Guardians can't end life support, judge rules

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 18, 2012 - 9:37 PM

Wards' right-to-die cases must be decided in court, ruling says.

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stpaulisbestOct. 18, 12 9:55 PM

This story should have noted that both the self appointed attorney for the brain dead man and the judge are noted pro-life activists and that they don't believe that life support should ever be terminated. Not because they're so worried about the brain dead or terminally ill, but because they view it as weakening their anti-abortion efforts in the legislature. They think that if a guardian can authorize the removal of life support the pro-choice side will have a powerful argument on their side. Namely that the legal decision maker, in the case of abortion that would be the woman, could legally end a life.

luzhishenOct. 19, 12 6:13 AM

So who pays for this? Do the same conservatives who oppose withdrawing life support support a special "life tax" to pay for cases like this person, Schiavo, etc.?

StopentitlementnowOct. 19, 12 6:14 AM

How about my right to not have to pay? Think of the time and money spent on this case. Let nature take its course.

klmoonOct. 19, 12 6:34 AM

@stpaulisbest "Mike Biglow, an attorney appointed to represent Tschumy's interests, concurred that Tschumy should be removed from life support..." He may be a pro-lifer but he didn't argue to keep Tschumy on life support.

wa0tdaOct. 19, 12 6:53 AM

The sad thing is that nobody ends up better off here. The patient is effectively dead and cannot benefit. The guardians are dismissed and sidelined after being involved in what must be a very difficult decision. Health professionals are forced to continue care when it is ineffective. And the healthcare system once again cannot find balance between the enormous expense of end of life care and caring for those who could actually benefit by having access to healthcare in the first place.

owatonnabillOct. 19, 12 7:10 AM

Owatonnabill finds two things VERY interesting about all this. First of all Mr. Tchumy was mentally disabled and living in a group home. That means the odds are overwhelming that he was a Medicaid recipient. Second, the suit was brought by Allina--a medical service PROVIDER that would have been paid through Medicaid in this particular case, and Medicaid payments to providers are rigorously controlled--they pay only "X" number of dollars for "Y" medical conditions and appeals of their regulations rarely, if ever, result in a reversal. What are the odds that this whole brouhaha is because Allina wants to rid itself of a financial liability? Pretty strong, in the opinion of owatonnabill. Death panels, anyone?

crash1Oct. 19, 12 7:34 AM

If a patient does not have a guardian or proxy decision maker, care providers routinely go to the courts for permission to discontinue life support. There is a process for it. Allina knew this case was in a gray area and asked the courts to help decide. Allina was more likely wanting to avoid the brouhaha of a lawsuit brought against them by some right-to-life activist who fears death panels.

SerinaLOct. 19, 12 8:09 AM

Another way for the government to stick their nose in our business...

ericgus55Oct. 19, 12 8:12 AM

If legal guardians aren't able to make these decisions for their wards, then who should? The statement was made in the article that there is no guarantee that a guardian will make a responsible decision, but there is no guarantee that anyone else (parent, spouse, adult child, judge, etc.) would make a responsible decision, either. It's a tough situation, but generally I'd rather see someone close (legal guardians included) make the call than someone from outside (judges included) making it.

gimpyguyOct. 19, 12 8:19 AM

Sad case all around. No easy answers but it does bring up the importance of having a health care directive and a designated health care agent.


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