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April 11, 2005

Judge Boyd weighs in on the Mae Magouirk case

Topics: News

I just got a telephone call from Judge Boyd. He was very nice, and cleared up a lot of questions I had about the case.

The basic overview of what he told me was that the whole family was in agreement when they came to court, and that they had all decided that Beth Gaddy should be made the legal guardian (under certain conditions). Three doctors should evaluate her condition, and all of the family would agree to their suggestion. He did not have to decide anything, he just wrote down what they agreed to. He made Gaddy the guardian, but made her so under the condition that she must make sure that Mae Magouirk was given proper food and care. He also told me that he ordered that none of the family members could try to convince any of the doctors to their side, and that the doctors were ordered to check her within 24 hrs, or as soon thereafter as possible, because time was important. He has promised to send me a copy of the court order, I will make it available as soon as I receive it.

I asked him how it could be that he had made these orders, and yet they had not been obeyed? He told me that he had no clue that his orders were not being carried out, and that the family should have let him know. Then he would have been able to enforce his orders; but as it was they did not let him know what was going on, so he could not do anything about it.

He was very concerned that blogs were not, as he put it "doing a better job checking things out".

Cross posted at: Sounding the Trumpet

Posted by joshua at April 11, 2005 5:13 PM

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I AGREE with the judge!!

"He was very concerned that blogs were not, as he put it "doing a better job checking things out"."

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 4:16 PM

And I agree too. We need to get the ENTIRE facts of a story before calling everyone to take action, otherwise we'll look frenzied and disorganized and our reputation will suffer.

Posted by: Anna_Nordin at April 11, 2005 4:24 PM

Ya know, how can people "do a better job checking things out" if Beth Gaddy has had her phone number changed, and we can't possibly have constant access to Ken Mullinex, who is scarce for long periods of time because he must be at hospital with his own mother, and God willing, his aunt?

It would be nice if each side had an "official spokesperson".

Posted by: Suzanne. at April 11, 2005 4:28 PM

I agree with you Anna. It's easy to become hysterical and heady or give in to sensationalism in the heat of the moment -- and then ending up discrediting ourselves and our cause badly. Thus we must be extra careful in our research and writing.

Nevertheless, when someone is being dehydradated against her will (as the hospital in Alabama where Mae was admitted has stated), then it seems good to act first and ask questions afterwards.

Posted by: Coyote at April 11, 2005 4:30 PM

Boyd's got a lot of nerve, doesn't he. We haven't been elected, and are being paid to make sure Mae Maqouirk's rights are being protected, he is. What he's telling is his version. If Gaddy had been lying to him that everyone was in agreement, then the Alabama side of the family would take his dismissal of their efforts to educate him as a clear sign that he had already decided.

Gaddy withheld information as well as lied to him, she also disobeyed the court order. He knows that now, but has he issued a contempt of court citation? Nope, didn't think so.

In other words, he's blaming the Alabama side of Mae's family because he didn't and still isn't doing his job.

The bloggers are doing fine as far as I can see.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at April 11, 2005 4:32 PM

I would like to see practical suggestions of how anyone could have "done a better job checking it out."

Bloggers made telephone calls to Ken Mullinax (several talked to him extensively on the phone), the hospice, the judge, the lawyers, and attempted to call Beth Gaddy. What else could they have done, and still be acting in time to do some good if, as it seems, Mae Magouirk was actually not receiving proper care and was in imminent danger of dying?

In such a case, you can either do what you can to verify the information and operate on the basis of what information you have with the understanding that it is limited and still trying to find out the facts (which is what most did), or you can wait several days to a week to get everything completely clear and verified, while in the meantime the person in question dies.

In Mae Magouirk's case, a delay of a few days could have killed her. So we had to decide whether to err on the side of action that was as informed as possible, or caution that could result in a delay causing a death.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 4:37 PM

It's hard to know what would have happened had bloggers not gotten involved. We should be careful about awarding ourselves too much credit--it seems the judge's 3-doctor plan worked regardless of all the internet hyperventilating.

That said, I think I would be entirely self-defeating to wait for all that facts; that might have been Mrs. Magouirk's autopsy report. However, the blogs do have a responsibilty to report as accurately as they can with the available information, to disclose their sources and conflicts of interest, and to correct the record when and if better information becomes available.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 4:49 PM

The judge can't just issue an order of contempt. The Alabama family will have to file a motion and present evidence of the flaunting of the court order.

As for Judge Boyd saying that bloggers should get their facts straight--I assume that he is talking about his role and the alleged agreement of the parties. We could have obtained copies of orders and a transcript--but the hearing is not the most important part of the story.

