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April 12, 2005

OPINION: On Ken Mullinax's email, Beth Gaddy, and other matters.

Topics: Commentary

Received this email from Ken Mullinax as an update(see extended post). It does not appear to be a response to Judge Boyd's comments that were posted yesterday.

First my OPINION on the matter(this is a blog - that's allowed here).

From reading through some of the comments in previous posts, it is my opinion that some folks may be looking at trees and missing the forest. An 81 year-old woman has what appears to be a treatable aortic dissection, and two out of three physicians seem to agree with this since Mae has been removed from the hospice and is now at UAB Medical Center in Alabama. The granddaughter is one of the heirs to her grandmother's estate, hence there is an apparent conflict of interest. The fact that the grandmother was placed in a hospice by Beth Gaddy speaks volumes about Beth Gaddy's intentions, since there is no reason to place someone in a hospice except for them to die(it's the law). One does not receive medical evaluation and treatment for an aortic dissection, or anything else for that matter, in a hospice. When BlogsForTerri or any group that supports life and is against euthanasia receives information that a life is in danger by being placed in a hospice - our first concern is to always err on the side of life. Life is a correctable situation, death is not.

So far, Ken Mullinax's concern that Beth Gaddy was not acting in a manner that supported Mae's best chances for survival and continued life, however long that may be, does not appear to be misplaced. Anyone with a financial interest in someone else's death should not be qualified to judge when that person will die and whether or not justified and required medical treatment should be withheld - as is the case when someone is placed in a hospice. Our concern here at BlogsforTerri is not the interests of one side of the family or the other. Our only concern is that a life is not snuffed out in a hospice, and that a living person receives adequate nutrition and hydration until the very last minute of life when that person dies a natural death. Until such time that Beth Gaddy sees to it that all the family can see and have access to Mae, and until such time that medical experts that are not euthanasia advocates determine the best placement for Mae, then I plan to continue questioning Beth Gaddy's motives. That is not a witch hunt - frankly, regarding that point, that dog just ain't gonna hunt!

Mae does not presently require any form of life support; FOOD AND WATER ARE NOT LIFE SUPPORT. Mae may eventually die from her aortic dissection, she may also die of old age. It's not for Beth Gaddy, BlogsForTerri, Judge Boyd, Ken Mullinax, or anyone else to determine how and when she will die. For that, we will leave up to the Lord.

I plan to continue to support anyone that supports allowing folks to die a peaceful and natural death - one that does not involve being starved and dehydrated to death, or even being given "inadequate" nutrition and hydration. As long as a living person is willing and able to take-in nutrients and liquids, however they get it - I will continue to support it. Take it or leave it, that is my position - period. AND I plan to fight euthanasia of the infirmed, the elderly, the disabled, and the unborn until the day I die.

- via Email: Comments by Ken Mullinax regarding Judge Boyd.

I've just finished 10 minutes on the national radio show hosted by Michael Reagan show... at approximately 5:45PM CST. He plans to follow my Aunt's plight and do a follow up segment on it.

Reagan said he believes Gaddy is motivated by my Aunt's money, due to the fact that she and her two siblings stand to inherit all of their grandmother's estate. I told him I surely hope that is not the case and that instead of money being the issue, I feel that Beth is motivated by misplaced love and very bad advice.

There is talk from Beck insiders that Glenn wants me back on tomorrow with Judge Boyd. I so welcome the opportunity since Boyd has questioned my integrity and stated that I told him I was a congressman when in fact, I did not. It seems Judge Boyd must not have paid attention to what I said because I told him "I was once with the Congress" as I once was, as a senior staffer and spokesman for a member of congress in Washington, DC for many years.

I also was a congressional Legislative Assistant for a Member's Committee assignment, for both the House International Relations Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.

However, I am not surprised at Judge Boyd's lack of perception because he also seems to have an equally alarming lack of perception and understanding when it comes to the law. But one must realize while Boyd is a probate judge, he has never attended law school or practiced law. Yet he has the legal power of life and death over poor defenseless widows like my Aunt Mae Magouirk without allowing both sides to fully explore the pertinent facts surrounding the issues at hand..

