Good News for Life and the Disabled

The Independence Law Center won a case involving David Hockenberry, a mentally retarded man whose guardians sought court approval to refuse life-preserving medical treatment. Mr. Hockenberry is not permanently unconscious or suffering from any terminal disease. In fact, he is not currently even sick. His guardians simply wanted to be able to withhold life-preserving medical treatment should he become sick in the future. The guardian’s request reflects a dangerous trend toward withholding life-preserving medical treatment for those who cannot speak for themselves.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that the guardians did not have authority to withhold treatment. “We are gratified by this outcome,” said the Independence Law Centers Randall Wenger. “Our society and our laws should be particularly dedicated to protecting the interests of those who cannot protect themselves.”

The Independence Law Center, in conjunction with the Alliance Defense Fund, filed an Amici brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.