US congressional negotiators say they have agreed on legislation that they hope will result in resumed feeding of a seriously brain-damaged Florida woman at the centre of a political and ethical controversy.

Terri Schiavo, 41, has been in a vegetative state for the past 15 years following a cardiac arrest that sent her into a coma.

Her feeding tube was removed yesterday, after a protracted legal battle between her husband, who insists she should be allowed to die and her parents, who argue that their daughter should be kept alive through life support.

A Florida state judge had ordered her caregivers to stop feeding  her, but under the announced congressional compromise, the case would move to federal courts, thus setting the stage for a new round  of legal battles.

In the meantime her feeding tubes are expected to be re-inserted.