Daniel Sanger Dies Overnight Before Hearing On Clash over Removal of Feeding Tube

By Dave Andrusko

FREDERICK, Maryland — A very sad ending to a family battle over whether a feeding tube should be removed from 55-year-old Daniel Sanger. Mr. Sanger, who had suffered cognitive damage (how much was in fierce dispute) following a heart attack in July, died overnight.

   The Frederick Gazette reported that the attorney for Leta Sanger called him this morning to say that her husband had died.  Mrs. Sanger was to have been in a Frederick County court at 9:00 am today, to contest the petition of her husband’s brother and mother for permanent guardianship. The hearing was declared moot because of Daniel Sanger’s death.

   On October 16 Leta Sanger asked hospital staff to remove her husband’s feeding tube. Sanger’s mother Phyllis Sanger and brother Mark obtained a temporary order to reinsert the feeding tube. Mr. Sanger was without nourishment for six days.

   As NRL News Today reported yesterday, the family members offered completely different explanations of Mr. Sanger’s wishes. Leta Sanger Leta Sanger told the Frederick News-Post that prior to the heart attack her husband had told her many times “he would not want to be kept alive by invasive means.’”

   By contrast Mark Sanger and Phyllis Sanger said that Daniel Sanger told them he wanted to live after being moved from a nursing home to Frederick Memorial Hospital. Mark Sanger said his brother also “has an infected bed sore on his back that is life-threatening because it’s not being treated,”  the Associated Press reported.

    According to court documents, Daniel Cox, the attorney for Phyllis and Mark Sanger, petitioned the court to direct the hospital to treat Daniel Sanger for pneumonia and other infections on Oct. 21, a request that was denied. “The court maintained that his wife was the only person authorized to make medical decisions outside of the order to reinsert the feeding tube,” according to Katherine Heerbrant of the Gazette.

      Contacted by the brother and mother, Bobby Schindler, the brother of  Terri Schindler Schiavo, was in Frederick to attend the hearing.

   Schindler called the death of Daniel Sanger “unfortunate and inhumane” because he was refused treatment for “life-threatening conditions.”

“We were grateful to the Sanger family for reaching out to Terri’s Life & Hope Network for assistance, and we are committed to providing further help and aid to families in similar situations where appropriate medical care is being denied to those who need it,” Schindler said in the statement. “Terri’s Life & Hope Network will keep the entire Sanger family in their prayers in the wake of this very sad and unfortunate situation.”

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