However, I will say Boyd was handicapped by my cousin Beth, in that she failed to fully advise him that she had misstated to the hospital and the hospice that she held the medical power of attorney when in fact held NO medical decision making authority EVER for Mae Magouirk.

She also stated that she has "taken care" of her grandmother for the past 10 years when in fact, Mae Magouirk has always lived alone and independently since the death of her husband Charlie.

Judge Boyd was also handicapped by the fact that Beth Gaddy DID NOT reveal to him that WE were the closest living next of kin (NOT HER) and that we wished to intervene to save Mae's life" and not put her into a hospice in which she would never walk out of alive.

A good friend suggested that we get other family members to talk. Well, it is just my Mom and her brother, my uncle. They are not bloggers or public advocates and they are very personal people.

Mom has a serious heart condition and we don't want to excite her and Uncle Buddy has requested that there be one concise and on message voice from our family.....that is me! So doubters will doubt and as Rhett Butler once said.... well, you know the quote!

Ken Mullinax, nephew of Mae

Posted by richard at April 12, 2005 7:15 AM

Articles Related to Commentary:


I have been following this website for quite some time, ever since the Terri Schindler-Schiavo case began to escalate last month...

Having a family member who had an aortic dissection, I can relate somewhat.. They did FINE though granted were not as old as Mrs. Magouirk (they were in their early 70's).

One thing that concerns me is that it appears Mrs. Gaddy let the hospice or hospital think she had a medical POA when she merely had a financial POA--or did the hospital or hospice assume that and the assumption was not corrected?

To me one goes into a hospice to die not to live.. The fact that Mrs. Magouirk was as dehydrated as she was upon arrival at UAB is quite telling. I do not feel it should be up to the hopsice, the doctors, family members, etc to decide when she goes. To me that decisions rests with God..

I am not going to say Mrs. Gaddy has ill intentions but I definitely feel she could have done things differently which would have not left a perception of having done so. I also feel Mr. Mullinax has his aunt's best interests at heart and I also am glad Judge Boyd has been willing to give his side of things.

Thanks to BlogsforTerri for attempting to get both sides of the issue, and I agree when they said it's their blog and they can post their opinions.

Posted by: Midwest Kay at April 12, 2005 8:33 AM

I am with you 100% in your expressed opinion that Mae's situation at hospice was dire. Add to that the talk of "going home to Jesus" and now-unless something's changed overnight- the fact that Beth Gaddy won't let the Alabama relatives in to see Mae....Well, I am convinced we needed to act to get her out of the hospice and I am glad we did. Remember the old Raid roach motel commercial: "They check in, but they don't check out"? No question in my mind Mae was "supposed" to "check out" in another way.

Posted by: abigail at April 12, 2005 9:20 AM

It would be very helpful, now that we have heard from Judge Boyd and Ken Mullinax, to hear some actual testimony from Beth Gaddy.

The main questions she should be answering are as follows:

1. How did you come to decide that your grandmother should die?

2. Were you aware of your grandmother's living will situation?

3. Why did you deny your family access to your grandmother in the hospital?

My opinions of both Ken Mullinax and Judge Boyd are what they are right now, but both are tainted by the lack of knowledge of what Ms. Gaddy's answers to these questions would be.

I am led to belive that Judge Boyd probably did what he thought was right under the laws of Nature and the laws of the US and the state of Georgia. Based upon his testimony, he was not ordering nourishment to cease. It appears that it was Ms. Gaddy who made that decision, contrary to the orders given by the judge. I'm still not sure as to why there have been no consequences brought on to Ms. Gaddy for defying the court's instructions, but that's another discussion.

Mr. Mullinax has done no disservice by handling things the way he did. I would certainly drum up as much support as I could if it meant saving my grandmother's life, especially considering the recent events in Florida. Withouth judging Judge Boyd's prior decisions or any predisposition he may have, it is clear from the events of the Schiavo case that there was a very strong likelihood that Mrs. Magouirk would be left to starve or dehydrate to death. From the reports, it seems that almost happened.

Again, despite the unanswered questions, credit must be given to Judge Boyd for doing the right thing. He has made much more effort to explain himself than Judge Greer did.

