WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE
The family thinks speech therapy will increase Terri Schiavo's chances of surviving without a feeding tube.
CLEARWATER - Lawyers for the parents of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo on Monday once again asked a judge to delay the date for pulling her feeding tube, this time so she can get speech therapy.
Attorney Patricia Anderson said in an emergency hearing that speech therapy will improve Mrs. Schiavo's ability to take food and water without a feeding tube, allowing her to survive the tube's removal.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George Greer rejected the emergency petition. But he has not yet ruled on an identical, non-emergency petition. The judge has said he may do so by Wednesday.
"There has never been an attempt to wean her off the tube," Anderson said.
Anderson said any court order to remove the feeding tube is not necessarily a death sentence if efforts at rehabilitation allow Schiavo to be fed without the tube.
But George Felos, an attorney representing Terri's husband Michael Schiavo, who has sought the tube's removal to end her years in a vegetative state, said doctors have said she will not benefit from any form of rehabilitation and cannot live without a feeding tube.
Within the next two days, Greer is expected to set a date for the removal of the feeding tube.
Schiavo collapsed in her home in 1990 at age 26 after her heart stopped due to what doctors believe was a potassium imbalance. Her husband filed a petition to remove her feeding tube in 1998, saying his wife would not want to live in a persistent vegetative state.
Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have battled him in court, saying their daughter's condition might improve with therapy.