The father of a brain-damaged woman was barred by an appeals court Friday from moving her to Minnesota, where her life-support could be detached with less legal strife.
The Missouri Court of Appeals ruled Christine Busalacchi, 20, could not be moved from a state hospital until the panel could review the case. A hearing date was not immediately scheduled.The injunction supersedes a lower court decision that allowed Pete Busalacchi to take his daughter from the Missouri Rehabilitation Center, where a recent landmark right-to-die case was centered.
State attorneys hurriedly appealed the lower court ruling when Busalacchi appeared at the hospital Friday to move his daughter.
"I'm disappointed," Busalacchi said. "I fully expected to leave here and take her to Minneapolis. I'm the guy who put her in here. I should be the guy who decides where she goes from here."
Don Lamkins, director of the center, said the state would fight to prevent Busalacchi from moving his daughter "as far as the legal system can go."
Busalacchi wants his daughter, who was brain damaged in a 1987 car crash, to be examined by Dr. Ronald Cranford, a neurologist at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
Cranford is a medical ethicist who favors terminating life-support in cases where brain damage is extensive and irreversible. He says there is only a "one in a billion" chance that Christine Busalacchi could recover.
But state officials contended in affidavits that recent examinations by two doctors show Christine Busalacchi has some cognitive ability, disputing a long-standing diagnosis that she is in a persistent vegetative state.
Also Friday, the Minnesota governor's office sent a letter to the Missouri Health Department saying it supports efforts to keep Christine Busalacchi in Missouri.