Friday, March 18, 2005

Breaking News: Removal of Feeding Tube Blocked by Congress

A state judge has temporarily blocked the removal of the feeding tube that keeps severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo alive.Pinellas Circuit Court Judge David Demers has ordered that the feeding tube remain in place past a 1 p.m. EST deadline. Fellow Judge George Greer who is presiding over the Schiavo case is handling the conflicting legal issues. The Senate Health Committee has requested that Terri Schiavo and her husband Michael appear at an official committee hearing on March 28. And a House committee is issuing congressional subpoenas to stop doctors from disconnecting the feeding tube that keeps her alive.

The hospice where Terri Schiavo lives has received a subpoena, but a spokeswoman would provide no details about it. Friday's statement from the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said the purpose of the hearing would be to review health care policies and practices relevant to the care of non-ambulatory people.Frist's statement noted that it is a federal crime to harm or obstruct a person called to testify before Congress, thus stopping any action that could threaten the health of the woman.Meanwhile, on the other side of Capitol Hill, a House committee decided on Friday to start an investigation into Schiavo's case and issue subpoenas ordering doctors and hospice administrators not to remove her feeding tubes and to keep her alive until that investigation was complete.

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