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April 1st, 2005

Terri Schiavo Dies; Congress Orders Feeding Tube Reinserted

Lawmakers Intervene To Save Patient From Continued Death

Above: The morgue where Terry Schiavo lies, for now
Above: The morgue where Terry Schiavo lies, for now
U.S. - Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman who has spent fifteen years in a persistent vegetative state, died today after thirteen days without her life-sustaining feeding tube. Hours later, the U.S. Congress passed emergency legislation ordering the tube to be reinserted, reviving hope that she may yet survive her ordeal and live a long, though uneventful, life.

"In cases like this, when a family faces such tough choices, we must err on the side of life," President Bush said as he signed the bill into law. "A person who is, quote unquote, 'dead,' may still have a full recovery, as anyone who has seen Flatliners knows."

Vice-President Dick Cheney, who has been clinically dead several times in the past four years and, according to some, may still be so, agreed. "I can tell you, if someone tried to remove my feeding tube, I'd be furious," Cheney said.

In response to the new law, doctors have reinserted the feeding tube into Schiavo, who now lies at the city morgue in Clearwater, Florida. Schiavo's parents described their daughter, who has not moved or spoken in 15 years, as 'jubilant, but in subtle ways.'

Schiavo has been the center of a heated controversy in recent weeks. While her husband, Michael, insisted that she would not have wanted to live in a vegetative state, Schiavo's parents fought doggedly to keep her alive. As their legal battle escalated, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the U.S. Congress, and even the Supreme Court got involved.

"To some, it may seem hopeless to provide a feeding tube to a woman who has been pronounced dead," said Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) as the emergency legislation was debated on the Senate floor. "However, as a licensed physician, I am not completely convinced of that diagnosis. I have seen the videotape of Terri in her state of supposed death, and I believe that she may actually be in what is technically known as a 'quasi-mortem' or 'partially terminal' state. She is not dead; she has merely experienced a cessation of circulatory, respiratory, and neurological activity."

Michael Schiavo disputed this conclusion, insisting that Terry is in a 'persistent cadaverous' state from which she is unlikely to recover.

Terry Schiavo herself had no comment.