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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 22:15 GMT
Extension in US right-to-die case
File photo of Terri Schiavo
Ms Schiavo's parents have said they will fight to keep her alive
A judge in the US state of Florida has extended a last-minute stay of a court decision which would have led to the death of a brain-damaged woman.

The judge said doctors must wait for a further court ruling, now due on Friday, before they can remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.

Ms Schiavo's parents have fought a long battle to keep Mrs Schiavo alive against the wishes of her husband.

The latest extension last until 1700 (2200 GMT) on Friday.

The US Supreme Court has said it will review the legislation in the only state that allows euthanasia, following demands from the US justice department.

An estimated 170 people have ended their lives under the law since it was introduced in 1997.

Divided opinion

The Florida judge originally ordered Terri Schiavo's feeding tube not to be removed on Tuesday, hours after an appeals court allowed an earlier stay order to expire.

The judge said this would enable Ms Schiavo's parents to launch a fresh appeal for her to be kept alive.

Some doctors say that Ms Schiavo has been in a persistent vegetative state since she collapsed in 1990, following a heart attack and severe brain damage.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, has argued for her to be allowed to die, saying she would not wish to be left alive in her current condition.

But her parents have argued that her condition could improve and want her husband to be removed as her legal guardian.

The case has divided opinion in the US, drawing in politicians, euthanasia and right-to-life activists.

In January, the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who has demanded Ms Schiavo be kept alive.

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