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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Politics of Hypocrisy: DeLay Took His Own Father Off Life Support

'L.A. Times': Rep. Tom DeLay Took His Own Father Off Life Support in 1988

Published: March 26, 2005 11:00 PM ET

NEW YORK Exposing a previously unknown episode, the Los Angeles Times reported late Saturday that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who this week championed political intervention in the Terry Schaivo case, agreed to his own family’s decision in 1988 to take his own father off life support and allow him to die.

The man, 65-year-old drilling contractor Charles DeLay, was badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Tom DeLay was a junior congressman from Texas at the time. The patient was being kept alive by intravenous lines and a ventilator.

“DeLay has denounced Schiavo's husband, as well as judges, for committing what he calls ‘an act of barbarism,’ in removing the tube,” the L.A. Times reported. “In 1988, however, there was no such fiery rhetoric as the congressman quietly joined the sad family consensus to let his father die."

This account was assembled from court files, medical records and interviews with family members, the paper said.

Doctors advised that DeLay’s father would "basically be a vegetable," the congressman's aunt, JoAnne DeLay, told the newspaper.

When his kidneys failed, the family decided against connecting him to a dialysis machine. "Extraordinary measures to prolong life were not initiated," said his medical report, citing "agreement with the family's wishes."

His bedside chart carried the instruction: "Do Not Resuscitate." On Dec. 14, 1988, the senior DeLay died.

The Times noted similarities between the DeLay and Schiavo cases: “Both stricken patients were severely brain damaged. Both were incapable of surviving without continuing medical assistance. Both were said to have expressed a desire to be spared life sustained by machine. And neither left a living will.”

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E&P Staff

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