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April 11, 2005

BlogsForTerri Exclusive: Judge Donald Boyd's Complete Response:

Topics:

What follows are first my observations and comments, which include most if not all of Judge Boyd's comments. Judge Boyd's actual email letter is in the extended post.

In a nutshell though, I deem Judge Boyd's actions to be entirely appropriate; but I do question some of his inactions(although even in regard to possible inactions on his part - legally, he might have had his hands tied, I'm not a lawyer). However, it's not over yet, and given what he knows now, hopefully we'll all see Judge Boyd take care of possible past inactions in the future. Having spoken with Judge Boyd several times and now having received his written explanations, I believe him to be sincere, but perhaps inexperienced with the Beth Gaddys of the world. I'll withhold including Michael Schiavo's name with hers until we know just a little more about her possible motivations.

There are several points in Judge Boyd's letter that caught my attention, none of which makes me believe that Judge Boyd has done anything out of order, except perhaps not question why the grandchildren were so dead set(sic) to have their Grandmother in a hospice instead of a "proper" medical center for treatment(such as UAB Med. Ctr. in Ala, where she is now):

1. Judge Boyd was contacted by the grand children of Mae Magouirk who were very upset and saying that the brother and sister and cousin (Mullinax) were threatening to remove Ms Magouirk from Hospice and they were afraid of what would happen to Ms Magouirk if this was attempted.

Mae Maqouirk could only be put in a hospice for one reason, and one reason only - to die. What possibly could happen to a living person requiring medical care than to be placed in a hospice where the living person requiring medical care could not get it and would die? So what were the grandchildren concerned about happening to Mae, that she would live instead of die? So who asked who for Mae to be put in a hospice instead of a nursing home or a qualified medical center where she could be treated for her aortic dissection?

2. After hearing the explanation from the grand children and the attorney Judge Boyd felt someone should be appointed Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could have a hearing and determine who that person should be. The grand children and their attorney had filed a petition for emergency guardianship of a gravely incapacitated adult. So Judge Boyd ordered that Beth Gaddy become Temporary Emergency Guardian until a hearing could be held to see who the permanent guardian would be. He then scheduled a hearing to be held on Monday, April 4, 2005 at 9:00am.

At this point, it seems to me that the action Judge Boyd had taken was appropriate, given that the grandchildren had asked for temporary custody, no one else had, and it appeared to the judge that someone had to make decisions for Mae. Again, my question is still how it was determined that Mae should be in a hospice instead of where she could get care. However, apparently Judge Boyd wasn't asked to make a decision on the hospice issue, and the action he took was to provide for temporary guardianship until more details were available.

3. On Monday, and after hearing the opening statements and about 2 hrs of testimony, the attorney for the brother and sister requested a break. They adjourned for a 15 minute break and were to start the hearing back at 11:15 am. When Judge Boyd came from his office back to the hearing, ALL the attorneys and some of the family members informed him that they had a possible settlement agreement and wanted a few more minutes. Later, the attorneys came in and announced to him that they had an agreement.

As in 2(above), it appears to me that Judge Boyd held the hearing that he had set when he assigned temporary guardianship to Beth Gaddy, then followed through with the Monday hearing, listened to the parties, and then agreed to that which was agreed upon by the parties. Judge Boyd seems to have acted appropriately.

4. In the Agreement, the attorney for the brother and sister proposed to the court that they would withdraw their petition to become guardians and would withdraw their objection to Beth Gaddy becoming guardian and would consent to appointing Beth Gaddy as guardian, provided that she would agree to follow the medical advice recommended by and agreed upon by 2 of three doctors (all heart specialists). The 3 Doctors were named and agreed to by all parties. The court ordered that the three doctors evaluate Mae Magouirk within 24 hours (or as soon as possible) as time was of the essence. The court told ALL parties they were not to have contact with any of the doctors to try and influence their decision. Everyone agreed and the family was laughing and hugging one another and Judge Boyd thought everything had been worked out, he felt the right decision had been made, and he thought it was great that the family made that decision and he didn't have to.

