WILMINGTON -- The two attorneys who were on opposing sides in the 2005 Terri Schiavo fight had the same advice for the parents of Lauren Richardson, now in the same situation as Schiavo.
Get away from the courts, get into a room together and try to work out your differences before it is too late.
"If there is one thing I learned from the Schiavo case, any way other than litigation is a better way to resolve this," said George J. Felos, an attorney who represented Michael Schiavo.
"I urge these people ... not to look to the court but to work this out themselves, before their positions harden and before things get said and things get done to make it impossible to talk," said Pat Anderson, an attorney who represented the Schindlers, Terri Schiavo's parents.
Anderson said the case is "eerily" similar to Schiavo's, a Florida case where Schiavo's husband maintained that his wife would not have wanted to live in a vegetative state on life support.
Schiavo left no written instructions and Schiavo's parents, the Schindlers, opposed removing a feeding tube.
The two sides fought in Florida courts for seven years and gained national attention before the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the rulings of state judges, allowing Michael Schiavo to remove the feeding tube in March 2005.
Anderson said her great fear during the Schiavo case was "that all those people who looked at the television screen [and saw the video of Terri Schiavo] and said, 'I wouldn't want to live like that,' might live to regret it because those words might come back at them," she said.
"Those sort of casual remarks would be elevated to an oral directive," she said-- exactly what happened in this case, "If the mother's testimony is accurate."
Anderson, the Schindlers' attorney, said the two cases point to what she sees as "a huge societal issue."
"Why are we executing disabled people because they are disabled? These patients are not dying of any terminal disease. If they die by removal of a feeding tube, they in effect have been executed because their brain has been damaged."
Anderson said if the family of Lauren Richardson does not take her advice and work this out among themselves, outside a court, "Hang onto your socks, it will be a nasty fight ... Everyone is going to lose."
Terri Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, who now helps run the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation Inc., agreed.
A story about Lauren Richardson was recently posted on the foundation's Web site.
"Certainly, communicate, try to work this out," he said. "Do anything to keep it out of the courts."
At the same time, Schindler, who had been in contact with randy Richardson, was pessimistic, saying that they tried to do that with Michael Schiavo in 2002.
He said that the only compromises that Michael would agree to all ended with the "killing" of his sister. "We would never compromise like that," he said.
In the Richardson case, Schindler said, "Anything short of caring for the girl, I don't know what can be accomplished."
On Saturday, Randy Richardson said "I am willing to do anything possible to avoid death being imposed on my daughter, mediate, whatever it is. My feeling, my concern is my daughter be given the chance to life."
Towers could not be reached.
More on Lauren Richardson...
The media is finally running with it. Yesterday, only one source had picked it up, alas, a source we couldn't even post due to copyright.
Three years after the media firestorm over the sad case of Terry Schiavo, a similar battle being fought in the state of Delaware is currently flying under the mainstream media’s radar.
The Wilmington [Del.] News Journal, which is owned by Gannett, reported on Thursday that the parents of 23-year old Lauren Marie Richardson, whose brain was damaged by a heroin overdose in August 2006, are in court battling over whether to remove her feeding tube. Richardson was pregnant at the time of her overdose, and she was kept alive with the feeding tube and a respirator until the birth of her daughter in February 2007. Since then, Richardson has recovered enough that she no longer required the respirator.
Her father, Randy Richardson, has expressed wishes to take care of his brain-damaged daughter. But a Delaware court awarded Lauren Marie’s mother, Edith Towers, guardianship, which, as "The News Journal" noted, "could allow the removal of a feeding tube and end the life of his brain-damaged daughter." Mr. Richardson appealed the court’s ruling, and it could take up to three months for the Delaware court to rule on the appeal.
As of 5:30 pm Eastern time on Friday, the only mainstream media news source that has picked up on the story is "The News Journal," according to a search on Google News. Pro-life nurse Jill Stanek reported on her blog that Fox News’ "Hannity and Colmes" program will feature the program on the night of February 1.
[h/t to Jill Stanek]
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Does Laura have a web site?????
He is the silver tongued devil. If mom can be bamboozled, he knows hypnosis so forget about it.
Lauren wears a cross. Thou Shalt Not Kill.
Her father loves her but does Delaware love the sinister trappings of the culture of death? Starvation and dehydration is PAINFUL and Lauren is aware and breathes on her own. There are no grounds justifying taking her life. Her mom wants to permit an adult abortion ie. euthanasia which is supposed to be ILLEGAL.
No more MURDERS by hearsay or via judicial homicide.