Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Terri Schiavo Part Deux?

I am not sure what to make of this story so I sat on it for a few days. I have not heard anything about this in the legacy media (msm) and only one new source has been covering it.. WorldNet Daily has been reporting that a woman by the name of Mae Magourik is in a hospice and being denied food and liquids.

In a situation recalling the recent death of Terri Schiavo in Florida, an 81-year-old widow, denied nourishment and fluids for nearly two weeks, is clinging to life in a hospice in LaGrange, Ga., while her immediate family fights desperately to save her life before she dies of starvation and dehydration.

Now some may start to cry "right to die" as they did with Terri Schiavo, but there are some serious differences here. In this case, Mrs. Magourik made her wishes well known. She had the presence of mind to make a living will that states that she DOES NOT WANT food and hydration withheld if she is not terminal.

Mae Magouirk was not terminally ill, comatose nor in a "vegetative state," when Hospice-LaGrange accepted her as a patient about two weeks ago upon the request of her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, 36, an elementary school teacher.

In her living will, Magouirk stated that fluids and nourishment were to be withheld only if she were either comatose or "vegetative," and she is neither.

Now, I have to be the first to eat crow. I did not state publicly this, but it was my belief that the Terri Schiavo case would not cause an avalanche of "right to die" cases where non-terminal patients would be put to death with or without a living will. I might be wrong on that. This appears to be a case of a relatively healthy older woman being starved at the request of her granddaughter for the hell of it.

Also upon Gaddy's request and without prior legal authority, since March 28 Hospice-LaGrange has denied Magouirk normal nourishment or fluids via a feeding tube through her nose or fluids via an IV. She has been kept sedated with morphine and ativan, a powerful tranquilizer.

You read that right, without prior legal authority, and in violation of her living will, Magourik's granddaughter had her tranquilized and starved. If Magourik had been allowed to die, this would be a case of murder in my opinion. However, due to the rather limited media exposure, Magourik was airlifted to University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center.

Mae Magouirk, the 81-year-old Georgia widow over whose medical care a family tug-of-war reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo case has been raging, has been transported from the hospice in LaGrange, Ga., to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center, according to her nephew, where "she is receiving food, fluids, cardiac care and neurological help."

Under the terms of an April 4 court order, Magouirk's medical treatment was to be decided by three cardiologists tasked with deciding what treatment would be best and where it should take place.

Happy ending, case closed, right? Wrong. First, the fact that a non-custodial guardian was able to deny food and hydration to a non-terminal, non-comatose patient despite her clearly stated wishes set forth in a living will, is a frightening president. The "right to die" crowd's argument in the Terri Schiavo case was that death was her wish. That if you don't want to be "artificially" supported with food and water you should explicitly state such in a living will. (A horribly backwards argument in my opinion.) Yet, here we have someone with such a statement still being starved. This is a scary legal president.

Second, there are some questions about the validity of the story. When I first heard the new report, I looked up the story and passed it along to a media personality I correspond with regularly. His reply was that he was unable to confirm the facts of the story. This was supported by John Hawkins of RightWing News.

I tried doing a little follow-up on my own but couldn't reach Ken Mullinax and oddly enough, although I reached the Hospice-LaGrange, they denied having a Mae Magouirk on the premises. I then called back and spoke to the admissions to verify. They also denied that they had a Mae Magouirk there.

So things may not be on the up and up with this story. A call goes out for help in a Terri Schiavo-esque story where a living will is being violated. But when questions of the authenticity of the story come up, it is resolved with a relatively happy ending, but chilling warning. Almost sounds too convenient. This is an issue which will have to be watched, very, very carefully.