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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 April, 2005, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Terri Schiavo autopsy completed
File photo of Terri Schiavo
Mrs Schiavo was at the centre of a seven-year legal battle
Doctors in the US state of Florida have completed an autopsy on Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman at the heart of a long legal dispute.

The final results may not be released for several weeks. Mrs Schiavo died on Thursday, 13 days after a feeding tube keeping her alive was disconnected.

Her husband had fought for the tube's removal, while her parents led the campaign to keep their daughter alive.

Michael Schiavo and his former in-laws are planning separate funerals.

Mr Schiavo plans to cremate his wife.

Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, wanted to bury her in Florida.

They disagreed with the verdict of court-appointed doctors, who said their 41-year-old daughter was in an irreversible persistent vegetative state.

During a seven-year legal battle, state and federal judges consistently ruled against the Schindler family's attempts to prolong Mrs Schiavo's life.

The US Supreme Court refused to hear their petitions, although Congress passed emergency legislation and they gained the support of President George W Bush.

'Burial decisions'

Mr Schiavo had requested the autopsy to show the extent of brain injuries sustained when Mrs Schiavo lapsed into a coma after her heart stopped beating temporarily in 1990.

The medical examiner's office said Mrs Schiavo's body could be released following Friday's autopsy in Largo.

The final results might not be available for "several weeks", an official said.

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

The Schindlers have scheduled a funeral Mass for Tuesday.

The family's lawyer said they did not plan to press the issue in court.

"The court has already determined that [Michael Schiavo] will control the burial decisions," David Gibbs said.

Senior Republicans have promised continued support for the Schindlers.

Tom DeLay, who leads the House of Representatives, attacked the US courts for allowing Mrs Schiavo to die, calling them "out of control".




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