Skip to comments.Wife fights red tape to end husband's life after tragic softball accident (Maryland)
Posted on 09/25/2009 9:47:24 AM PDT by Hawk720
On June 5, 2008, the Starr family's life changed forever.
Patrick Starr, father of two and a softball fanatic, was playing his favorite sport when he collided with another player and fell backward, striking his head on the field.
The impact caused brain damage that put the Pasadena man into a coma, in which he has remained ever since.
Now his wife of 16 years, Beth, is prepared to let him go - but she wanted to be sure she and their children Ashleigh, 15, and Zachary, 8, are financially secure first.
"That's what he would want," she said.
Starr said that in order to get there, she has had to struggle with a complicated mess of red tape on two separate, unrelated issues. She has fought simultaneous battles to get Medicaid to cover the costs of her husband's hospitalization, and to work with her bank to approve refinancing the family's waterfront home.
"The process to qualify for Medicaid is as grueling as the accident itself," said Starr, 41. "It shouldn't be that way. Due to the catastrophic nature of the accident, he should have been qualified right away."
(Excerpt) Read more at hometownannapolis.com ...
Important for valid debate I think
If you are required to buy health insurance, then you should be forced to buy term life insurance. If this guy had a waterfront home in Annapolis area, then he should have had life insurance. I have great sympathy for the family, but they should sell their valuable house and move to more humble digs. Why should I bail them out?
She is complaining that Medicaid doesn’t pay her husband’s bills until he is destitute? So she should be able to keep all of their money and assets and let the taxpayer foot the bill? Incredible.
Plus if he had life insurance, I bet she would have already murdered him (”let him go”).
I don’t understand the issues here. Wouldn’t it have saved her all of the paperwork hassles if she had killed her husband first? The story doesn’t explain why she wants to wait to do away with him until after all of the paperwork with both the state and the bank is complete.
There is something missing from this story.
I hope Sponge Bob takes care of the family, I mean where would he be without Patrick Starr?
No insurance, so we get to pick it up?
Sorry Beth, not on my dime.
THat does raise this question —
What would you do if the pols dumped 42 CFR 1399dd?
(for those in Rio Linda
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (”EMTALA”) was enacted in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (”COBRA”)1. The statute is often referred to as the “anti-dumping statute,” as it was enacted pursuant to legislative concern that hospital emergency departments were transferring unstable patients or refusing to provide emergency services based on the patients uninsured status or inability to pay for treatment. One the reasons YOUR insurace rates go up every year.... and the cost of hospital care syrockets.
Very sad, but why didn’t someone in this guys position in life have term life insurance?
I agree. I used to live in Annapolis and I know how expensive water-front homes there are.
Can somebody do the Dave Ramsey Ping list please?
Beth said she knew in February that her husband wasn't going to improve. After consulting with his family in Howard County, she said she's planning to disconnect his feeding tube within the next few weeks.
Yes correct. Then comes the other issue. Life insurance doesn't kick in until death (I think). She's not after his locked up life insurance (there isn't any) so don't have that hanging over her head. She already has access to his savings, so again not after money.
With no living will is the wife able to make the decision to pull the plug? Morally and/or legally?
That's actually the part that I'm having issue getting my head around.
Plus if he had life insurance, I bet she would have already murdered him (let him go).
That’s not very nice. I have 1mm in term life insurance with the explicit instructions that I am NOT to be kept alive by means of some machine. My wife is to take that money and pay off the house and put our 3 girls through college. She has the same instructions for me to follow as well.
So this is a 40-something year old man with three children, who earns $122,000 a year and is the primary breadwinner for his family and he DOESN’T HAVE LIFE INSURANCE! (Probably because he was putting the money toward that nice “house on the water.”)
Yet again this is really about the taxpayers being expected to bail out someone for their own irresponsible decisions. I feel bad for the family, but they should have to sell their house and move to humbler digs before they shove their hospital bills onto the backs of taxpayers.
This is sad, but recall that Medicaid is a form of WELFARE and a person is not “automatically eligible” due to accident or life-threatening injury.
What would she have done if there were no “Medicaid?”
I sympathize, yet, this “grown up kid” should have been more responsible for his family and purchased life insurance. Instead, his wife applies for OUR TAX MONEY to subsidize her husband’s irresponsibility.
