TAMPA, Fla. — A man fighting to have a feeding tube removed from his brain-damaged wife on Friday rejected a California businessman’s offer to pay him $1 million to give up his right to decide her medical treatment.
Thursday’s offer, which the husband’s attorney labeled “offensive,” came hours after a judge refused to let the state’s social services agency intervene — a move that would have delayed next week’s scheduled removal of the tube.
Other such offers, including one for $10 million, had already been made and rejected by Michael Schiavo, said his attorney, George Felos.
Terri Schiavo’s parents are trying to keep her alive, but Michael Schiavo contends he had once promised his wife he would not keep her alive by artificial means before she suffered a heart attack 15 years ago. Now 41, she has lived since then in what court-appointed doctors call a persistent vegetative state.
'Clear and convincing' evidence
Even if the husband did walk away, Felos said, there is still a court order requiring removal of the tube at 1 p.m. next Friday. A judge ordered that the feedings be stopped after finding “clear and convincing” evidence that she would not want to be kept alive in her current state.
Judge George Greer denied a request by the state Department of Children & Families to delay that order for 60 days so it can investigate allegations of abuse and neglect against Michael Schiavo.
The judge said the allegations had already been investigated and found to be groundless. He said the agency was apparently trying to pull an end run around the court by getting involved at this late stage.
The case has drawn international attention, particularly among religious conservatives, who are supporting the woman’s parents.
Businessman felt 'compelled'
San Diego businessman Robert Herring, who founded an electronics company and later a cable and satellite channel, said he felt “compelled” to try to have the husband transfer the legal right to decide his wife’s medical treatment to the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.
“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,” Herring said.
Herring’s offer is valid until Monday, according to a statement from his attorney, Gloria Allred. The money has been deposited into a trust account at Allred’s Los Angeles law firm, the statement said.
Felos said his client would not consider any such proposals.
Husband: Not about money
“Michael has said over and over again that this case is not about money for him,” Felos said. “It’s about carrying out his wife’s wishes. There is no amount of money anyone can offer that will cause him to turn his back on his wife.”
The Schindlers still have two issues before the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal, which has said it will rule next week. They also are looking to the Legislature and perhaps Congress for help; both have bills in the works that lawmakers say could save Terri Schiavo’s life.
The Schindlers doubt their daughter had end-of-life wishes and have fought their son-in-law in court for nearly seven years to save her life. They also dispute that she is in a vegetative state, saying she laughs, cries, interacts with them and tries to speak.
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