Alaska Supreme Court bars hospital from halting woman’s life support


The Alaska Supreme Court has issued an order forbidding a hospital from removing a woman’s life-support tubes, which would almost certainly end her life.

Providence Hospital claimed that the woman’s medical treatment is not effective and argued sustaining her life violates the hospital’s ethical standards. The woman’s husband filed suit against the hospital on May 16 to prevent hospital staff from removing her life support.

The husband’s attorney, Kenneth Kirk, is allied with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). He responded to the decision, saying:

“Having severe medical problems shouldn’t be a death sentence. Judging a patient’s worth by subjective ‘quality of life’ standards is dangerous.  The decision on whether to remove life support for this woman rests with her and her husband alone.”

ADF Senior Counsel Joe Infranco added: “No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is worthless.  A man is caring for the wife he loves; it’s not the hospital’s job to end her life.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to allow this woman to continue receiving her treatment, respecting the wishes of the patient and her husband over those of hospital bureaucrats.”

The state Supreme Court’s decision has extended a May 20 temporary restraining order issued by another court. The decision will remain in effect pending appeal and further order of the court.

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