Woman reiterates wish to remain on ventilator
The terminally ill woman at the center of an end-of-life care dispute with her parents reiterated Sunday her wish to remain on a ventilator at a Long Island hospital, her lawyer said.
Sungeun Grace Lee, whose initial request to be taken off a ventilator at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset was met with court action by her parents, told her attorney on Saturday that she wanted to make peace with her parents and God and forgo a legal fight.
"She repeated to me again today that she wishes to at this point have the ventilator continue," David A. Smith of Garden City, Lee's court-appointed attorney, said Sunday. "She continues to make her own health care treatment decisions. She has indeed designated her mom and dad to make decisions for her in case she cannot."
Lee, 28, a New York City bank manager, was rushed to the Manhasset hospital Sept. 3 after suffering seizures. She was diagnosed last year with a tumor on her brain stem.
Lee, who is paralyzed from the neck down, had indicated she wanted to be removed from life support. Her father, Man Ho Lee, pastor of Antioch Missionary Church in Flushing, Queens, and her mother, Jin Ah Lee, sought a restraining order to prevent that. The parents argued that removing the ventilator would be suicide and against biblical teaching.
A state appellate court denied the parents' petition, which had cleared the way for the hospital to remove Lee from life support.
Smith described as "perfunctory" a hearing scheduled for Tuesday before a Nassau County judge to determine whether Man Ho Lee will be appointed his daughter's legal guardian -- allowing him to make medical decisions on her behalf.
"She clearly does not want to die with her parents being plaintiffs and her being a defendant," said Smith. "She wants to die with them being Mom and Dad and her being dying daughter."