Woman Dies Before Terri Schiavo-Like Case Can Be Decided

September 18, 2008 - 6:47 PM
A woman kept alive by a feeding tube since a stroke has died, effectively ending a legal battle between her husband and mother in a case similar to Terri Schiavo, whose fate became the subject of national political debate in 2005.
West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP) - A woman kept alive by a feeding tube since a stroke has died, effectively ending a legal battle between her husband and mother in a case similar to Terry Schiavo, whose fate became the subject of national political debate in 2005.
 
Karen Weber, 57, had been in and out of a nursing home and Okeechobee hospital since having a stroke in December. She had been on a feeding tube and was suffering from meningitis, according to her family.
 
Weber's husband, Raymond, sought earlier this year to have the feeding tube removed and his wife transferred to a hospice ward, where she would likely die. He claimed she was in a vegetative state and would not want to live this way.
 
But Weber's mother, Martha Tatro, was fighting to keep her alive, arguing she had been alert and responsive at times and wouldn't want to die.
 
Weber died in the hospital Wednesday night, said Tatro's attorney, Joseph Rodowicz.
 
"It's moot now," Rodowicz said Thursday. "It's not good news. It just happened to be her time."
 
A judge had issued an injunction prohibiting the feeding tube's removal as the case worked through the courts.
 
Rodowicz said he would be filing to dismiss the case.
 
"Karen Weber's heavenly father called her home to her eternal reward," read a joint statement from Weber's family, including her mother and husband. "Her family knows she is in a better place. We look forward to meeting up with her again someday, but until then, she will be greatly missed as she was dearly loved by all of us."
 
The arguments in Weber's case were similar to those made over Schiavo, whose husband wanted her feeding tube removed against the wishes of her parents.
 
Congress passed a bill that allowed a federal court to intervene. President Bush later signed the bill into law, but the Supreme Court sided with the husband. Schiavo was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state after her heart stopped in 1990.
 
She died amid protests outside her hospice in 2005.