Saturday, February 5, 2011
Shocking Surprise in Al Barnes Case
Lana Barnes entered Hennepin County Probate Court Wednesday morning determined to win aggressive care for her frail husband and remain his medical decision-maker.
Instead, Barnes possibly could face lawsuits and criminal charges after making a startling admission on the witness stand: She altered a legal document governing her ailing husband's care.
Lana Barnes testified that as guardian for her husband, Al, she felt justified in eliminating two pages of his 1993 health care directive, including passages in which he said he didn't want to be kept alive by machines.
When she admitted her 85-year-old husband to Methodist Hospital in December she provided only a page identifying her as guardian.
In several hearings over the past 10 days, Methodist has sought to remove her from that role, contending that Al is too sick to recover and that her insistence on aggressive care is incorrect and reckless.
Her admission brought a sudden halt to the proceedings, as Referee Dean Maus, Lana Barnes and the attorneys went into a closed-door meeting.
Maus later advised her to hire a lawyer. "This is a very serious matter," Maus said. "You should be careful about what you should say."
The missing two pages of Al Barnes' directive contradicted his wife's insistence that he wanted life-sustaining care. Instead, it indicated that Barnes didn't want to be sustained by respirators or feeding tubes -- devices to which he is currently connected.
"If ... there is no reasonable expectation of my recovery from extensive physical and mental disability, I direct that I be allowed to die and not be kept alive by medications, artificial means or 'heroic measures,' " the directive stated.
Lana Barnes later said her husband had changed his views.
"Al did tell me he wants to live," she said. "He said, 'If there's any chance at all, I want it.' "
No legal action was immediately taken against Lana Barnes or on the petition to replace her as guardian. Maus said he would review evidence and select an emergency guardian soon. A March 3 hearing will name a permanent guardian.
Full Article and Source:
Wife's Surprise Shakes Barnes Case
Doctor Vs. Patient's Wife