PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - One week since her feeding tube was removed, Terri Schiavo is weakening and down "to her last hours," her father said Friday, as the severely brain-damaged woman's parents held out hope for unlikely help from Gov. Jeb Bush or from courts that previously have refused to restore her feeding tube.
Doctors have said she would probably die within a week or two of her feeding tube being pulled, which was done March 18 after a judge sided with her husband's argument that she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Dehydration has taken its toll on the 41-year-old woman, producing flaky skin, dry tongue and lips, and sunken eyes, according to attorneys and friends of the Schindlers.
"Terri is weakening. She's down to her last hours. Something has to be done and has to be done quick," said Bob Schindler, who visited his daughter Friday morning.
The parents, who believe their daughter could improve, took their case back to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Friday - the same court that has ruled against them twice this week.
Another legal maneuver included a late afternoon filing asking Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer to order the reinsertion of the tube, claiming Terri Schiavo tried to say "I want to live" when her tube was removed.
Doctors who have examined her for the court case have said her previous utterances weren't speech, but were involuntary moans consistent with someone in a vegetative state. Greer, who had ordered the tube removed, planned a hearing later in the day.
Barbara Weller, an attorney for the Schindlers, called the motion "our final shot." An attorney for her husband Michael Schiavo had just received the motion and was not available for comment.
U.S. District Judge James Whittemore wrote earlier in the day that the parents could not establish "a substantial likelihood of success on the merits" of their case. He also noted "the difficulties and heartbreak the parties have endured throughout this lengthy process."
Gov. Bush has been a staunch supporter of the Schindlers, and his office was still clinging to hope Friday that the courts would allow the state to provide emergency care for Schiavo.
"We are continuing to do whatever we can and we are pursuing all the options available to us in this case," Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre said.
But supporters of Michael Schiavo said the time for challenges had ended.
"All the politicians who injected themselves into this tragic and personal matter now need to begin respecting both the law and the legal process even if they disagree with the result that was reached in this case," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Florida chapter.
Terri Schiavo's tube was removed March 18 on a state judge's order. She has been without food and water longer than she was in 2003, when the tube was removed for six days and five hours. It was reinserted when Bush and the Legislature pushed through a law that was later thrown out by the state Supreme Court.
Many supporters of the Schindlers say Bush could simply ignore the courts and take emergency custody of Schiavo.
"Now is the day. Now is the time for the governor to have courage," said Paul O'Donnell, a Franciscan monk and Schindler family supporter. "The governor needs to take action and take action soon. She's dying."
Bush said Thursday he is not willing to go beyond the boundaries of his powers.
An attorney for Michael Schiavo also rejected arguments that Bush could overturn years of court orders in the husband's favor.
"Jeb Bush does not own the state of Florida and just cannot impose his will on Terri Schiavo," George Felos told CBS' "The Early Show" on Friday. Felos declined comment to The Associated Press.
Outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo lay, eight more people - including a 10-year old boy and 13-year-old twin girls - were arrested Friday for trying to bring her water.
"I don't want her to die," Joshua Heldreth, 10, from North Carolina, said before his arrest. "I'm not afraid because God is with me."
Terri Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped briefly from a chemical imbalance believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder. She left no living will.