Lawyer: Sungeun Grace Lee wants life support

Sungeun Grace Lee has terminal brain cancer and her doctors at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset say she has repeatedly expressed desire to be removed from the ventilator, which would end her life. Her parents, Man Ho and Jin Ah Lee, devout Christians, have gone to court to seek a restraining order. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (Oct. 4, 2012)

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Saying she wanted to make peace with her family and her God, a terminally ill woman fighting for the right for a Long Island hospital to remove her from life support has decided to stay on a ventilator, her lawyer said Saturday.

Sungeun Grace Lee's court-appointed lawyer, David Smith of Garden City, said his client informed him of her decision when he visited her Saturday at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.

"Both those things were clearly expressed to me," Smith said.

A state appellate court on Friday cleared the way for the hospital to take Lee, 28, off life support, denying a petition by her parents to continue a restraining order that had prevented the removal.

Lee's father, Man Ho Lee, pastor of Antioch Missionary Church in Flushing, Queens, and her mother, Jin Ah Lee, sought the restraining order because according to their religious beliefs, removing oneself from life support is the equivalent of committing suicide, a sin.

Paralyzed from the neck down, Lee, who worked as a manager at Bank of America in New York City, is hooked up to a machine that breathes for her.

The legal battle was slated to continue Tuesday, when a Nassau judge was to hold a hearing to determine whether Man Ho Lee will be appointed his daughter's legal guardian, allowing him to make medical decisions on her behalf.

One of the attorneys representing Lee's parents, Mary Giordano of Garden City, said Lee's family was with her at the hospital Saturday afternoon and that "they hope everyone will pray for her."

Smith said he believes there will have to be a "small proceeding" Tuesday, when Sungeun Grace Lee's decision can be articulated. He also said she designated her father as her health care proxy Saturday, making him her primary health care decision-maker.

"It looks like this will revert into something appropriately private," Smith said, as the parents help their daughter through the dying process.

Sungeun Grace Lee had seizures and was rushed to the Manhasset hospital on Sept. 3. She was diagnosed with the tumor on her brain stem in November.

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