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His feeding tube had been removed. Doctors said he had only a small chance of recovery. His wife pulled his feeding tube after a week. But Friday, Jesse Ramirez walked out of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

It has been an amazing five months for the US postal employee and father of three who was literally at death’s door when he was critically injured in a horrific accident. Jesse and his wife Rebecca were in their SUV when Jesse lost control and crashed into a store. Rebecca suffered minor injuries, but Jesse was airlifted to a hospital with a fractured skull and face, punctured lungs and broken ribs.

One week after the accident, and following a couple of surgeries, Rebecca Ramirez pulled Jesse out of the hospital and moved him to a Mesa hospice. Rebecca then made the decision to pull his feeding tube and Jesse went six days without food or water.

12 News then received an e-mail from Jesse’s cousin, Kalee Dickey from New Mexico, who told us Jesse’s family needed our help. Dickey said that the family completely disagreed with Rebecca’s decision to remove Jesse’s feeding tube. They thought it was way too early to make that life or death decision, they believed Jesse was still fighting and could still pull through.

Jesse’s parents cried during our television interviews, telling us they were told they did not have power of attorney- Rebecca did. Jesse’s co-workers at the post office also did TV interviews, telling us Jesse deserved a chance to live. They questioned his wife’s actions.

But one day the story aired, the family said Mesa hospice officials put Jesse’s tube back in and the courts were now involved. A judge later ruled that the tube must stay in, until they work through the legal issues of the case. While those things transpired, family members reported that Jesse was now opening his eyes, and making hand gestures.

Clearly no longer in a vegetative state, he was communicating with family. In court, it became official when a court appointed guardian announced that Jesse was indeed alert and awake. He was then transferred to a rehab center to begin the long road to recovery.

Rebecca Ramriez appeared at the first court appearance, but she has refused all requests for interviews. We don’t know why she decided to pull his feeding tube so soon. According to the original police report, she told investigators the couple had been fighting before the accident and she tried to jump out of the SUV because she “feared for her life.”
How much Jesse remembers now is unclear.

[19Oct07, Rich Dubek, 12 News
Compassionate Healthcare Network (CHN)
CHN is member of the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life (WFDWRHL) Dr. Karl Gunning, Pres]



Jesse Ramirez, Considered a “Vegetable” Like Terri Shiavo, Now on His Way to Recovery

Written off by doctors as a hopeless “vegetable”, an Arizona man would not now be on his way to recovery from an accident caused by a marital quarrel if not for his family’s unrelenting struggle for his life.

The Arizona Republic reports that on Wednesday, Jesse Ramirez, awoke from his nearly month long persistent vegetative state (PVS) and now “can hug and kiss, nod his head, answer yes and no questions, give a thumbs-up sign and sit in a chair.”

If not for the past few weeks’ legal battles that ended Tuesday with a favorable settlement for him and his family, Jesse Ramirez, who depended on feeding tubes for food and water, would certainly have died in circumstances very similar to the tragic 2005 death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

On May 30, Jesse Ramirez and his wife Rebecca Ramirez were quarreling in their SUV when he lost control and crashed into a pottery market, ejecting them both from the vehicle. Ramirez suffered a broken neck and major head-trauma, while his wife had only minor injuries.

Just before the accident, Rebecca had attempted to jump from the moving vehicle saying she was afraid of her husband, who accused her of marital infidelity. Police have yet to determine what exactly led Ramirez to lose control of the wheel.

Ten days after the accident and Ramirez’s PVS diagnosis, Rebecca ordered the hospice where he was staying to remove his feeding tubes on June 8. Ramirez family then began pleading with her to let them try and save his life.

“I’m asking you for the biggest favor of my life,” Jesse’s father told her. “Can you give my son another chance?” Jesse Ramirez Sr. told the Arizona Republic she then hung up on him.

In desperation, the family turned to the Scottsdale-based Alliance Defense Fund, which challenged the prudence of allowing Rebecca to arbitrate her husband’s fate, considering their recent marital strife.

“We’ve got to make sure the decision-maker is the very best and most capable one,” senior counsel Gary McCaleb told the Arizona Republic. “She said she was in fear of her life. Ten days later, she’s going to say whether he lives or dies? Frankly, it’s too much to ask of the wife.”

Maricopa County Superior Court judge Paul Katz agreed and ordered the tubes reconnected while an independent attorney mediated between Rebecca Ramirez and Jesse’s family and talked to Jesse’s doctors. Then Tuesday Katz ruled that a court-appointed guardian would make decisions for Ramirez while the court continued to investigate his health.

“As we have discussed here previously, PVS is often misdiagnosed. More importantly, it can’t be done accurately after only a few weeks post trauma. So, why the rush in this case to write the man off?” commented bioethics expert and author Wesley J. Smith on his blog.

“This much is sure: But for parents willing to fight for his life, Ramirez would be dead today rather than entering the rehabilitation unit.”

[28June07, Peter J. Smith, Arizona,]