In a case reminiscent of Terri Schiavo’s, a 36-year-old man who suffered serious brain injuries in a car accident emerged from his comatose state and is rehabilitating despite doctors’ initial prognosis that the injuries could have left him blind or in a permanent vegetative state.
Jesse Ramirez was in the car accident on May 30, and by June 8, his 33-year-old wife, Rebecca, asked doctors to remove his food and water tubes. But Jesse's family took her to court, and a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ordered the tubes reconnected. The judge appointed an independent attorney to mediate between the families and to talk to Jesse's doctors, reported The Arizona Republic.
On Tuesday, the family members reached a settlement on Jesse's care that would transfer the decision-making from Rebecca to a court-appointed guardian, the newspaper said.
Byron Babione, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale-based right-to-life organization, called the settlement "a good decision for everyone; it lifts the burden off the wife, and it lifts the burden off the family, as well."
Bobby Schindler of the Florida-based Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation also commented on the case, saying medical professionals are too quick to dismiss patients with brain injuries. Schindler is the brother of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who died in 2005 after her tubes were removed, following a decades-long court battle.
According to The Arizona Republic, Jesse and Rebecca’s vehicle overturned on a street in Chandler and crashed in the yard of a pottery business, throwing them both from the car.
After the accident, Rebecca told police that they had been quarreling over a man's phone number that Jesse had found on her cell phone. In the report, she said Jesse became so angry while driving that he yelled and banged on the windshield of his Toyota SUV. Rebecca told police she wanted to get out of the vehicle but that Jesse would not allow her to. She opened the door, thinking that she would jump from the moving SUV. Then, Jesse lost control of the vehicle, and they crashed.