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July 26, 2005

Maria Korp sentenced to death


As Maggie reported in the thread below, the latest news on Maria Korp is not good.

Maria Korp, for those who may have forgotten, is the lady who was found in the trunk of a car and whose husband, with his girlfriend, is suspected of attempting to murder her.

The Public Advocate in her part of Australia has decided that she is to die of dehydration. Her feeding tube is to be removed.

Here is the URL with all the information I have on this latest development.

Maria did not have a living will, and she is known to have been a devout Catholic. Her husband's motives in opposing her death have been questioned, inasmuch as he may well have injured her in the first place and may want to avoid further charges. However, there is absolutely no evidence that she "would have wanted this," and whatever his motives, his point about her religious commitment seems relevant to the question of her wishes. That, of course, is aside from the fact that no one--not even those who "would have wanted it"--should be killed by dehydration.

This article leaves several questions unanswered:

--Earlier reports had stated that Maria was on a ventilator and had only a 50/50 chance of survival if it was removed. Has it been removed already? If not, will it be removed now along along with the feeding tube? Or will they carefully keep her breathing going so that her death is sure to take at least 10-14 days?

--When is her death by dehydration scheduled to begin?

--Is there any process of appeal available?

The article states that the Advocate is going to make a statement on the Korp case this evening. Please, readers, put any further information you are able to gain, including a URL for the further statement should you find it, into the comments spot. I will, of course, update if I find out more.

Update: Our alert readers have found lots of additional information. Read the thread for all of it. Maria was weaned off the ventilator some time ago. (Apparently this evidence of improvement isn't good enough for the Public Advocate.) Her first day without tube feedings is July 27. Read the thread for on-going updates.

Posted by lydia at July 26, 2005 2:29 PM

Articles Related to :


I just found this: http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2005/s1422967.htm. It is a transcript of an Australian TV broadcast which took place a few hours ago. Included in the discussion is Julian Gardner - the so-called Public Advocate for the Victoria who made the decision to pull the hydration and feeding tubes. In particular notice the similarity in terms and rationalization to Felos:
ALISON CALDWELL: Maria Korp's brother-in-law says this is inhuman.

JULIAN GARDNER: I think it's unfortunate that people make comments like that when they're not aware of what her medical condition is, when they don't have the benefit of medical advice.

I have spoken to numerous palliative care specialists, all without exception say that this will be pain-free and free from discomfort. The fact is that many people throughout Melbourne die naturally, and as they do they lose the desire for food and water, their body shuts down. And this is not the situation of somebody who is thriving. This is somebody who is dying, and in many ways it will be no different from many other people who die naturally.

In this case, because it was clear that she did hold certain religious beliefs, we have gone to pains to talk to a Catholic ethicist to ascertain just what the official views of the Church are on this, and I am confident that the decision that's being taken is consistent with those teachings.

Posted by: Tom Spence at July 26, 2005 4:18 PM

Arrgh! The URL to the story is:

No period at the end of the URL

Posted by: Tom Spence at July 26, 2005 4:26 PM

I cannot get this out of my mind that they have learned nothing from Terri's death. I am shocked that he has made the comment that it will be painless. That is not true.

It looks as if palliative care in Melbourne has gone to the dogs (make that the euthanasia maniacs).

There is a difference between someone who is thriving and someone who is dying. Gust Korp has made it clear, and the family has made it clear that they do not support this action. They are devastated by the decision.

I will be seeing my doctor today. He is the vice-president of Right to Life here in Australia. I am supposed to be having a blood test but I have no doubt that we will discuss this development. I am still hoping to get conference material from him to post to our blogs.

Posted by: Maggie4Life at July 26, 2005 4:38 PM

The following is a link to the Sydney Morning Herald on the Korp story


It gives some background into the incident. I am of the opinion that Joseph Korp did not coerce Tania Hermann into the attempted murder of his wife. I have read other articles on this case, and the details are quite lurid.

What stands out to me, such that I believe that Tania Hermann acted out of jealousy, is that one story had stated what had been going on (very lurid details) and that Jo Korp had told Tania Hermann that he was going back to his wife. I suggest that she acted out of rage and jealousy, such that in her mind she might believe that she was coerced, but it will end up her word against his.

I am also saying this because Korp has maintained his total concern over his wife's condition, which is a far cry from the attitude of Michael Schiavo. Also, in this case, the brother of Joseph Korp is the one who broke the news that the tube removal is impending, and he is very upset and angry about this event. To me that shows that there is a real difference between the two husbands in each case and that perhaps Jo Korp is innocent of any plot to murder his wife.