The important part of the story is that a woman was placed in hospice without a terminal diagnosis and was deprived adequate nutrition and hydration because of the decision of a proxy.

Do we stand for or against the withdrawal and/or deprivation of nutrition and hydration on the basis of decisions made by proxies or health providers or not? Do we stand against the denial of medical treatments from people who could benefit from them merely because a physician decides their quality of life is without worth based on his subjective opinion?

I highly reccommend the book by Wesley J. Smith called the Culture of Death, The Assault on Medical Ethics In America. You will learn that Mae's situation is not unique. You will read instances where family members agreed that their loved one would receive treatment, or continue being fed and hydrated or continued on respirators and had to fight hospitals to provide this care. You will read instances of relentless pressure on family members by health providers to withdraw treatment.

You will read a story about a young couple in Michigan who tried to fight for care for their disabled infant--causing the hospital to actually file to have their parental rights terminated!

After you read this book, you will have a very clear idea of how pervasive this is. All parties to such things--family members, health providers and the judiciary should be scrutinized and held accountable.

I agree that we shouldn't react hysterically or without a basis in fact to instances--but I don't see that there has been any real discrepancy between the judge's story and the bloggers reporting of the facts.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 5:06 PM

What was there to check out?

We had a woman being starved to death contrary to her wishes specifically set forth in a living will.

Has this judge answered any questions as to why he allowed this patient to be placed in a hospice in the first place?

Can this judge really make the claim that he did not know his orders weren't being carried out?

Most importantly, if my post on my blog helped bring him around to making a decision to do the right thing, where's the harm in that, regardless of how good a job I did "checking things out"?

This judge owes me (and the rest of the blogosphere, for that matter) dinner out for saving his sorry ass from being impeached for violating the conditions set forth in a living will and/or prosecuted for accessory to murder. I'd say Beth Gaddy has a lot of explaining to do as well.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 11, 2005 5:10 PM

True, we have no way of knowing whether our involvement had any effect on the end results . . . but my view is that when things like this happen, the public needs to know. How else will we be aware of laws and policies that need to be changed? My guess is that if every such case is publicized, some legal and policy changes will come about that will make them much more rare.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 5:23 PM

Please do not alienate judge Boyd. He is pro-life and he did issue an order in such a way that Beth Gaddy had to allow Mae the medical treatment.

This case has not finished yet because our dear Beth has issued an order to prevent the Alabama family from visiting. That is a very cruel action on her part. If this has to go back before Boyd then we need to see that he remains neutral and will give the Mullinax family a good hearing, so that he does not take the same path as Greer.

He has already shown that he is not going to allow someone to be starved to death in a hospice through the wording in the order issued.

It is difficult for the out of state family to be fully aware of the situation and I can understand the concern that Ken has for his aunt might have clouded his understanding of the judgement or that he could seek to have Beth held in contempt of court.

I think that Judge Boyd has a right to be upset if he was misrepresented as another George Greer. He has been very cooperative with the bloggers.

Please work to get him on side, because he is not like Greer.

Posted by: Maggie4life at April 11, 2005 5:34 PM

Well, as long as everyone agrees the end justifies the means, that's all that matters.

What about an apology to Beth Gaddy for all the unsupported and unwarranted hate speech? What did she do? She has provided care for her grandmother for TEN YEARS and took her for medical care for, what has been described here as an aortic dissection. Then acted in accord with doctor(s) diagnosis. Nourishment was not WITHHELD. The lady was medicated for the severe pain associated with an aortic dissection and as a result unable or unwilling to take substantial oral nourishment. A feeding tube was not removed and could have only been inserted in a hospital under doctor(s) orders.

As far as the ends justify the means, one should keep in mind the phrase "first do no harm". Other more reliable information WAS available but was not obtained or ignored. A responsible journalist or advocate knows what constitutes REALIABLE evidence and also knows to collect ALL sides of a story BEFORE reporting it, especially when to do so would be damaging to any person or entity.

The court record is a public document and included in that public document was and is the name of Beth Gaddy's attorney who could have and has spoken on her behalf, providing facts that have mostly been ignored or disregarded in favor of Mullinax's knowingly twisted information.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 5:47 PM

The nonsense that has gone on here is helping to alienate these family members, who according to the judge, were arm in arm at the court proceedings.

IMHO your involvement in THIS case is harming not helping. Move on.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 5:50 PM

The only good blogging I've found on the internet has to do with electronics and technology. Politcal bloggers are all insane fanatically extremists who try to politicize everything. No matter what this Judge or a judge in any other case says, their single minded stubbornness will refuse to allow them to think critically and understand the other side. Its like they get into a blood thirsty, "I must win" mentality and become skeptical of all that is not in line with their thoughts. Ever think what happens to the bloggers once they accomplish their goal? They're so used to being activists that they just find another thing to whine and annoy people about.

