MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- An 86-year-old brain-damaged woman -- the focus of a dispute that added a new twist to the debate over euthanasia -- has died three days after her husband won a court ruling against doctors who wanted to take her off life-support systems.
Helga Wanglie, of Minneapolis, died Thursday night of natural causes, Hennepin County Medical Center said in a statement.
"We felt that when she was ready to go that the good Lord would call her, and I would say that's what happened," Oliver Wanglie said yesterday of his wife of 54 years.
In the opinion of Mr. Wanglie, an 87-year-old retired lawyer, unplugging the respirator would have constituted euthanasia.
The case went to court when Hennepin County Medical Center doctors asked District Judge Patricia Belois to appoint an independent conservator to decide Mrs. Wanglie's fate. They had hoped that a conservator would permit them to take her off the machine that had helped keep her alive since May 1990, when she fell into a persistent vegetative state after a respiratory attack.