Friday, October 25, 2013
The Minnesota Supreme Court will soon determine whether guardians can make the call to disconnect their wards from life support without a judge’s signoff.
The court announced it will review In re the Guardianship of Jeffers J. Tschumy. Tschumy was a mentally disabled man who choked on food at age 57 and could not be revived. The district judge authorized the termination of life support, but denied the guardian’s request to make that decision himself. He reasoned that although state law grants guardians the power to allow or withhold medical care, it does not specifically allow the termination of life support.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed, reasoning that final authority does lie with guardians and the court should not dictate end-of-life decisions. The Supreme Court ruling will be issued within three months.
See Abby Simons, Minnesota Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Guardians Can Make the Call on Life Support, Star Tribune, Oct. 18, 2013.