If you check the details of the case you will see that Maria was strangled by Tania Hermann. She was then placed in the boot of her car and left to die. I might develop some other thoughts on the parallels between these cases and then blog them at my blog: "Saying No to the Culture of death". That will not be until later in the day because I must go to a medical appointment, then have breakfast, and do some shopping for food.

Posted by: Maggie4Life at July 26, 2005 4:57 PM

I've read both the stories. HOw do you guys interpret them vis a vis the questions I asked?

Specifically: There's no mention that she was ever _on_ a ventilator, and it is pretty clear that now she isn't on one. Is that your read? So if the earlier reports were correct and she was on a ventilator, they must have weaned her off the ventilator and she is surviving indefinitely without it, despite the stated 50-50 odds. So, darn, she didn't die that way, so now they'll make sure by withdrawing the food and water. That's how I read it, but the stories just don't say. What do you think?

Second, it doesn't say _when_. So what does that mean? Beginning right now? Has the tube been removed already?

They clearly chose their so-called "Catholic ethicist" very carefully. The previous pope had something very different to say about nutrition and hydration--that they are to be regarded as "ordinary care." But they just found some Catholic "ethicist" who would say what they wanted to hear.

One of the horrid parts of this is that, despite the talk of Mr. Gardner's not having made the decision "lightly," that's clearly exactly what he has done. Note that there is no _attempt_ to say that this was her wish--none. Nothing. No evidence at all to that effect, and none required or called for by those in charge. He just decides this is "best" for her and goes for it. So much for choice.

Posted by: Lydia at July 26, 2005 5:55 PM

They did take her off the ventilator over a month ago, and she was expected to have only a 50% chance of living without it. http://purplekangaroopuzzle.blogspot.com/2005/06/maria-korp-breathing-unaided.html

Here's my earlier post about some of the reasons I think this is a bad (not to mention premature) decision. http://purplekangaroopuzzle.blogspot.com/2005/06/joe-korp-maria-korps-husband-is-out-on.html

Posted by: purple_kangaroo at July 26, 2005 8:17 PM

One of those articles said the tube would be removed tomorrow, July 27th.

Posted by: purple_kangaroo at July 26, 2005 8:21 PM

The tube is to be removed today, July 27th.

The Australian Right to Life have produced a media release. I will try to search for it and post it here and then on Truth and action.

Posted by: Maggie4Life at July 26, 2005 9:49 PM

A few things to clarify: She was out of intensive care by February (http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Maria-Korp-out-of-intensive-care/2005/02/21/1108834728518.html), and could breathe unaided by May (http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Maria-Korp-starts-to-breathe-unaided/2005/06/06/1117910240687.html).

These two developments within this year points to recovery, not deterioration as the public advocate, Mr. Gardner, claims.

I also note crucial lapses from Seven News and from The Age. Both failed to clarify that the allaged prognosis of death within two weeks referred to the period after food and water are withdrawn. But a cursory reading of those reports I mention gives the impression that she is dying in two weeks anyway, regardless of withholding of food and water.

What does that mean? She is not dying. I don't know who was playing word games here but clearly some confusion has been sown concerning this and it should be clarified. Particularly since there was never any mention of what is killing Mrs. Korp. They did not even mention physical brain injuries apart from the lack of oxygen for a prolonged period of time. Nothing like those CT scans of Terri showing physical brain tissue damage. No, I'm not really into invading the woman's privacy to the point where her CT scans must be made public. But if she truly is dying, why have they never mentioned any specific deterioration? Especially considering that she got out of intensive care just five months ago and she got out of respirator assitance just two months ago.

I have more details along with links in this blog:


Posted by: Jeff Tan at July 27, 2005 2:47 AM

You guys are great. You have the info.

Jeff, this matter of "dying in two weeks" is not simple confusion. It lies at the heart of a new medico-legal concept of "dying" that has been killing people for years now. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court even put it into one of their opinions, _Browning_, and I have seen it expressly defended by an "ethicist" in print--that a person may be regarded as "dying" who would die in a relatively short time (where two weeks is treated as a "relatively short time") _if_ a feeding tube were withdrawn.

This is because they treat a feeding tube as major "life support," and from there argue that you must be "dying" if you would die without it. But as you point out, this is nonsense.

People have been admitted to hospice under this fiction. I have proposed that states should pass legislation treating it as medical fraud to declare a person "dying imminently" for purposes of hospice admission if he isn't dying imminently of something _other than_ tube withdrawal.

Of course she is not dying. She is just "not thriving" in the words of Mr. Gardner. Apparently "not thriving" is now a capital offense in Australia.

