In a complex case that has drawn the attention of the family of Terri Schiavo, a Vietnam veteran's wife claims a Catholic hospital has tried to end her husband's life by starving him to death, placing him under a "do-not-resuscitate" order and refusing to allow him to return home.
Gary Harvey, 60, a Vietnam veteran, fell down a flight of stairs on Jan. 21, 2006 and suffered a traumatic brain injury that put him in a vegetative state. Gary, an only child who is estranged from his two adult children, did not have a living will.
His wife, Sara, had him placed in a nursing home so he would receive care while she returned to her full-time job.
When county authorities took guardianship, Sara was separated from any decision making process for her husband's health and medical welfare. Gary's father is deceased, and his elderly mother has not attempted to obtain guardianship. Sara has been trying to get the judge's guardianship decision overturned.
In a recent interview with WLEA's Kevin Doran, Sara said, "I simply want to bring my husband home so I can care for him for the remainder of his life."
The family of Terri Schiavo has announced its support for Sara. Mary Schindler and Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, visited Gary at St. Joseph's Hospital in December and said they would offer Sara any support they could, the Elmira Star-Gazette reported.
"We're looking out for the best interest of Sara. She wants to bring her husband home," Bobby Schindler said. "She wants guardianship of her husband, and it doesn't make sense to us or her why she's being denied that right, and why they've taken away her visitation rights and won't allow her to visit her husband."
He added, "It's horrible how they're treating this woman when she simply wants to care for her husband."
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Woman Battles County for Husband's Life - Another Terri Schiavo? Hospital Refuses to Release Vietnam Veteran