Battered Wife Ordered To Starve To Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 29, 2005
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--Maria Korp stopped receiving food and water through her feeding tube Wednesday morning after her guardian decided that providing further treatment would not be in her best interest.
She is expected to die of starvation and dehydration within the next ten to fourteen days.
Korp, 50, has been in the hospital in what doctors have described as a "vegetative state" since February, when she was found beaten and stuffed into the trunk of a car belonging to her husband's lover.
"The artificial feeding that has been provided to Mrs. Korp through a . . . tube is no longer sustaining her life, but rather is prolonging her dying," said Public Advocate Julian Gardner, the guardian appointed to make decisions on Korp's behalf. "The clinical advice is that continuing her treatment is futile and unduly burdensome for her."
Her husband, Joe Korp, who faces charges of attempted murder, said he would not fight Gardner's decision.
Mrs. Korp's feeding tube itself has not been removed, unlike that of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman whose feeding tube was surgically removed 13 days before she died of dehydration on March 31. Doctors said removing the tube would cause her to experience more trauma.
Mr. Korp's brother, Gust, told the Herald-Sun that he was looking into the possibility of taking out a legal injunction to have his sister-in-law continue to receive nutrition and dehydration until "a better way" can be found of ending her life.
"On several occasions I have walked in there, I say 'Maria' and she opens her eyes," said Gust Korp, who added that he believes Maria can hear what is going on and tries to talk to him.
Some doctors have said that five months is too soon after a serious brain injury to accurately determine a patient's prognosis.
Australia's Northern Territory passed the world's first voluntary euthanasia laws in 1996. A year later the national parliament overturned those laws.
Disability groups around the world have opposed measures to legalize "mercy killing" and assisted suicide. They argue that, among other things, such laws put people with the most serious disabilities at the most risk of being killed or being pressured to kill themselves.
"Korps feeding tube to be removed" (ABC)
"Maria to die within days" (Herald Sun)
"Body in car case sparks Australia euthanasia row" (Reuters)
"Ethical debate incited by feeding tube decision" (ABC)
"Deadly decision" (The Australian)