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USF professor named Schiavo's guardian

The chief judge of the Pinellas-Pasco circuit appointed a University of South Florida professor Friday to investigate Terri Schiavo's case and recommend to the governor whether his order reinserting her feeding tube should stand.

Judge David Demers appointed Dr. Jay Wolfson as Mrs. Schiavo's guardian ad litem and ordered a report to Gov. Jeb Bush within 30 days.

The appointment of a guardian ad litem, which does not displace Michael Schiavo as his wife's guardian, was mandated by "Terri's Law."

The measure passed by lawmakers on Oct. 21 gave Bush the authority to order doctors to reinsert Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube.

Mrs. Schiavo's parents object to Wolfson's appointment because they say he expressed opposition to "Terri's Law" in a recent TV interview. But Demers said he read a transcript of the interview and did not agree that Wolfson expressed opposition to the bill.

Demers said Wolfson is to review the court file, interview anyone he desires and decide whether Mrs. Schiavo would benefit from therapy allowing her to swallow food and water.

Mrs. Schiavo's parents say their daughter might live without a feeding tube if she is given such therapy. Michael Schiavo said doctors have already said the therapy won't work with her.

Then Wolfson is to report to the governor.

The brain-damaged woman has been on the feeding tube for 13 years. Many doctors say she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery. Her parents disagree with the diagnosis.

_ Staff reports

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