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April 11, 2005

Magouirk's Family Denied Access

Topics: News

Ken Mullinax sent the following email today:

MY Aunt Mae is now being nourished and hydrated at UAB medical Center.

HOWEVER, BETH GADDY HAS ISSUED AN ORDER TO THE MEDICAL STAFF AT THE CCU-UNIT of UAB WHICH PREVENTS MAE'S BROTHER (A. B. McLeod) SISTER (Lonnie Ruth Mullinax) and nephews/any of the Alabama relatives FROM VISITING MAE MAGOUIRK IN HER ROOM at the hospital. When we appeared today to visit Mae, we were turned away by hospital staff!

It is ironic that my Mom is on the 7th floor and Mae is located on the 8th floor of UAB but she is prevented from seeing her sister who is suffering from the same heart malady. SO IT GOES.

It is heartbreaking..but we are still overjoyed she is receiving
substantial nourishment, fluids and a proactive medical treatment....praise Christ!!

Source: StraightupwSherri

Posted by tim at April 11, 2005 1:20 PM

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Any word on the reasons for her doing so? Is there any way that the judge can order a change in this?


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 11, 2005 1:55 PM

If Mae wakes up she can revoke Beth's power of attorney and guardianship simply by saying so to the hospital staff.

Or, get a new hearing in front of an Alabama judge.

This may be a consequence of the new HIPAA (privacy) laws. A patient's privacy is deemed so important that no one (not even a spouse) can visit unless the patient or the patient's surrogate puts them on an approved list. I'd like to think this is a temporary oversight on Beth Gaddy's part that has been misunderstood by the Mullinax family. We'll see.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 2:13 PM

I can't believe this Beth Graddy. She is so controlling! It sounds like she is not going to give up. How frustrating for Mae's family.

I have yet to hear Graddy's side of the story. She's probably thinking about how she can spin this one.

Back to the phones....

Posted by: kay at April 11, 2005 2:16 PM


HIPAA does not preclude visits by friends and family. Furthermore, the regs allow information to be given to family members who are actively involved in the medical care of the patient--though hospitals and doctors are sometimes taking an overly strict view due to fear of the regulators.

Regardless, HIPAA does not preclude vistors.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 2:18 PM

So hey, call Mae on the phone and have her wheel down to the 7th floor to Lonnie's room and visit =her= instead. Oh, unless darling grandaughter ripped out the room phone... and is putting police at her door. So Nephew Mullinex, have a gift cell phone delivered to your Aunt Mae. Better include some bottled water just in case.

Unless they are STILL drugging her into unconsciousness, there is no reason for her to be totally incommunicado.

Oh, and since darling grandaughter has even less legal standing in Alabama than she had in Georgia (just when DOES that temporary and limited guardianship expire?), I must ASSUME you have your own lawyers, and lawyers for Mae, making appropriate legal filings in Alabama. Hmmmmm?

I do believe that darling grandaughter is SOOOOO afraid that Aunt Mae will actually sign a paper actually designating a medical guardian BY NAME, that she is trying to keep anyone out who might be carrying paperwork.

God forbid she live long enough to change her Will too, now.

Posted by: Suzanne. at April 11, 2005 2:46 PM

Beth Gaddy has been taking care of her grandmother for 10 years according to her attorney Danny Daniel in a report in the LaGrange Daily News.

Also from the same report, Judge Boyd said Gaddy testified at the hearing that she feeds her grandmother Jello, chips of ice and “anything else she’d be willing to eat.”

Danny Daniel of LaGrange, the attorney for Gaddy said doctors made the decision to admit Magourik into hospice.

We have also learned that there never was a feeding tube or removal of a feeding tube.

Anyone can look on the internet to find medical information about an aortic dissection. This is a serious and typically life threatening medical problem that is also excrutiatingly painful, which to me explains the need for pain medication.

I must question the motivation of Mullinax who undeniably has twisted the facts here, which included targetting Beth Gaddy as an evil killer. At least one purpose was to cause an emotional response, which he accomplished quite easily. I see NO evidence of any misconduct whatsoever on the part of Beth Gaddy but virtually everyone posting about this situation seems to be of the opinion that Gaddy is an unfit caretaker.

