By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 3/28/2005 3:45:16 PM ET 2005-03-28T20:45:16

As the parents of Terri Schiavo exhaust their legal appeals, NBC's Mark Potter reports Monday on the scene outside the Woodside Hospice.

Have there been any new developments in Florida outside of the hospice right now?
This afternoon a very stricken Bob Schindler, Terri’s Schiavo’s father, came to the microphone looking very haggard, pleading for help, asking someone, anyone to do whatever they can to save his daughter.  The parents know that this is an uphill battle, that time is of the essence and there is unlikely anything that anyone can do for her or is willing to do for her. Yet they still continue to plead. They say that Terri is emaciated.  She is declining.  But they also say that she is still fighting. And given that, they are still making a plea for anyone to try to help.

This weekend, Terri Schiavo’s parents asked supporters to return home and spend Easter with their families.  Since this statement, have you seen a change in the mood or behavior of the supporters outside the hospice?
There’s been a change in the mood outside the hospice but it had nothing to do with that statement.  What happened over the weekend is that the faithful supporters of the parents were joined by people that had other issues, a few people came here to yell at the police. 

A few people came here to cause trouble, and that changed the tenor of the crowd.  It’s back today to where it started.  But the weekend was affected by others who came here for different reasons.

Obviously people have different views of this case based on personal ideologies and experiences.  In your opinion, what is the dominant ideology there on the ground level? 
Most of the people here supporting the parents are conservative Christians.  And they are here supporting a pro-life argument.

It has been said that the family has exhausted every legal and political means that could have been used to have the tube reinserted.  Is there a sense of defeat there in Florida?
The spokesperson for the family says that they have not given up and that is probably true.  But there is a sense that this is over, that they have lost in their final attempt to save Terri Schiavo’s life.  Most people here now are waiting for word of her condition.  Fearing the worse, fearing there is nothing left they can do.

Just a short while ago her stricken father came to the microphone to make one last plea for someone, anyone to do something to reinsert that feeding tube.  He said that she is still responsive but is emaciated.  He talked about her deteriorating.  There is a sense that this is ending and there is not much anyone can do.  There is indeed a sense of defeat. 

Among the acts of civil disobedience, some protesters have been arrested for attempting to give Terri Schiavo Easter communion.  What is the current status of the relationship between the supporters of the Schindlers and the supporters of Michael Schiavo?

There are a few supporters off Michael Schiavo in the crowd and they have been able to express themselves and to show their signs without being hindered or bothered by the others.  They get along in that way.

What about between the protesters and the police?
Most of the protestors and the police get along just fine.  A few of the people who were here yesterday gave the police problems.  They yelled at them and they called them Nazis.  But they are not the bulk of the crowd; they are just the visitors who came back yesterday.  Most of them are gone now. 

There seems to be an understanding between the police and the protesters that they each have a role and they don’t usually cross each other’s lines. There have been some people who have tried to symbolically give Terri Schiavo communion. But they have notified police in advance of their intent to do that and it’s done peacefully. The police know why they are doing it.  The protesters aren’t trying to hurt anybody. It’s civil disobedience.  It’s making a political point.  There’s an understanding of why they are doing it and nobody feels threatened by it.  

In addition to reported differences of opinion from both doctors and judges on Terri Schiavo’s condition, media reports also differ regarding Terri’s condition.  How have inconsistencies in information regarding Terri Schiavo impacted how this case is viewed nationally? 
Well, everything in the Schiavo case has two versions at least, if not more.  And so that explains the difference in the reporting.  For example, on her condition, we heard from a priest, who gave her communion yesterday, who said that death is imminent.  The lawyer yesterday said that she had deteriorated to the point where she could not recover even if the tube were reinserted.  The family angrily responded to that saying she is still responsive and could be saved. 

Even today the father saying today that she is emaciated added that she is still responsive and is fighting for life and can be saved.  So the explanation for the different stories being reported in the media is that different stories are being given out depending on who you talk to.

On the ground level, do you get a sense that there is miscommunication there?
I think there is a lot of wishful thinking in the crowd.  And yes there is the lack of information on the one hand and I suppose some purposeful misinformation on the other. 

The difficulty is the hospice cannot report on what is happening to Terri Schiavo.  By law they are prohibited from doing that. The attorney for Michael Schiavo, the husband, has his version.  He says she is dying peacefully and gracefully.  He has described her as being more beautiful that he has ever seen her. 

On the other side you have her parents and brother who are very upset by that characterization, describing her as looking as if she came out of Auschwitz.  So that’s why it's hard for people to grasp exactly what is going on because the principals have such widely varied accounts that they are giving.

How do you think this case has impacted the nation?
I think it has people talking a lot more about right-to-die and right-to-life issues.  I think it makes people more aware of the need for living wills.  I think it creates a discussion of the role of the Congress and the president and the judiciary especially.  And I think this is a very important case that goes way beyond this one woman lying in a hospice bed unable to speak for herself.

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