Here, Judge Boyd simply ordered what was agreed to by the parties. He wasn't asked to do anything more, and took no further action. The Judge acted appropriately.

5. Then, according to Judge Boyd, on Thursday is when "all of these half-truths and lies started across the Internet started by Mr. Kenneth Mullinax." According to Judge Boyd, he has nothing pending in his court, he 'had' nothing pending in his court, and yet he has been accused of starving a grandmother, murder, called everything in the book and all he wants to do is to get the truth out.

It is only at this point that I see a conflict between Judge Boyd's and Ken Mullinax's versions of the events, but even here, I don't find fault with any of Judge Boyds actions, although I could be critical of some of his inactions - failing to question why it was so important to keep someone IN THE HOSPICE and what were Beth Gaddy and the other grandchildren afraid of; what could possibly be worse FOR MAE then not being adequately evaluated FIRST and having the opportunity for REQUIRED MEDICAL CARE. The order for evaluation based upon three doctors came after giving Beth Gaddy the emergencey guardianship over Mae. And, as a matter of fact, ALL of Ken Mullinax's concerns and assumptions in regard to where Mae should be, are now validated - Mae is in the UAB Medical Center being cared for by experts. She is NOT in the hospice, she is so dehydrated that the attending physician believes(according to Ken and subject to verification) that it will take two or more days to hydrate her.

In regard to number 5 here:

Fact - Mae's life was in danger in the hospice and she was not receiving "adequate hydration for recovery and proper medical care for her condition."

Fact - Mae was placed in a hospice and given up on "to go home to Jesus," according to Beth Gaddy.

Fact - Clearly Mae's welfare was not the first consideration here, the 'will' of Beth Gaddy and the other grandchild(ren) was.


Fact - we now know that Beth Gaddy has had the Mullinax's removed from any ability to see Mae; sounds an awful lot like the Michael Schiavo situation.

Fact - Judge Boyd is not a Judge Greer. Judge Boyd is not trying to kill Mae. And now that Judge Boyd knows more about the situation, we hopefully can look forward to him acting more in Mae's interest and less in Beth's interest.

Questions: What is Beth Gaddy's motivation for Mae to die? Are there any financial considerations here? What does she fear that the Mullinax's will find out about Mae's medical condition, if anything? Why, after getting the power over Mae's life by Agreement, did she suddenly turn on the Mullinax's and forbid them to see Mae? Could it be that Beth Gaddy means well but is just seriously and critically(for Mae) misguided? Could Beth Gaddy possibly believe that just because Mae is disabled, elderly, and has glaucoma, that she is better off dead? If so, then she has no business being anyones guardian, let alone Mae's.


Judge Boyd's Letter:

I am Probate Judge Donald W. Boyd and I am about to tell you the real
story. On March 31, 2005 one of the grand children of Mae Magouirk called me very upset saying that the brother and sister and cousin
(mullinax) were threatening to remove Ms Magouirk from Hospice and they were afraid of what would happen to Ms Magouirk if this was attempted. I asked if they had medical power of attorney and they stated, (we thought we did but have found out we have not) I told them the only way they could make decisions was to become her guardians. On Friday, April 1, 2005, I came to work at 8:00 am and Beth Gaddy and her brother along with their attorney (Danny Daniel)were waiting for us to open and explained the situation and after hearing the explanation from the grand children and the attorney I felt someone should be appointed Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could have a hearing and determine who that
person should be. The grand children and their attorney filed a petition for emergency guardianship of a gravely incapacitated adult. I ordered that Beth Gaddy become Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could hold a hearing to see who the permanent guardian would be. I scheduled a hearing to be held on Monday, April 4, 2005 at 9:00am.

Monday-April 4, 2005 at 8:00 AM I received a petition from the brother and sister and their attorney(Kirby).The brother and sister filed a petition to become guardian and a petition objecting to the appointment of Beth Gaddy as emergency guardian.

