Daughter wants dad's feeding tube restored

Jan. 23, 2013 at 6:37 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- An Indiana woman has asked a judge to overrule her father's living will and order a hospital to restore his feeding tube.

Paul Smith, 88, who is at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, was removed from a ventilator Jan. 7, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Smith, a lawyer and former court administrator in Hamilton County, signed a living will in 2005 that said he did not want extraordinary measures to be used if he was clearly dying. Doctors at St. Vincent's say he is suffering from multiple organ failure.

Susan Rissman, one of his daughters, wants to overturn the living will. While she cared for her father for some time, another daughter, Judith Sly, was designated as the person to make medical decisions.

"This is the last step, the last option we have at the trial court level and the precursor to any potential appeal," her lawyer, Tim Stoesz, said of the motion he filed Tuesday. "We hope that the court would reconsider its position."

Protesters demonstrated outside the hospital Sunday, saying doctors were not following Roman Catholic principles. Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, responded Tuesday in a statement on the church's website.

"The doctors, nurses, caregivers, administration and staff consistently follow professional decision making structures that give full consideration to the legitimate wishes of patients (and their designated healthcare agents) within legal and ethical standards under the guidance of the Catholic Church's teaching in these matters," Coyne said.

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