Terri's Medical Fund is Being Used To Facilitate Her Death

We recently posted a summary on Terri’s web site highlighting the money that has been withdrawn from Terri’s medical fund. Since then, we have been contacted by many of the web site visitors requesting we explain the malpractice award in more detail and to itemize the fund withdrawals. Essentially, visitors asked four questions: 

1) How much was originally in the fund? 
2) How did the money get into Terri’s medical fund? 
3) Where did it go? 
4) How much is remaining in Terri’s medical fund?

Question 1: How Much Was Originally Awarded To Terri’s Medical Fund?

Medical Malpractice Trial – Jury Award

November 10, 1992 – Jury Document, Item 5. What is the amount of Theresa Schiavo's future damages for medical expenses and lost earning ability to be sustained in future years?

A.)  Total damages over future years:  $9,400,000.00
B.)  The number of years over which those future damages are intended to provide compensation: 17 years
C.) What is the present value of those future damages: $4,300,000.00

 

 

 

Note: The jury award amount was reduced to $1,290,000.00 to reflect Terri’s attributable negligence. Separate from these monies was Michael Schiavo’s personal award of $600,000.00.

Prior to this trial and in a completely independent medical malpractice lawsuit, Terri was awarded $250,000.00 in an out-of-court settlement. Also, prior to the two medical malpractice lawsuits, an estimated $50,000.00 was contributed to Terri’s medical fund via community fundraisers.

In Summary, Terri has received an aggregate sum of $1,590,000.00. Nonetheless, in June of 1993, the asset balance in Terri’s account was reduced to $761, 507.50, as reported by Michael Schiavo. Schiavo's attorney, however, has sealed the accounting, which would disclose how Terri's account was depleted by approximately $828,492.50, (52%) in only 1 year and 6 months.
 

Question 2: How Did the Money Get Into Terri’s Medical Fund?

Medical Malpractice Trial

November 1992 – A medical malpractice trial is petitioned by Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo.  He asks the jury for 20 million dollars to pay for his wife’s (Terri) future medical and neurological requirements. This request was based on estimates of her life expectancy, which Michael Schiavo and his attorneys were estimating at 50 years.

Medical Malpractice Trial – Testimony of Michael Schiavo

November 1992 – In a highly emotional trial, Michael Schiavo implored the jury to award money for his wife’s future medical and neurological care. Actual excerpts from the malpractice trial transcript reveal Michael Schiavo’s sworn testimony as he responded to his attorney's question. (It is important to note that Terri’s alleged wishes stating, "she wouldn’t want to live this way," are never mentioned by her husband at the 1992 malpractice trial).

Q: Why did you want to learn to be a nurse?
Michael Schiavo: Because I enjoy it and I want to learn more how to take care of Terri.

Q: You're a young man. Your life is ahead of you. When you look up the road, what do you see for yourself?   
Michael Schiavo:
See myself hopefully finishing school and taking care of my wife.

Q: Where do you want to take care of your wife?
Michael Schiavo: I want to bring her home.

Q: If you had the resources available to you, if you had the equipment and the people, would you do that?
Michael Schiavo: Yes, I would, in a heartbeat.

Q: How do you feel about being married to Terri now?
Michael Schiavo: I feel wonderful. She's my life and I wouldn't trade her for the world. I believe in my wedding vows.

Q: You believe in your wedding vows, what do you mean by that?
Michael Schiavo: I believe in the vows I took with my wife, through sickness, in health, for richer or poor. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that.

Summer 1993 – Michael Schiavo dramatically demonstrates his interpretation of what his trial testimony "taking care of," really means. Less than a year after the medical malpractice jury award, Schiavo makes his first of two attempts to end his wife’s life.  Bear in mind, Michael Schiavo is the inheritor of Terri's medical fund.

Michael Schiavo, under oath, in a November 1993 deposition, admits that he knew Terri would die when he instructed Terri’s caretakers not to medicate Terri with antibiotics for a potentially fatal infection. He also instructs Terri’s caretakers "not to resuscitate" should Terri require any life saving action.

Question 3: Where Did Terri’s Malpractice Award Money Go?

As mentioned, in November1993, Michael Schiavo’s guardianship was challenged for his actions when he instructed Terri’s caretakers not to medicate Terri with antibiotics for a potentially fatal infection. This legal charge culminated with a February 1994 Judge Pennock hearing in which Michael Schiavo was exonerated and his guardianship remained intact. The court permitted Michael Schiavo to withdraw money from Terri’s medical fund to reimburse his legal expenses.

May 1998, Michael Schiavo hires attorney George Felos to petition the court to have Terri’s feeding terminated. Subsequently, the court has permitted Michael Schiavo to withdraw money from Terri’s medical fund to reimburse his legal expenses in his efforts to have Terri die.

Note: In the ensuing (9) years since the 1992 jury malpractice award, Michael Schiavo has used Terri’s medical fund money in his pursuit of Terri’s death and to defend his guardianship role. The bulk of the money has gone for legal fees. Although Terri’s medical fund is sealed; there are court transactions available for public inspection.

Summary of legal expenses through September 2001

 Attorneys    Fee Amount Fee Period
Attorney Gwyneth Stanley(1)
Attorney Deborah Bushnell(1)
Attorney Steve Nilson(1) 
Attorney Pacarek(2)
Attorney Richard Pearse(2)
Attorney George Felos(1)
 

(1)Michael Schiavo's attorneys
(2)court appointed attorneys

$10,668.05
$49,958.15
$7,404.95
$1,500.00
$4,511.95
$307,188.35
(6/93-3/97)
(9/93-9/01)
(10/93-7/94)
(3/94)
(6/98-12/98)
(3/98-9/01)
Total  $381,231.45  (As of Sept. 2001)
     
Other Expenditures    Amount Dates
1st Union/South Trust Bank $55,459.85 (10/94-4/01)
Michael Schiavo (Promissory Note) $3,535.00 (12/94)
Total $58,994.85  
     
Grand Total $440,226.30 (As of Sept. 2001)

Question 4: How Much is Remaining in Terri’s Medical Fund?

The bleeding of money from Terri’s medical fund is far from over. The primary attorneys Michael Schiavo has used in his quest to end Terri’s life, Attorney Deborah Bushnell and Attorney George Felos, have not been compensated for their services since their last invoice – September 2001.

We estimate that Terri's account balance is now less than $300,000. We expect Attorney Deborah Bushnell and Attorney George Felos to invoice over $90,000 to bring their legal fees current.  We believe that after legal fees are paid the balance in Terri’s fund, as of February 28, 2002, will be around $200,000.

Also, there is no telling the future amount Attorney George Felos will charge Terri, via Michael Schiavo, for his legal endeavors. On February 22, 2002, in response to the attorney’s February 7, 2002 appeal, the Florida Supreme Court issued a stay to the 2nd District Appellate Court’s order calling for Terri’s neurological examinations. The Florida Supreme Court is presently reviewing their posture regarding Terri’s case.

Should the Florida Supreme Court take jurisdiction, Attorney George Felos will then have the opportunity to totally deplete the entire assets in Terri’s medical fund.

Should the Florida Supreme Court take jurisdiction, Attorney George Felos will then have the opportunity to totally deplete the entire assets in Terri’s medical fund.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030621103818/http://www.terrisfight.org/lead.htm

 

<Back To The Saga of Terri Schiavo Page

There are NO statute of Limitations on MURDER!

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