Is there any word on whether we may get any kind of statement from Ms. Gaddy? Or have we that I haven't heard about? Just a thought.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 12, 2005 10:18 AM

I agree with you RightWingRocker... I feel Judge Boyd has done what he could under the circumstances and he has made himself available and answered ??'s. I feel he deserves credit.

It would be nice to hear from Mrs. Gaddy, though perhaps things are somewhat uncomfortable for her right now.

Posted by: Midwest Kay at April 12, 2005 10:59 AM

I have a problem with this statement:

"Anyone with a financial interest in someone else's death should not be qualified to judge when that person will die and whether or not justified and required medical treatment should be withheld - as is the case when someone is placed in a hospice"

Does that mean I don't get to have any say in what happens to my mother or father when they become elderly? I will clearly have some sort of financial interest in that I will be the direct heir to whatever small fortune they may pass on (and I do mean small). Just b/c Beth stood to inherit something--doesn't make it a "clear" conflict of interest.

If we started throwing that around...then the entire system would have a problem.

Posted by: Jeremy at April 12, 2005 11:04 AM

heh...you said "apparent"...not "clear"...but my point still stands despite the quoted word.

Just be careful throwing around the conflict of interest term...especially when speaking of relatives.

Posted by: Jeremy at April 12, 2005 11:06 AM

He deserves SOME credit, Kay. Definitely much more than his counterpart in the Schiavo case. I do believe I outlined somewhere (and I'm sure if I didn't that someone did) the questions he has left unanswered. If Beth Gaddy ever enlightens us as to her positions on things, perhaps more pieces of the puzzle will come together.

The people have a right to demand explanations from these judges. I am glad that this judge responded to the call. He must be commended for doing the right thing (protecting this woman's life) in a situation where there must have been intense pressure not to.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 12, 2005 11:17 AM

Judge Boyd will not gain my respect until Beth Gaddy is sitting behind bars for contempt of court, with all guardianship rights stripped away.

I'm not going to be suckered into thinking "well, since he wrote a letter, and (halfway) explained himself, than all is right in the world." as many of you here have.

If one is going to take on the responsibility of being a judge, one must get all information before making an informed decision. GEESH....even the lowly Judge Judy will go into quarters and make a phone call to check on the truth of something...and that's small claims, folks. This is someone's LIFE.

Did he KNOW that she was being starved/dehydrated? If not, why not? If so, was that taken into consideration when handing over guardianship to the immature gold digger?

Did he KNOW that she didn't BELONG in a hospice? If so, why didn't he get her OUT of there from the git go? If not, did he ASK the detailed questions as to WHY she was in hospice? eg., is she comatose? is she vegetative? and most especially, IS SHE TERMINAL? etc. DUH. Basic questions even a dummy like ME knows about.

How about the hospice? Are they accepting Medicaid for this patient? If so---this hospice needs to be checked into, just as Terri Shiavo's hospice needs to be checked into for Medicaid fraud.

In light of the Terri Shiavo case, you all know as well as I do, that Judge Boyd KNEW that he had a ticking time bomb sitting on his desk. If he truly wanted to err on the side of life, he would have been checking out these BASIC things, just in case. It's called CYA, folks.

Posted by: oldfitz at April 12, 2005 12:16 PM

All good questions, oldfitz.

And they SHOULD be answered.

However, keep this in perspective ... Would you rather have Greer on this case?


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 12, 2005 1:17 PM

I believe BlogsForTerri offered Mrs. Gaddy a chance to respond and to present her side of things. It would be nice to see that, I think, though obviously she is not under any obligation to do so.

Posted by: Midwest Kay at April 12, 2005 2:06 PM

Hi. My name is Lydia McGrew. I'm a contributor to Right Reason (http://rightreason.ektopos.com), the blog site for conservative philosophy.

I appreciate your coverage of Mae's case and have been saying all over the web that Blogs for Terri has been very fair, careful, and reliable on this case.

I believe two major questions need to be asked of Judge Boyd which he has not yet answered:

1) Why did he give Beth Gaddy emergency guardianship over that weekend in the first place without bringing in the other side of the family first? (According to Mullinax & WND, they were served with paper that she had obtained from Boyd while they were trying to get the grandmother out of hospice.)

2) Why did he not, at the hearing the following Monday, explicitly order Gaddy to _change_ the approach she was taking to hydrating and nourishing her grandmother?

