Janet Rivera’s Cousin Granted Her Conservatorship

July 29, 2008

The family of Janet Rivera wants her to live. The doctors wanted her to die. The County Conservator sided with the doctors. He ordered her respirator and feeding tube removed. She didn’t die over more than ten days. The family begged to put her feeding tube back. The powers that be refused. Finally, litigation ensued. A judge ordered the tube feeding restored. Today, a cousin got conservatorship. Hopefully that will end the case. From the story:

Janet Rivera’s cousin, Suzanne Emrich of Boulder Creek in Santa Cruz County, was granted conservatorship in the high-profile case this morning. Emrich and the Fresno County Public Guardian’s Office reached the deal, sealed in court. Rivera, 46, has been comatose for two years following a heart attack. It’s unclear what Rivera’s preferences about life support would be.

The county removed her from life support July 11 over her family’s objections. Life support was reinstated July 23.

Imagine reading this ten years ago, and it would have been unthinkable: A family begged to have their loved one’s life maintained, and until a judge got involved, their pleas fell on deaf ears. And who knows the extent of harm caused by more than a week without food and water. Such is the nature of the culture of death that this way comes.

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