Georgia Woman Being Starved and Dehydrated
85 year-old Mae Margourik of LaGrange, Georgia, is currently being
deprived of nutrition and hydration at the request of her
granddaughter, Beth Gaddy.
Mrs. Margourik suffered an aortic dissection 2 weeks ago and was
hospitalized. Though her doctors have said that she is not terminally
ill, Ms. Gaddy declared that she held medical power of attorney for
Mae, and had her transferred to the LaGrange Hospice. Later
investigation revealed that Ms. Gaddy did not in fact have such power
of attorney. Furthermore, Mae's Living Will provides that nutrition
and hydration are to be withheld only if she is comatose or
vegetative. Mae is in neither condition. Neither is her
Furthermore, under Georgia law, if there is no power of attorney
specifying a health care decisionmaker, such authority is given to
the closest living relatives. Mae's brother, A. B. McLeod, and
sister, Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, are both still alive and capable of
making such decisions. They opposed Mae's transfer to hospice, and
are fighting to save her life. But in spite of the lack of a power of
attorney, and the fact that there are closer living relatives who
should be given precedence by Georgia law, Ms. Gaddy sought an
emergency appointment as guardian from the local probate court.
The probate judge, Donald Boyd (who, I am told, is not an attorney
and does not have a law degree), granted Gaddy's request, thereby
giving her the power to starve and dehydrate Margourik to death,
though such an action is contrary to the provisions of the living
I have spoken to Kenneth Mullinax, Mae's nephew, and he has confirmed
all the above. He also tells me that he believes that Ms. Gaddy has
no bad motives, but is simply misguided and mistaken. Mullinax said
that Ms. Gaddy has testified in court that she has "prayed over" Mae,
and is convinced that it is "time for her to go". Whether the fact is
relevant or not remains to be seen, but apparently Ms. Gaddy is also
the sole beneficiary of Mae's will.
Kenneth has told me that they need help in getting the word out, and
bringing Mae's case to the media's attention. Given the amount of
coverage of the Holy Father's death, that may be difficult. But we
have to raise the visibility of this case. They have another hearing
coming up, and Kenneth indicated that they also may need expert
assistance, both legal and medical.
The similarities of Mae Margourik's situation and Terri Schiavo's are
obvious: Once again we have a family divided over what care should be
given to a seriously ill relative. And once again, we have a judge
playing God with someone's life. But what is different, and in a
sense worse, is that Mae is being deprived of food and water in clear
contravention of her own stated wishes, and at the request of someone
who should have no standing under Georgia law.
More information is available at Blogs For Terri. If you want to
contact Kenneth Mullinax to get more information or to offer help,
you may e-mail him at mockingbird@....
posted by Fr. Rob 1:10 PM