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April 8, 2005

So, WHERE are the DOCTORS?

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I just talked with Kenneth a bit ago. His mother is still in ICU but is stable. She told him to not worry about her today, but to go save her sister, Mae. Kenneth has not slept since Thursday morning and has been working non-stop to SAVE MAE. He is very grateful to ALL of YOU working so hard for Mae. He also shared that he felt this article got the facts right:

Found at LaGrange Daily News

Woman, 81, at center of feeding tube feud

By: Joel Martin
Senior Writer

Kenneth Mullinax, the patient's nephew in Birmingham, Ala., said a hospice nurse told him that Magouirk had not received substantial nourishment since March 28. He wants a temporary feeding tube inserted until she can be evaluated for treatment at the University of Alabama Medical Center. A living will states that nourishment should be withheld only if she were in a coma or vegetative state with no hope of recovery.

Mullinax and the patient's brother and sister ­ Lonnie Ruth Mullinax of Birmingham and A.B. McLeod of Anniston, Ala. ­ came here last Friday to arrange for a feeding tube and take her to the Birmingham hospital. That same day Gaddy received emergency guardianship in Troup County Probate Court.

At a follow-up hearing Monday, the parties reached a settlement that awarded guardianship to Gaddy provided three cardiologists ­ James Brennan and Thomas Gore, both of LaGrange, and Raed Aquel of Birmingham ­ evaluate the patient, who would receive whatever treatment two of the three recommended. A final decision had not yet been reached....

Read the rest

"They were all hugging necks when they left court," said Probate Judge Donald Boyd. "I don¹t know what happened."

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."

"I think all of Mrs. Magouirk's family has her genuine best interests at heart, but unfortunately they disagree on what they believe would be best for her," said Jack Kirby of LaGrange, attorney for the patient¹s brother and sister.

"She (Gaddy) said, "I think it¹s time she (her grandmother) goes home to Jesus, that¹s she's too sick and would not have a good quality of life," Kenneth Mullinax said.

His complaints have been posted on Internet Web logs that have been in overdrive since the Terri Schiavo case.

"All of the Terri Schiavo people have come to our rescue," Mullinax said. "This thing¹s going national."

On Thursday, the Probate Office, West Georgia Health System and attorneys in the case were inundated with phone calls and e-mails.

"We need people surrounding that place (hospice), we need some activity," one caller from Oregon told the Daily News, adding that she had called the governor¹s office and attorneys in the case.

The probate office got an estimated 50 calls from people saying things like, "I understand y¹all are murdering people in Troup County" and "You¹re euthanizing people."

"We¹re taking the posture of refusing to deal with those people because they¹re not representing the responsible parties," said West Georgia Health System President Jerry Fulks. "We¹re focusing on taking care of the patient and her family."

Fulks said he could not comment on an individual patient, but the health system¹s policy calls for nourishment and hydration for hospice patients, sometimes through a feeding tube because of throat cancer or some other condition that prevents the patient from swallowing.

He said there is a "reverence for life that our staff and our physicians and our volunteers all adhere to in doing the jobs they do."

Mullinax said his aunt does not have a terminal condition, which is a requirement for admission to hospice.

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

Gaddy has been taking care of her grandmother for 10 years, he said.

"They¹re following the doctors¹ recommendations and they want to do what¹s in the best interests of their grandmother," Daniel said, adding that hospice is providing "excellent care" for Magourik, a widow with no children.

Gaddy could not be reached for comment.

"The doctors can make her very comfortable again and give her a normal life," Mullinax said. "That¹s all we want for Aunt Mae ... My aunt can¹t live much longer without substantial fluids or nourishment.

"I want the world to know that at Hospice LaGrange you have people who are not terminal being denied nourishment as a matter of course. This national debate has reared its head in Troup County, Georgia. It¹s the damndest thing I¹ve ever seen."

He said he will "pursue every available avenue" to get treatment for his aunt.

Posted by sherri at April 8, 2005 10:59 PM


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Comments

What does Mae herself say about this? Is she conscious and lucid?

