Friday, April 08, 2005


Who would want to live like this?

That has to be one of the most inane questions ever asked, because the question is asked as if the person's choices were living normally or living in some impaired state, when in fact the questioner is not acknowledging that the choices involved are living in some impaired state and dying.

But it is the rationale of Beth Gaddy, who has been given guardianship power by Troup County, Georgia, Probate Judge Donald Boyd [Probate Judge is an elected position in Georgia, and does not require the person to have a law degree. According to several reports, Judge Boyd does not have a law degree.] over her grandmother, Mae Magouirk.

Here's the short verion of the situation: Mae Magouirk, who is 85, was admitted to the hospital for an aortic dissection. She has a living will, which provided that food and water were only to be withdrawn if she is comatose or vegetative. She is neither. Her designated agents for health care decisions are her siblings, who are still living. Her granddaughter (and beneficiary under her will), Beth Gaddy, went to the hospital with a financial power of attorney, and convinced the hospital that it was a durable power of attorney for health care and to transfer Mae to an affiliated hospice. Once at the hospice, Mae was denied food (through a nasogastric tube) or water from March 28. Her siblings and nephew found out about this and contacted the hospice, which began administering water but told them they would need to come to the hospice to sign an order to insert the NG tube. While they were at the hospice on April 1, Beth went to the probate court and obtained an emergency order for guardianship, and within a few hours water was withdrawn (food had not yet been given). On April 4, a hearing on permanent guardianship was held, and the judge apparently ordered that permanent guardianship be given to Beth but that Mae be given whatever treatment would be ordered by a chosen panel of 3 doctors. Those doctors have met, but have not yet announced a treatment plan. It's now April 8.

This story was originally broken by Blogs for Terri and Father Rob Johansen's blog Thrown Back, but has since been picked up by NRO's The Corner (Katherine Lopez), by Instapundit, by Megan McArdle's blog Asymmetrical Information, by Straight Up with Sherri, and others. [World Net Daily has a lengthy story on it, but as long as they are going to give featured column space to wack jobs like Devvy Kidd, I'm not going to give them a link.] The first newspaper column on the case appears to be from the local paper, the LaGrange News.

Sean Hannity has indicted he is having his people investigate the story.

More to follow.

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