo's hospice room had recently been turned down to 64 degrees, indicating someone may be trying to induce pneumonia in a plot to kill her.

To make sure attorneys have enough time to investigate the allegations, the motion asks a judge to delay a pending decision on whether Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube should be removed.

"My purpose here is to make sure all the facts are before the court," Anderson said Tuesday.

George Felos, an attorney representing Mrs. Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo, said the new allegations are ridiculous and are no reason to delay the judge's decision.

"What it is, is garbage," Felos said. "It's very convenient to allege anything. It's another thing proving it. It's all totally bogus."

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George Greer has scheduled a hearing Friday to discuss the motion with attorneys in a right-to-die case that has attracted national attention.

The judge recently concluded a hearing to take testimony from six doctors about Mrs. Schiavo's condition and whether new medical treatment holds any hope of improving her condition. He has said he expects to make a ruling by the end of this month.

Anderson said in the new motion that she recently discovered a 1991 bone scan, taken just over a year after Mrs. Schiavo's collapse from a heart attack, showing that Mrs. Schiavo had several bone fractures, including a compression fracture of a thigh bone.

The motion said three physicians have reviewed the record, including one who said, "Somebody worked her over real good."

Felos said the fact that Mrs. Schiavo had been in a paralyzed state and that she was being given antiseizure medication contributed to osteoporosis, which leads to degenerative bone loss and minute fractures.

"This is something the other side has had for three years," Felos said.

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