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Twelve days after she was initially denied food and water, a California court ruled that Janet Rivera is entitled to the nutrition and hydration that a guardian revoked. Rivera is the latest disabled patient like Terri Schiavo to draw the attention of pro-life advocates because of her plight.

Rivera lost her right to food and water on July 14 when a court-appointed guardian removed her feeding tube despite her family’s wishes.

The 46-year-old had a heart attack on February 2006 and she never regained consciousness. She has been on life support for two years.

Fresno County Probate Judge Debra Kazanjian, in a Wednesday hearing, called the case “truly a life-and-death situation” and ruled for Rivera’s family, which is fighting to save her life.

Rivera’s brother, Michael Dancoff, told the Fresno Bee newspaper he was excited to hear about the ruling.
“I’m happy they’re giving her a second chance,” he said. “I’m happy we’ll get to prove she’s not on her deathbed.”

He says he believes Rivera, who doctors diagnosed as being in a so-called persistent vegetative state, is still conscious.

“She looked at me and her eyes were open,” he said. “She wasn’t dying. She wanted to live.”

The ruling is only a temporary decision to allow Rivera to receive food and water while both sides of the debate fight next Tuesday in a full-fledged hearing to determine her fate.
[24July08, Ertelt,,]