More on #2: In a news story (from the LaGrange newspaper, I believe), Beth Gaddy was quoted, supposedly from the hearing itself, as saying something like, "I give her ice chips, jello, anything she'll take." Now, on the one hand this was good news. It showed she was getting _something_ (unlike Terri). On the other hand, anyone with a brain and any knowledge of how medical places works would recognize this as meaning that she wasn't getting _anything like_ enough nutrition and hydration. Either she needed a feeding tube or else they were trying to give her just a little to moisten her mouth while she died of dehydration. From this comment of Gaddy's alone Boyd should have realized the food situation was amiss and told her expressly that something must _change_. The letter we've heard about doesn't do that. It sounds like boilerplate. It even mentions giving her adequate clothing, when no one _said_ she wasn't being clothed. Plus Boyd himself said in a telephone interview that he told the doctors to hurry up with their decision because "time was of the essence." That shows that he _knew_ she was in some sort of danger from the present situation, and the only danger there was inadequate food and water. Finally, I refuse to believe that the Alabama relatives gave him *no clue* at any time that they were concerned that the status quo situation involved dehydrating her. They _surely_ made some complaint of that sort. It sounds to me like he's trying to say he thought she was getting enough from the jello and ice chips (he has said "she was being denied nothing"), but that's criminal stupidity, at best.

Posted by: Lydia at April 12, 2005 3:00 PM


I think most of 2) can be answered already.

All of the evidence and objections were being presented and then during recess Ken and the others reached an agreement with Beth where they would drop their objection to her being appointed temporary guardian as long as she would follow the recommendation of the doctors.

Their original objection alleged financial fraud on Beth's part along with acting against her best interests, which included allegedly telling the hospice to withhold nourishment and food. They agreed to drop their objections when the agreement was reached.

Before recess the only testimoney that appears to have been heard was that of the doctor appointed to examine Mae and Beth's. Ken and other's testimoney never came up for the sole reason that they dropped their objections right after recess. That was their own choice, not the judge's unwillingness to listen to them as Ken claimed.

The judge did explicitly order that Mae should be fed and receive any medical treatment necessary. She was kept at the hospice until the doctors' reached their decision because it was shown that she was at risk of possible death if she were to be moved pending that outcome.

The "time was of the essence" directly referred to Mae's medical condition and nothing else.

If something was left out, or if Beth did not honour the agreement, then it's Ken's fault for agreeing to the compromise in the first place and second for failing to bring it to anyone's attention, namely police or the judge himself.

As a sidenote since some people, including me, wondered about it: Mae was alledgedly conscious last week (according to Ken), but appears to be suffering from dementia with both sides agreeing that she is in no condition to still reliably make decisions for herself.

Posted by: Vanessa at April 12, 2005 4:44 PM

I appreciate Lydia's comments. I, too, am concerned about the apparent lack of noticing the red flags. The red flags should hav triggered the following questions: Why would someone need emergency guardianship unless there was a grave concern? What was that grave concern? What is the "opposing" parties concerns about Mae's care? Why is this person in a hospice? Did she have a living will? What does the living will state? Why should the granddaughter want to act contrary to the living will? (And can she do that?) Finally, any time anyone hears that someone is being denied food and water regardless of what state they are in (of course, particulary someone who is neither PVS, comatose, or terminally ill), a very large red flag should be raised? Even if this is the supposed wish of the person (which, of course, it is not in this case.)

I hesitate to believe that the judge was acting in good faith when it apparently seems like this line of questioning was not pursued.

The danger is that society in general is accepting a nonchalant attitude when they hear of someone being neglected or mistreated. It is being accepted as permissable if not laudable because there might be some twisted "legality" to depriving someone of basic care. I am thankful that there are a number of people, as demonstrated by this blog, who are willing to take action to protect life against those who want to take it under the guise of "good will".

Posted by: djw at April 12, 2005 4:54 PM

Vanessa/Beth Gaddy, I believe that you've totally blown your credibility here with your trolling comments here and there. You're officially on "ignore".

I appreciate Lydia, and djw's comments here, among others. Thank you to them.

Posted by: oldfitz at April 13, 2005 1:59 PM