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Woman At Center Of Legal Fight Dies After Feeding Tube Removed

August 8, 1987

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) _ A 32-year-old woman whose family fought to the U.S. Supreme Court to be allowed to disconnect her life-sustaining feeding tube after her seven years in a coma-like state, died Friday morning in a hospital.

Nancy Ellen Jobes died peacefully at Morristown Memorial Hospital, two weeks after her family won the right to have her feeding tube removed, hospital officials said.

″The family is feeling a sense of relief and release and joy that Nancy is finally free,″ said George Vorsheim, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Morris Plains, who counseled Mrs. Jobes’ family and will conduct a memorial service for her Sunday. ″There were no second thoughts.″

Hospital officials and family spokesmen would not say when the tube was removed or disclose the exact cause of death, citing the family’s desire for privacy.

The real grief occurred when the family realized that Mrs. Jobes would never recover from her vegetative state, Vorsheim said.

″The real Nancy was gone,″ he said. ″Only a shell was left, a shell that was being kept alive artificially.″

The Tri-State Coalition For Life, which opposed the state Supreme Court’s right-to-die decision that allowed the removal of the tube, said in a statement that Ms. Jobes’ death ″indicates a callous disregard of the sacredness of life.″

Mrs. Jobes was 4 1/2 moths pregnant when she was involved in a 1980 auto accident. During surgery to remove the dead fetus after the accident, she went into the coma-like state.

Until July, she had lived at the Lincoln Park Nursing Home, where officials had refused to allow the feeding tube to be pulled, though relatives contended that Mrs. Jobes had said she would not want to be kept alive by artificial means.

Mrs. Jobes was moved to Morristown Memorial Hosptial in July, a month after the state Supreme Court ruled that the feeding tube could be removed. Despite the ruling, the nursing home continued its battle, taking the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to interfere.

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