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12 Issues L. & Med. 267 (1996-1997)
In re Martin

handle is hein.journals/ilmed12 and id is 289 raw text is: In re Martin
HELD: A surrogate decisionmaker for a conscious patient who is not
terminally ill or in a persistent vegetative state may be authorized to
withhold life-sustaining medical treatment only if it is established by
clear and convincing evidence that the person, while competent,
previously expressed a desire to refuse life-sustaining medical
treatment under the same or highly similar circumstances.
In 1987 Michael Martin was involved in an automobile accident in
which he sustained serious injuries that left him unable to walk or talk,
and rendered him dependent on a colostomy for defecation and a
gastrostomy for nutrition. In re Martin, 538 N.W.2d 399, 402 (Mich. 1995)
(quoting In re Martin, 504 N.W.2d 917, 920 (Mich. App. 1993)). After the
accident, Mrs. Martin, his appointed legal guardian and conservator, placed
Mr. Martin in various nursing homes. In 1992, while he was being treated
in a hospital for an obstructed bowel, Mrs. Martin contacted the hospital's
bioethics committee to determine whether Mr. Martin's life-sustaining
medical treatment should be removed. A few days later, the committee
issued its report, finding that removal of his medical treatment was
medically and ethically appropriate, but that the hospital would not
proceed until court authorization was obtained. Id. at 402 (quoting 504
N.W.2d at 920). Mrs. Martin then filed a petition in probate court,
requesting that she be given authorization to withhold Mr. Martin's life-
sustaining medical treatment.
At the evidentiary hearing, the trial court heard conflicting testimony
concerning Mr. Martin's wishes to withhold life-sustaining medical
treatment. Mrs. Martin testified that her husband would not want to live in
a condition in which he was completely dependent on others or machines.
She came to this conclusion based mainly on the conversations she had had
with her husband after watching movies involving severely incapacitated
persons. Two coworkers, however, testified that, although Mr. Martin had
made similar statements to them, his present condition was not the type to
which he had referred. Medical experts also offered conflicting testimony as
to the level of Mr. Martin's physical, sensory, emotional, and cognitive
functioning. Id. (quoting 504 N.W.2d at 920). One doctor found that Mr.
Martin was content with his current circumstances and wanted to live,
while another doctor found it impossible to test his responses. The doctors

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