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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 20:22 GMT 21:22 UK
Brain-damage US woman's food ended
Michael Schiavo
Husband Michael Schiavo says he is acting on his wife's wishes
Doctors in the US state of Florida have removed the feeding tube of a severely brain-damaged woman after a court decided she should be allowed to die.

Terri Schiavo, 39, who has been incapacitated since suffering a heart attack in 1990, will die within the next two weeks, doctors believe.

The Florida appeals court ruling ended a bitter legal battle between Mrs Schiavo's husband, who said his wife had told him she would never want to be kept alive, and her family, who maintained she could be rehabilitated.

On Tuesday demonstrators protesting the court's decision had gathered for a round-the-clock vigil outside the hospice in Pinellas Park where she is being kept alive artificially.

"In our eyes, it's murder," her father Robert Schindler told CBS television station.

National controversy

Mrs Schiavo's parents had insisted she could be rehabilitated with therapy, adding that she had shown signs of trying to communicate.

However doctors had testified in court that the noises and facial expressions Mrs Schiavo made were merely reflexes and that her brain is damaged beyond repair.

Mrs Schiavo's husband said the decision is in accordance with the wishes of his wife, who told him she would never want to be kept alive by tubes.

The case had caused national controversy; the Florida Supreme Court has twice declined to take on the case and the US Supreme Court has also refused to become involved.

Fight over Florida woman's fate
01 Oct 03 |  Americas


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