Again, I’m not being heartless and I sincerely wish this family well, but I still state that MY TAX MONEY should not be used to pay for her husband’s medical bills just because she did not insist that he have life insurance.
EVERY WAGE EARNER should have some form of life insurance. TERM Life is not all THAT expensive, considering the man’s income.
Is there a Dave Ramsey ping list? I’d like to be on it if so.
Some people don’t need nor want life insurance. I would gladly trade my Company life insurance “points” for other medical coverage.
I do NOT need life insurance. I am single 52 and with no dependents. I have well over $1 mill saved. I have medical insurance and I plan to keep it.
The public (government) has no obligation whatsoever here.
Term life insurance policies are so cheap they’re practically free when you’re in your 20s and 30s. The adults in this family had obligations. They should have met those obligations by obtaining readily available insurance.
I would urge this woman to check whether her husband had unknowingly purchased insurance when paying for his softball fees. In Southern California softball players pay team fees. Those fees include SCMAF insurance fees. This insurance may only pay medical, but there may be a fatality clause in there too. I don’t remember. It is possible, this guy was covered under a blanket policy.
I don’t care what her current status is (other than having reasoned sympathy for the loss), the public SHOULD NOT step in to rescue her.
Life’s a bitch.
If machines are keeping you alive...and you would have died without them...it is not murder to turn them off. I think it is very callous of you to say she would be murdering her husband. That's ridiculous. Without the intervention of man this man would have died shortly after he had his accident. As a person who has had to make that decision (my father) it is one of the most difficult decisions a modern individual (since it is a by-product of modern medicine) has to face. You are not in a position to say it is murder unless it is your contention that God wills all people to stay on life support indefinitely, regardless of their prognosis. If that is the case our hospitals would be full of people in a vegetative state as you can keep almost anyone alive with a machine. I dont think God views that as life. I don't view that as life...and I don't want to remain hooked up for no reason...draining money from my family and my soul kept from God my Savior. No body who loves their family would want that either. If they did...then they are a narcissistic coward.
as to me and you footing the bill? I agree. I shouldnt. You shouldnt. However, I know plenty of couples who dont have life insurance and its the HUSBAND who usually keeps them from buying it because he thinks its a waste of money. Had a great fried who died at 42 of a heart attack. No life insurance. I watched his family suffer. We do not know if this is what happened here. If it is
then her kids will suffer because of her husbands (of 16 years) poor judgment.
Pasadena is NOT Annapolis. It’s more a working class neighborhood. It isn’t on the bay but has small tributaries which, when followed, narrow to . . mud.
I agree. Why should the taxpayers pay her bills, when she has a 3 story, waterfront home and $125,000 in savings?
Also, why would she expect the bank would want to refinance her loan, when her husband’s $122,000 per year income is gone and she only worked part time.
While I am very sorry for her loss, she seems to have some very strong delusions of entitlement. She seems to believe that the taxpayers and the bank have an obligation to provide funding for her to maintain her rather high standard of living.
He may have been from Pasadena, but he was living in Annapolis, in a 3-story home, when he was injured. He lied to his family and told them he went to work; instead, went and played soft ball. The man made 122K. He should have had life insurance. Even if his company didn’t provide it, I’m sure they had a plan he could have purchased. He didn’t adequately provide for this family.
Sorry. If she has to starve the man to death it is murder.
That is irresponsible. I could never afford a waterfront house and I make a lot more than $122,000 per year, but then I have purchased health insurance and life insurance and long term disability insurance to protect MY FAMILY in case something happens to me. So I live in a small house 50 miles from shore.
Who wants to bet this guy didn't own a pretty snazzy boat?
I agree, as we went through a similar thing with my 93 year old FIL. The doctors were urging us to put him on the machines...but his living will state he did not want artificial means of breathing or nutrition (i.e. no ventilator, no feeding tube.)
I once heard Dr. Koop talking about the Karen Anne Quinlan case and his statement was something to the effect of we have to be very careful what we "start" (in terms of medical intervention) because what we "start" we may need to stop in the future, and that is where the hard decisions come into play.
One of these things are different...
Pray you are never in the position this family finds itself.
Is a feeding tube a “machine?” Debatable.
I'm stunned when she says: "I just don't understand why a 44-year-old man had to be declared desolate and broke in order to get [Medicaid]," Beth said. "It's state bureaucracy."
