Archive for the ‘end of life decisions by guardians’ Category

Minn. high court to decide end-of-life case

October 22, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court will decide whether guardians have the legal authority to take their wards off life support.
 
The high court agreed Wednesday to review the case of Jeffers Tschumy. That means the court will for the first time in nearly 30 years revisit an end-of-life issue that could affect many of the more than 12,000 Minnesotans under guardianship who don’t have health care directives, the Star Tribune reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/1fLlSbP ).
 
The key issue is whether guardians must receive a judge’s approval to remove life support, or whether guardians already have that power.
 
Tschumy was a mentally disabled man with no family and no health care directive who had been under guardianship since 2008. He choked on food last year and was declared severely brain-damaged with little hope of recovery.
 
The Allina Health System requested that a judge allow him to be removed from life support, either by clarifying that his guardian had the right to make the decision, or by issuing an order allowing his removal from life support. District Judge Jay Quam denied the guardian’s request for sole power to make that decision, but authorized the termination of Tschumy’s life support. He died.
 
Quam wrote that guardians have a strong case to make end-of-life decisions under a state law that grants them the power to allow or withhold medical care, but he said the law does not specifically allow them to end life support. Until the Legislature decides to address the issue, he wrote, only judges or legally authorized representatives can order life support removed.
 
Last summer, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed Quam’s ruling, reasoning that the final authority lies with guardians and that end-of-life decisions shouldn’t be dictated by the court. The appeals court relied on a 1984 Supreme Court ruling.
 
The state attorney general’s office, which weighed in with briefs supporting a mandatory judge’s sign-off, is expected to do so again before the Supreme Court.

Full Article and Source:
Minn. high court to decide end-of-life case

Advertisements

State court of appeals reverses ruling that prevented guardians from ordering their wards from life support

August 14, 2013

Legal guardians have the authority to order their wards to be disconnected from life support, according to a state Court of Appeals ruling Monday that said the end-of-life decision shouldn’t be dictated by the courts. 

“This supports our position that guardians don’t need to go back to court to get consent to terminate life support,” said Charles Singer, the attorney for the professional guardian appointed for Jeffers Tschumy, the man at the center of the case. “We’ve been operating under that assumption for 30 years.”

 

Monday’s decision overturns a Hennepin County District Court ruling that said end-of-life decisions are too important to be made by a guardian most likely appointed years before to handle matters of daily living.
 
Minnesota has 12,000-plus wards; the decision could affect those who don’t have health care directives in place spelling out their end-of-life decisions. It is the first time such an issue has been addressed in the state courts.
 
Tschumy, 57, was mentally disabled and living in a group home under the guardianship of Joseph Vogel since 2008. In April 2011, he choked on food and was declared severely brain damaged with little hope for recovery.


Full Article and Source:
State court of appeals reverses ruling that prevented guardians from ordering their wards from life support