Monday April 4, 2005 the hearing began at 9:10 am with ALL parties
present, except Ora Mae Magouirk. She was represented by attorney
(guardian ad-litem) James Thornton.

After hearing the opening statements and about 2 hrs of testimony the
attorney for the brother and sister requested a break. We adjourned for a 15 minute break and was to start the hearing back at 11:15 am. When I came from my office back to the hearing, ALL the attorneys and some of the family members informed me that they had a possible settlement agreement and wanted a few more minutes. The attorneys came in a few minutes later and announced they had an agreement.

The attorney for the brother and sister proposed to the court that they would withdraw their petition to become guardians and would withdraw their objection to Beth Gaddy becoming guardian and would consent to appointing Beth Gaddy as guardian, provided that she would agree to follow the medical advice recommended by and agreed upon by 2 of three doctors (all heart specialists). The 3 Doctors were named and agreed to by all parties. The court ordered that the three doctors evaluate Mae Magouirk within 24 hours (or as soon as possible) as time was of the essence. The court told ALL parties they were not to have contact with any of the doctors to try and influence their decision. Everyone agreed and the family was laughing and hugging one another and I thought everything had been worked and I felt the right decision had been made and I thought it was great that the family made that decision and I didn't have to. The attorney for the brother and sister, Jack Kirby, drew the order up for the Court.

Then on Thursday all of these half-truths and lies started across the
internet started by Mr. Kenneth Mullinax. I have nothing pending in my court and I had nothing pending in my court, yet I have been accused of starving a grandmother, murder, called everything in the book and all I want is to get the truth out.

I am answering any e-mails as fast as I can and I have not refused to
talk with anyone. I called a news conference to explain my side. I will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime about this matter.

It concerns me that people and so-called news agencies will print things that are not true or half-true and not bother to seek the truth. Please consider this in the future before you jump to conclusions you need to verify the story.

Regards,
Probate Judge Donald W. Boyd
Donald W. Boyd

Posted by richard at April 11, 2005 7:51 PM


Articles Related to :

Comments

Thanks for posting that! I do think, though, that it would be more appropriate and respectful to post Judge Boyd's letter in a stand-alone post and put your opinions/commentary about it in a separate post, since he was promised a voice and that his comments would be posted.

Would you be willing to make a post with just his letter by itself in addition to your post analyzing it? Then people could choose whether to link to just his letter, or also your analysis of it. Thanks for considering that.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 7:39 PM

When a judge orders that the physicians are to make a medical decison in 24 hours , who is responsible to make sure that happens; especially when it gets on to 96 hours.....was Judge Boyd planing on following up on this.

Did the judge question...even just once...what the heck Mea was doing in a hospice?...and why relatives from Alabama felt it so important that they be involved in his court room...?

Does Judge Boyd know that Miss Giddy has employed guards to keep Mae's loved ones from visiting her in the hospital..? Does that seem amicable to him? Could he ask her why?
Hmmmm? I would have.

Posted by: JoJoFox at April 11, 2005 8:03 PM

IF it is true, maybe it's to protect her from the crazies who would believe the sky is falling if someone with even the most remote hint of authority told them so.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 8:23 PM

I hope that Mae can recover sufficiently to draft a new POA and dump her "loving" grand daughter. How can she keep Mae's sister from seeing her? Who is paying for the guards? Scares the heck out of you that this can be happening again. And an elementary school actually allows this evil woman to teach children? Amazing!

Posted by: Pattie7242 at April 11, 2005 8:31 PM

There is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that Bob and Mary Schindler, and Suzanne and Bobby would NOT APPROVE what you are doing here.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 8:43 PM

The judge was listening to the testimony and had made no decisions before the settlement was reached. Without seeing the trial transcript, we have no way of knowing what testimony had been elicited up until the point of settlement and whether any of it involved questions about hospice placement. Ken indicated that the judge was sustaining objections to certain areas of cross-examination of the physician's by the attorney for the siblings regarding the possible efficacy of non-surgical treatment of the aorta. Perhaps those rulings were the impetus for the settlement allowing Gaddy to retain the temporary guardianship.

