Monday, March 21, 2005


I'd love to know who (cough bugman cough) twisted arms to get this to happen:

A Friendswood man in a persistent vegetative state was transferred to a nursing home in San Antonio on Sunday, ending a battle between St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and his family over whether to take him off life support.

At 7:30 a.m., Spiro Nikolouzos, 68, was hooked up to a portable ventilator, feeding tube and other support lines and taken by ambulance to Avalon Place, which had rejected his application just nine days before. Facility officials confirmed his arrival about 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

"Thank God that was an ambulance taking Spiro to another health care facility, not another car taking him to a funeral home," said Nikolouzos' wife, Jannette. "I can't tell you the relief and excitement I feel that my husband is still alive."

Dr. David Pate, St. Luke's chief medical officer, said he was "very surprised" Avalon Place agreed to take Spiro Nikolouzos — more than 30 facilities had rejected him — but that he is glad the matter has been resolved to the family's satisfaction. The hospital's ethics committee had argued continued care would be futile and inhumane.

The surprise relocation capped three weeks during which the Nikolouzos family and St. Luke's looked for an alternative facility to accept him and the family's lawyer filed one temporary restraining order after another to prevent the hospital from pulling the plug. Nine days ago, one of those orders was granted just a few hours before St. Luke's planned to act.