PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - As Terri Schiavo's health waned, a federal judge refused Friday to order the reinsertion of her feeding tube, thwarting another legal move from the brain-damaged woman's parents. They quickly appealed the ruling and said "something has to be done quick."
For a second time, U.S. District Judge James Whittemore ruled against the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who had asked him to grant their emergency request to resume their daughter's nourishment while he considers a lawsuit they filed.
The Schindlers appealed again to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (news - web sites) in Atlanta to review Whittemore's ruling. The Atlanta court refused earlier this week to overturn a previous Whittemore ruling.
Bob Schindler visited his daughter for about 15 minutes Friday morning. "Terri is weakening; she's down to her last hours," he said. "So something has to be done, and it has to be done quick."
He said the appeal to the Atlanta court is "very very viable and we're encourage the appellate court to take a hard look at this thing and do the right thing."
As of Friday morning, Terri Schiavo, 41, had been without food or water for almost seven days and was showing signs of dehydration — flaky skin, dry tongue and lips, and sunken eyes, according to attorneys and friends of the Schindlers. Doctors have said she would probably die within a week or two of the tube being pulled.
She has now been off the tube longer than she was in 2003, when the tube was removed for six days and five hours. It was reinserted when the Legislature passed a law later thrown out by the courts.
The governor's request to let the state take Terri Schiavo into protective custody was denied by a Pinellas Circuit judge on Thursday.
On Thursday, Bush said his powers "are not as expansive as people would want them to be. ... I cannot go beyond what my powers are and I'm not going to do it."
But Paul O'Donnell, a supporter of the parents, contended the governor still has the power to take her into protective custody.
"Bob and Mary are begging Governor Bush to save their daughter on this Good Friday day," O'Donnell, a Franciscan monk, said after Friday's ruling. "Now is the day. Now is the time for the governor to have courage. The governor needs to take action and take action soon. She's dying."
A spokeswoman for the governor, Alia Faraj, said Friday he was "saddened by the decision. ... Judge Whittemore's willingness to take a look at Terri's case gave us a ray of hope."
Thursday, Felos said he hoped the woman's parents and the governor would finally give up their fight.
"Jeb Bush does not own the state of Florida and just cannot impose his will on Terri Schiavo," he told CBS' "The Early Show" on Friday.
The Schindlers' emergency request to have the feeding tube reattached included claims that Schiavo's religious and due-process rights were violated.
"It's very frustrating. Every minute that goes by is a minute that Terri is being starved and dehydrated to death," said her brother, Bobby Schindler, who said seeing her was like looking at "pictures of prisoners in concentration camps."