Are there other possible underlying motivations for Mullinax's attacks on Gaddy? She has been providing care for her grandmother for 10 years. Does Mullinax or other distant family members envy the bond between Beth Gaddy and her grandmother, at the end of her life (end does not mean imminent death)for financial or other reasons?

No one seems to be questioning the care Beth Gaddy has provided for the past ten years. It was therefore reasonable to appoint her as the guardian, as she has maintained that role for ten years.

What seems to have possibly happened here is that we had different doctors giving differing opinions regarding a course of treatment for an elderly woman after she suffered what was reported here as an "aortic dissection" aka a bleeding heart.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 4:14 PM

Take it up with Judge Boyd.

Posted by: Anna_Nordin at April 11, 2005 4:28 PM

that woman:
You make some good points but ultimately what happened here (I believe) is that the doctors who first treated Mrs. Magouirk wrote her off as a terminal case. An aortic dissection is not a "bleeding heart"; it is a life-threatening defect of the aorta which may rupture, causing sudden death (e.g. John Ritter). However, aortic dissections can sometimes be treated sucessfully. By certifying her as terminal and arranging for hospice care, the LaGrange doctors ensured she would receive no treatment whatsoever.

Suppose you are in a car accident and receive a major head injury that is treatable, but with a possibility of dying anyway and a possibility of waking up with permanent cognitive defects. What happened to Mae is the equivalent of your doctor convincing your next of kin to stop treatment, put you in hospice and wait to die, on the basis that you might die even if the head injury was treated, and would not want to live even if you woke up. She was neither in a coma nor PVS, but had a life-threatening but possibly treatable condition.

Let's say only 20% of aortic dissections can be successfully treated. Does this mean we should stop trying? Where is the cut-off when you stop trying to save seriously ill or injured people?

If you think of it in terms of other serious life-threatening but treatable conditions (necrotizing fasciitis, closed head trauma, spinal injury, gunshot wounds) you may see why, no matter how well-intentioned the granddaughter, Mrs. Magouirk never belonged in a hospice. The doctors who convinced her granddaughter to commit her there have a lot to answer for.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 4:42 PM

Creatureofhabit, Yes, even doctors have differences of opinion, and just like judges they can look at the same set of facts and come to different conclusions.

However, I must return to my point that the attacks THAT ARE CONTINUING against Beth Gaddy are both unsupported and unwarranted and that Mullinax may have been motivated to undermine her bond with her grandmother for reasons other than those that have been assumed. Today there are more than 11,000 references to Ken Mullinax, a former political consultant and aide, on the web. Perhaps that was the intended result of his involvement and misinformation. Perhpas he is seeking a new position as a political spin-doctor. And if so, you have succeeded in making him successful in this endeavor. My question is to wonder whether this is the kind of politics you want to participate in and promote, spinning information for self-promotion at the expense of others, in this case Beth Gaddy.

You might argue that this intervention also succeeded in getting the woman removed from Hospice, but that had already been accomplished in court. And it was Beth Gaddy, not the other relatives, that initiated the court action.

Still we don't REALLY know what the medical prognosis truly IS.

But we do know that Mullinax doctored the "information" relied on.

This blog has simply made a lot of unsupported conclusions about this matter. Perhpas it too, was seeking self-promotion.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 5:08 PM

Beth Gaddy initiated the court action to prevent the siblings from exercising their power under Georgia law to make treatment decisions for Mae. She filed a TRO and for emergency guardianship to circumvent the siblings from moving Mae to a facility where she could get actual treatment as opposed to just palliative care. She did not initiate it to get the input of the judge or three other physicians. That happened only because the other family members intervened.

Had the family members not intervened, Mae would be dying in hospice.

I will accept that she may have done what she did at the behest of and with pressure placed by the physicians at the initial hospital. There are many physicians who do not want to spend medical resources helping elderly people and who counsel family members accordingly. However, Gaddy's statement that "it's time for grandma to go to Jesus" because of the disabilities of a heart condition and glaucoma tells me all I need to know about the value she places on the elderly and infirm. It tells me that she is the wrong choice for guardian.

Beth Gaddy ran errands for her grandmother. Mae lived alone and need help only with errands because of her eyesight. Her grandmother was otherwise able to care for herself.

Regardless, taking care of an elderly person should not give one the power to to deny that person medical treatment and hydration and nutrition. Are we going to hasten people's deaths for the convienance of their family members and caretakers now?

