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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
No trauma before Schiavo collapse
File photo of Terri Schiavo
Mrs Schiavo was at the centre of a seven-year legal battle
An autopsy report on a brain-damaged woman at the centre of a long legal battle in the US has shown that she suffered no trauma before her collapse.

Terri Schiavo's parents had accused her husband of abusing her before the collapse in 1990, but Michael Schiavo denied the claim.

The report also confirmed Mr Schiavo's assertion that she was in a persistent vegetative state.

Schiavo died in March, nearly two weeks after her feeding tube was removed.

Death by dehydration

The report was made public by Florida's medical examiner's office.

TERRI SCHIAVO CASE
Feb 1990: Terri Schiavo collapses
May 1998: Mr Schiavo files petition to remove feeding tube
Oct 2003: Florida lower house passes "Terri's Law", allowing governor to order doctors to feed Mrs Schiavo
Sept 2004: Florida Supreme Court strikes down law
18 Mar 2005: Florida court allows removal of tube
22 Mar 2005: Federal judge rejects appeal
23 Mar 2005: Appeals court backs federal ruling
29 Mar 2005: Federal court grants parents leave to appeal
30 Mar 2005: Federal court and Supreme Court reject parents' appeal
31 Mar 2005: Terri Schiavo dies

Examiner John Throgmartin said there was no evidence of trauma or strangulation prior to Schiavo's collapse.

The autopsy also could not prove that she was suffering from an eating disorder at the time - her diminished potassium levels at the time could have been affected by emergency treatment.

The 41-year-old was found not to have suffered a heart attack or been administered harmful drugs or other substances before her death. She died of dehydration.

The report also said her brain was only half its normal size at her death.

She was incapable of surviving without her feeding tube, Mr Throgmartin said, adding that she was blind and incapable of thinking, feeling or interacting with her environment.

"This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons," he said.

Terri Schiavo collapsed after her heart stopped beating temporarily in 1990.

Her husband fought for several years to have her feeding tube removed, saying it was what she would have wanted. Her parents led the campaign to keep their daughter alive.

Mr Schiavo had requested the procedure to show the extent of brain injuries sustained 15 years ago.


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