A quadriplegic is entitled to have the ventilator that keeps him alive modified so he can shut it off and end his life at will, a state judge ruled Wednesday.
Larry McAfee's right to refuse continued life-sustaining medical treatment outweighs the state's interest in preserving life, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Edward Johnson ruled after an emotional 45-minute hearing.
Five family members and two friends testified that McAfee, 33, an avid sportsman paralyzed from the neck down since a 1985 motorcycle accident, had repeatedly told them he wanted to die rather than continue as he is.
Doctors have said his condition is irreversible.
"The ventilator to which he is attached is not prolonging his life; it is prolonging his death," the judge said, adding that he found McAfee to be a rational, competent, intelligent adult capable of making that decision.
McAfee had asked that he be given a sedative when he shuts off the machine and that the court promise that no one will restart the breathing apparatus.