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April 13, 2005

The Life-and-Death Struggle over Mae Magouirk

Topics: News

Source: WorldNetDaily

In an intense life-and-death tug-of-war reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo case, the fate of Ora Mae Magouirk is still raging, despite the transfer Saturday of the 81-year-old widow to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center in Birmingham for treatment of an aorta dissection.

In the latest twist to the saga, Magouirk's granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, 36, of LaGrange, Ga, who is also her temporary guardian, barred immediate next-of-kin from visiting the stricken woman. No explanation was given, nor were the relatives notified.

When Magouirk's brother, A.B. McLeod, 64, of Anniston, Ala., attempted to visit Magouirk Sunday, the charge nurse said an order had been given not to allow him or his sister, Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, 74, of Birmingham, to visit their sister. The nurse refused to reveal the source of the order or even if it were written or verbal, and had McLeod escorted from the premises.

"We're just flabbergasted," McLeod told WorldNetDaily. "We don't know what to think. Why not let me see her? What's the big deal?"

Yesterday, McLeod finally learned through his attorneys that Gaddy had indeed given verbal instructions to the staff at UAB to deny him, his sister Lonnie Ruth, or his nephew Kenneth Mullinax, 45, of Birmingham, permission to visit their sister and aunt.

Moreover, the hospital staff is forbidden to give them any information about Magouirk's condition. Even her physician, cardiologist Dr. Raed Aqel, who is also treating Ruth Mullinax's aortic dissection and is McLeod's physician as well, cannot reveal how their sister is faring since her admission to UAB.

read more (this is a lengthy but highly informative article)

Posted by tim at April 13, 2005 2:43 AM

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One question I think Ken Mullinax should be asked is whether he or his lawyer ever gave Judge Boyd any indication of their concerns that Beth was dehydrating Mae.

Boyd seems to be implying that this issue never came up because of their swift agreement at the Monday hearing after testimony only from the one doctor. Mullinax, of course, has already said that the reason his lawyer suggested the agreement was because they sensed Boyd's hostility to their claim for guardianship and were afraid that if they continued and let him make the ruling she would end up left in hospice.

Still, I think it was very important that they tell him of their concerns. As it is, he can act all innocent.

Yet, this WND article says that they _did_ submit to the court at least her statements about thinking Mae should die. Shouldn't those alone have raised red flags for the judge? If indeed he was so negative to their case for guardianship--if their perception was correct--after submission of these comments, then he's a fool.

It is upsetting that Boyd supports her decision to deny access and information. *At best* this man is naive about Beth's intentions and the dangers to Mae of a blackout on information.

Could she be dehydrating her right now at the hospital?

Posted by: Lydia at April 13, 2005 8:45 AM

I'm concerned that someone needs to be monitoring Mae's treatment at UAB to ensure it's not just continuation of the hospice 'protocol'.

Posted by: Anna_Nordin at April 13, 2005 8:45 AM

She absolutely could be dehydrated at the hospital. Withdrawal of care and instituting the so-called "comfort measures" happen all the time. She could be made a Level 4 DNR and they would then withdraw IV's, feeding tubes, antibiotics etc. If the patient is too ill to eat, or medicated, in a few weeks they will pass away. A PCA pump may be initiated to keep the morphine flowing to ease any pain. Sad, and painful.

Posted by: I hope at April 13, 2005 10:57 AM

good points all ... hopefully something came out of the petition by Mullinax's attorney for visitation, etc.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at April 13, 2005 11:09 AM

Lydia asked, "Yet, this WND article says that they _did_ submit to the court at least her statements about thinking Mae should die. Shouldn't those alone have raised red flags for the judge?"

The parties negotiated a settlement and the objection was withdrawn before the judge ever ruled on the merits of the case. Therefore the allegations don't officially exist, as far as the court is concerned. Additionally, because they were hearsay statements introduced by the people who objected to Beth anyway, they are not very powerful from an evidenciary point of view. It would be far more convincing to find someone outside the family to whom Mae made the same statements (the woman who does her chores, hairdresser, pastor, etc.) If I were the Mullinax's lawyer I would be looking for these kinds of witnesses in preparation for the hearing on permanent guardianship (the tempoary guardianship expires in 45 days).

Also, Lydia asked, "Could she be dehydrating her right now at the hospital?" While theoretically possible, I suppose, I find this highly improbable. Her attending cardiologist, Dr. Aqel (who is also her sister's cardiologist) was instrumental in bringing her to UAB for treatment. The judge's order specifies that Beth must ensure Mae gets such treatment as recommended by the doctors. If Beth Gaddy did ask for hydration to be removed, Dr. Aqel should refuse, citing the judge's order, forcing Beth to either withdraw the request or go back to the judge. This case is also certainly under intense scrutiny by UAB's lawyers after the fiasco with Beth's invalid POA and the hospice admission. If Dr. Aqel did agree to withhold food and water against the judge's order, both he and the hospital would be liable for a huge malpractice judgement, not to mention possible criminal charges. I'm pretty sure that with Dr. Aqel and UAB's attorneys involved, Beth Gaddy can't do a damn thing execpt issue petty no-visitation orders.

