Agreement Reached in Dispute Over Mae Magouirk After Her Starvation

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Agreement Reached in Dispute Over Mae Magouirk After Her Starvation Email this article
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by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
April 15, 2005

LaGrange, GA ( — The two sides in a Terri Schiavo-like case appear to have reached agreement, possibly ending a contentious dispute over medical care for an 81-year-old Georgia widow.

Lawyers on both sides agree that Mae Magouirk’s brother and sister, A.B. McLeod and Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, should be permitted to visit their sister during regular visiting hours at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center in Birmingham. Magouirk is receiving treatment there for an aortic dissection.

Under terms of the agreement, the brother and sister will be permitted to talk directly to Magouirk’s doctors, rather than have the information "filtered through third parties."

When Magouirk was airlifted and admitted to the medical center on Saturday, her granddaughter Beth Gaddy, who is her legal guardian, left an order barring Magouirk’s siblings and her nephew from visiting her in the critical care unit.

Earlier this month, Magouirk was subjected to starvation and dehydration at a hospice, where she had been placed by her granddaughter.

In an e-mail, Magouirk’s nephew, Ken Mullinax, included his mother’s description of her recent visit with Magouirk:

"I visited with Sister Mae last evening, and she looks so much better now. Mae opened her eyes and when she saw me said, ‘Where you been, Lonnie?’ I asked her how she felt and she whispered, ‘I can’t buck dance.’ So I stayed with her for 30 minutes, and when I got ready to leave she grabbed my hand and said, ‘Bring me a brown sack and take me home.’ That was a saying of Momma’s that means pack up my stuff. I am so thankful to the Lord that Sister is doing so well now," the e-mail said.

According to Ken Mullinax, Magouirk is in stable condition and is being fed through a temporary nasal feeding tube. Mullinax says his aunt is awake and aware, but speaks softly because her throat is still sore from the dehydration.

McLeod told the news media that neither he nor his sister had done anything to cause trouble at the hospital or hospice.

"We didn’t cause a scene, we didn’t cause anything in our sister’s room, and we think we ought to be able to see our sister," McLeod told the press.

Gaddy agreed to allow visitations, but only if Ken Mullinax pledged never to talk to the media again or communicate in any way with Internet bloggers.

Ken Mullinax refused, appearing on Fox News Channel’s "Hannity & Colmes" program.

Meanwhile, Troup County Probate Judge Donald Boyd, who has had charge of the case since April 1, voluntarily recused himself.

While McLeod and Ruth Mullinax have visitation privileges, Ken Mullinax does not.

Jack Kirby, a lawyer for McLeod and Ruth Mullinax, believes the family dispute is coming to an end.

"I think this family is interested in healing their differences, and I think they’d like to stop airing them publicly and get back to being a family," Kirby told WorldNetDaily.