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April 14, 2005
Updated - Terri Schiavo Attorney Calls on Georgia Court
Late this evening I spoke with Ken Mullinax regarding the Gibbs Lawfirm's press release which we posted in full earlier in the day. We had contacted him after we, along with several readers, noted a few discrepancies in what had been released.
Mullinax verified that a "feeding tube" was never pulled from his Aunt Mae Magouirk. Rather, an IV line for hydration was removed shortly after being put in place.
Earlier in the day, Mullinax's attorney, Jack Kirby, had secured permission for Mae's brother and sister to visit her. Mullinax has also received visitation rights and had just returned from visiting his Aunt Mae Magouirk and his mother, Lonnie Ruth Mullinax prior to our conversation. Both are recovering and doing well.
Mae Magouirk is being fed, and has been since last Saturday, through a feeding tube inserted in her nose. Although speaking is difficult, she is forming complete sentences and communicating. Mae is no longer taking morphine and is suffering only from neck pain.
What Mullinax would like to see happen is joint guardianship between one of Mae's grandchildren and her brother, A.B. McLeod. He and several other family members, including Mae's grandson, Shane Magouirk, are meeting tomorrow to try to come to an agreement and resolve their dispute.
Troup County Probate Judge Donald Boyd, who has had charge of the case since April 1, voluntarily recused himself earlier today. If an agreement cannot be reached, the guardianship dispute will be heard by Georgia State Judge Jeannette Little.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mae's family as the try to end this dispute and act in her best interest.
Here is the full statement released by the Gibbs Lawfirm:
David Gibbs of Gibbs Law Firm in Seminole, Florida, lead counsel for Robert and Mary Schindler, parents of the late Terri Schiavo, today called on a Georgia Probate Court Judge to protect innocent life in the case of Mae Magouirk, an 81-year-old widow whose
feeding tube[IV] was removed with court permission. Mrs. Magouirk was placed in a hospice and denied substantial nourishment and fluids by her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, even though Mrs. Magouirk was not terminal, comatose, or in a vegetative state, and even though the provisions of her Living Will request feeding and hydration. Mrs. Magouirk's brothers and sisters, who want to save her life, had Kenneth Mullinax, Magouirk's nephew and family spokesman, contact Mr. Gibbs regarding the legal issues in this life and death matter.
David Gibbs, whose office spoke with Mullinax, stated:
"I am shocked and dismayed that within mere hours of Terri's death, another court in Georgia was subjecting an 81-year-old widow to the very same inhumane treatment as Terri Schiavo." Family spokesman Mullinax reported that Mrs. Magouirk was placed in a LaGrange, Georgia medical facility on March 13 with a dissected aorta, a congenital medical condition shared by other members of her family. Beth Gaddy, Mrs. Magouirk's granddaughter, subsequently determined that her grandmother should die rather than receive medical treatment and moved her to a hospice facility. After court proceedings, the intervention of a panel of 3 doctors, the support of the friends of Terri Schiavo, and the vocal outreach by her siblings in neighboring Alabama, Mrs. Magouirk was finally rescued from Hospice LaGrange on Saturday, April 9 and flown by lifesaver helicopter to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center, where she is now receiving nourishment, fluids and proper medical attention.
Mr. Mullinax also reports that although a Troup County Probate Court compromise was reached on April 4 between all the parties, Beth Gaddy, Mae Magouirk's granddaughter, who was appointed as temporary guardian by Judge Donald W. Boyd, issued an order to the UAB Medical Center denying other family members full visitation rights and access to medical information. Mrs. Magouirk's brother filed a motion on Wednesday, April 13 before Judge Boyd asking for restoration of visitation rights and medical record access for the family members who want to keep Mrs. Magourik alive.
"Our office would strongly urge Judge Boyd to grant the request of Mrs. Magouirk's closest living next of kin. In fact, after reviewing the circumstances of this situation and remembering our personal experience with Terri's case, we would suggest the judge go one step farther and recognize Beth Gaddy's financial interest in this case. Not unlike Michael Schiavo's conflict of interest with his wife, Beth Gaddy and her brother and sister are the sole beneficiaries of Mrs. Magouirk's estate. As such, Ms. Gaddy should not be given court authority to make medical care decisions intended to result in Mrs. Magouirk's death in violation of her written living will." That additional component in Mrs. Magouirk's case is one the Schiavo case did not have. Gibbs continued:
"It would seem obvious that Judge Boyd should honor Mrs. Magouirk's living will and award her guardianship to family members who would honor her wishes. This case again points up the need for our nation to seriously consider the need for federal legislation permitting federal habeas-type review for court decisions that are intended to result in the death of the elderly and disabled."
Magouirk's Granddaughter, Elizabeth "Beth" Gaddy had her placed in Hospice LaGrange, Ga. on March 22 despite the objections of Magouirk's sister and brother, who are her closest living next of kin. Magouirk's siblings discovered that she was being denied life-sustaining nourishment and fluids on March 31 and have brought this matter before the courts and media in an attempt to save her life.
Source: Gibbs Law Firm Press Release
Update: The original press release states that Mae's "feeding tube" was removed. It is my understanding, based upon Ken Mullinax's prior statements, that it was her "IV" that had been inserted and then pulled after Beth Gaddy was granted emergency guardianship. Consequently, I've amended the press release accordingly.
Posted by tim at April 14, 2005 4:45 PM
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