Right-to-Life Debate | Fresno Official on the Hot Seat

August 13, 2008 10:14:31 PM PDT
Fresno County's public guardian is no longer intervening in a controversial right to life case. Doctor David Hadden and Janet Rivera's family have been battling over whether or not to end the comatose woman's life.

Janet Rivera has lived in a vegetative state for two years. She never left documents detailing her medical care ... If she can't decide for herself. Her brother believes Janet wants to live.

Michael Dancoff, Rivera's Brother: "I still think she's not in a total vegetative state. I think she's in a mentally conscious state ... I'm going to try to wake her up."

Dancoff and the Public Guardian David Hadden disagreed about Rivera's life. On Wednesday ... A judge approved Hadden leaving the case. At one point ... Hadden stopped Rivera's life support ... Believing she would never recover.

Dr. David Hadden: "I do think in the long run. The very best solution has been obtained because now relatives are in charge of the case."

Voters elected Hadden to be the coroner ... Along with that comes the role of public guardian. Hadden wants the positions separated and appointed by the board of supervisors ... An idea that's far from becoming reality.

Hadden: "The coroner is a scientific investigation, so you really need a scientist or medical examiner in charge of the coroner's office. The public guardian is social work and that's just as far removed from science as you can get."

Rivera's family is under court orders to keep her alive until a judge fully investigates the issues surrounding a woman with an uncertain future.

The family still faces one major hurdle. A judge next month is expected to make a final ruling that could give Janet Rivera's family total control over her life.

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