Governor Jeb Bush asked a prosecutor Friday to investigate why Terri Schiavo collapsed 15 years ago, calling into question how long it took her husband to call the emergency services after he found her.
In a letter faxed to Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney Bernie McCabe, Bush said Michael Schiavo testified in a 1992 medical malpractice trial that he found his wife collapsed at 5 a.m., and he said in a 2003 television interview that he found her about 4:30 a.m. He called for an ambulance at 5:40 a.m.
"Between 40 and 70 minutes elapsed before the call was made, and I am aware of no explanation for the delay," Bush wrote. "In light of this new information, I urge you to take a fresh look at this case without any preconceptions as to the outcome."
Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Friday from The Associated Press. In comments in The Miami Herald, he said Terri Schiavo would not have survived if her husband had not immediately called the emergency services.
"It's absolutely preposterous," Felos said. "If he had waited 70 minutes she would have been dead."
Terri Schiavo died March 31 from dehydration after her feeding tube was disconnected at her husband's request, despite unsuccessful efforts by her parents, Bush and others to keep her alive.
An autopsy released Wednesday concluded that she had been in a persistent vegetative state and revealed no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused before she collapsed.
It left unanswered the question of why Terri Schiavo's heart stopped, cutting oxygen off from her brain. The autopsy showed she suffered irreversible brain damage and her brain had shrunk to half the normal size for her age.