Orthodox Group Sues To Keep Patient On Life Support
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Orthodox Group Sues To Keep Patient On Life Support

The head of an Orthodox Jewish organization that cares for people with special needs is suing to keep one of its patients on life support.

Samuel Kahn, the director of Hebrew Academy for Special Children, or HASC, a New York organization that cares for people with special needs, is suing to keep one of his organization’s patients on life support, DNAinfo New York reported.

Kahn claims that removing Eileen Beth Kramer, 60, from her life support at Maimonides Medical Center would violate her religious beliefs. He petitioned the Brooklyn Supreme Court in September after Kramer’s legal guardian, brother Howard Kramer, considered removing her from a ventilator, according to court papers obtained by DNAinfo New York.

According to Kahn’s court petition, HASC has cared for Kramer in one of its group homes for the past 40 years until she recently became sick. During that time, she kept a kosher diet, observed Shabbat and celebrated Jewish holidays.

“HASC was founded specifically to give people with developmental disabilities an opportunity to live a religious life,” said Chaim Wakslak, HASC’s clinical director. “Eileen had been living with us for several decades, living a religious life, and part of living religiously is dying religiously. So that is what this case is about.”

Howard Kramer maintains that HASC should have no role in the decision. He told DNAinfo that his sister, who has a developmental disability, was neither raised religious, nor is currently religious.

She doesn’t have the intellectual capability [to understand religion],” Howard Kramer was quoted saying. “She lived [at HASC], she followed their rules, but she couldn't have held deeply religious beliefs because of her disability. She doesn't have any concept of what religion is.”

After a first hearing in the Brooklyn Supreme Court on Sept. 18, Judge Larry Martin had issued a temporary restraining order on removing the ventilator. A second hearing in the case was held Sept. 30 before the same judge, whose decision is underway.

editor@jewishweek.org

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