Wife, doctors fight over husband’s medical care

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — The struggle between doctors and the wife of a man in a vegetative state moves to a Minnesota courtroom Wednesday.

At issue is the care of 85-year-old Al Barnes of Scandia. He has been in eight hospitals in the last ten months. Barnes has been diagnosed with end-stage respiratory distress, renal failure, dementia and other conditions.

He’s breathing through a ventilator and is being fed by a tube. His wife, Lana Barnes, says her husband has treatable infections and has a fluid buildup in his brain that’s often misdiagnosed.

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Doctor’s at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park argue Barnes’ wife is making futile and reckless decisions to prolong her husband’s life. The Star Tribune says the case will be heard in Hennepin County Probate Court.