Posted by: CriticalThinker at April 11, 2005 6:05 PM

I don't get this. A woman is being starved to death and isn't terminal, and the judge wishes to blame everybody else but the parties involved?

Something's screwy, and it's not with the bloggers.

Posted by: Susan Nunes at April 11, 2005 6:21 PM

Personally, I'm thinking that in the future a good approach might be this:

Rather than taking things at face value, we could probably still have the desired results by asking someone who has the power and ability to intervene to check it out.

For instance, if I were to do it over again, rather than writing an e-mail with the "facts" as I knew them and sending it out, I would have worded it a bit differently. I would have said, "This is the report we're getting . . . if true, it is serious. I am asking you to do what you can to check this out and intervene in whatever way is necessary."

If people had approached congresspeople, newspaper reporters, the judge, hospice, etc. with an attitude more like that I think it would have been just as effective but less alienating, and less likely to elicit threats or accusations from those prone to such rudeness.

"A gentle word turns away wrath," and anyone approached with respectfulness and given the benefit of the doubt is apt to respond better even if they are making a mistake or doing something wrong.

That doesn't necessarily mean we can't or shouldn't do what we can to draw attention to and intervene in a situation, but we can do it without calling people names or making assumptions about their motives, and while also allowing for the fact that the information we are getting may not be absolutely complete and correct.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 6:24 PM

Susan- Have you been reading? She's at UAB and being nurished. You're a prime example of a person who just skims the blogs and just wants to hear yourself talk. Please catch up with the news of the day, week, even month.

On a side note, following up on bloggers/activists being extremists. I care about breast implants but here's a story on CNN

Certain women want them banned since they cause them medical problems..
Certain people want them unbanned since they want to have silicon implants due to their consistancy difference from saline..

Simple.. Let each do their own thing.. Women who want them even with possible side effects.. Why should they be able to try.. Same thing with Vioxx.. It gives people heart attacks.. but some might be willing to risk the heart attack for a pain free couple of years.. Let them..

Offer the "Will to Live" contracts.. and Offer the "Will to Die if PVS" contracts too.. Let people do what they want to do as long as it doesn't directly hurt you..

Posted by: CriticalThinker at April 11, 2005 6:28 PM

well said purple

Posted by: CriticalThinker at April 11, 2005 6:29 PM

As far as I understand the whole situation it seems the only problems are the miscommunication that led to Mae ending up in the hospice, why they didn't put in an IV if she wasn't able to get enough water orally due to the sedation and why it took so long for her to get transferred from the hospice to the hospital.

I don't think there was anything fundamentally wrong with the response given the limited information available, but I don't think there was a reason to go and villify Beth right from day one. Just because someone is argueing pro-life doesn't mean they're righteous.
In retrospect as I understand it, Mae would have gotten transferred to the hospital regardless of anything anyone did due to Ken's pleas. Beyond that he does seem to have lied or twisted facts several times to make Mae's plight comparable to Terri's which would automatically trigger a distaste towards Beth and get everyone to defame her, in blogs and eventually the media.

The judge had to and did account for events, I think it's time for Ken to do some explaining of his own because I can't help but feel like Ken has hidden motives and is using the current situation as a way to get them.
As far as Beth is concerned, is there anything that indicates she consciously did something detrimental to Mae that isn't based on something Ken wrote?

All that said, I'm happy Mae is in good hands now and getting the treatment she needs and deserves.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 11, 2005 6:36 PM

Quite frankly, I don't have a whole lot of respect for trolls that come to the blogosphere to criticize bloggers.

By the way ...

Under what authority has Beth Gaddy prohibited the family from visiting the patient?

Why hasn't her guardianship been rescinded due the the blatant defiance of the judge's orders?

A lot of people still have a lot of explaining to do.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 11, 2005 6:36 PM

That Woman,

A naso-gastric tube can be inserted by a nurse after she obtains a telephone order from a physician upon assessment of a patient who is suffering dehydration. Second, an IV can be used to prevent dehydration in someone who is too ill or drugged up to eat or drink. That can also be obtained by a telephone order.

There is no excuse for allowing a patient to become severely dehydrated simply because the patient is unable to eat or drink while recovering from an event. This tells me that the protocol was to meant to facilitate the dying process. It is also irrelevant what Mae's condition is because thirsting someone to death is barbaric under any circumstance.

Further, Beth Gaddy brought her condition of alienation from the rest of the family on her own head by misrepresenting the terms of the POA, and then secretly going to a court to obtain a TRO and emergency order of guardianship in order to circumvent the siblings from exercising their power under Georgia law to make treatment decisions for Mae.

