#TBT: Karen Quinlan ‘Right to die’ court ruling
Karen Ann Quinlan’s landmark “right to die” case was decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court 40 years ago. March 31, 2016
Julia Quinlan has dedicated more than four decades to providing palliative care in memory of her daughter, Karen Ann. Now, the facility she founded is looking to celebrate her anniversary by raising funds to continue that care.
Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice launched a fundraiser last week in honor of Julia Quinlan, co-founder and CEO of the organization who turns 95 on Wednesday. The goal is to raise $1 million by the end of the month, “which will be permanently limited to providing care at the Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice,” said John Quinlan, son of Julia and director of the foundation of the palliative care center.
The Home for Hospice in Fredon opened in 2014 and offers 10 private rooms for terminally ill patients who can no longer be cared for at home. Fundraising for Julia Quinlan’s birthday will help cover those without insurance who otherwise could not afford the service.
John Quinlan said the hospice plans to use 10% of the money each year and replenish the fund through donations and fundraising events.
The majority of care provided will be respite care “where a patient and their family can receive five days and four nights of palliative care as well as ambulance transfers to and from home, whether or not they have insurance coverage. -health or insurance”, John Quinlan mentioned.
The fundraising effort began with $100,000 from Lakeland Bank, a total that was matched by donations from other businesses and individuals in the community.
Julia Quinlan, with her late husband Joseph, founded Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice in 1980. The organization is named after the couple’s daughter, who fell into a vegetative state five years earlier at the age of 21 and who would live another five years before dying of a respiratory disease. failed on June 11, 1985.
Karen Ann Quinlan’s story has become a landmark “right to die” case that has generated national and global interest. Her parents asked doctors to remove her from her ventilator once her condition was deemed irreversible, but the hospital refused on religious and legal grounds.
Joseph and Julia Quinlan then sued and asked for help from the Superior Court to get their daughter off the ventilator. The Superior Court denied their claim, however, the New Jersey Supreme Court overturned that decision on March 31, 1976, which helped pave the way for future right-to-die cases.
Julia Quinlan has been a tireless advocate for palliative care for over 40 years and has received numerous public service awards for her efforts. She has also written three books about her daughter and the ensuing legal battle to allow her to die with dignity.
She remains active in the organization she founded. “There is still work to do and families to help,” she said.
Fundraising runs until February 28. To donate, visit www.facebook.com/KarenAnnQuinlanHospice.org/fundraisers and click on the “Julia Quinlan Home for Hospice Endowment Fund – Birthday Fundraiser” link.
The public can also donate online at www.karenannquinlanhospice.org/endowment, or by calling Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice at 973-383-0115.