Published: Mar 06, 2014 6:44 PM EST
Updated: Mar 06, 2014 10:15 PM EST

CAPE CORAL, Fla - WARNING: The images in the video may be graphic to some.

 

Who has the right to decide life or death? In the case of a Cape Coral woman on life support, a judge just ruled, it's her son. 

 

Video shot by Marceline McGoon's son, Michael, shows her reacting to his pleas, to suck water off of a stick.

"I'm giving you the water, suck on it. Good, there you go mom," can be heard in the video, taken at her hospital bed. 

It's responses like these, from 88 year old Marceline McGoon, that her son, Michael, says, show signs of life.

"Even in the position she is in, she responds to the people that she cares about," says McGoon. 

Michael says Marceline went into the hospital in November for diahrrea. She has suffered several heart attacks since, the defibrillator causing her skin to burn. 

As things got worse, she appointed her son as health care surrogate.

"She gave him the power to make any health care decisions for her, that she couldn't make herself," said attorney Daniel Endrizal.

Attorney Daniel Endrizal now represents the family, after Lee Memorial Health System filed paperwork last week, asking for judicial intervention.

They argued that because of Marceline's persistent vegatative state, her son should be removed as a surrogate, for "abusing power" and "going against the desires of the patient" under Florida Statute 765.

But Marceline never signed a living will, meaning the hospital had no way to know what she would have wanted.

"She wanted god to take her, she didn't just want someone to pull the plug and die, I would say artificially," said McGoon.

A judge sided with the family, saying "there was no evidence presented that the surrogate's decision is against the desires of the patient."

"The judge said the surrogate was not abusing his power, and was acting in the best interest," said Endrizal.

Marceline just started dialysis, so Michael says he will continue to keep her alive if she does well.
But the important thing is, the choice is his.

"Well the whole point is, I can do that, I can make the decision, not the hospital," said McGoon. 

Here is a statement WINK News received from Lee Memorial Hospital:

"Lee Memorial Health System regularly assists patients and families when they are making end of life decisions, so we understand the difficult and stressful time this family is going through. Every situation is unique. The decision depends on the hope of recovery and what is in the best interest of each individual patient. The last time we had to ask the Court for a legal opinion was fourteen years ago.  In that case we advocated for care when the family wanted to remove life support.  In both situations our focus was on the best interest of the patient.  We strongly encourage everyone to have a Living Will that expresses your treatment wishes should you become sick or injured and unable to speak for yourself so your family is not placed in this difficult and stressful position."