Family makes difficult choice about maintaining life support

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– In July of 2011, Bettie Calvert had a spinal procedure at a St. Louis hospital. While recovering she suffered multiple strokes. Doctors worked on her for more than an hour and told her family her condition was grave.

“They said there`s a possibility that I would be in a vegetative state on a respirator for the rest of my life and not able to move from the neck down,” said Calvert.

Calvert`s family refused to remove life support and after lots of prayer Bettie made progress. Making the right choice was hard because doctors said there was no hope. Sister Vickie Edwards says hope was the one thing the family held on to.

“It was extremely difficult because you are watching someone you love lying there with all of these machines attached is hard. Bettie’s husband Kenny stayed at the hospital for 30 straight days,” said Edwards.

Now Bettie Calvert is praying for 13-year-old Jahi Mcmath from California and 33-year-old Marlise Munoz a pregnant woman from Texas. Both were recently deemed brain dead by doctors after medical complications put them in the hospital. The question of when to end life in both cases is under strong debate, a reminder of what families face everyday.

“I say give it time and not make quick decisions that`s why my heart pours out for the mother of the young girl because I see her wanting to give her baby a little more time,” Edwards said.

As the discussion over the issue of life support continues, Calvert will continue her work of inspiring others to live their lives to the fullest.

“There`s a higher power working with you and through you,” Calvert said. Calvert is still in the recovery process and has regular physical therapy sessions, she is working towards getting out of her wheelchair.
FOX 2 contacted local hospitals and they all suggested that patients bring their advance healthcare directive documents to indicate their wishes.

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