I reported on Friday that Rachael Nyirahaabiyambere was back on a feeding tube by court order. I can now report that the ADF has—once again—leaped into the breach to help a family whose loved one was threatened with dehydration—just as it did in the Jesse Ramirez case. In doing so, it has attempted to bring a modicum of equal justice to Nyirahabiyambrere and her family in the outrageous dehydration of the African immigrant. From the story:
A judge ordered Friday that a Rwandan immigrant whose feeding tube was removed three weeks ago against her family’s wishes be given nutrition and hydration immediately. Rachel Nyirahabiyambere, 59, who has been in a vegetative state since suffering a major stroke, lay close to death in a Maryland nursing home early Friday, said her son, Jerome Ndayishimiye. Her family had felt powerless to save her after a court-appointed guardian ordered her feeding tube removed; the guardian, Andrea J. Sloan, believed that Ms. Nyirahabiyambere should be receiving only palliative care because she was “profoundly vegetative” and had no chance of recovery. After The New York Times published an article about her case, the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal alliance, petitioned Judge Nolan B. Dawkins of Alexandria Circuit Court on behalf of her children. He ordered her feeding tube reinstated while the legal issues were weighed.
Nyirahabiyambere is near death because she was denied basic sustenance for more than two weeks. Do that to a dog, and you go to jail. Do it to someone with a profound cognitive disability, and it is called bioethics.
Moreover, the only reason Sloan was the guardian in the first place was Georgetown University Hospital’s lawsuit that removed decision making authority from Nyirahabiyambere’s blood family. Moreover, Sloan told the reporter in the original NYT story, that part of her decision making process involved the cost to society for her ward’s care. As I pointed out in my original post—that wasn’t her job. Making matters even more unjust, the family specifically asked the judge in the original guardianship case to appoint a lawyer for their mother—and he refused!
Had justice been done in the first place, Nyirahabiyambere would almost surely not have never been denied sustenance while a real case was litigated in the courts. Instead, she and her family received kangaroo court style justice and the bum’s rush—until the ADF rode to the rescue.
I can also report that the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network has been helpful to the family behind the scenes.
These life and death dramas involving the medically vulnerable are arising with increasing frequency, and certainly not all of them make the news or Secondhand Smoke. In such cases, the ADF and the Schiavo Network are often the advocates of last resort for people whose loved ones are threatened with being discarded.