Who Would Want to Live with Disabilities like These?

updated below
That’s what Beth Gaddy (36) said about her “Grandmamma” Mae Magouirk (85). The entire quote is as follows:

Grandmamma is old and I think it’s time she went home to Jesus. She has glaucoma and now this heart problem, and who would want to live with disabilities like these?

I first heard about this story yesterday via my friend Jeanette at Oh How I Love Jesus. Today, I see that other bloggers have picked up on it, including Instapundit, Mover Mike, GOP Bloggers, Polipundit, and Junk Yard Blog.

Mae Magouirk has signed a living will stating that she doesn’t want feeding and hydration if she is terminal, in a coma or vegetative. Mae is not in any of these conditions. Her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, moved her to the hospice telling them that she held a medical power of attorney for her grandmother and that she wanted food and water removed. Gaddy did not have a medical power of attorney for her grandmother. Other, closer, family members (Mae’s brother and sister) are fighting for her life.

Unlike Terri’s case, there is clear direction given in a living will for care. This is being ignored by the granddaughter and the probate judge in Georgia who disregarded the living will and the lack of a durable medical power of attorney and gave guardianship to the granddaughter over the objections of closer relatives.

At 36, Beth Gaddy might not want to “live with disabilities like these”, but let her wait until she’s 81, maybe with the same disabilities, or more disabilities or worse disabilities. How much will she “want to live” then?

After Christopher Reeves’ accident, many people said, “I wouldn’t want to live like that.” They said so as able-bodied people. Christopher Reeves probably said something along the same lines when he was younger and not disabled. Once the accident took place though, he wanted to live his life to the fullest that he could.

No one wakes up one morning and says, “I want to have a disability that will effect my life forever.” When it happens, though, you live with it. You make changes to accomodate the disability. You may not be able to do some things that you enjoy anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find something else to enjoy that you can do.

I have a disabled daughter. She has epilepsy, a developmental delay and moderate hearing and vision losses. She doesn’t speak much, or very clearly. What will happen to her after I’m gone? Will someone, somewhere ask, “who would want to live with disabilities like those?” Would someone, somewhere decide that her life is not worth living, or that resources expended on her would be better spent elsewhere? And then decide to “euthanize” her?

Update: Dirty Harry says:

So, I await the outrage from the butchers who screamed for Terri Schiavo’s head. After all wasn’t their argument that we needed to respect Terri’s wishes? Well, we have a living will here. Let’s see if the death merchants are consistent and outraged that this woman’s “wishes” are being violated. Wishes she put in writing. Wishes that are being ignored. Let’s see if the death merchants fight to reinsert this feeding tube because all this really is about is what the patient wants, not getting rid of troublesome invalids. “Oh, no, not us.”

Update 2: The Glenn Beck Show audio of the interview with Mae’s nephew is here.

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