Following on to the case of Janet Weber, R.I.P. who escaped the clutches of the killers and died under God's terms...
OKEECHOBEE (FBW)—Karen Weber, 57, the women at the center of a Terri Schiavo-like dispute, passed away Sept. 17, apparently of “natural causes.”
Joyce Tatro-Manes, of Toledo, Ohio, Karen’s sister, told Florida Baptist Witness that Weber, whose husband Ray Weber recently was awarded temporary guardianship in the case, died at Longwood Regional Hospital in Fort Pierce about 9 p.m. and her funeral was in the Toledo area Sept. 22.
Weber suffered a seizure in November and then a stroke and has been between an Okeechobee nursing home and a hospital. At the center of the dispute between family members was whether she was initially able to make decisions about her own care since her vocal cords were paralyzed when she had the stroke. [See Witness article “Schiavo-like case in Okeechobee garners interest; Stroke victim indicates she doesn’t want to die.”]
Ray Weber, Karen’s husband of 34 years, sought to have her feeding tube removed in March and his wife transferred to hospice. Weber’s mother, who maintained at the time that Karen was alert and responsive. indicated she did not believe Karen would want her feeding tube removed and filed for and received an injunction to prevent Ray Weber from proceeding.
The judge in the case also appointed a committee in March to determine whether Weber at that time was competent to make her own medical decisions.
Since that time Weber’s health problems have become more severe and a judge granted Weber’s husband Ray temporary guardianship of her Sept. 3 reversing an earlier decision granting her mother guardianship of her. The hearing determining her competency was postponed, however.
Despite the guardianship order, an injunction the judge issued in March to prohibit the feeding tube’s removal, remained in place, Tatro-Manes said.
“I wanted to let you know that Karen passed away last night of natural causes,” Tatro-Manes’ said in an email.”
Tatro-Manes said Karen Weber had several infections and her blood pressure had dropped in the past several days. The prognosis has not looked good, she said, and their mother, Martha Tatro, 80, had been at her bedside.
“I consider it a huge victory in that there are some causes you have to champion,” Tatro-Manes told the Witness in an interview. “What we wanted was that Karen not be killed by Ray’s hand, but she was taken by God who took her home.”
The attorney representing Martha Tatro, Joseph Rodowicz Jr., in a news release sent to the Witness, issued the following joint statement on behalf of Karen's family members, including her mother, sister, husband and children:
“Karen Weber’s heavenly father called her home to her eternal reward on the evening of Sept. 17, 2008. Her family knows she is in a better place. We look forward to meeting up with her again someday, but until then, she will be greatly missed as she was dearly loved by all of us.”
Okeechobee woman at center of Shiavo-like case dies of natural causes
And the death march continues...
Thanks, Leslie, for the tip. This is from Professor Pope's blog on Medical Futility. At the link is a discussion of living wills and their efficacy.
On Friday afternoon, Strong Memorial Hospital removed Dorothy Livadas' life support not only without the consent of Dorothy's duly appointed health care agent but also over the agent's vociferous objections. The agent, Dorothy's daughter Ianthe, had been replaced with Catholic Family Center. As the new substitute decision maker, CFC authorized the removal of life support.
Yesterday, on a plane from Albuquerque, I read a long post (14 single-spaced pages) that Ianthe had placed in the comments field of this blog. I agree that there is a significant likelihood that the living will did not reflect Dorothy's wishes. There is a significant probability that many living wills fails to reflect the wishes of their makers. But they are presumed to constitute "clear and convincing evidence." Ianthe's evidence about the rushed making of the living will was just not sufficient to overcome the presumption.
Like Schiavo, the case did not address end-of-life decision making principles. It was just a dispute about the condition of the patient and the evidence of the patient's wishes. On the other hand, it does indicate a clear trend of courts replacing surrogates who act contrary to either the wishes or best interests of the patient.
Dorothy Livadas -- Life Support Removed Over Proxy's Objections