“I SAVED A GUY’S LIFE”
These were the first words that came from a Life Legal affiliate attorney when I called to ask him how the case was going. The attorney had gone to court to represent Lisa*, whose father Robert* was about to be intentionally dehydrated and starved to death.
Lisa has been caring for her father for 14 years. Robert suffers from dementia, but still recognizes his daughter and enjoys spending time with her and his other children. Last year, Robert was hospitalized because of some chronic medical issues that resulted in his receiving a feeding tube to ensure proper nutrition and hydration. During that time, Lisa had a difference of opinion with the hospital, and the hospital petitioned to have a guardian appointed to oversee Robert’s medical care. The court named a commercial guardianship firm as Robert’s temporary guardian.
Last year, Lisa herself experienced a medical emergency and had to find a nursing home for Robert. Because of COVID restrictions, she was only able to visit her father once in the home. In the meantime, the commercial guardian, who had never seen Robert, determined that Robert’s quality of life was not as it should be. Instead of authorizing changes to Robert’s care, the guardian filed a request to remove Robert’s feeding tube in order to end his life.
Lisa called us in a panic and we immediately got to work to find a local Life Legal attorney to intervene. That was six weeks ago. Since then, the attorney has been to court and explained to the judge and the guardian that Robert is a devout Catholic and would not want his death hastened by the removal of food and water. The important thing, the attorney emphasized, was to ensure that Robert’s wishes – not the wishes of a court-appointed guardian – were honored. The commercial guardian pushed back, but our attorney would not give up.
Eventually, our attorney was able to change the guardian’s mind and he relented. Yesterday I found out that the guardian has withdrawn the request to put Robert to death!
The final hearing in the case is today. Please pray that the judge dissolves the guardianship and allows Robert’s family to make medical decisions on his behalf going forward.