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Terri Schiavo Case Brings Painful Memories For Wilson Family

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WILSON, N.C. — Decisions about removing a feeding tube from a loved one are difficult and emotional. One family in Wilson made the call to remove a feeding tube and then put it back in.

Jimmy and Wanda Hickman have decided that it is not up to them to choose whether Jimmy's mother, Alice, lives or dies.

"We're not God. We didn't bring them into the world and we sure shouldn't be able to take them out of the world," said Jimmy Hickman.

Alice Hickman, 67, had a stroke nine years ago and has a feeding tube. Several years ago, the Hickmans removed the tube at the advice of a doctor, but asked for it to be put back three days later.

"The third day, she was better and calling my name, so I immediately ordered her to be hooked back up," Jimmy said.

They said the Terri Schiavo case is bringing back painful memories of their family's emotional ordeal.

"That's a horrible way to go, to dehydrate and starve to death," Jimmy said.

The Hickmans do not think the courts should be involved in making those types of medical decisions.

"I wouldn't want the court coming in and telling me and my husband that we have to take the tube out of her," Wanda said.

Jimmy has the power of attorney to make medical decisions for his mother. In his absence, his wife, Wanda, takes over that responsibility.

"Communicating with my husband, knowing the right thing to do with his mom, and [whether] this is the right thing to do and so forth," Wanda said.

The Hickmans said families need to talk about how they will handle the situation before it happens. Families can start the communication process by creating living wills, so their wishes about medical care are on paper.

They can also designate a power of attorney if they are ever in a position where they cannot make decisions for themselves.

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