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March 23, 2007

Institutional Murder is Commonplace

Topics: Euthanasia

Park Pickup, founder of Human Life Matters, recently wrote about a woman (45) who developed pneumonia at the group home where she lived for ten years. She was rushed to the hospital in serious condition.

Doctors spoke grimly about Jane's prognosis and advised her parents to put her in a hospice where she would be denied nutrition and hydration until she dies. Jane's parents who visited her twice a year throughout her decade at the group home agreed.

Jane was put in a hospice, sedated and denied fluids (1 week) and nutrition (2 weeks).

The hospice doctor who ordered this said Jane had no "quality of life" and could not be rehabilitated.

Meanwhile, the staff from the group home, where Jane had lived, convinced their facility physician to visit Jane at the hospice to determine if she really was terminally ill. After examining her, he ordered hydration commence immediately, sedation stop, and a swallowing test to see if Jane could tolerate food.

Boy, can Jane swallow and eat! After she awoke from the sedation, she was so thirsty she drank several glasses of water! A day later Jane was offered pureed food which she devoured. As the group home director told me, "We are thankful that some doctors are willing to question the faulty diagnosis of other doctors". I am too. It saved Jane's life.

Read the rest of Mark's article here and visit his organization's website, HumanLifeMatters.com

Additional Information: Mark writes,

The organization I founded, HumanLifeMatters (www.HumanLifeMatters.com) is the Canadian affiliate of the Florida based Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation. This is why we were contacted regarding Jane and other people with developmental disabilities in danger of being killed by dehydration and starvation. The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation is constantly getting calls concerning people who face the same fate as Terri Schiavo.

Posted by tim at March 23, 2007 3:08 AM


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The worst of these cases of which I am aware is the tragic dehydration of Marjorie Nighbert. Marjorie was a successful businesswoman until a stroke left her disabled. She was unable to swallow safely, but not terminally ill. She was moved from Alabama to a nursing home in Florida where she would receive rehabilitation to help her relearn how to chew and swallow without danger of aspiration. A feeding tube was inserted to ensure that she was properly nourished during her recovery.

Marjorie had once told her brother Maynard that she didn't want a feeding tube if she were terminally ill. Despite the fact that she was not dying, Maynard believed that she had meant that she would rather die by dehydration than live the rest of her life using a feeding tube. Accordingly, he ordered all of Marjorie's nourishment stopped.

As she was slowly dehydrating to death, Marjorie began to beg the staff for food and water. Distraught nurses and staff members, not knowing what else to do, surreptitiously snuck her small amounts. One staffer--who was later fired for the deed--blew the whistle, leading to a hurried court investigation and a temporary restraining order requiring that Marjorie receive nourishment.

Circuit Court Judge Jere Tolton appointed attorney William F. Stone to represent Marjorie and gave him twenty-four hours to determine whether she was competent to rescind the general power of attorney she had given to Maynard before her stroke. After the rushed investigation, Stone was forced to report that Marjorie was not competent at that time.(She had, after all, been intentionally malnourished for several weeks.) Stone particularly noted that he had been unable to determine whether she had been competent at the time the dehydration commenced.

With Stone's report in hand, Judge Tolton ruled that the dehydration should be completed! Before an appalled Stone could appeal, Marjorie died on April 6, 1995.

Wesley Smith's Research

Posted by: James at April 1, 2007 10:05 PM