As for Blogs for Terri's participation--this was at the request of the family. It is irrelevant to me whether Ken Mullinex is a Democratic operative or not. It is fortunate for his aunt that he does have the resources and knowledge necessary to draw public attention to this situation. There are many other families who who would not have the savvy necessary to save family members in similar situations.

Finally, are you saying that the fact that Beth Gaddy ran errands for her grandmother (who lived alone) and took her to the doctor gives Gaddy the right to refuse medical treatment and the means for adequate hydration and nutrition? By the way, how do you know that Beth Gaddy took Mae to get the treatment for her bisected aorta? How do you know that it wasn't EMS?

Regardless, shall we now support an agenda which holds that caretakers and/or family members are justified in facilitating the death of the elderly by dehydration just because they play a role in caring for them?

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 6:43 PM

Critcal Thinker (and RightWingRocker in part due to your blog):

a living will by itself isn't actually any good. What ultimately decides "your" fate is your family. If they're all in agreement they'll either honour it or dismiss it. If some agree and some don't there will a fight which might ultimately result in a court deciding which side is 'right'.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 11, 2005 6:47 PM

Vanessa ...

That's why I advocate living will legislation that would make the will binding. You just never know when you're going to get a situation like Schiavo where the legal guardianship winds up in the hands of someone who doesn't have the patient's best interests at heart. There are a lot of unanswered questions in this case as well, as I have noted above.

The living will itself should be considered the patient's final say. If the law does not reflect this, then the law should be changed.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 11, 2005 6:51 PM

I agree. I put full trust in my family deciding what I want. The problem occurs when families disagree. Therefore, legistlation for JUST that case is needed to solve disputes but other than that, if my family thinks I wouldn't enjoy my life in the condition I am in, I would put my full trust in them deciding for me. I'd always choose them over a law, politican, and blogger.

Wow.. It's really hard to call someone who differs in opinion than you a "troll". Dismiss a persons character instead of presenting opinions or facts to prove the person wrong.. You are a tricky one.. ;)

Posted by: CriticalThinker at April 11, 2005 6:55 PM

Sometimes it doesn't matter if you have a living will or advance directive--or if you have given a medical durable power of attorney to a trusted family member. Many states have enacted futile care legislation which makes hospital ethics committees almost quasi-judicial. If one of these ethics committees makes the decision to withhold "life-sustaining" measures--you are most likely dead. At the least--your family will have to go to the courts--who don't always side with the family--or acknowledge living wills or advance directives specifying that care is to be given.

Texas enacted a ten day period in such cases to allow time to find an alternative facility. Well, guess what! It's not working so well because the hospitals talk to each other.

That is why I believe it is so important that opposition in cases like Mae's be so loud and clear. Without the momentum of public opinion, some in the health profession will continue to consolidate the power to make such life and death decisions for you against your will because the legislatures will ignore their responsibility to protect patients from health providers and unsuitable proxies and guardians.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 7:09 PM

Sue Bob, Yes, only by doctor(s) orders, which apparently were NOT given by the woman's DOCTOR and were not WITHHELD by Beth Gaddy.

Really? It was a misrepresentation regarding power of attorney or a MISUNDERSTANDING. I can think of many people who do not know the significance of one legal document or another especially in this area. Perhaps both Beth Gaddy and her grandmother believed the appropriate documents had been executed not knowing they may have been deficient in some important way. But you cannot possibly know this because you have not spoken to Beth Gaddy or to her grandmother. Nevertheless, you are happy to report your assertions and conclusions as fact.

The fact that you could care less about whether or not a political operative's agenda is at work IS telling. One would have thought that it is the truth that matters to both an advocate or a journalist.

Finally, you outrageously diminish the role Beth Gaddy has in her grandmother's life. Common sense alone dictates that your assertion in this regard cannot be correct as an elderly blind woman surely requires more assistance than "running errands" as if she were just an errand girl. She is the woman's granddaughter and the only family member who has been assisting her. Apparently, to you, there is NO VALUE in that.

Beth Gaddy's grandmother WAS NOT being killed by forced dehydration. There is NO PROOF that any agenda was being brought to bear here. However, you are clearly supporting an agenda of lies and intentional misinformation. And you could "care less" what harm may be done to either a woman where there is no proof of ANY wrongdoing or to a family as a result.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 7:10 PM

RWR, the problem with making living wills binding is this: it doesn't allow the patient to change their mind.

If they, once they actually get into a situation, decide that they want to be fed when their living will says they don't want treatment, or that they don't want chemotherapy that will lengthen their life and pain by only a week or so when their living will says they want all possible life-extending treatment as long as there is a heartbeat, then what? What if the courts interpret their living will differently than they meant it? Would they have no recourse?