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 5:23 PM

Sue Bob,

that is well stated. I do not agree that Ken Mullinax is being self-motivated.

Sometimes it is hard for people to accept that someone could behave in such a callous way. That is why there are people who are too stupid to see that Michael Schiavo was not a loving husband as he claimed.

I have mixed feelings about the motivations of Beth Gaddy. There is something that is not right about this story. By preventing the Alabama family from visiting grandma she is isolating the old lady. Perhaps she sees this move as a way of ensuring that the old lady feels so lonely that she will become depressed and die any way.

Posted by: Maggie4life at April 11, 2005 5:47 PM

All you are doing is jumping to conclusions. You don't even know what the woman's TRUE medical condition and prognosis IS.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 5:58 PM

That woman,

We know that at least one physician believes treatment would be beneficial--which is why she is now in Alabama. We know that without the intervention of the Alabama part of the family--Mae would have absolutely no chance of surviving.

I'd say that's sufficient information about her condition to take the position that she does not belong in hospice and that she should not be denied medical treatment and adequate hydration and nutrition.

Posted by: Sue Bob at April 11, 2005 6:19 PM

Sue Bob,
That was my point exactly. At least 2 of the 3 consulting physicians (one from Alabama and 2 from Georgia) agreed she should be medically treated. That, plus the fact she isn't dead yet, proves ipso facto she did not belong in a hospice in the first place.

But beyond that, let's assume all medical facts are in favor of Beth Gaddy and the first doctors and that Ken Mullianx is in fact distorting events to get sympathetic bloggers on his side. What exactly is the point of barring visitors? If she truly believes her gran is in her last days (and is the misunderstood victim of a smear campaign) wouldn't the best course of action be to allow her aunt and uncle to visit her gran? It's not as if they would or could make any medical decisions or have any effect on the outcome of events except to offer comfort.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 11, 2005 7:15 PM

The problem with the denial of visitation thing is that we don't know for sure what the surrounding circumstances are.

There are conceivable reasons for doctors to deny visitors to a patient. There could possibly be a misunderstanding, or perhaps there's a limit on the number of visitors and Ken's family was trying to override hospital rules or being disruptive in some way. Doubtful, but we don't have enough facts necessary to make a judgement at this point.

Since Mrs. Magouirk's life isn't in danger at the moment and she's receiving proper medical treatment, I would think there's plenty of time to deal with anything wrong going on through channels such as going back to the courts or making an appeal to the hospital.

There's no reason for us to jump in at this point and make assumptions about the motives or circumstances surrounding this situation of family not being allowed in at some point, since we don't even know whether it was a one-time thing or a semi-permanent order.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 7:25 PM

No one KNOWS that anyone, in fact, is being denied visiting "rights" or if, in fact, if it is so, what justifiable reason there may be. As such it is WRONG to conclude and state as fact that it is an evil act of cruelty by Beth Gaddy. There is NO PROOF of any wrongdoing. Ken Mullinax is not a reliable source of information.

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 7:29 PM

Creatureofhabit, No, it doesn't "ipso facto" PROVE anything. By the way, you don't get "ipso facto" from a non-fact. It is a supposition you are alleging and a supposition is different from a fact.

The woman could be in exactly the same condition she was in but instead is in a hospital bed. The woman could be in exactly the same condiction she was in but instead is hydrated with an IV. The woman could have exactly the same prognosis but is in a different location.......

Yesterday I received a public notice from one of my legislator's about a new organ donation website. By signing up on this site, you have the opportunity to turn tragedy into joy by saving and improving others’ lives. Donating your organs can save the lives of eight other people, and tissue donations can help up to 50 people. There are 18,000 Californians waiting for organ transplants and one-third of those will die while on the waiting list because donor organs are not available.

If you're not using your brain perhaps you would consider donating it to a good cause.

The website is: http://www.donatelifecalifornia.org/

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 7:40 PM

"The woman could be in exactly the same condition she was in but instead is in a hospital bed."

Hardly the case and I think you know it. The hospice was not monitoring, evaluating or treating her disease. The hospital is.

"The woman could be in exactly the same condiction she was in but instead is hydrated with an IV."

That makes no sense at all.

"The woman could have exactly the same prognosis but is in a different location......"

