A terminally ill woman from Douglaston has chosen to remain on life support, despite a court’s decision to grant her the right to make her own decision on whether to go off her respirator, a spokesman for North Shore Hospital said.
Sungeun Grace Lee, a 28-year-old financial manager, has terminal brain cancer and is on life support. She is paralyzed from the waist down.
Her parents, Douglaston’s Rev. Man Ho Lee and Jin Ah Lee, had fought to prevent their daughter from being taken off life support for religious purposes, arguing that it would be synonymous with suicide, the New York Times reported.
Lee had told doctors at North Shore that she wanted to get off life support because her condition was “unbearable,” said Terry Lynam, a hospital spokesman.
On Friday, an appeals court ruled that she could be taken off the machine, but Lee has since decided to stay on life support.
“The court basically ruled that she had the right to make her own decisions in regards to life support,” Lynam said. “However, for the time being, she has communicated to her attorney that she wants to remain on life support.”
Lee’s attorney, David Smith, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The patient’s father, who is a senior pastor at Flushing’s Antioch Missionary Church, had argued that his daughter was being manipulated by her doctors and had sought to become his daughter’s legal guardian, thereby giving him more power over her decision whether to remain on life support, the Daily News reported.
Justice Thomas P. Phelan, of Nassau County’s State Supreme Court, lifted a restraining order to prevent the hospital from removing Lee’s life support on Friday.
North Shore’s doctors have said that persons with a condition similar to Lee’s typically have only weeks or months to live before dying of pneumonia or an infection, the Times reported.