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 7:16 PM

Well, Angela, that is certainly preferable to what's going on now. Wouldn't you say?

You have a point when it comes to the courts. Many judges just do whatever the hell they want, and the law be damned. Judge Greer probably wouldn't have honored a living will even if the law bound him to. I'm still not sure about Boyd, though he does deserve credit for doing the right thing.

But, having seen the problems that have come about, less flexibility is needed with regard to living wills. I don't have all the answers, and neither do you, but you can't possibly tell me that simply making a living will binding wouldn't be a HUGE improvement over what we are dealing with here. If you do think you can tell me that, we will have to agree to disagree. Time to go make music.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 11, 2005 7:26 PM

That woman,

You ignore the fact reported by the Alabama physician that Mae was severly dehydrated upon discharge. Severe and continued dehydration leads to death. What source of information do you have that this was not the case? I cite the statement of the Alabama physician.

What kind of physician would fail to order an IV in such a situation? What kind of nurse would fail to properly assess and report to the physician the need for hydration delivered alternatively to oral. The logical conclusion is those who are instituting the protocol used by hospice to dehydrate patients.

You claim that we make assertions not based on fact--however you have no information showing the extent of Gaddy's prior "care" for her grandmother. Even the newspaper reported that Beth Gaddy "ran errands" and did not specify other care given to Mae. Regardless, I assert that no level of care justifies giving a caretaker the moral right to place someone in hospice when that person has other treatment options. Nor does a caretaker have the moral right to allow or assent to inadequate hydration and nutrition for that person.

As for supporting anyone's agenda--I support only the agenda of objecting to the placement in hospice of any person who is not terminal and wh has other treatment options and who is placed there by a proxie (who at the time did not have legal authority) The fact that the result of the consultation of the three physicians was transfer to the Alabama hospital is sufficient evidence that she was neither terminal nor that care would be futile. I suport the agenda of objecting to hospice failing to arrange for adequate hydration and nutrition of patients who have so indicated in living wills--or have not filed documents to the contrary. The fact that she was severely dehydrated upon discharge is sufficient evidence that the hospice was failing in those very issues.

You may use all the hyperbole you desire in place of facts conflicting with the ones we have uncovered based on the statements by the physician, the newspapers and a relative--it proves nothing.

You have accused us of taking positions not based on facts--I have provided the factual basis for our position. Where are your facts?

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 7:35 PM

that woman:
1) The first hospital committed legal malpractice when it allowed Beth Gaddy to send her gran to hospice. They should have checked the POA and known that according to Georgia law, it was insufficient for medical decision making. I give Ms. Gaddy the benefit of the doubt on this one.

2) the hospice lawyer realized Ms. Gaddy's POA was insufficient and sent her to the judge (on Saturday according to the judge himself, if I recall correctly). Ths hospice, knowing other relatives were seeking guardianship, could have taken a more neutral position, but let's give Beth the benefit of the doubt on this one too.

3) Mrs. Magourik was unable (for whatever reason) to take sufficient nourishment by mouth. She had a living will specifying that she should be provided a feeding tube unless in coma or PVS. At this point, BOTH the hospice AND Beth Gaddy SHOULD HAVE INSISTED on inserting an NG tube and providing sufficient nourishment. Ken claims the hospice was ready with an NG tube but Beth stopped them. Frankly, it doesn't matter. Beth should have asked for it, and if she didn't the hospice should have done it anyway.

Why? Because when someone goes into a hospice with terminal condition "X", the hospice can not (morally or legally) hurry things along by allowing the patient to dehydrate and starve. If condition "X", whatever it is, interferes with the patient's nutrition, the hospice has a moral and legal obligation to provide proper nutrition until the patient dies of "X". ESPECIALLY if the patient has a living will saying exactly that.

I ask you, even if Ms. Gaddy had the best intentions, and was acting on the doctors's advice, and truly believed her gran wanted to remain in hospice peacefully waiting for the end, what was the purpose of refusing to permit the placement of an NG tube or IV, except to hasten her gran's passing?

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 7:46 PM

Feeding tubes and IV's are under the province of the DOCTOR, now you are contradicting your own points.

My facts? The court order, the report of reliable witnesses to the court proceedings and COMMMON SENSE. Try it sometime, it's free.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 8:06 PM

I didn't contradict myself at all. Nurses in health care facilities assess and report via telephone to physicians and obtain appropriate orders for treatment from the physician. Either the nurses weren't doing that or the hospice physician was ignoring the assessments and refusing to issue orders for IV's or other means of delivering fluids. The fact that an IV or naso-gastric tube was not ordered is indicative of an intent not to adequately hydrate a patient.