That Woman, if you don't like our discussions about this--go somewhere else. Beth Gaddy brought this on her own head. She made all of this public record by filing for a TRO and guardianship.

Your assertion that the Schindlers wouldn't approve of all this is patently absurd.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 9:09 PM

Sue Bob, Again, you ignore the facts YOU KNOW.

The family members entered a SETTLEMENT between themselves. Leave them alone.

Hey, where would you like me to go Sue Bob? Any suggestions?

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 9:19 PM

I'll tell you this, Sue Bob, if I were Beth Gaddy or her attorney, I would seriously consider a slander and libel and false light suit against you and anyone who has posted about this matter and refuses to correct or remove it. In fact, I'd be careful, because even the judge could sue and there are a couple of recent cases where even judges have sued on these grounds and they won millions from JURIES who heard the cases.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 9:23 PM

First, how am ignoring the fact of a settlement when I discussed it in my prior comment? I acknowledge that there was such a settlement. It's reasonable to argue that Beth Gaddy doesn't seem to like the result of the settlement since she has chosen to bar the rest of the family from visiting Mae. Or do you have facts to the contrary on that point? I've never said anything false about what the judge was doing--and neither has anyone else that I have seen.

Second, opinions are protected speech. Point out any falsehoods that have been posted at this site. I've not seen you disprove one fact printed here.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 9:41 PM

OMG! You're kidding, right. You better read the recent case law about protected speech, because this ain't it.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 10:17 PM

Richard,

Will there be initiatives forthcoming shortly regarding action that we can take regarding Terri's matter? Any update on impeaching Greer, or any push to get a grand jury investigation?

It seems all the politicians are backpedaling now. I think we need to keep the pressure up on them and the media in the pursuit of justice. Any ideas?

Thanks!
Denise

Posted by: Eyes Wide Open at April 11, 2005 10:49 PM

I agree that, while it may have been appropriate to intervene by contacting public officials, etc. to help Mae Magouirk, it is not appropriate to sit here from a distance and judge someone like Beth Gaddy and call her names when, *even according to Ken Mullinax*, there is no indication she had bad motives or was doing anything other than following the advice of doctors and doing her best to care for her grandmother according to what she was told was best. We don't know all the facts and she has not yet spoken for herself (I hope she will).

Meanwhile, Ken gave out her home phone number and cell phone number without her permission to be publicly posted all over the internet, and who knows how many hundreds or thousands of people--some well-meaning and some probably whackos out to scare or threaten her--called her at Ken's invitation (while she paid for the cell phone minutes to be harrassed).

We don't have any information about the facts surrounding some of the family members being asked to leave Mae Magouirk's room. For all we know, it could have been a temporary thing or a one-time thing that was misunderstood, or doctors' orders that nobody go into her room for now. For all we know, 5 people insisted on trying to get in all at once to an ICU room which allowed only one visitor at a time and then created a disturbance when they wouldn't let all of them in at once.

Not allowing people into a hospital room doesn't automatically and categorically prove that someone is a bad person or has bad motives--there are at least a few conceivable scenarios where it could either be necessary, be a misunderstanding, or be doctors' orders. In the absence of any facts whatsoever, would it hurt to give the benefit of the doubt until we find out more?

Since Mae's life was not in immediate danger, I think it would have been much more appropriate for the Mullinax family to appeal to the hospital, the judge, or somebody that could actually do something about it rather than immediately sending out an inflammatory and accusing e-mail to be posted on the internet about it.

At this point it sounds like emotions are probably running high on both sides, and either or both sides may be ready to react hotly to anything. I really hope this family can be reconciled without irreversible damage.

