Terri Schiavo's Father: 'She's Failing But She's Still With Us'

By Jeff Johnson | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The father of Terri Schiavo Monday said his daughter's health is deteriorating, but he believes she is still fighting to stay alive.

"I don't want to overestimate her condition, because she's failing, but she's still with us," Robert Schindler told reporters at a Monday afternoon news conference outside his daughter's Pinellas Park, Fla., hospice. "She's shown such a determination to live. It's incredible."

Schindler said his daughter is still trying to communicate, and last week an attorney for the Schindlers claimed Schiavo was verbally expressing her will to live, even screaming at one point, although that report has not been independently confirmed.

"She's responding very softly and she's very, very, very weak," Schindler said. "But she's still showing some facial expressions, and I hug her and I kiss her and she's reacting to that and she's trying to talk, but it's very, very subdued."

Schindler responded to reports that, despite the contention of the woman's husband and his doctors that Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state" and can feel no pain, she is being given morphine for pain.

"I'm sure (she is receiving morphine), but she's still in discomfort," Schindler said. "And I have a grave concern that they will expedite the process to kill her with an overdose of morphine."

Schindler again on Monday expressed a desire for intervention on his daughter's behalf, although he did not specify who he was asking to act.

"She has to be saved and it can be done and we plead for that for her," Schindler said. "It's not too late for someone to save her and, at this point, for her sake, you know, I plead again that the powers that be don't give up on her. We haven't given up on her and she hasn't given up on us.

Doctors for Michael Schiavo, one court-appointed physician, and some other neurologists have said that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and has no conscious awareness of her condition.

But doctors hired by the Schindler family and some independent medical experts who have volunteered their analysis dispute those claims. With permission from the court, Michael Schiavo has forbidden medical testing such as an MRI or PET scan that could conclusively diagnose her condition, and he has not allowed his wife to receive rehabilitation or therapy that some say could improve her condition.

Terri Schiavo has been without nutrition or hydration since her feeding tube was removed on March 18.

To view the archive of the Cybercast News Service's coverage on Terri Schiavo, click here.

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