My mother herself decided no feeding tube at a certain point in her struggle to recover from a massive stroke. She had been losing weight to the point that the doctor said that if she liked, he would hospitalize her and put in either an IV or a feeding tube to pump her up with what she was not getting by normal feeding. She declined, and was completely lucid. We honored her wishes, as we honored her wishes not to be hospitalized again but to stay home in our care. We gave her all the nutrition and hydration she wanted, up to the day of her death. She died three months after she told her doctor she did not want a feeding tube. She could swallow, was lucid, knew that this was a life and death decision.

Was this not a valid decision for her to make? I did not think of it as suicide, but as deciding that she was at the end of her life and allowing herself to die naturally. MUST a person receive a feeding tube just to make sure that they received a full, balanced, and life-sustaining amount of food and hydration? Or may one opt to receive food and hydration as one's body seems to want, even if it means one's systems will begin to shut down?

I believe that food and hydration is owed to every person, but that if are able to take it by mouth, there is no requirement to take it by other means.

What is Mae's feeling about this? Does anyone know? And we need to be clear, as we fight against euthanasia, that a person is not obliged to take a feeding tube if they can be given nutrition and hydration by mouth.

Rae

Posted by: Rae Stabosz at April 9, 2005 12:05 AM

Rae, my understanding is that, at least at this time, she is not lucid enough to communicate. Her living will says that food and water are only to be witheld if she is in a coma or vegetative, and she is neither.

Angela

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 9, 2005 1:17 AM

Mae Magourik may be getting food and water while doctors decide her fate.

According to a recent WorldNet Daily article, if--as Ken Mullinax claims--food and water are still being denied to Mae Magourik, it would be in direct violation of the court order of April 1st.

WND says, "In his order, Probate Judge Douglas Boyd permitted Gaddy to continue as Magouirk's temporary guardian, but in a formal letter attached to the order stated that her powers were limited. One of the conditions of her guardianship is 'To see that the ward [Magouirk] is adequately fed, clothed, sheltered and cared for, and receives all necessary medical attention, including placement in a nursing home, if appropriate.'"

WND has not been able to confirm whether Ken's claim that she still has not been given fluids or a feeding tube is true or not.

I hope she is actually receiving nutrition and hydration at this time.

Here's the link where you can read the entire WND article: http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43721

Posted by: purple_kangaroo_Angela at April 9, 2005 1:18 AM

Ok, something is really bothering me about this. The fact is most everything we know about Mae Magouirk has come from one person - Ken Mullinax. And now that there's more news about the case, some of the facts just dont match up.

Now we find out that Mae Magouirk has been able to eat without a feeding tube, that Beth Gaddy was only given TEMPORARY emergency Guardianship (for how long?), and that the case was settled on Monday. That means the judge had nothing to do with appointing the doctors, they were agreed upon by the family's lawyers.

Seems like something went wrong between the Monday trial and Wednesday when Kenneth Mullinax showed up. He was a press secretary for a Democratic Congressman -- he must have learned a few tricks on how to spin a story. Look back at the earlier stories and ask yourself if that might not be happening here.

Posted by: bister at April 9, 2005 1:19 AM

Bister, I read a good comment on Fr R. Johannsen's blog Thrown Back which can answer you somewhat and will post it here, and give credit to its writer. (It was a reply to another who thought Ken was the only source for this.) It may be a bit sharp Following:

" ...the local newspaper in that town did a story on this. It was called something like "81-year-old woman at center of controversy" or something. ...I didn't have time to search the LaGrange archives from the link to find the story. They even have the name of the reporter who wrote it. You wanna call up the LaGrange Newspaper and ask him if this woman exists? Please. Sherri at Blogs for Terri *phoned the judge* and spoke to him. Unless you think she's lying. The judge certainly admitted that the woman exists and that the situation exists, that there is a controversy. And Sherri duly reported his claim that things were "settled" on Monday night, which the LaGrange news article explains further as regards the role of the three doctors.

Yes, the thing is really happening. And as I pointed out, it isn't even as bad as some of us originally thought, because at least she's getting (at least at some times) ice chips and jello, if we take the niece's word for it.

...."

--
Posted Sat 9 Apr 5:36 PM EDT by Lydia "

Posted by: juleni at April 9, 2005 5:12 PM