Some of you might recall that last spring I wrote about the sad case of brain-damaged Gary Harvey, his wife’s efforts to prevent St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira from withdrawing his feeding and hydration tube, and Bishop Matthew Clark’s determination that the Catholic hospital had, in effect, done nothing wrong.
Sara Harvey has now informed me that Bobby Schindler (Terri Schiavo’s brother) has become interested in Gary’s case and has recently published “The Truth About Death Panels” in Celebrate Life Magazine.
A large part of that article details Gary’s story (my emphasis)…
The Gary Harvey case
We have been involved in hundreds of cases, many of which concerned decisions made by these ethics committees. Nothing underscores how they threaten innocent lives more than the case of Gary and Sara Harvey of Horseheads, New York.
In January 2006, Gary fell down his basement steps and was left with profound cognitive disabilities. He had no advance directive and had only his wife, Sara, to protect him. Gary was admitted to the Che-mung County Nursing Facility in May 2006. Sara soon found herself in conflict with the facility over his care, which she describes as seriously negligent.
In February 2007, Chemung County stripped Sara of her rights as guardian of her husband, and Gary has remained a ward of the County ever since. In May 2009, he was transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira, where he remains. About two weeks later, the hospital’s ethics committee recommended the removal of Gary’s nutrition and hydration tube, and the issuance of a do-not-resuscitate order. This was done without the direction of Gary’s family and would have ensured his death.
In June 2009, Chemung County asked the state supreme court to authorize the removal of Gary’s feeding tube, but fortunately, Justice Judith O’Shea denied the request. Inexplicably, however, the DNR is still in effect and he remains under the control of Chemung County, despite the fact that it tried to end his life.
What is even worse is that these events have occurred at a Catholic health care facility. And Bishop Matthew Clark, of the Rochester diocese, has basically turned his back on the situation. Sara told me, “No bishop would help or the Catholic Church.” Sadly, this occurs more often than one would think.
According to WorldNetDaily (May 17), the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse wrote to Bishop Clark in January, asking him to find out why “St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Ethics Committee chose to participate in what would have been Gary Harvey’s execution rather than prevent it.” His response, sent about a month later, according to NASGA: “I am convinced that St. Joseph Hospital complies with the Ethical Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, that the hospital is complying with the order of the court, and that there has been no attempt to shorten Mr. Harvey’s life.” Pernicious scenarios similar to the Harveys’ ordeal take place often, but usually so silently that most people are simply unaware of the dangers.
Sara’s fight goes on.
Prayers would be appreciated.
Bishop Clark...'there has been no attempt to shorten Mr. Harvey's life.'