A 43-year-old former U.S. Army soldier is currently in the fight of his life in the Intensive Care Unit in Seton Medical Center Williamson. Early last month, the ex-soldier was at his home talking with his friend when he collapsed from a heart attack. He was unresponsive at the time he was admitted to the hospital and shortly thereafter, but he has since gained more awareness.
Problems involving guardianship emerged almost as soon as the man arrived at the hospital. His father flew in from Pennsylvania to support his incapacitated son, while the man’s estranged wife arrived at the hospital from Colorado. The father is seeking to keep his son on life support long enough to recover fully, whereas the wife wants to end all attempts to prolong his life.
According an attorney representing the father, the patient and his wife have been separated for almost five years and are in the midst of a divorce. The pair also has three daughters ages, 16, 19 and 21. The father’s attorney says that the wife authorized instructions to not resuscitate her husband in less than 48 hours of her arrival at the hospital. She also subsequently ordered his nutrition and hydration tubes removed. The attorney says that the wife is mentioned in the patient’s will and could stand to gain some money in the event of his death.
A judge has since ordered the patient’s father a temporary order of guardianship for 60 days. The father’s attorney says the patient has since opened his eyes and shown other signs that his condition is improving.
This case illustrates the precarious nature of life and just how important it is for people to have the ability to stand up for their loved ones in the event that they are incapacitated. Everyone should have someone who can legally look out for his or her best interests but will also consider what the person’s medical wishes are.
Source: ABC News, “Parents Win Fight Against Daughter-in-Law to Keep Son on Life Support” Ben Waldron, Mar. 27, 2014