I am also wondering how Ken's mother managed to go to Mae's hospital room and get kicked out (which is what his e-mail makes it sound like happened) when she just barely got out of ICU and is receiving treatment for a condition which, to all accounts, requires she stays in bed quietly with no exertion or disturbance.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 10:58 PM

That woman,

For an opinion to be actionable it has to purport to be based on facts that the speaker knows or should know are false. What falsehoods has anyone at this site made? Every allegation I've seen is also alleged in the court petition filed by the siblings--which is published on the internet.

As for the judge--I only saw the accusation that he didn't enforce the living will--which is arguably true because the case settled before he got that far. I think that it was foolish to criticize the judge before we saw the order--as it seems very reasonable given that it was a settlement agreement.

Purple Kangaroo,

The settlement WAS in place before Ken started speaking out. I think he began raising heck because the physicians were supposed to consult within 24 hours and seemed to be delaying in their decision while Mae was continuing to dehydrate. What would you do if you saw such a delay and your family member was dehydrating? I would say given her diagnosis of severe dehydration that she was in imminent danger.

I don't think it was the sick sister who tried to visit--I think it was the other siblings. I thought that Mae was in CCU which is the coronary care unit--not ICU.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 11:13 PM

Sue_Bob, I was referring to Ken's reaction to being kept out of his aunt's room, not his original e-mails and appeals for help. If he had run out of options and Mrs. M's life was in danger s doctors delayed, that original action makes sense.

However, there is no reason for such a reaction to happen IMMEDIATELY before pursuing other options in regards to the rules about visitors. At this point there is no reason why his first resort for dealing with his anger at being asked to leave Mae Magouirk's room should be to send an inflammatory e-mail to the blogosphere--that's what I meant. There are plenty of other recourses to try first, and no reason why we need to intervene before he tries them.

Ken did specifically mention his mother, Mae's sister, who is the one who just got out of ICU in his e-mail about being asked to leave Mae's room.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 11:23 PM

Question please: What is the name of the doctor who certified Mrs. Magouirk as terminally ill and placed her in hospice? Is he/she a cardiologist or GP? Is he/she one of the 3 doctors who reviewed her case after the hearing?

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 11:39 PM

I think it's time we all took a deep breath and considered Aunt Mae's condition of an aortic dissection. While it's true that the condition can be managed without surgery, in the end it will probably prove fatal. Obviously the initial prognosis provided to the grandchildren was not hopeful and on that basis Aunt Mae was admitted to the hospice.

Subsequently, it seems the three cardiologists have concluded that non-invasive therapy is worthwhile trying and I pray that it gives Aunt Mae a few more good years.

As far as the grandchildren blocking access to Aunt Mae is concerned we have no way of knowing why this decision was made because they are not talking. We don't know whether it is a permanent state of affairs or whether it has been made to shield Aunt Mae from all the controversy while her health is stabilising.

I don't want to ever see anyone's life ended prematurely for any reason but there are times when death is inevitable and "true" hospice care is desirable. There are also occasions when it is morally permissable to refuse treatment. In Aunt Mae's case if the therapy is both non-invasive and non-burdensome then it is entirely appropriate and desirable, even in a hospice setting.

What concerns me is where Aunt Mae is going to be cared for on her discharge from hospital, and whether the level of care offered will be sufficient.

Katrina.

Posted by: Katrina at April 12, 2005 12:26 AM

I think it is time for cool heads regarding Mae and her family. There is no point getting steamed up about a situation that is now a family affair.

The reason that I find Beth's attitude questionable is that statement about "It's time for grandma to go to Jesus". Personally, I think that this kind of statement is inappropriate for a grandchild to make. That is my personal opinion and is not a condemnation of the woman in question.

The doctor who went into the courtroom was a Dr. Stout. He did the talking about the issue of putting Mae into the Hospice vs. treating her condition. I would question his motivation concerning an elderly woman.

Now back to Beth, yes I think that she is misguided, and what is worse she is reflecting a current attitude that one gets from the culture of death soft sell with regard to what is euphemistically called a death with dignity. Thus Beth projected her own immature thought pattern onto her grandmother with a comment "Who would want to live like that".

