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Death of Boy in Coma Spurs Study of Laws

From Associated Press

The case of a father who removed life support from his comatose son while keeping others at bay with a gun has been settled, but the issues raised cry out for more specific laws, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Cook County State’s Atty. Cecil Partee announced the formation of a 43-member task force, composed of legal, medical and religious experts, to address concerns raised by the case of Rudy Linares.

The panel’s mission is to recommend new laws to the Illinois Legislature, probably by this fall, Partee said.

“With the law . . . you’ll know what your obligations are, you’ll know what your responsibilities are and you’ll know what you can do without being punished” in cases where a relative is being kept alive by machinery, he said.

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The task force will seek legal answers to such questions as when death occurs, under what circumstances life-support equipment can be removed, who decides on such removal, and what procedures to follow before life support is withdrawn.

Linares, 23, of suburban Cicero, on April 26 disconnected the respirator that was keeping his 15-month-old son, Samuel, breathing at a Chicago hospital. He held the baby until Samuel was dead.

The boy had been in a coma, considered irreversible by doctors, since choking on a balloon nine months earlier. The hospital had refused family requests to withdraw life support, saying the child was not brain dead.

Partee’s office charged Linares with murder, but a grand jury refused to indict him.

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