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Family Reacts After Terminally Ill Woman Who Won Right To Die Changes Decision

Lawyer: 'She Said She Was Doing It To Make Peace With Her Parents'
Grace Sung Eun Lee (credit: Facebook)

Grace Sung Eun Lee (credit: Facebook)

MANHASSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Just days after a court upheld a terminally ill woman’s right to die, 28-year-old Grace Sung Eun Lee now says she wants to live.

There had been a legal battle about her decision to die after her devoutly religious parents appealed her request to be taken off life support.

Lee won the right to die last week, but has since changed her mind, according to the family.

“We’re so glad. Praise the Lord that everything is so great, I’m speechless,” Lee’s brother Danny Lee told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan. “She wants to fight back, and she’ll fight back until the end.”

Lee’s court-appointed lawyer said his client is able to communicate and is of sound mind.

“What Grace said to me when I asked her, she said she was doing it to make peace with her parents and to make peace with God,” attorney David Smith told Brennan.

Lee became ill with brain cancer last year and is being kept alive by breathing and feeding tubes at North Shore University Hospital’s palliative care center.

Doctors and Smith said Lee has made her wishes clear and medication is not affecting her ability to reason.

A judge originally ruled Grace is competent to make the decision, but her parents immediately appealed. On Friday, a panel of judges ruled the motion to stay the decision was denied.

The legal battles are not over just yet for the Lee family, as guardianship still needs to be established.

“The next step is we had a conference on Friday and will be having a hearing on Tuesday…about the guardianship proceeding which is pending in Nassau County Supreme Court,” said Lee’s parents’ attorney Mary Giordano.

Before she became ill, Lee was working as a financial manager and training to run the New York City Marathon.

Now she is paralyzed from the neck down and breathing and being fed by tubes which she wants removed.

A spokesman for North Shore University Hospital said with all end-of-life decisions, it abides by the patient’s wishes and follows the law.

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