A Los Angeles judge reversed his own decision on Wednesday, giving the oldest daughter of legendary radio personality Casey Kasem “the authority to have doctors end his infusions of water, food and medicine,” reports CNN.
The longtime voice of radio’s “American Top 40” and Shaggy on TV’s “Scooby-Doo” cartoons is in a Washington hospital, where he is believed to be nearing the end of his life.
“Kasem's doctor concluded that continuing the artificial nutrition and hydration would only ‘at best prolong the dying process for him and will certainly add suffering to an already terribly uncomfortable dying process,’” daughter Kerri Kasem’s attorney, Troy Martin, told CNN. Martin also said Kasem is dying of sepsis and dementia.
"The court's decision today upheld our father's explicit wishes as expressed by him in his health directive," Kerri Kasem said in a statement after the hearing. She was referring to a directive her father signed in 2007, saying he would not want to be kept alive if it "would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning."
But the move has been vigorously opposed by Kasem’s wife of 34 years, Jean Kasem whose attorney, Steve Haney, called the judge’s decision "the functional equivalent of a death sentence."
Jean Kasem and her daughter with Casey, 24-year-old Liberty have been at odds with the radio host’s three older children from his previous marriage for quite some time. Their dispute has taken some shocking twists and turns ever since the older children staged a protest outside Jean and Casey’s Los Angeles mansion last October claiming Jean was barring them from seeing their father.
More recently, after Kerri was given temporary court ordered control over her father’s medical decisions, Jean took her husband from a Santa Monica nursing home and moved him to an undisclosed location, at first thought to be out of the country. After his older children filed a missing persons report, the couple was discovered to be staying in a home in Washington. Once he was found, Kerri moved her father to a hospital over Jean’s protests, which included throwing hamburger meat at her step-daughter.
As CNN reports, “After Kasem was told he had Parkinson's in 2007, he signed a document giving his oldest children authority to make his medical decisions if he should become unable to do so himself.”