A certified nursing assistant who cared for Terri Schiavo in 1997 filed a sworn affidavit in the case stating that she was able to feed Schiavo normally on multiple occasions - but that husband Michael Schiavo would only allow a feeding tube.
Heidi Law, a CNA at the Palm Gardens nursing home, testified:
"At least three times during any shift where I took care of Terri, I made sure to give Terri a wet washcloth filled with ice chips, to keep her mouth moistened. I personally saw her swallow the ice water and never saw her gag.
"[Another CNA] and I frequently put orange juice or apple juice in her washcloth to give her something nice to taste, which made her happy. On three or four occasions I personally fed Terri small mouthfuls of Jello, which she was able to swallow and enjoyed immensely."
Law testified that the only reason she didn't attempt to feed Ms. Schiavo more frequently was "because I was so afraid of being caught by Michael."
Editorializing on the case in light of Law's account, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette said Sunday: "It is one thing to withdraw a feeding tube; another entirely to withhold that day's meal tray."
Carla Sauer Iyer was a registered nurse at the same facility. In her own affidavit Iyer testified that Ms. Schiavo was capable of speech, explaining, "[Terri] spoke on a regular basis, saying such things as 'Mommy' and 'help me.'"
When she put a washcloth in Terri's hands to keep her fingers from curling together, Iyer said, "Michael saw it and made me take it out, saying that was therapy" that he had forbidden.
"Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death," the RN noted. "Michael would say 'When is she going to die?' 'Has she died yet?' and 'When is that bitch gonna die?'"