In what I had read, it was the doctor who said that he was prepared to override Mae's living will, so again the finger has to point at him because he has an unhealthy attitude towards the aged who might have a heart problem. Beth was ill-advised by that doctor and I think that this is the kind of thing that needs to be combatted in the future.

The way that I see this situation, Beth received very poor advice from a doctor who obviously believes in not treating elderly patients because they are a waste of space. However, what is not in Beth's favour is the fact that she lied about having the medical power of attorney to be able to make the decision to put Mae in Hospice. Judge Boyd has ensured that Mae was to get the appropriate appraisal and treatment of her condition. His letter that was attached to the original order was very clear that Beth was to ensure that her grandmother was kept nourished and hydrated and he also provided that if necessary she was to be removed from the hospice and into a nursing home facility.

This is where there is a conflict of interest. The judge has done everything possible to ensure that Mae is not to be deprived of her life as a result of a bad decision. As a result of the arrangement Mae is now in Alabama.

It is not appropriate to call Beth wicked and evil because no one knows her side of the story. We only have one side so far. Beth has behaved inappropriately even in the role as guardian, and that means that she is not a suitable person for the permanent role.

This story is another reason why your guardianship laws must be reviewed carefully to ensure that the rights of the elderly and the disabled are not being trampled.

Posted by: Maggie4life at April 12, 2005 1:32 AM

Once again, from Mary

Seriously, arguing about who did what to who and, well, I do not even know because I started to feel sick reading it all. Does ANYONE SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE!!!!!! We are not pulling together to find a solution, but we are being divided by very small differences (and some infiltration from those who would like to see this whole operation go away/)Mae is safe for now, but tomorrow who will be next. PLEASE READ AND HELP

This is from Mary et.al.-she is going to be off line for a few days but I am posting this because it is soooooo good. First is her idea and then her message to me on how to implement it.
What if...
Mae had appointed a guardian ad lidem group of doctors and clergy to protect her? What if that group had teeth, in the form of a crack team of attorneys expert in these matters? (along the lines of the ACLU) What if the doctors in this group monitored the care she was being given and the attorneys in this group routinely prosecuted anyone who did anything detrimental to Mae or the others who had appointed them.
What if...these people weren't so very under protected by the rest of the sheep, but had a sheep dog to protect her? What if, by appointing this group as her guardian, Mae had placed herself in a shelter, BEFORE all this began, a shelter with the power to make the wolves take notice and back off?
When Terri died I knew they would become ever more brazen. With Mae we are watching their arrogance balloon outrageously. They no longer bother with any pretence or artifice. I am praying for a sheep dog for Mae, but I don't know who it would be outside of God, because we haven't gotten around calling this "dog" into existence yet.

Contact pro-life doctors and clergy in your area, and ask them if they would be a part of a guardian ad litem group. Explain the concept to them and if they are truly pro life, I think they will go for it. I also think there should be three doctors to a group if possible.
Start a prayer warriors group in your area and commit to praying for any one caught in hell, and for the healing and deliverance of those who are guilty of this.
Get the word out about this group. Really we need a central group that gets info printed up about all this, so people can go to Walmart and other high traffic areas to hand them out. It should contain the truth about the euthanasia movement, the living will, and this alternative group, etc.
AND, for those who for any reason don't have such a group to protect them, let us at least provide a jury of 12. First we must find out why this is being done without a jury, then apply the proper remedy, even if it means having congress make a new law. That shouldn't have to be the case, but if it is, then find a congress person to sponsor the bill and rag all legislative people to support it. And get it passed fast.

