03/25/2005, 00.00
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Terri Schiavo's Passion: "She shows signs of malnutrition"

Pinellas Park (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged Florida woman at the centre of a heated right-to-life case, is showing signs of severe malnutrition after the removal of her feeding tube, her family says. She is likely to die within eight days.

Ms Schiavo, 41, has been in a persistent vegetative state for the past 15 years.

Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, say she has a chance of a partial recovery if she is given the proper therapy.

However Michael Schiavo, Terri's legal guardian, says his wife would never want to live severely disabled and he had her feeding tube withdrawn last week. Mr Schiavo, has lived with another woman for many years without divorcing from Terri. He has decided to let his wife to die of hunger and thirst.

The Schindlers were dealt two legal setbacks yesterday, first when the US Supreme Court refused to hear a case seeking the reinserting of their daughter's feeding tube, and then when a Florida state court refused a request by state authorities to take her into state custody.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had filed a request to take custody of Terri, but Circuit Court Judge George Greer ruled against the request on Thursday afternoon. The Supreme Court had also refused to explain their decision, the fifth time the high court had rejected requests it become involved in the case. The Schindlers said they are not giving up hoping, urging Bush to use his constitutional authority. Terri's parents also said they plan to request a temporary restraining order in federal court so new evidence could be presented. A hearing was scheduled for 6 pm.

"Her condition is weakening. Her mother felt physically ill and had to leave the room," Randall Terry, a spokesman for the family, said. "Her voice can barely be heard."

Hundreds of people are maintaining a vigil outside Ms Schiavo's hospital.

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