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 13, 2005 12:15 PM

Thanks for the legal perspective, Creature. Thing is, it just isn't crystal clear to me (and I suspect I'm not the only one) that the judge's order absolutely prohibits a return to the half-baked hydration situation we saw back in the hospice. As you point out, the judge orders that she receive such treatment as the doctor recommends. Hydration and nutrition by tube are (I'm afraid this is fairly well-established legally) regarded as treatment rather than basic care. So actually, the doctor _could_ probably get away with agreeing for her to have no feeding tube. That is, if he "recommended" it (agreed with Beth in requesting it), she would then be following his "recommendations." At that point, we could be back to the whole double-talk regarding whether receiving only a little jello and ice chips constitutes "being denied food and water."

But without any visitation or reporting on her condition, it's hard to check up on any of this.

I'm sure you are right that the UAB lawyers are right on this one. But it's my impression from lots of other cases that leaving people without adequate hydration is just becoming more and more accepted legal protocol and that fear of lawsuits over such decisions is therefore not very great. I just hope you are correct that in this case the _only_ thing we need to worry about is a return to a hospice environment. In that case, it is at the time of discharge that the greatest danger to her will arise, as indeed it arose last time she was discharged from the hospital.

Posted by: Lydia at April 13, 2005 1:31 PM

"So actually, the doctor _could_ probably get away with agreeing for her to have no feeding tube. That is, if he "recommended" it (agreed with Beth in requesting it), she would then be following his "recommendations."

Bear in mind this doctor is treating her aortic dissection. I am not a cardiologist, but I doubt that allowing one's patient to become dehydrated would be considered part of the standard of care for that condition (/sarcasm). In which case he would first have to make a medical determination that she was untreatable. Since he has aggessively treated her sister, and agreed to transfer Mae to UAB even before the hospice crisis arose, I doubt he would suddenly declare her a "lost cause."

Posted by: Creatureofhabit at April 13, 2005 2:08 PM

In the 21st century they don't use trains and secret camps, they use ambulances and hospices and they tell CNN so all the anti-American anti-Christians all over the world can run ProPaganDa campaigns saying it would be cruel to let you live.

Give up on legislators, do you think "rules" and dead letters concern people who would murder an innocent woman because she had the capabilities of a small child?

Posted by: gopchristian at April 13, 2005 3:47 PM

Umm, gopchristian, I sympathize with your frustration, but if we "give up on legislators", we don't have a government any more. What would you suggest instead?

I don't think we can give up on our legislators -- on the contrary, we have to hold their feet to the fire. We have to spread the truth about what's going on with euthanasia in this country. As more and more people find out about it, and begin to see how easily it could happen to them or their loved ones, that the tide will begin to turn. I hope the Schindlers can find the strength to write a book.

Posted by: Mary in LA at April 13, 2005 4:50 PM

Dr. Nordin,

You are properly concerned about Mae being monitored. That's why a guardian ad litem group should be composed of doctors and clergy, preferably three doctors plus clergy. I see Boyd appointed three doctors.


LThey still have trains and secret camps (just ask FEMA, but in these situations they do sem to be using ambulances and hospices. Makes you sust want to run out and visits your doctor, doesn't it?

As for turning to government and agencies for help, I only wonder how long it will take people to realize that they are dead dogs or wolves. How much more must they fail in their duty before it becomes crystal clear that this is no accident.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 13, 2005 4:50 PM

Mary in LA,

No government for the people is a real problem, I couldn't agree more. When you find one stop the press and let us all know. We are literally dying for news.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 13, 2005 4:54 PM

I'm not talking about turning to them for help any more -- I'm talking about turning the incumbents out of office and turning the agencies inside out.

Of all the suggestions I've seen posted, I think your idea of a guardian ad litem group is the best and most practical. Even with that in place, we'll still have to work to reform the government.

Posted by: Mary in LA at April 13, 2005 5:02 PM

When I find one what? Sorry...

Posted by: Mary in LA at April 13, 2005 5:06 PM


I want very much to see a guardian ad litem group put into place, composed as you say of doctors and clergy who are declaredly for life and who believe in people living to the very end of their natural lives without dehydration or removal of nutrition.

Yes, that and shelters (like women victims of domestic abuse may have a women's shelter they can go to). And someone at another blogsite also mentioned tax shelters (though I don't know enough about this sort of thing).

Ways of escape from harm for those targeted by the those who would cause an early death to them.

And Mary in LA, turning the agencies inside out is good IMO too; we should expose all corruption.

Posted by: juleni at April 13, 2005 5:18 PM

This computer is acting up badly, so bear with me.

Yes, Mary, we do need to clean up the, ahem, shepherds who are really wolves, etc. If you see a govt "for the People", let us know. I can't find one. So far the guardian ad litem groups Idea is being explored through existing pro life people, groups and both Always and Juleni have contacted Fr. Pavoni. But even if we do get the word out to people to appoint these groups, there will be people who don't and for them the best we can offer is a jury which adds a human element to cold court procedings.

Hold the line on pro life, Juleni, and don't give an inch on the sorry idea that human lives can be litigated. When we have this rolling I hope to explore the Parkinsons idea and try to get to the root of the problem instead of treating the symptoms.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 13, 2005 6:20 PM

Mary et. al., don't worry; I don't ever believe that human lives can be litigated. I like your ideas for the guardian ad litem *group* to help protect people (that people could appoint *before* they got sick), as you once stated in prior comments (quoting you):

"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 pretense 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."

I also believe as one verse says, that we should "not participate in their evil deeds, but instead expose them". Bring to light what is wrong and going wrong in the laws, the hospices, the litigation and the judges.

And work towards providing for juries in situations like this.

Posted by: juleni at April 13, 2005 9:40 PM