Posted by: alwayschooselife at April 12, 2005 1:46 AM

I do like the idea of having a jury to hear evidence and decide when a life is at stake and there is a conflict of information and interests.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 12, 2005 2:09 AM

Yes, but the only problem with a jury would be who is on it. Obviously you can't have a jury of all doctors and pro life advocates. That is why an organization would be good-I see it kind of like a tax shelter-you set up a tax shelter for you and your family-why not set up some sort of life shelter-where you have this group of people ready to stand by you and fight for you should the time come-Kind of like Right to Live Insurance.

Posted by: alwayschooselife at April 12, 2005 2:17 AM

I'm having a really hard time the past week still seeing or believing the sincerity of the mission statement here when it's accompanied with quoted articles to put down one political party and promote another.
When there still hasn't been even a single mention of proposed or passed legislation changes following Terri's death.
When an attempt to save a life ends up being a persuit of slander and libel.

A lof of people need to take a step back and realize this isn't the Schindlers vs Michael, although Ken does seem to have done whatever it takes to make you believe that it is.

Whatever anyone here did to try and help save Mae's life is commendable, but the accompanying Beth witch hunt isn't.

Ken has lied and twisted facts, I doubt there's any dispute about that. There was never a feeding tube, let alone that it would have been pulled and she was not refused food or water. The judge seems to have done the right thing for the most part, despite Ken's allegations to the contrary and his defamation of the judge's character.
I've seen some people here use news articles to back up the wickedness of Beth, yet most of any that I've seen used blogs or Ken's version of events as source material.
If Ken did put Beth's phone number out there then I certainly can't fault her for wanting to keep him away. It's not the right thing to do, but family issues are rarely 'clean fights', which is why outsiders should keep out of them and not pass judgement with only gossip from one side.

Getting to the point: if you're going to be directly involved in families' disputes, do like some others here have also suggested and approach it from a neutral, impartial point of view.
Urge and get the attention of someone who is qualified and in a position to get the real facts to make a review and take appropriate action and do follow up on it.
Maybe Ken is innocent of ulterior motives and maybe Beth is the next Michael Schiavo. But if they're not - or if in the future you pass similar judgement upon others and it's enventually proven you fell for someone's ploy, then you instantly lose all credibility you may have to make a difference in the future but also about allegations made in the past which may have been justified.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 12, 2005 4:04 AM

Can someone confirm or deny that "Grandmama is old and I think it is time she went home to Jesus," and "She has glaucoma and now this heart problem, and who would want to live with disabilities like these?" is not an actual quote from Beth, but rather something Ken claims she said?

I've been trying to hunt down the first reference which seems to be the WorldNetDaily but it's not listed as a first hand quote at all there.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 12, 2005 4:30 AM

Judge Boyd was lied to by Beth Gaddy regarding Mae's condition as well as her intentions for her grandmother.

When the family met April 4th, the judge dismissed the Alabama family's desire to cross-examine the doctor -- displaying hostility toward their case before they had even had time to present it. I was willing to believe that Boyd was acting in ignorance of the Alabama family's desires, until the above post where he admits that he knew there was a conflict. Ruth Mulinax and A.B. McLoed are Mae's brother and sister, and therefore a probate judge should have known that they would have as much if not more say in her care as a granddaughter would have -- yet Boyd made it clear to the family as well as their attorneys that he intended to side with Gaddy all along.

How can he claim to not know that Gaddy's intentions were to euthanize her aunt?

Yes, he can issue a contempt of court citation any time he darn well wants to, and given that Beth Gaddy lied to him as well as disobeyed the court order, his inaction speaks volumes.

I can't see Boyd's actions as excusable given that he allowed almost a week to pass before he received word of Mae's condition -- when he ordered it within 24 hours.

If Jeb Bush allowed George Greer to violate Florida state law rather than risk a contempt of court citation -- why, in Georgia, is Beth Gaddy getting away with lying to the court and blatantly defying the court's order?

The hospice as well should be cited for contempt.