As for your other point--were you at the hearing? How do you know who is credible and who is not credible? Do you have a copy of the court reporter's transcript? Have you seen the affidavits filed with the Motion for TRO?

The fact that Judge Boyd indicated via the above post that the grandchildren represented that harm would occur to the grandmother if she was moved to a facility where she could receive actual treatment as opposed to mere palliative care shows a profound lack of credibility. What greater harm could there be than dying from lack of actual medical treatment and proper hydration and nutrition? Perhaps the grandchildren have been misled by the hospice physicians--and if so--again their testimony is not credible by legal standards. How is taking the position that a person who has a living will directing treatment except in the instance of coma and pvs should be denied the oppportunity for a chance for life through treatment she expressly indicated she wants? How is a person who is the beneficiary of a will and who advocates for the death of the benefactor in contravention of a living will more credible than family members who have no such financial interest and who want to give her a chance at life?

If the grandchildren have a credible position--why have they not publicly stated it? Why, instead, did they obtain a TRO and emergency guardianship by stealth?

As for Ken Mullinex's "agenda"--his only apparent and evident "agenda" seems to be the successfully facilitation of the transfer of his aunt to a place where she could receive medical treatment as opposed to mere palliative care. His aunt should be grateful for his public relations abilities. Without them, she could be lying in hospice wasting and dehydrating away to death instead of receiving actual treatment.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 8:49 PM

Sue Bob, (1)Yes, you contradict yourself. (2)There continues to be NO EVIDENCE that the woman was "dying from lack of medical treatment and proper hydration, nutrition". She had a life-threatening event, an aortic dissection. (3)They (the grandchildren, indicating more than one) publicly stated a position in court.

As for Ken Mullinax and the "intervention" you mention, HA! Turn on your brain now, this is important. (A)Beth Gaddy contacted the court on March 31st; (B)A TRO issued on April 1st; (C)A hearing was set and held on April 4th RESOLVING ALL ISSUES BETWEEN THE FAMILY MEMBERS.

It was not until April 6th and ever since then that Ken Mullinax's and the blogs campaign began. That campaign was to do what? Smear and create publicity for Ken Mullinax and the blog. Because it couldn't have had ANYTHING to do with the woman because the issues had already been resolved within the family!!

And now that we all know that is true you still continue to try to pick a fight and cause strife for this family. I can easily understand why security would be an issue. The things that have been done are OUTRAGEOUS. The actions that have been taken are UNJUSTIFIABLE and would cause a reasonable person to FEAR Ken Mullinax and the so-called "right to life" bloggers.

Look at what you have done from an objective perspective. Can you do that or have you totally lost all common sense and reason?

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 9:12 PM

that woman: "Feeding tubes and IV's are under the province of the DOCTOR, now you are contradicting your own points."

Very true. Then I ask, how does the attending physician in a hospice justify not ordering an NG tube for a patient who is unable to ingest sufficient nutrition on her own and who has a living will specifying that nutrition should not be withheld?

One possible answer: The doctor is incompetent and did not realize the patient was dehydrating.

Another possible answer: The hospice wanted the patient to die faster and ignored the living will.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 9:15 PM

That's good Critical Thinker! It's so easy even Winnie-the-Pooh said: "Think, think, think". We don't have all the answers to life's problems but if we ask reasonable questions we are on the right track!

Another possible answer: The doctor did not have any information that the patient was not sufficiently hydrated.

Another possible answer: Neither the hospice nor the doctor follow the protocol of forcing hydration on an elderly patient who could ingest fluids but is unwilling to do so, after suffering an aortic dissection.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 9:31 PM

Oops, I meant Creatureofhabit. Sorry, I make mistakes, too!

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 9:33 PM

Dear "that woman,"
Every hospice has at least one doctor on staff, and the health and care of every patient is that doctor's direct responsibility. The nurses and caregivers are required to report any change in the patient's condition for followup by the doctor. The patient's medical chart should include, among other data, daily urine output. If the medical director of the hospice did not know that the patient was dehydrated (as she was on admission to UAB) then the doctor is incompetent.

Your second theory is slightly more plausible, as competent patients can and do refuse treatment sometimes. However, if you will direct your attention to Judge Boyd's e-mail, you will note that Mrs. Magouirk was NOT competent. "The grand children and their attorney filed a petition for emergency guardianship of a gravely incapacitated adult." The petition was granted, ergo the Judge ruled Mrs. Magouirk was "gravely incapacitated." In such a state, her most recent competently expressed wishes should have been followed. i.e. her Living Will. To the best of my knowledge, no one has suggested that Mrs. Magouirk ever expressed a wish not to be treated while in a competent mental state.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 9:46 PM

That woman,

The "intervention" to which I refer is the petition the siblings filed which gave them standing to participate in the April 4 hearing and which brought about the settlement and the court order based thereon. Given that the court order gave the physicians 24 hours to consult--it does not appear that the court order was being followed--though it is reasonable to suppose that it was the physicians delaying--not the guardian.

