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Hoping for Miracle, Husband Begs to Keep Dead Wife on Life Support

May 14, 1990

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A man begging for time for a miracle to revive his brain-dead wife picketed Sunday outside a hospital where doctors prepared to disconnect the woman from a respirator.

For about 45 minutes Sunday, Bill McFall walked outside St. John Medical Center with a sign reading, ″Execution, May 9th, 1990.″

The date apparently referred to the original deadline he believes doctors set for turning off the machine that circulates the blood of his wife of 33 years.

The woman’s doctor planned to disconnect her from the respirator at 9 a.m. Monday, said hospital spokesman Steven Reynolds.

″Give God some time,″ asked McFall, who said he was hoping for a miracle. ″That’s all I want.″

Hospital officials say Isabell McFall, 56, died April 24 of an aneurysm, or burst blood vessel in her brain. She had been unconscious since April 17.

Doctors said she met Oklahoma’s criteria to be declared legally dead: No electrical or chemical activity was detectable in her brain.

″Our policy’s based on medical decisions and on state law,″ said hospital spokesman Reynolds. ″This is the first time we’ve had anybody protest, or ask that we maintain a relative on support system past the time of the death.″

Reynolds said the only reason she was kept on life-support machines after April 24 was compassion for the family after McFall requested a day’s time to adjust.

Hospital officials contend Oklahoma statutes don’t require them to obtain McFall’s consent to disconnect the machine, though Reynolds said doctors would like the family’s approval.

McFall said he would never consent. At midweek, he began calling reporters to try to get help for his fight against the hospital.

″The doctors are living by sight. We’re living by faith,″ he said. ″The days of miracles are not over.″


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