Ora Mae Magouirk, the 81-year-old Georgia widow at the center of an intense
family dispute over her medical treatment and right to live, is growing
stronger every day, despite having been denied food and water for nearly two
weeks before being airlifted to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical
Center in Birmingham for treatment of an aortic dissection.
Her nephew, Ken Mullinax, 45, of Birmingham, told WorldNetDaily that
Magouirk is listed in stable condition, her vital signs are “very good,” her
blood pressure is normal, and the aortic dissection, the reason for her
hospitalization in the first place, is contained.
He said she smiles and laughs but speaks in whispers because of the nasal
feeding tube. The feeding tube saved her life, but Mullinax figures his aunt
is anxious to dispose of it in favor of more substantial nourishment.
He said he asked her, “What is the first real food you’d like, Aunt Mae?”
“And she whispered, ‘I want a really good chicken sandwich with lots of
And not just any kind of chicken sandwich, Mullinax explained. “It’s got to
be a fried chicken filet.”
“That was on Sunday,” he noted. “On Monday, she asked for ice cream.”
Mullinax said that although his aunt’s medical condition has greatly
improved, she is still exhausted and “as weak as a little newborn kitten” – not only from not having adequate nourishment or fluids, “but from the
morphine cocktail she was on for several weeks.”
Magourirk’s sister, Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, 74, of Birmingham, has been a
patient at UAB for the same condition, brought on, says her son, by the
stress she’s suffered worrying about her sister.
But when Magouirk was transferred to UAB on April 9 and began receiving food
and water, her sister’s medical condition improved dramatically and she was
scheduled to return home yesterday.
The two sisters visited several times this past week, and Ruth Mullinax says
she has noticed steady signs of improvement in her older sibling.
“She’s got a long ways to go because they kept food, water, everything away
from her for so many days,” Ruth Mullinax told WND. “But she is
“It’s such a miracle that she communicated with us,” she exclaimed. “Sister
knew who we [she and Ken] were. We asked her her name and she told us. And
she said she wanted ice cream. She communicated. The Lord has blessed us.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, Magouirk suffered an aortic dissection March
13, and was admitted to a hospital in LaGrange, Ga. Although Magouirk has a living will specifying fluids and nourishment should be withheld only if she were either comatose or “vegetative” – and she was neither – her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, 36, also of LaGrange, had Magouirk
moved to a hospice March 22. Also, upon Gaddy’s request, the hospice
withheld food and water from the patient.
When they learned of this, Magouirk’s immediate next of kin – Ruth Mullinax
and her brother, A.B. McLeod, 64, of Anniston, Ala. – attempted to have
their sister transferred from the hospice and to UAB Medical Center for
But Gaddy obtained an emergency injunction from Troup County Probate Judge
Donald Boyd to prevent the planned air transport.
At a hearing April 4, Gaddy told Judge Boyd that since she held a
general power of attorney for her grandmother, she believed she was entitled
to make medical decisions on the older woman’s behalf. Boyd granted a
temporary guardianship to Gaddy and her brother, Michael Shane Magourirk,
but required that their grandmother be given adequate food and water.
Provisions were made for a possible transfer to UAB.
McLeod, Ruth and Ken Mullinax say Magouirk was not properly nourished, and
she was severely dehydrated when admitted to the UAB Medical Center on April
Ruth Mullinax said until this recent incident involving her sister, she had “nothing but good things to say about hospice and I still do.”
She explained that her husband and his brother, her mother and grandmother
all died in their homes and hospice nurses came to help the family with
“You can’t judge them all by the one [where Magouirk was placed],” observed
Mullinax. “But Lord Almighty, the day we walked in there, sister’s little
old tongue was just cracked open and there was just some ice chips sitting
That was April 4, following the hearing before Judge Boyd.
Lonnie Ruth met and talked with the doctor who had signed the forms
admitting Magourik to hospice.
“That doctor, the one that gave the release to put her in hospice, he acted
like Dr. Kavorkian to me,” she recalled. “He said, ‘Well, if she were
my mother, I’d put her in the hospice. She’s old, and she’s not going to get
“And I thought, ‘Well, bless your heart. You might be there yourself one
She said she was so upset by Magouirk’s condition and the way she was being treated
that she cried “all the way home” to Birmingham.
The rift with her sister’s granddaughter has hurt her deeply. She says she has no
idea why Gaddy decided to place Magouirk in a hospice with orders denying
her food and water.
“We were always so close, all of us,” she said sadly. “Real close. At least
I thought we were, but apparently we were not. Maybe she was led by this
doctor. I just don’t know.”
Nor does she understand why the younger woman apparently snubbed her
Ken Mullinax was wheeling her to Magouirk’s room, just as Gaddy and another
granddaughter were leaving. He describes his cousin’s departure as “bolting
from the room.”
His mother found it perplexing.
“I love her. I still love her,” she says. “I don’t like what she did [to
Magouirk], but I love her. And as we were going into sister’s room, Beth and
her sister, Kim, were going out. I yelled at her, I said, ‘Beth, Beth,’ but
she didn’t turn around to acknowledge me or anything. They just continued to
“I wasn’t going to be rude to them,” Ruth Mullinax continued. “I was just going
to hug their necks. I love them – I just don’t like what she did. I just
don’t understand it.”