April 8, 2005

After the First Time, It Always Becomes Easier

In the second of my seven postings (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII) on the Terri Schindler-Schiavo case, I wrote:

And that leads us back to the more fundamental question about what value we will place on human life, including that of a disabled woman. If we begin to say it is okay to kill off "weak" human beings, think where that will take us over time. It will take us to a place where certain people will seek to play "God" so they can set the criteria for who lives and who dies. Why not then an elderly parent or a young child, should either become a financial or emotional burden? The freedom to do such great evil will only invite more profound evil over time.

Holocausts do not begin with operational concentration camps; they start on a smaller scale and steadily break down our resistance while many people plead that they are "too busy" to pay attention and get involved.

Now another blogger, Sounding the Trumpet, is back with news of another case similar to Terri's - but with an ominous twist.

Remember the mantra for the last month in the media was to make sure you have a living will in place and then everything would be okay. Think again:

When a grandaughter was tired of bringing groceries, it meant that the Grandmother would have to go.

Below are some excerts from an interesting article I noticed from this interesting WorldNetDaily article:

"In her living will, Mae Magouirk stated that fluids and nourishment were to be withheld only if she were either comatose or "vegetative," and she is neither. Nor is she terminally ill, which is generally a requirement for admission to a hospice.

"Magouirk lives alone in LaGrange, though because of glaucoma she relied on her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, to bring her food and do errands.

"Two weeks ago, Magouirk's aorta had a dissection, and she was hospitalized in the local LaGrange Hospital. Her aortic problem was determined to be severe, and she was admitted to the intensive care unit. At the time of her admission she was lucid and had never been diagnosed with dementia.

"Claiming that she held Magouirk's power of attorney, Gaddy had her transferred to Hospice-LaGrange, a 16-bed unit owned by the same family that owns the hospital. Once at the hospice, Gaddy stated that she did not want her grandmother fed or given water."

. . .and so, without checking up on Granny's living will, or making sure that Gaddy did have the power of attorney (which she did not). And before contacting the closest living kin of the granny (two living siblings, and a nephew--who oppose this)--she was sedated, and all liquids, and food were witheld from her.

The Lone Star Times blogsite provides additional information:

Gaddy, claimed to have a medical power of attorney, but only had a financial power of attorney. Once the hospice became aware of the situation, it prepared to have the feeding tube inserted. But before they could have Magouirk transported to a hospital, Gaddy obtained emergency gardianship over her grandmother from Probate Court Judge Donald W. Boyd.

There are closer living relatives, two siblings, that want to take care of Magouirk, but Gaddy will not consent.

If you thought a medical power of attorney would protect you, it seems that it is not worth the paper its written on in some Probate Courts. It looks like low grade euthanasia via denial of food and water to non-terminal patients, regardless of wishes, is becoming "normal".

The blogsite, Thrown Back, provides additional information:

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 Magouirk 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.

Another blogger, Straight Up With Sherri has noted a connection to the Terri Schindler-Schiavo case:

...the Facility Administrator at the hospice [where Mae Magouirk was taken] is Cathy Wiggins: Director of Hospice who is also....

Cathy Wiggings, West Georgia Hospice, LeGrange Pres of Board of Directors of Georgia Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (GHPCO).

GHPCO is a committed member and supporter of the Georgia Collaborative to Improve End of Life Care, a partnership of providers, academics, business leaders and community members that has worked together for the past 5 years to improve end of life care in Georgia. The accomplishments of the Collaborative include community education through Georgia Health Decisions' CRITICAL Conditions program; support of physician, nurse and allied health provider end of life education and training; outreach to community organizations; research on current practices and the Emmy award-winning documentary Final Choices: Changing a Culture. (Changing a Culture? TO WHAT? CAN IT BE ANY CLEARER???)

GEORGIA Collaborative to Improve End-of-Life Care Holds Planning Meeting

In an effort to focus its activities, be more inclusive of organizations around the state, and plan for its future, the Collaborative met January 21, 2004 at the Loudermilk Center for the Regional Community in Atlanta Georgia to create a plan for the next five years. The meeting was made possible through a Rallying Points Certificate and was facilitated by staff from the Hospice for the Florida Sun Coast - the south's Rallying Points Regional Resource Center...

The Hospice for the Florida Sun Coast is...the parent company of Woodside Hospice, where Terri Schindler-Schiavo was taken without court approval. Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, was on the Board of the parent company as well.

And some people think Terri was just an isolated case...that there is no organized euthanasia group that seeks to kill the disabled and elderly. I find it very troubling that there is such interest in criticizing the efforts of the so-called "religious right" to support a culture of life but there seems to be little-to-no interest in exposing the euthanasia movement as it supports a culture of death.

The first case is always the hardest. But then, it becomes easier.

ADDENDUM I:

Sounding the Trumpet has posted a letter from the Judge in this case.

Hyscience asks some questions.

Ken Mullinax, nephew of Mae Magouirk, has added his latest thoughts.

Here is more news on current events on this case.

Even as some facts or interpretation of facts are murky and/or still getting sorted out, it is important for all of us to err on the side of life.