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Agreement Reached to Allow Comatose Baby To Die

October 24, 1986

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Parents and guardians of a comatose baby have agreed that he will not be revived if his heart or breathing fails, attorneys said.

A ″do not resuscitate″ order was issued Thursday for 7-month-old Lance Steinhaus, who is in an irreversible coma, said David Peterson, an attorney for Redwood County welfare officials, who have legal custody of the baby.

Doctors have said that under the conditions outlined in the agreement, Lance is likely to develop pneumonia or some other infection that could be fatal within weeks or months, although he could live for years.

The agreement said Lance will continue to receive nutrition, warmth, suctioning of fluids from his mouth and upper throat and, at least for the time being, antibiotics to fight some infections, lawyers said.

The agreement was signed after meetings involving the child’s estranged parents and five attorneys.

The child’s mother, Amy Wiederholt, 21, of Winsted, has argued since early summer for her son’s right to ″die with dignity.″

Her estranged husband, Timothy Steinhaus, 26, a mobile home factory worker from Redwood Falls, had asked that the boy be kept alive through aggressive medical measures.

Steinhaus is serving 10 years at Stillwater prison after pleading guilty to two charges of first-degree assault on Lance. Steinhaus said he beat the 5- week-old infant on two successive days in late April when the baby would not stop crying.

Steinhaus gave his approval to the agreement by telephone from Stillwater prison, the Minneapolis Star and Tribune reported.

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