No. It's not bureaucracy. It's because Medicaid is a healthcare program for people with limited financial means. Doesn't she understand she has $125,000 sitting in retirement accounts? Does she know that having $125,000 doesn't lump you in the "limited financial means" category in most zip codes?
I know having that money would be helpful in the future -- her husband was the breadwinner and he didn't have life insurance. And I know that money will be gone -- whoooosh -- for medical bills. But to blame lack of Medicaid coverage on the bureaucracy? Ummmm. No.
“He already had a bad right knee. And the couple was consumed with renovating their home on the Magothy River.”
The Magothy River is in Pasadena and that’s where it dies. I spent every summer there as a child.
Nowhere in the article does it say he moved to Annapolis. The only mention of Annapolis was it appeared in their newspaper. Unless you have inside information.
How can someone making $122,000.00 a year and some part time work from wife even afford Annapolis? Home on the waterfront in Annapolis start at a cool Million.
As far as the tube goes...if its a G-tube...then its not technically a machine...but its a tool that provides life support. Without it...the patient dies. However, the IV's are driven by a machine...and that is what keeps him hydrated and medicated. Either way...its life support on someone who would die now...or 5 years from now...without it.
The Magothy River runs in Anne Arundel County adjacent to Annapolis. And the paper this article is from is an Annapolis paper.
He is NOT being kept alive by “some machine”. He is being kept alive simply by being fed, maybe via feeding tube that works with gravity, maybe through tpn, I don’t know. But my point is if the wife has to starve him to death for him to die, then it is not “letting him go”.
I too lived on the Magothy River, carolina71.
Surprisingly it has two, yes TWO shorelines!
The one I lived on was in Arnold, abutting an area
of Annapolis near the Bay Bridge. It was across the Magothy from the Pasadena shore and is deepwater, not a “mud hole”.
BTW, Pasadena does have areas of direct Bay access as well,
contrary to your other erroneous assertion.
My husband and I have already discussed this and have agreed not to terminate each other through either the withholding of food or water.
Being kept alive on a vent is another matter.
This poor guy is alive but cannot feed himself. Withholding food is starving him to death, i.e. murder.
She doesn’t want his medical bills taking her cushy home, so she wants the taxpayers of America to take care of those bills. It does seem to be about money!
Your wife’s boyfriend must be pleased with that arrangement.
Fact is, Pasadena and Arnold are working class neighborhoods and NOT Annapolis and the property values aren’t Annapolis.
I asked earlier- how would someone making $122,000.00 (or not if, as you say, he wasn’t working) afford over a million $ home?
P.S. the “mud hole” was in reference to the end of the Magothy River.
I was referring to the devastating costs that accompany such a catastrophic injury and what happens to the family home and other assets.
How to care for minor children in the face of mounting bills and unending heartache.
The irony is that this illustrates one of the biggest lies about government health care. Medicare / Medicade requires you to burn through all of your own assets before they will pay for long term / nursing home type care. And I thought govt. health care was supposed to prevent an illness or injury from bankrupting you.
With this guys job and such, why didn’t he have catastrophic care insurance? As crappy as my job is, that is in the package
“If machines are keeping you alive...and you would have died without them...it is not murder to turn them off”
Pulling a feeding tube isn’t the same as turning off a machine. It is killing a person through dehydration. Shut off his respirator and he probably still breathes for years. Cut off hydration and he goes quick, it’s the Terry Schiavo argument. Wouldn’t want to be in this familys’ situation, but I shouldn’t be paying for it either
I pray that no one would have to suffer like this.
But this woman, as someone else said, has an entitlement mentality. She doesn’t expect her lifestyle to change because she expects the government to pay for the care of her husband, and then she is going to kill him regardless!
I would fully expect to pretty much lose everything if my husband was in this condition or dead, IF we didn’t have life insurance. Thankfully, we do. She should have had some, also.
What's the difference between that (G-Tube) and a fork/spoon??? It's definitely NOT life support, unless you consider a fork, life support as well.
The guy is in a 15 mo+ coma and not responsive. The doctors told her that if, after a year, he was still the same...he would remain that way. You can't feed a COMA patient with a fork and spoon. Short of a miracle (which could happen with anyone...)...he will remain in a coma for decades to come unless an infection gets him.
So...in the case of a coma patient...there is a BIG difference b/w a fork and a g-tube.