55-year-old man responsive after nearly being starved to death at hospital

ADF-allied attorney represents Md. heart attack victim who said, ‘I want to live,’ but had food, water cut off
Friday, October 21, 2011

ADF attorney sound bite:  Matt Bowman

FREDERICK, Md. — A 55-year-old Maryland man who became temporarily unconscious after suffering a heart attack and a seizure has been saved from being starved to death after an ADF-allied attorney obtained an order in state court on behalf of the man’s mother and brother. The man, Daniel Sanger, is now responding to hospital staff after going six days without food and water.

Although Sanger told his doctor and his mother “I want to live” before he went unconscious, Frederick Memorial Hospital removed the public-assistance patient from life-giving food, water, and nutrients on Friday with the permission of his wife.

“Everyone deserves a chance to recover,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “There is no question that Daniel expressly stated his desire to live, and yet he was denied the food and water he needed to survive. His wishes should have been followed. ADF sees far too many situations involving hasty decisions to pull the plug on a human life.”

“The court has done the right thing in granting our request to have Daniel’s food and hydration restored,” said Sanger’s legal counsel Daniel Cox, one of nearly 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “We are asking the court to award temporary decision-making authority to Daniel’s mother and brother.”

Cox, who heads The Cox Law Center, LLC, filed a motion in Frederick County Circuit Court Wednesday to force the hospital to resume sending life-giving nutrients to Sanger through his feeding tube. The motion, filed in Sanger v. Rafiq, also requested that Sanger’s mother, Phyllis Sanger, and his brother, Mark Sanger, be awarded temporary custody instead of his wife, Leta Sanger, who went against her husband’s express wishes to remain alive.

Chief Judge Peter Krauser, of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, responded by issuing an order Wednesday to provide immediate water and nutrition to Sanger pending the outcome of a hearing that was held Thursday. At that hearing, Frederick County Circuit Judge Theresa Adams issued a temporary restraining order instructing Frederick Memorial Hospital to provide life-sustaining nutrition to Sanger until the completion of a trial set for Wednesday at 9 a.m. EDT at the Frederick County Circuit Court at 100 W. Patrick St.
  • Pronunciation guide: Bowman (BOH’-min)
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.