Friday, April 08, 2005

Terri 2.0

This case is very similar to Terri Schiavo's but different in some significant ways. It scares me how easily this woman Ms.Gaddy was able to get a court to appoint her the health care decisionmaker. Especially when she intended to deprive her of nourishment against her will.
85 year-old Mae Margourik of LaGrange, Georgia, is currently being deprived of nutrition and hydration at the request of her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy......

Furthermore, under Georgia law, if there is no power of attorney specifying a health care decisionmaker, such authority is given to the closest living relatives. Mae's brother, A. B. McLeod, and sister, Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, are both still alive and capable of making such decisions. They opposed Mae's transfer to hospice, and are fighting to save her life. But in spite of the lack of a power of attorney, and the fact that there are closer living relatives who should be given precedence by Georgia law, Ms. Gaddy sought an emergency appointment as guardian from the local probate court. The probate judge, Donald Boyd (who, I am told, is not an attorney and does not have a law degree), granted Gaddy's request, thereby giving her the power to starve and dehydrate Margourik to death, though such an action is contrary to the provisions of the living will.

I have spoken to Kenneth Mullinax, Mae's nephew, and he has confirmed all the above. He also tells me that he believes that Ms. Gaddy has no bad motives, but is simply misguided and mistaken. Mullinax said that Ms. Gaddy has testified in court that she has "prayed over" Mae, and is convinced that it is "time for her to go". Whether the fact is relevant or not remains to be seen, but apparently Ms. Gaddy is also the sole beneficiary of Mae's will.
If you read the whole thing Ms.Gaddy sounds unlike Michael Schiavo in that she has prayed over Mae and appears to be a Christian. However, similar to the Schaivo case, she stands to inherit money from the death.

I think it's incredible that it has come to this. Why are we having to fight over who gets to decide who lives and dies? Are we truly turning in to a culture of death? I would like to think we are not. One thing I do know is that, regardless of the leanings of the judge, the courts should not be making this desicson.

One person tried to argue with me the other day by bringing the death penalty in to the picture. It was in the vein of "how can you say that the judiciary shouldn't decide who lives and dies when the the government can use the death penalty?" The answer is simple and actually addresses the problem more directly than talking about renegade judges: No innocent person should be killed or knowingly allowed to die. A major part of the foundation of this country is the right to live your life to it's fullest despite color, religion, and by implication health condition. Now those rights can be abused and that abuse should be punished. Yes I know that the Schiavo's think that Terri wanted to die and could never improve her condition. But how can you take that chance without having known for sure? And if letting her die by starvation is such a "humane and painless process" then what's wrong with giving her a CRT scan just to make sure? I mean if she can't feel anything anyway what's the harm?

Sorry, I wasn't going to get all worked up about this when I started writing. rant.end()