I don't know to what extent the blogosphere pushed this along--but I do believe that Mae would likely die if she were still in hospice.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 9:59 PM

Yes, to the best of our knowledge indicates, correctly I think, that there are things that we do not know.

What we do know is that Beth Gaddy did not order her grandmother into a hospice, the woman's regular physician did.

What I object to is those who have stated as fact inferences made upon inferences, some which have been disproved but to no avail to stop the smear job, and most of all to the illegitimate and unjustifiable disparagement of Beth Gaddy and the judge and the creation of or fueling of conflict between the family members, all done in the name of Terri Schiavo-Schindler.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 10:03 PM

Remember, Sue Bob, that the court order is in its entirety an agreement between the family members.

This result is appropriate and IMHO no one has the right to cause interference and strife, not even upon the request of Ken Mullinax, who in my mind clearly has self-interest as a primary motive.

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

"What we do know is that Beth Gaddy did not order her grandmother into a hospice, the woman's regular physician did"

I don't know what anybody else's position is, but I'm willing to give (and have given) Ms. Gaddy the benefit of the doubt in almost all her decisions, although I think it was unwise to interfere with the Alabama family's visitation, since it would so obviously be used to stir up more trouble (justified or not). In the main event, if Ms. Gaddy was convinced by Mrs. Magouirk's family doctor (not a cardiologist) that she should be hospiced, then I feel sorry for her that she was misled by a doctor who was out of his league, as 3 more expert cardiologists had a different opinion. And if the hospice medical staff told her that artificial hydration was not needed, then they apparently lied to her.

Honestly, I had no agenda going into this, and was drawn in to the story by the claims that her Living Will was being ignored. I have said elsewhere that if the lady's most recent competently expressed wish (the Living Will) was to received nutrition and hydration, then that should have been provided by the hospice, no matter whether she had 6 days or 6 months to live. I do not understand what provision in law or ethics would permit the hospice medical staff to ignore obvious warning signs of dehydration and claim with a straight face that they never "withheld" anything; and I worry (now, I didn't before) that this may be going on more often than anyone realizes.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 10:31 PM

That woman,

I don't know Ken Mullinax and have no idea what his self-interest would be. I can tell you that if I had a family member who I believed was inappropriately placed in a hospice and who was not receiving adequate hydration and nutrition--I would be raising holy hell too. I personally would not have criticized the judge as I think that is foolish at this point. His order seems eminently reasonable. My take on what Ken was doing was to hurry the process along because Mae was not receiving proper hydration and the phsycians were not acting.

That said, court orders are not private. The court order and the transcript is already published on the internet and we have every right to discuss it.

I accept the possibility that the hospice doctor pressured Beth Gaddy into admitting Mae to hospice--that is a common occurrence. I entertain the possibility that Beth did not understand that Mae was not receiving proper hydration. If you read Culture of Death by Wesley J. Smith, you will learn of instances where health providers have done such things without the family's consent.

Perhaps Beth was convinced by a physician that Mae was better off without further aggressive treatment--that's certainly a possibility. But now that two physicians out of three have disagreed with that opinion, Beth ought to have the good grace to allow the siblings to visit Mae. Bar Ken and let the siblings visit.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 10:34 PM

"Critical Thinker":

This is the statement you made that makes you a troll...

Politcal bloggers are all insane fanatically extremists who try to politicize everything. No matter what this Judge or a judge in any other case says, their single minded stubbornness will refuse to allow them to think critically and understand the other side. Its like they get into a blood thirsty, "I must win" mentality and become skeptical of all that is not in line with their thoughts. Ever think what happens to the bloggers once they accomplish their goal? They're so used to being activists that they just find another thing to whine and annoy people about.

Notice that nothing in the quote has anything to do with any difference of opinion, just your idiotic generalization that we political bloggers are a bunch of "my way or the highway" types. It just so happens that what I advocate is simply an "err on the side of life" policy, which is fully consisitent with the Creator's endowment of the basic right of life. In other words, I believe that unless the person has specifically stated otherwise, saving the life should be the first priority.

You can differ in opinion from me all you want and still retain my respect, but once you start making unfair generalizations about me and others like me, then yes, you become a "troll".


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 11, 2005 10:46 PM

From the reading I've been doing, it is not uncommon for doctors to tell family members that inserting a feeding tube and/or IV will only cause more discomfort to a "dying" person, and that it will help their comfort significantly to not institute these things. I do know that a nasogastric feeding tube is supposed to be excruciatingly uncomfortable.

