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Parents Ask NY Court to Override Competent Daughter's Decision to Refuse Treatment

Posted Oct 04 2012 8:16pm

She is paralyzed from the neck down, tethered to breathing and feeding tubes.  But Manhattan bank manager Grace Sung Eun Lee still managed to mouth four words Wednesday:  “I want to die.”  Doctors at Long Island's North Shore University Hospital are trying to honor Lee’s wish, but her devout parents believe that removing the tubes is suicide, a sin that would condemn the 28-year-old to hell.  ( NY Daily News; Daily Mail )

In late September, Lee’s father asked Nassau County Supreme Court to be appointed guardian.  The judge issued a temporary order, stopping the hospital from removing the feeding tube and respirator.  But on Friday, Judge Thomas Phelan ruled that Grace Lee was competent to refuse treatment.  The Lees appealed.  The Appellate Division reinstated the temporary restraining order until they decide the appeal.

The law, here, is well-settled.  While well-meaning, the parents may not only lose but also be subject to sanctions for bringing a frivolous appeal.

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