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Schiavo's parents want her retested

Terri Schiavo's parents are asking a judge to let their own doctors evaluate her before deciding whether her feeding tube should be withdrawn.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Bob and Mary Schindler also asked Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George Greer to allow them to spend money Mrs. Schiavo received from a medical malpractice jury award for the medical tests.

Mrs. Schiavo's husband, Michael, who has been battling his in-laws for years, has control over her money and visitors at the nursing home. That could be modified, though, with a court order.

"It is fundamentally unfair for one side's experts to have access to this patient and her medical records while blocking access to the adversary's experts," according to the motion. "Such a procedure offends basic notions of due process. Yet, that is the very situation which the parents find themselves."

Seven doctors with experience treating patients with strokes and brain injuries have said she is not in a persistent vegetative state as her doctor testified at a trial last year, the motion states.

The motion says doctors and witnesses say she turns her head toward her mother, laughs at jokes and can swallow ice water. Two of the doctors say Mrs. Schiavo may improve with oxygen therapy, just as other patients have in her condition.

George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney, said the motion is misleading and that no "credible" doctor has shown oxygen therapy would benefit Mrs. Schiavo or anyone in her condition.

"The attempts by the other side to create something out of nothing are so transparent," Felos said.

Though the doctors have seen videotapes of Mrs. Schiavo and reviewed some of her medical records, none have examined Mrs. Schiavo, the Schindlers' attorney Pat Anderson said.

Last week, the 2nd District Court of Appeal returned the controversial case to Greer, but it ruled that Mrs. Schiavo cannot be taken off life support until after July 23. The Schindlers have until Friday to provide the judge with any new evidence before he reconsiders his initial ruling.

Felos said the Schindlers' request violates the appellate court's instruction, which only allows for them to show Greer why her feeding tube should not be removed.

Mrs. Schiavo collapsed at her St. Petersburg home Feb. 25, 1990. Her heart stopped, and she was deprived of oxygen for 5 minutes.

The Schindlers and Schiavo have accused each other of trying to control Mrs. Schiavo's fate to get $700,000 she received from a 1992 malpractice suit. Only about half of that remains; much of it has been used to pay for Schiavo's legal expenses and Mrs. Schiavo's medical care.