Boyd through his inaction has made himself what Greer became through his actions. Until Beth Gaddy sits behind bars serving out her contempt of court sentence Boyd's qualifications as a judge are in serious question. And as long as the same one that lied to the court and attempted to murder her grandmother remains in power over her grandmother's health care -- Boyd's qualification are in question.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at April 12, 2005 4:40 AM

Carol, I appreciate your comments. As someone who actually works in a hospice, I have a question for you. Mrs. Magouirk had a living will specifying she was to receive artificial nutrition and hydration if necessary. She apparently became dehydrated during her stay in hospice as a result of not taking sufficient food and water by mouth. She was hospiced by her attending physician (Dr. Stout) and presumably the hospice also has a staff physician on call if not in residence. These things being the case, wouldn't the caregivers have an obligation to inform the doctor of her inadequate fluid intake, and wouldn't the doctor then have the obligation to implement an IV or NG tube per the living will? What I am suggesting is that the doctor at this particular hospice (regardless of the excellence of the profession as a whole) failed to provide resonable and necessary care. Comment?

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 12, 2005 7:43 AM

Fair question, Creatureofhabit. It is always an obligation of every nurse, to record and report any and all circumstances of a patient's condition.

In a situation such as this, the attending physician would be well-aware of Mae's diagnosis. He would know (and have ordered) her pain management medications, as well as any sedation used to keep her immobile (given her condition). Despite his knowledge of these issues, we would still record and report her intake and output.

Assuming he was aware of the Living Will...and that its instructions are as we've been led to believe, it would be his responsibility to give nursing staff the appropriate orders. We cannot act without those orders.

Lastly, I just want to address the issue of pain management and sedation. Contrary to what some believe, those medications are not used to prevent patients from vocalizing their true desires, nor to speed-up their demise. In Mae's case, her immobility is essential to her survival. Any exertion, could well kill her instanteously. Pain medications should be self-evident in their usage. If you've never seen someone in agony, you will have to take my word for it. They have no desire to eat, drink, nor hold any deep conversations about their future. They just want the pain to stop, and that's what we endeavor to provide for them.

Posted by: Carol at April 12, 2005 8:11 AM

There certainly are a number of questions about this case that have not been sufficiently answered. However, I am little concerned that some people are assuming that people are all making decisions out of "good will". It is not "good will" to ignore just laws. If someone has written directives to receive nutrition and hydration, these should be honored. It is hardly good will to have ignored these wishes regardless of the reason. Second, it was my understanding that the granddaughter would not be first in line for having guardianship. If it is a law in Georgia that guardianship falls to a closer relative, why would the judge allow the granddaughter to receive even temporary custody? For that matter, why would the closer relations agree to a settlement on this matter. In other words, if the closer relations, by law, have guardianship, why do they need to settle with a party who does not have a stake in the matter? This, too, does not seem like "good will" on the part of someone affiliated with the closer relations.

Finally, the questions of the hospice is a very relevant one. My understanding is that in most cases it is a law that only people with terminal illnesses are placed in hospice. That fact that someone is elderly and ill does not make them terminally ill. It does not seem very "good will" that this woman being in a hospice did not immediately raise red flags for the judge. Given recent experiences, it would seem that as soon as a judge hears the word "hospice", the judge should ask from what terminal illness the person is suffering.

Posted by: djw at April 12, 2005 11:08 AM

djw: I was commenting on a different blog about the Georgia law, and someone posted the relevant section. Sorry I can't remember where it was. Basically, not only do siblings and grandchildren have equal "rank", but a person who has some limited powers (like a financial power of attorney) gets a boost in consideration as medical guardian. In any case, no guardian automatically exists (unless the patient specifically designated a medical guardian, which she did not), one must be appointed by a judge--the judge also has latitude to consider other factors. (Since I can't find the blog comment I also leave open the possibility that Ken was right and the commenter was blowing smoke. Dang, I wish I could remember where that was.)

Unfortunately, while I think Ken Mullinax had a right to be alarmed by the situation, and the big picture seems to be more or less as he first alleged, a lot of the early info he provided seems to have been pretty distorted.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 12, 2005 3:57 PM