CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – A circuit judge has stopped a woman’s plan to remove her husband’s feeding tube at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, which would cause him to die of dehydration.
Alan Gales received a temporary restraining order Monday in St. Louis County Court on behalf of his father, Willard Gales. Alan Gales’ mother, Patsy Gales, had decided to remove the feeding tube.
Willard Gales, 85, has had the feeding tube since undergoing a procedure to remove water from around his lungs and heart, Alan Gales’ attorney Gale Todd said.
Alan Gales claims in his complaint that doctors told him that his father “is not dying and could live multiple years.”
Attorney Todd said Alan Gales is trying to adhere to his father’s wishes.
“Willard does have lucid moments where he’s requesting water,” Todd told Courthouse News. “He’s on medication, so he’s in and out of it, but he does want water.”
Todd said she believes Patsy Gales means well, but may be misinformed.
“Honestly, I just think that Patsy Gales doesn’t quite understand the medical terminology and what the doctors are saying,” Todd said.
Circuit Judge Mark D. Seigel granted the restraining order, prohibiting Missouri Baptist from removing the feeding tube and denying nutrition to Willard Gales. It also barred Patsy Gales from making any medical decisions on behalf of her husband. A preliminary injunction hearing has been set for June 21.
At the heart of the case will be who has the power to make medical decisions on behalf of Willard Gales, who signed a durable power of attorney naming Patsy Gales as his attorney in fact and Alan Gales as the alternate. But Alan Gales claims his father did not have time to read or comprehend the document before signing it.