A woman who fought her parents in court for what she believed was her right to die has changed her mind, reports state.
Grace SungEun Lee, 28, of Flushing, New York, has been battling inoperable brain cancer and is paralyzed from the neck down. She is hooked up to a feeding tube and ventilator at North Shore Hospital in Manhasset, where she has been admitted for several weeks.
Last month, Lee sued her parents in an effort to gain the “right to die” as her father, Pastor Manho Lee, had opposed pulling the woman off of life support.
“The removal of the respirator and/or the feeding tube is considered suicide,” Pastor Lee’s attorney wrote in court documents. “A person who commits suicide is condemned in the next life to burn in Hell forever.”
Grace’s lawyer contended that the woman had made clear statements that she wanted to be relieved of her suffering, and that it was impossible for her to recover.
“My client had directed me in the clearest and most unmistakable of terms to ‘not let that weekend pass,'” argued attorney David Smith. “Her brain stem is so utterly compromised that she will never again be able to breathe on her own.”
As the hospital planned on disconnecting life support last week, Pastor Lee sought an emergency injunction, but a Long Island judge denied the motion. The case was then escalated to a New York appeals court, who ruled on Wednesday that Grace’s parents could not override her wishes as an adult.
“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 told reporters following the decision.
However, Pastor Lee and his wife Jin-ah vowed to continue to fight.
“We cannot accept a court order that could take someone’s life,” he stated. “Some people say my daughter has the right to die. I think only God has the choice to take someone’s life or not.”
Yesterday, Grace made known that she had changed her mind and wished to sign a health care proxy document designating her father as the sole decision-maker for her medical care.
“[I wanted] to make peace with my God,” she said.
Grace is reportedly a professing Christian and has gone on mission trips in the past. She was training for a marathon last year when she found out that she had a tumor growing on her brain stem.
“She’s planning to remain on [a ventilator],” Smith announced Saturday.
Doctors state that Lee may only have a few weeks to months left as her condition has been deteriorating. Her friends and family continue to pray for a miracle, but believe that even if she dies, only God should make the decision of when to take her. They advise that Lee desires to be transferred to a nursing home, and are currently looking for a wheelchair with neck support that can be attached to a ventilator.