- Florida Courts
Florida Circuit Court, Pinellas County,
In re: THE GUARDIANSHIP OF Theresa Marie SCHIAVO, Incapacitated.
Appellate Case No. 90-2908GD-003.
Feb. 11, 2000.
THIS CAUSE came on to be heard upon the Petition for Authorization to
Discontinue Artificial Life Support, and Suggestion for Appointment of Guardian Ad
Litem. The case was tried before the court sitting without jury during the week of
January 24, 2000. Before the court were Michael Schiavo, Guardian of the Person of
Theresa Marie Schiavo, (sometimes referred to as “Petitioner”); George J. Felos,
Esquire, and Constance Felos, Esquire, attorneys for Petitioner; Robert Schindler and
Mary Schindler, the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo, (sometimes referred to as
“Respondants”); and Pamela A.M. Campbell, Esquire, attorney for Respondents. The
court took testimony from eighteen witnesses, including the parties, the brother and
sister of Theresa Marie Schiavo, (sometimes referred to as “Terri Schiavo”); the
brother and sister-in-law of Petitioner, and the treating physician for Terri Schiavo.
The court also received into evidence certain exhibits, including CAT scans of Terri
Schiavo and, for comparison purposes, Dr. James Barnhill. The court has carefully
reviewed its notes, the transcribed testimony of those non-parties who testified to
conversations with Terri Schiavo regarding end of life declarations, the report of the
Guardian Ad Litem, the video tape (Respondents' Exhibit No.1) and the other
exhibits introduced as evidence. The court has also reviewed the case law submitted
by and argued on behalf of the parties. Based upon the foregoing, the court makes
the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Terri Schiavo was reared in a normal, Roman Catholic nuclear family consisting of
her parents and her brother and sister. She spent the majority of her life in New
Jersey and moved to Pinellas County, Florida in 1986 with her husband, Michael
Schiavo, whom she married on November 10, 1984. They had dated for a total of
two years, being engaged for year prior to their marriage.
Shortly after the move to Pinellas County by Mr. and Mrs. Schiavo, her parents and
sister followed. The families on and off lived together, on and off shared expenses
and generally functioned well together. Mr. Schiavo had a series of jobs including
manager of a McDonald's restaurant. Terri Schiavo, after a brief period immediately
following the move, resumed her employment with Prudential Insurance Company.
On February 25, 1990, in the early morning hours, Terri Schiavo suffered cardiac
arrest, apparently due to an imbalance of potassium in her system. Michael Schiavo
awakened when he heard a thump, found her lying in the hallway and called 911. He
then called her brother who was living in the same apartment complex and her
mother. The paramedics came, performed CPR and took her to a hospital. She has
never regained consciousness and to this day remains in a comatose state at a