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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 10:07 GMT
Man offers $1m to invalid's spouse
File photo of Terri Schiavo
Terri Schiavo's husband has until March 14 to consider the offer
A US tycoon has offered $1m (520,000) to the husband of a badly brain-damaged woman to stop him from removing her feeding-tube next week.

Robert Herring, a supporter of stem cell research, said he would pay Michael Schiavo if he gave up his right to decide his wife's medical treatment.

Terri Schiavo has been incapacitated since she collapsed at home in 1990.

Her parents, who want to keep her alive, have been locked in a bitter legal dispute with her husband.

He says his wife told him she never wanted to be kept alive artificially.

The $1m offer expires on Monday, 14 March, four days before Mrs Schiavo's feeding-tube is due to be removed. Under the offer, Mr Schiavo would hand over his rights to decide his wife's future to her parents.

Mr Herring, who founded an electronics firm and later a satellite channel, said he was moved to act after following the legal battle and realising that time was running out for Mrs Schiavo.

As a supporter of stem cell research, he said he believed that there was hope of a medical cure.

'Compelled to act'

He said he was a "neutral party", insisting he had no connections with the woman's parents, husband or any organisation involved in the case.

"I believe very strongly that there are medical advances happening around the globe that very shortly could have a positive impact on Terri's condition," he said.

"I have seen miraculous recoveries occur through the use of stem cells in patients suffering a variety of conditions.

"With a date of March 18th quickly approaching, and no other viable hope for Terri to be able to keep her feeding tube, I felt compelled to act."

His lawyer Gloria Allred said Mr Schiavo had been informed of her client's offer in writing.

A late attempt by Florida's department of children and families this week to delay the process by alleging Mr Schiavo had denied his wife proper care was rejected.

Touchstone

Mrs Schiavo suffered brain damage after her heart stopped because of a chemical imbalance believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder.

The court battle over her future has lasted seven years.

The couple said their daughter has shown signs of independent mental and physical capacities and could improve with treatment.

Some doctors say however Mrs Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and is unlikely to recover.

Mr Schiavo, who has started a family with another woman, remains Mrs Schiavo's legal guardian. He insists his wife did not want to be kept alive in this way.

The case has become a touchstone for disabled rights campaigners and right-to-die campaigners.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Robert Herring on why he has offered the money



SEE ALSO:
Judge orders end to US coma fight
25 Feb 05 |  Americas
Extension in US right-to-die case
23 Feb 05 |  Americas
Court backs Florida right to die
25 Jan 05 |  Americas
State steps in over US coma woman
21 Oct 03 |  Americas
Fight over Florida woman's fate
01 Oct 03 |  Americas
Right to die: Who should decide?
22 Oct 03 |  Have Your Say


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