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Judge: Comatose woman's feeding tube cannot be removed

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CLEARWATER, Florida (CNN) -- A Florida judge ruled Friday that a woman who has been in a coma-like state for 12 years should not have her feeding tube removed until an appeals court can hear and rule on the case.

However, the attorney representing the woman's husband said he will ask the court of appeals to set aside the stay.

Circuit Judge George Greer stayed his November 22 ruling that Terri Schiavo's husband could have her feeding tube removed January 3, saying she must be kept alive until the 2nd District Court of Appeal reviews the case.

If the appeals court sets the stay aside, the January 3rd deadline would be re-instated.

Attorneys representing the parents of Terri Schiavo, Bob and Mary Schindler, have filed a notice of appeal. They will now prepare the court record and await a briefing schedule from Florida's Second District Court of Appeals in Lakeland.

"This is a tremendously important case", said Pat Anderson, Schindler's attorney. "This is important for many, more patients than Terri."

The case has been a 12-year odyssey which has divided Terri Schiavo's immediate family since she suffered heart failure in 1990 and went into a coma-like state.

On one side is her husband, Michael Schiavo, who claims that Terri told him she would not want to live like this. On the other side, are her parents, who believe that Terri can be helped with intensive therapy.

"I think extending these legal proceedings, is, at first, a tragedy for Terri", said George Felos, the husband's attorney. "She is being force fed against her will."

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