RIGHT-TO-DIE: Judge Grants Motion for Woman Shot by Mom
A paralyzed Florida woman has received permission from a judge to be disconnected from life support -- even though her death will likely result in murder charges against her mother, who shot her during an argument. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Georgette Smith, whose spine was severed by the bullet, received authorization yesterday from Orange County Circuit Judge Richard Conrad to have her ventilator turned off after 5 p.m. today. The judge, who found Smith mentally competent, ordered the delay so that lawyers can "get all the information they need from Smith" in the prosecution of her mother, Shirley Egan (Salamone Wickham, 5/19). Anticipating "one of the most unusual legal battles in the state's history," legal experts say the case may be the first "in which a person of sound mind has chosen to be unhooked from life support, knowing the consequences of the act to herself and to her attacker." The New York Times reports that if "prosecutors file murder charges, [Smith's] death will be the beginning of a legal struggle over intent and responsibility: did Ms. Egan end her daughter's life, even though it was her daughter's decision to die?" (Bragg, 5/19). The Sentinel reports that the shooting occured as Smith and her boyfriend discussed with Egan the possibility of putting her in an assisted-living facility (5/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.