So it is quite possible that IF there was a doctor at the hospital who felt Mrs. Magouirk's condition was untreatable (and apparently that particular hospital did not have the ability to treat it in a person who was not a good candidate for surgery), or should not be treated for some reason (with good or bad motives, but we'll hopefully wait to make that judgement until we have some facts)--that doctor might have advised Beth Gaddy not to use a feeding tube or IV, and just to give Mrs. Magouirk as much as she would take by mouth as she waited to die in the hospice. That same doctor might have also advised that attempting to move Mrs. Magouirk to a hospital a week into the "dying process" would only cause her pain and would do nothing to help her.

Now, if this scenario is close to what happened, it looks like that doctor would have been wrong in his or her assessment of Mrs. Magouirk's condition and prospects. But we do have several statements to suggest, and no reason to disbelieve, that this was the type of advice Ms. Gaddy was being given.

There is no reason why we should all jump on the worst possible scenario and believe it when there are other possibilities that would give the benefit of the doubt.

When we have more facts there will be plenty of time to get worked up and angry at a particular person if that is warranted.

For now, can't we at least be happy that Mae Magouirk is in a hospital receiving the care and treatment she needs?

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 11:15 PM

Question please (also asked in a different thread; if already answered, ignore this):

Who is the doctor who originally certified Mrs. Magouirk as terminally ill and eligible for hospice? Was he a cardiologist or a GP? Was he one of the 3 doctors who reevaluated her after the hearing last week?

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 11:44 PM

After reading all these comments, I can see both sides of this story. Ms. Gaddy's actions are somewhat plausible, considering the scenario that purple kangaroo has given.

There seems to be much information that is missing from inbetween the lines.

However - the fact that the family is NOT allowed to visit Mae, with guards posted at the door, simply smells like retribution against the family on Ms. Gaddy's part. If she allegedly acted honorably throughout this situation, why is she being so revengeful? I would think Mae would want her entire family to be present at her bedside and if Ms. Gaddy and other grandchildren love their grandmother so much, why are they denying her the rest of her family???

That action by Ms. Gaddy is what makes me question her motivations.

Posted by: LifeisPrecious at April 11, 2005 11:53 PM

The arguing between SueBob and That Woman is getting tiresome. Concede that neither one of you will agree and move on. You both have good points but you are wasting energy on proving your points.

I realize after hearing Ken Mullinax on the radio several times (on Glenn Beck's show), his statement that his aunt was being starved to death struck a nerve with me. No matter what way I looked at it, Terri Schiavo's starvation death was COMPLETELY wrong, and this SEEMED an extension of that. Although, as someone else stated, it isn't a thing we can sit around and discuss ad infinitum. 10 or more days without an appreciable amount of food or water could not be doing an 81 year old woman any good. It was one of the things that made me totally nuts with Terri's ordeal. ("Well, I will give your message to the Governor, or...(from another source)...there is nothing we can do...it is in the courts now....") AAARGGGHHH!

While I understand Mae was receiving minimal nutrition (ice chips or small cups of jello periodically) it WAS different than Terri-- while Terri may have had the ability to swallow, she was never given the opportunity and her main source of nutrition and hydration were withdrawn and all nourishment denied by court order. I think to some degree the way the story was presented ("Grandma's feeding tube pulled") was intended to play on our emotions in relation to Terri's death.

Judge Boyd sounds a lot more approachable than Judge Greer, but I am concerned as to why he would grant temporary guardianship before he reviewed the situation? Wouldn't you check to see if she had a closer next of kin? Just because someone requested guardianship and no one else, does that mean they deserve it? (Does that mean I can request guardianship over my next door neighbor's elderly mother because he hasn't yet?) Check to see how and why she was admitted into hospice? Check a living will? See if she was receiving proper care while the facts are being sorted out?

Was the reason why she was in hospice to begin with looked in to? Anyone deprived of food and water will need hospice eventually. It is for the dying, not those we want dead.

I am all for helping those who were in a situation like Terri. I just hope that the facts are presented openly, fairly and honestly and substantiated by the parties involved. It does not do this forum or our credibility any good if we jump to conclusions.

Posted by: I hope at April 12, 2005 12:10 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 1:47 AM

"the doctors were ordered to check her within 24 hrs, or as soon thereafter as possible"

Now, there's a meaningless order. "As soon thereafter as possible" is the same as "when you can get to it".

"the family should have let him know. Then he would have been able to enforce his orders"

How? The judge has no jurisdiction, i.e., authority over what the doctors, do, or do not do.

Posted by: julie at April 12, 2005 5:52 PM