Jesse Ramirez unintentionally became the center of significant controversy after a car accident left him in a "minimally conscious" state. Ten days into his recovery his wife decided to withdraw what I consider to be basic care by removing his feeding tube. Jesse was also transferred to a hospice.
In response, his family took legal action and, with the assistance of the Alliance Defense Fund, were successful in restoring basic care. In addition, the presiding judge appointed Judith Morse as Jesse's guardian ad litem with the agreement of the parties
Late last week, an attorney knowledgeable about the case provided an insightful view of Jesse's situation in this article, clearing up a number of misimpressions and mistakes made in the reporting of the case. For instance, a gag order was never put in place and, from a legal perspective, Jesse's wife never had the authority to direct medical personnel to remove his feeding tube. In addition, reports of Jesse waking up (more here) appear to have been somewhat inaccurate:
On Tuesday, June 26, 2007, the parties gathered for another hearing. After the parties met behind closed doors for about an hour, Ms. Morse presented her report in court. She noted that the parties had agreed (1) that she would select a neurologist to evaluate Jesse's current condition, (2) that she would select a third party to serve as Jesse's guardian, (3) that they would dismiss Scottsdale Healthcare and Hospice of the Valley from the case, and (4) that all further communications with hospice or hospital employees would be through counsel.Although it does not appear that Jesse suddenly "woke up", the fact that he was in a conscious and responsive condition appears to validate the prior assertions by his family and impugn the decisions and actions by others who stopped feeding him.
Then Ms. Morse reported that she had already located a neurologist who would evaluate Jesse's condition. In fact, after a preliminary examination over the weekend, he had concluded that Jesse was conscious and responsive. Ms. Morse summarized the doctor's findings by saying that Jesse is aware of who he is, aware of who his family is, and is responding to oral commands. As a result, she noted that Jesse will soon be transferred to another facility for rehabilitation, therapy, and further medical care.
Those following the case should read the entire article (click here).
We continue to receive reports regarding Jesse's treatment and hope to provide an update for our readers in the next couple of days.