This is truly a sad situation and one that needs to be examined. Do we have the right to die?
This is Grace Sung Eun Lee’s story.
She is paralyzed from the neck down, tethered to breathing and feeding tubes — but Manhattan bank manager Grace Sung Eun Lee still managed to mouth four words Wednesday.
“I want to die.”
Doctors are trying to honor Lee’s wish, but her devout parents believe that removing the tubes is suicide — a sin that would condemn the 28-year-old to hell.
Naturally enough her parents have tried to prevent her from committing this last act – but the courts ruled in favor of their daughter.
The Manhattan banker has been on a respirator since last month, unable to eat or breathe on her own. Her devout parents, who believe she’ll go to hell if she pulls the plug, have been trying to block Long Island’s North Shore Hospital from honoring her request to die.
But with the appellate court ruling, Lee is now free to make her own decision.
“Whatever little power this poor lady has left, she feels empowered that the court has clearly now recognized that this is up to her and only up to her,” Smith said after delivering the news to Lee.
Smith said Lee, who has an inoperable brain tumor, told him she was going to speak with her doctors and relatives. What Lee will decide and when remains unknown.
“It is now as it ought to have been all along — a dying young woman surrounded by her family and consulting with her doctors,” added Smith, who will visit his client every day.
Hours after the ruling, Lee’s family dismissed the judges’ decision. Without providing specifics, he vowed to continue the legal fight.
“We cannot accept a court order that could take someone’s life,” said her father, the Rev. Manho Lee. “Some people say my daughter has the right to die. I think only God has the choice to take someone’s life or not.” With his wife, Jin-ah, sobbing beside him, Lee’s father said the family believes she’s getting better.
Despite winning, she now apparently wants to stay on the respirator and continue fighting:
Lee, after hearing the news, told her lawyer Friday that she needed time to make a decision.
A day later, she signaled that she wanted to continue her battle.
“She’s planning to remain on (the ventilator),” her lawyer said.
Lee’s brother said the family was not surprised.
“She told us she wanted to live,” said Paul Lee, 30. “The truth is told.”
Her condition continues to worsen and her prognosis is not good. I wish her and her family the best.