The Associated Press
updated 10/31/2003 11:09:16 AM ET 2003-10-31T16:09:16

A medical professor was named Friday as an advisory guardian for the brain-damaged Florida woman whose life was prolonged last week by the Florida Legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush.

DR. JAY WOLFSON, a public health professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, was named by Pinellas County Chief Judge David Demers to make recommendations about the treatment of Theresa “Terri” Schiavo, who has been kept alive by a feeding tube since her heart attack in 1990.

As a guardian ad litem, he was appointed to represent Schiavo’s interests in court matters but has no authority to make decisions about her fate. Schiavo’s husband, Michael Schiavo, remains her legal guardian.

Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed Oct. 15 under a court order granted to Michael Schiavo, who said his wife would not want to stay alive in her condition.

But Schiavo’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, pleaded with Bush and lawmakers to keep their daughter alive. On Oct. 21, the Legislature passed a special law giving Bush authority to intervene, and he ordered her feeding tube reinserted.

The law also called for appointment of a guardian ad litem to make recommendations to the governor about treatment. The Schindlers and Michael Schiavo were asked to agree on a choice, but they could not, so the judge chose Wolfson.

Michael Schiavo has sued in state court to overturn the law as unconstitutional.

Wolfson is director of the Florida Health Information Center at the University of South Florida, which provides information about health issues to the Legislature. He also has a law degree.

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