PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Described by her father as weak and emaciated, Terri Schiavo clung to life Monday, as police stepped up security outside her hospice room and demonstrators prayed for last-minute government intervention in her case.
Supporters of prolonging the severely brain-damaged woman's life carried their protests to the White House and Congress, while her father repeated his plea that she be kept alive.
"She's still communicating, she's still responding. She's emaciated, but she's responsive," Bob Schindler told reporters after a morning visit with his daughter, saying that she showed facial expressions when he hugged and kissed her. "Don't give up on her. We haven't given up on her, and she hasn't given up on us."
"She is still showing facial expressions," Mr. Schindler told reporters. "I hug her and I kiss her, and she is reacting to that and she is trying to talk. But she is very, very subdued. She's failing but she is still with us, and she is showing a determination to live that is incredible," he said, speaking outside the hospice.
Schiavo, 41, was in her 11th day without the feeding tube that sustained her for 15 years. Her parents pressed again for President Bush, Congress and the president's brother Gov. Jeb Bush to intervene to have the tube reinserted, and a small group of supporters protested outside the White House gates.
Schindler said he recognized that his daughter was dying but insisted that it was not too late to keep her alive, and that she was "fighting like hell to live and she's begging for help."
Terri Schiavo had an ''extraordinary'' reaction to a friend's Sunday night visit, her parents' spokesman reported Monday morning.
When the friend, identified as Sherry, recalled their days dancing and partying together, Schiavo ''raised her hands up and was moving and started making guttural sounds like she does when she talks to her mother,'' the spokesman said.
Felos also said that the chief medical examiner for Pinellas County, Dr. John Thogmartin, had agreed to perform an autopsy on Schiavo. He said that her husband wants proof of the extent of her brain damage.
As Schiavo drew closer to death, extra police officers blocked the road in front of the hospice, and an elementary school next door was closed so students could avoid the crowd.
After overnight wind and rain thinned their ranks, about 100 protesters returned Monday with signs and renewed prayers. The day also saw some of the harshest rhetoric, with some in the crowd mocking the police by goose-stepping like Nazis.
Schindler said he feared the consequences of morphine that has been used to relieve his daughter's pain.
"I have a great concern that they will expedite the process to kill her with an overdose of morphine because that's the procedure that happens," he said.
Felos disputed that, saying that hospice records show Schiavo was given two low doses of morphine — one on March 19 and another on March 26 — and that she was not on a morphine drip.
Hospice spokesman Mike Bell said federal rules kept him from discussing Schiavo specifically, but said "a fundamental part of hospice is that we would do nothing to either hasten or postpone natural death."
Comfort measures, including morphine drips, are used in consultation with a patient's guardian, physician and hospice care team, Bell said.