A New York appeals court ruled Friday that a terminally ill woman's wish to be removed from life support will be granted.
Twenty-eight-year-old SungEun Grace Lee was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor a year ago. She suffered a stroke last month that left her paralyzed and on life support.
Her doctors and attorney claim that Grace Lee no longer wants to live and should be removed from life support and allowed to die.
When is it ethically appropriate to remove life support? Dr. James Slack, director of the Master of Public Administration program at Regent University, offered more perspective on this issue, following this report.
"This is someone inevitably dying in the next two weeks, two months, who is hooked up to all these life sustaining contraptions saying, you know what? I have had enough, saying it is time for me to be at peace," Lee's attorney, David Smith, said.
But Grace's parents disagree, saying she wants to live. They are fighting to keep her alive. They point to a YouTube video that shows Grace Lee saying she would be willing to let her father make her medical decisions for her.
However, Lee's doctors have testified in court that she cannot bear to go on living as she is and wants to be removed from life support.
One doctor told the court that Grace begs them to remove her breathing tube.
The New York Times reports that Grace Lee is fully conscious and, according to the psychiatrist who examined her, mentally competent to make her own decisions.
Lee's father, who is a minister, said doctors must not be allowed to remove the tubes that are keeping his daughter alive.
"My daughter is depressed and heavily medicated," he said. "They have no right to take someone's life."
He went on to say that his religion forbids a person taking their life into their own hands. "When someone sets a date, that's suicide," Rev. Lee said. "And suicide is a sin."
Friday's court ruling paves the way for North Shore University Hospital, where Grace Lee is being treated, to remove Lee from life support.