Posted by: Lydia at July 27, 2005 8:42 AM

I've noticed a stark difference in how the media is handling this here in Australia as compared to how it was covered in the US. I might be wrong of course, but the media seems to have been very muted here. Perhaps that's an Australian trait where the media is less willing to pry, but I have doubts about that.

In any case, in the evening and late news, and in online mainstream news like The Age, the coverage was limited to the visit made by Maria's husband today, "saying goodbye for the last time." No controversies were mentioned. None of the protests made by anyone, not even by Rights to Life Australia or bio-ethicist Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini.

I also found out that the pro-euthanasia crowd is one step ahead (http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,16061236%5E661,00.html): "In a landmark Victorian Supreme Court ruling in 2003, Justice Stuart Morris ruled that artificial feeding of a terminally ill woman was medical treatment that could be legally withdrawn."

Of course she is not terminally ill, but it appears to be very easy to fool people into thinking that comatose = terminally ill.

Posted by: Jeff Tan at July 27, 2005 9:38 AM

I just don't know what the world is coming to.(I swear, I'm turning into my dad....)

How can anyone justify(except for that Felos snake((He makes my skin crawl just listening.))
starving someone to death.)

I don't get it. Maybe it's just me, but I think that's just common sense...

Posted by: Lonevoice at July 27, 2005 12:04 PM

I just don't know what the world is coming to.(I swear, I'm turning into my dad....)

How can anyone justify(except for that Felos snake((He makes my skin crawl just listening.))
starving someone to death.)

I don't get it. Maybe it's just me, but I think that's just common sense...

Posted by: Lonevoice at July 27, 2005 12:05 PM

The link Jeff gives to the Herald Sun article has several points worth noting:

First, again, no one here says she had said she wouldn't want a feeding tube. Instead, the euthanasia advocate Nitsche (sp?) implies that there should be a presumption for _death_ when the person has left no instructions. He brings up the fact that she had left no instructions as an argument in favor of removing her feeding.

Second, the pro-life ethicist in the article points out, quite rightly, that there has been no claim made to the effect that the feedings themselves are doing harm. This must be emphasized. When the Public Advocate says this is "unduly burdensome," he is just putting out a bit of phraseology that covers everything and means nothing concrete. For example, she doesn't have an infection at the PEG site. (Indeed, one article says they've left the PEG in but have just stopped feeding and hydrating her.) She isn't showing signs of pain from it or struggling with it. The feeding is _not_ a burden.

Third, I believe her priest has failed her. He says they are "saddened," but he also seems to be praising the Public Advocate, saying that he's made a considered and thorough decision. He implies a clear refusal to criticize, a muting of any protest. What's the deal? Are clergy in Australia intimidated, or is this priest just muddle-headed?

At the end comes another expression of faith in the Public Advocate. They quote an official who admits that there might be "discomfort" from dying of dehydration (!) but says he's sure the Public Advocate has thought this all through. So basically, just put blind faith in the guy who has decided she must die.

I note that the pro-life commentators in the article explicitly say they believe this Public Advocate has a pro-euthanasia agenda. I wonder--do they have other evidence for this about this particular fellow? It would be interesting to know.

Posted by: Lydia at July 27, 2005 3:03 PM

Fortunately Philip Nietzche has not had any input into this case other than venturing an opinion in the press. The bioethicists who were consulted come from Melbourne. Nietzche is not a bioethicist. He is a cold blooded killer. There is another story that I might post concerning an identity in Victoria who has recently committed suicide rather than face his disease (he had throat cancer, which is very unpleasant). Philip Nietzche had a hand in that death and if my intuition is correct then he has acted illegally in Victoria by whatever he gave to the person or advice that he offered.

However, back to Maria Korp. I agree that there are missing details in this case, and that is why I feel so uneasy about it. The press has definitely given the impression that Maria was rejecting the tube feeding. The press have been using the word "terminal" which is critical in how this story is being portrayed to the public.

I cannot find details on why the condition is described as terminal, but I will have to rely upon the reporters who have stated that Joe Korp has accepted that his wife has deteriorated in some way.

I have not heard any further news for the past two days. I am not sure why the newspapers are keeping away from the subject. There is a small protest gathering. The hospital does not appear upset by their presence since they are not interfering with people moving in and out of the hospital.

I will see if I can find a press release from Right to Life. It was not available over the net the other day.

Posted by: Maggie4Life at July 28, 2005 10:16 PM

UPDATE: Maria Korp passed away today. She went peacefully and from this I assume that she did not face the horrific death sentence given to Terri. My understanding is that she received a lot of attention with what is euphemistically called palliative care.

Posted by: Maggie4Life [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2005 8:01 PM