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updated 3/25/2005 9:05:57 PM ET 2005-03-26T02:05:57
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SPECIAL EDITION OF COUNTDOWN ON TERRI SCHIAVO

Schiavo: news of the day — At this hour tonight, two different courts are once again weighing the fate of Terri Schiavo : one at the federal level, the other, a Florida state court.  The legal marathon to keep Mrs. Schiavo alive continues.  She has been without food or water for just over full week now.  Attorneys for her parents say she is showing signs of dehydration.   Doctors have said she could live only one to two weeks without sustenance.  In desperation, her parents Bob and Mary Schindler launched legal actions today on several fronts.  The first, placing the case back into the hands of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.  And at the state level, gathering earlier tonight in a Tampa courtroom.  Once again, they asked Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer to re-insert Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube.  Her parent's now say that Terri Schiavo tried to say "I want to live" when it was removed.  Her parents say time is running out...

Schiavo: the history — Her case has only entered the national consciousness recently — but for the parents of Terri Schiavo and for her husband, Michael it has been a heartbreaking and contentious battle they have fought for more than a decade.  The legal clashings of Bob and Mary Schindler and their son-in-law Michael Schiavo is a rift that has left a life in the balance.  By all accounts the marital bonds that united them as family remained strong even after Terri Schaivo was struck by the heart attack that left her with severe brain damage.  Michael Schiavo referred to his in-laws as "Mom and Dad." At one point both he and the Schindlers jointly supervised her care.  So what happened? Money matters triggered this heart-wrenching battle.

Schiavo: political intervention — When the Supreme Court rejected hearing the Schiavo case, it did so in a mere 33 words.  But politicians who have gotten involved in this painful national argument have never been so brief.  The politics and the political fallout has surrounded the Terri Schiavo case in recent days.  To those who love her, she is a human being — first and always.  But, she seems to represents many things to many people.  Politicians like Congressman Tom Delay, Governor Jeb Bush and even President George Bush have laid claim to issues coming out of her case.  But are they staking out positions that will either endear them to supporters or create a backlash.  In the early 1990s, it seemed as if Terri Schiavo's case might be one limited to the courtrooms.  Not so in the case of Terri Schiavo.

BREAKING NEWS: 11TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS HAS DENIED SCHINDLERS' APPEAL TO REINSERT SCHIAVO'S FEEDING TUBE.  STAY TUNED TO MSNBC FOR DETAILS.

Schiavo: living wills — It is likely that you have a driver's license or a social security number.  You've filed tax returns, navigated legal documents like a mortgage or a lease.  You may have even signed a contract to get your kids to do the dishes for an allowance.  The importance is to write it down.  In light of the Terri Schiavo case you might want to add living will to that list of legal papers in your life.  Though Ms. Schiavo's case is far from the first to bring this issue to national attention, it is the most galvanizing because it seems so tragic....In absence of a living will , it was left to Michael Schiavo to press the case that his wife did not want life support of any kind.  The legal battle has obviously taken years, with a financial and emotional cost no one wants to bear.

Schiavo: medical — Unaware of the legal wrangling, unconscious to the politics, the passionate rhetoric or the international media attention that surrounds her is a woman who until five months ago — was unknown to most people.  And now, she is dying, 15 years after the incident that put her in her current condition.  Crowds continue to gather outside the Pinellas Park hospice where Terri Schiavo is being cared for, their personal reasons for being there vary but there is one constant — they are waiting.  Doctors have anticipated that should she remain without nourishment or hydration, Terri Shyvo's body will die soon.  It has already been one week since the feeding tube providing her with both was removed — and according to her family, the effects are becoming pronounced.

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