Here is a quote from the American Society of Thoracic Surgeons' web site. "The medical treatment of aortic dissection includes aggressive control of blood pressure and heart rate while the aorta heals. The risk of death with medical treatment of descending thoracic aortic dissection is about 10 percent. If surgery is required, however, the risk is higher at about 30 percent."

Her prognosis in hospice was 100% chance of death, period, either due to medical malpractice (ignoring her Living Will) or an aortic aneurysm. Her prognosis in hospital is certainly better than that.

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

Just wondering . . . if Mrs. Lonnie Ruth Mullinax just barely got out of the ICU and is receiving intensive treatment for an aortic dissection, how did she get into Mae's room and get kicked out?

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 11, 2005 10:40 PM

Much has been written on the subject of aortic dissections, from the first well-documented case of aortic dissection, when King George II of England died while straining on the commode, to the first successful operative repairs by DeBakey in 1955, to modern techniques of diagnosing and repairing thoracic aortic dissections.

Aortic dissection is the most common catastrophe of the aorta, 2-3 times more common than rupture of the abdominal aorta. When left untreated, about 33% of patients die within the first 24 hours, and 50% die within 48 hours. The 2-week mortality rate approaches 75% in patients with undiagnosed ascending aortic dissection.

Dissections of the thoracic aorta have been classified anatomically by 2 different methods. The more commonly used system is the Stanford classification, which is based on involvement of the ascending aorta and simplifies the DeBakey classification.

The Stanford classification divides dissections into 2 types, type A and type B. Type A involves the ascending aorta (DeBakey types I and II); type B does not (DeBakey type III). This system usually helps delineate treatment. Usually, type A dissections require surgery, while type B dissections may be managed medically under most conditions.

". . . spontaneous tear of the arterial coats is associated with atrocious pain, with symptoms, indeed, in the case of the aorta of angina pectoris and many instances have been mistaken for it." - William Osler, 1910

The pain usually is described as "ripping" or "tearing."

Author: John Wiesenfarth, MD, MS, FACEP, FAAEM, Assistant Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine, Kaiser-Permanente Hospital Sacramento/Roseville; Assistant Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, University of California at Davis

Posted by: that woman at April 11, 2005 10:59 PM

I think it is likely that the woman's family, including Beth Gaddy and the other grandchildren, agreed to moving her to the Alabama hospital nearer to the other relatives and that the other relatives agreed to Beth Gaddy being appointed guardian because the woman is dying and is going to die sooner rather than later. It was likely that it was more of a decision about WHERE she was going to die than how she was going to die or anything that y'all have speculated about. It is likely that her relatives are buried in Alabama and that she will be buried there with them.

Now maybe you can refocus and get busy and help some abused kids that need your attention in the post PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.....URGENT.

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

I hate it when someone tells me to focus my energy elsewhere - how in the world do you know where I focus my energies? You don't so don't presume to know.

Furthermore, if "Beth Gaddy and the other grandchildren agreed to move Mae to the Alabama hospital nearer to other relatives" - why then is she now denying these other relatives visiting rights? That's a big question and one that needs to be answered.

Posted by: LifeisPrecious at April 11, 2005 11:56 PM

that woman:
Even if your figures are applicable to Mrs. Magouirk (I do not think we know what kind of dissection she has) a 25% survival rate is better than 0%.

By the way, what's with the personal comments?
"If you're not using your brain perhaps you would consider donating it to a good cause."
"That's good Critical Thinker! It's so easy even Winnie-the-Pooh said: "Think, think, think"."

My position on this case has evolved to where I see the hospice committing malpractice by ignoring the Living Will and failing to insert an IV or NG tube, probably as a way to help Mae die a little sooner. I'm totally willing to believe that Ms. Gaddy had her gran's best interest at heart and was misinformed by some of the doctors. I don't recall ever writing anything against her personally (other than being somewhat critical of her decision to lock out the rest of the family), and if I did, I hereby retract such comments pending further facts.

We shouldn't have a disagreement, unless you think that hospices should routinely discourage food and water support to the elderly and terminally ill since they're going to die anyway.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 12, 2005 12:01 AM

For that woman who seems to think we ignore any other matters - the baby was adopted a week ago per Straight Up with Sherri - http://straightupwsherri.blogspot.com/2005/04/urgent-spread-word.html

Posted by: LifeisPrecious at April 12, 2005 12:12 AM