Arizona Case Parallels that of Terri Schiavo

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Without the legal intervention of his family, Jesse Ramirez would be slowly dehydrated, suffering the same fate as Terri Schiavo. Today in Arizona, a Maricopa County Court Judge ordered that Ramirez be given nutrition and hydration through feeding tubes.

"This is a darn good step toward the best decisions for Jesse," the Arizona Repubic quoted Gary McCaleb, the attorney for the family. "Yesterday he was not getting food and water. Today he is."

Judge Paul Katz also appointed an attorney to present Ramirez, whose wife Rebecca is fighting to end his life.

The story of how Jesse ended up in a comma is bizarre and involves marital disputes, allegations of domestic violence and a quarrel while driving that precipitated a rollover accident:

Rebecca told police that she was afraid for her life before the accident and had undone her seat belt to jump from the moving vehicle. Jesse's family said she told them that she had grabbed the steering wheel and he lost control.

She was banged up in the crash but had no life-threatening injuries. He suffered a broken neck and major head trauma in the May 30 accident.

Ten days later -- after a doctor told Jesse's family that if he survived, he likely would be blind and might never progress past a vegetative state -- Rebecca ordered doctors to transfer her husband to hospice and end his life by disconnecting the tubes giving him food and water.

(...)

"She said she was in fear of her life," McCaleb said. "Ten days later, she's going to say whether he lives or dies? Frankly, it's too much to ask of the wife." Rebecca did not answer calls from The Arizona Republic. When reached Wednesday afternoon by a Channel 12 (KPNX) reporter, she was surprised to hear of the suit and declined to comment.

The important point in this is that Ramirez's wife, having allegedly been subject to a highly controlling and irrationally jealous husband, may not be in the best position to look after his well being. She may or may not have catalyzed the accident - these are allegations based upon hearsay. And, she may or may not have sinister motives following what was certainly a traumatic event.

What is clear is that a man's life hangs in the balance, a man whose family and doctors believe he has a chance at rehabilitation:

According to the affidavits filed by the Ramirez family, the doctors said that Jesse would likely be blind and could possibly remain in a permanent vegetative state. On the other hand, the affidavits say, doctors said he could possibly regain his ability to talk.

Family members felt that Jesse was responsive to people in his room and that his vital signs improve when they are there. The affidavits that Rebecca ordered that he be moved to hospice and that his food and water tubes be disconnected.

It is not clear to me what state Jesse is in but McCaleb asked the court to put Theresa and Jesse Sr. in charge of Jesse's health care, to send Jesse back to the hospital, to hook up his nutrition and hydration tubes, and to appoint an independent doctor to evaluate his status.

Please pray for Jesse and his family. A peaceful outcome involving reconciliation would be refreshing.

Source: Judge orders life support for crash victim, Arizona Republic

HT: Arizona Feeding Tube Case Eerily Similar To Schiavo, North Country Gazette

Update: Jesse is now headed for rehab!

Update:

The AP reports:

An incapacitated Chandler man in a hospice must be kept alive and given a special guardian, a judge has ruled.

Jesse Ramirez, 36, suffered a broken neck, fractured skull, punctured lung, broken ribs and fractured face in a rollover crash May 30 in Chandler.

A neurosurgeon told Ramirez's wife and family on June 8 that doctors had done all they could for Ramirez, who maintains minimal brain activity.

Ramirez's wife, Rebecca, reportedly wants him to be denied food and water but his parents and sister want him to be given life-supporting care.

Also, note that McCaleb is an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal association based in Scottsdale, Ariz., that defends religious freedom issues, the sanctity of human life and traditional family values.

3 Comments

This is so scary!

News reports indicate that the judge has imposed a gag order on the family and attorneys so you won't be hearing a whole lot until the next hearing - June 26.

I think that blaming the wife in this is so stupid do you know that she was just trying to make a decision on what she thought he would want with the QUALITY of life that the DOCTORS told her !!! first of all SHE didnt have him removed the drs did lets face it you cant get into a hospice facility WITHOUT a doctors consent, the behavior of everyone in this case has been shameful especially the family behavior to the center where he was being cared for


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