Woman’s Starvation Stopped in Terri Schaivo-Like Situation

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Woman’s Starvation Stopped in Terri Schaivo-Like Situation Email this article
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by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
April 11, 2005

LaGrange, GA (LifeNews.com) — In a situation reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo case, an 81-year-old Georgia widow has been transported from a hospice to a hospital in order to restore her nutrition and prevent her starvation death.

Eighty-one-year-old Mae Magouirk is now "receiving food, fluids, cardiac care and neurological help," according to her nephew, Ken Mullinax.

Mullinax has been fighting to have his aunt removed from Hospice-LaGrange in LaGrange, Georgia, where she has not been properly fed or hydrated. She’s now been moved to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center.

Under an April 4 court order, Magouirk’s medical treatment was supposed to be decided by a trio of cardiologists. In the meantime, Mullinax maintains his aunt has been without substantial food or hydration for ten days at the hospice.

Magouirk was not terminally ill, comatose, or in a persistent vegetative state when the hospice accepted her as a patient at the request of her granddaughter, Elizabeth Gaddy of Hoganville, Georgia. The hospice began withholding food and water from Magouirk at Gaddy’s request.

Magouirk’s sister, Lonnie Ruth Mullinax of Birmingham and her brother, A.B. McLeod of Anniston, Alabama, protested the removal of food and water. That prompted Gaddy and her brother, Michael Shane Magouirk, to obtain an emergency injunction to prevent her from being transported to the hospital for treatment.

Probate Judge Douglas Boyd allowed Gaddy to continue as Magouirk’s temporary guardian. However, one of the conditions of guardianship is "to see that the ward (Magouirk) is adequately fed, clothed, sheltered and cared for, and receives all necessary medical attention, including placement in a nursing home, if appropriate."

Pro-life activists view the Magouirk case as similar to that of Terri Schiavo, the severely disabled woman who was starved and dehydrated to death at her estranged husband Michael’s request.

However, a friend of Gaddy, Janet Caraway, has been quoted as saying, "She is nothing at all like Michael Schiavo and this situation has no resemblance to that case."

A lawyer for Gaddy and another grandchild said the grandchildren are making sure Magouirk receives appropriate care.

"They’re following the doctors’ recommendations and they want to do what’s in the best interests of their grandmother," indicated lawyer Danny Daniel.

Magouirk suffered aorta damage in late March. Her living will stated that she wanted nourishment and fluids unless she went into a coma or a persistent vegetative state.

But her nephew says she’s hardly comatose.

"This woman has a lot more years to live," Mullinax told WXIA-TV in Atlanta. "She recognized us and she looked at us, and said, please, please help me go home."
Asked to interpret her words, Mullinax said, "It sure didn’t mean home to Jesus, and it sure didn’t mean starve me to death."

Mullinax added, "I"m just asking anyone who believes in life to help us, and to get involved in this."

Disability rights and pro-life advocates who followed the Schiavo case have been swamping the judge with e-mails and phone calls.

"I’ve even been accused several times of murder and I’ve had, I would say, close to a hundred e-mails," Boyd told the media.