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The fate of Ora Mae Magouirk rests in the hands of three cardiologists, whose court-assigned task is to decide whether the 81-year-old widow should be transported from the hospice in LaGrange, Ga., where she has been a patient since March 22, to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center for treatment of an aorta dissection.
Under the terms of an April 4 court order, La Grange cardiologists James Brennan and Thomas Gore, and Dr. Raed Aquel, of UAB Medical Center, Birmingham, are to evaluate Magouirk and decide what treatment would be best and where it should take place.
But while the doctors ponder her condition, it is not certain if Magouirk has had a nasal feeding tube inserted for nourishment or an IV for hydration. According to Magouirk’s nephew, Ken Mullinax, 45, his aunt has been without substantial food or hydration for 10 days.
In her living will, Magouirk stipulated that fluids and nourishment were to be withheld only if she were either comatose or “vegetative,” and she is neither.
But as WND reported, Magouirk was not terminally ill, comatose, nor in a persistent vegetative state, when Hospice-LaGrange, in LaGrange, Ga., accepted her as a patient upon the request of her granddaughter, Elizabeth (“Beth”) Gaddy, 36, of LaGrange. Also upon Gaddy’s request, the Hospice began withholding food and water from the patient.
When she learned of this, Magouirk’s sister Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, 74, of Birmingham, and her brother, A.B. McLeod, 64, of Anniston, Ala., protested and attempted to have their sister removed from the hospice and transported to UAB Medical Center for treatment. However, Gaddy and her brother, Michael Shane Magouirk, obtained an emergency injunction from Troup County Probate Judge Douglas Boyd to prevent the planned air transport.
In her petition Gaddy argued that “irreparable harm” would occur to Magouirk if she were removed from Hospice.
Ken Mullinax hoped that publicity about the case would result in a feeding tube being inserted so she could begin receiving nourishment, but he told WorldNetDaily this has not happened.
WorldNetDaily has not been able to verify if food is still being denied, but if it is it would be in contradiction of the court’s ruling.
In his order, Probate Judge Donald Boyd permitted Gaddy to continue as Magouirk’s temporary guardian, but in a formal letter attached to the order stated that her powers were limited. One of the conditions of her guardianship is “To see that the ward [Magouirk] is adequately fed, clothed, sheltered and cared for, and receives all necessary medical attention, including placement in a nursing home, if appropriate.”
Mullinax credits Dr. Aquel with saving his mother’s life two years ago, when she – like her sister – suffered an aorta dissection.
“Surgery has never been an option we advocated because Mae’s sister, Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, has the same condition as Mae and was successfully treated without surgery at the UAB Medical Center,” Mullinax told WND.
It is for this reason that Mullinax, his mother, and his uncle A.B. McLeod are so anxious to have her transported to UAB, and hope the three cardiologists will agree.
Their decision is expected at any moment.
Worrying over the plight of her sister has adversely affected Ruth Mullinux’s health. Although she substantially improved following her dissected aorta, doctors advised her son, Ken, who is her caregiver, to “keep all bad news” from his mother.
However, she had to be told about her sister’s situation because it was necessary for her to be in Judge Boyd’s courtroom for the April 4 hearing as she was fighting Gaddy’s petition for guardianship over Ora Mae, and had already learned about the denial of food by talking with Hospice counsel, Carol Todd.
“The stress from this horror has hit home,” Mullinax told WND in an e-mail. “Thursday evening Mom complained of tremendous pains.”
He took her to the emergency room at UAB, where tests were performed that revealed her dissection had moved to her aortic artery.
Mullinax said he spoke with vascular surgeons Friday, and was told they were holding off on immediate surgery.
“They’re going keep her in intensive care three more days,” he said. “Her aorta has extended to what they call a level five – if it goes to six it becomes critical. This situation – what they’re doing to her sister – it’s literally broken my mother’s heart.”
Beth Gaddy has changed her telephone to a non-listed number and could not be reached for comment.
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