Wife of Jewish man on life support asks court to rescind death certificate
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Wife of Jewish man on life support asks court to rescind death certificate

Yechezkel Nakar, 68, declared brain dead by New York hospital after stroke, but remains alive with help of respirators

New York City, Brooklyn, Supreme Court State of New York - Kings County (CC BY Vincent Desjardins, Flickr)
New York City, Brooklyn, Supreme Court State of New York - Kings County (CC BY Vincent Desjardins, Flickr)

The wife of a Brooklyn man on life support has asked Brooklyn’s Supreme Court to rescind a death certificate that she said was issued in error.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital on May 31 issued a death certificate for Yechezkel Nakar, 68, several weeks after he was admitted to the hospital and suffered a stroke, the New York Post reported Sunday. He was placed on life-support.

Doctors at the hospital declared him brain dead on the first day of Shavuot, and issued an electronic death certificate.

But Nakar remains on life support at Maimonides Medical Center, where New York-Presbyterian sent him after the death certificate was issued.

His wife, Sarah, who objected to taking her husband off life support for religious reasons, filed a lawsuit against the hospital late last week. She is asking the court to rescind the death certificate so she can file insurance claims for his current treatment.

“The man is still living, and the family is distraught at the whole situation,” their attorney, Morton Avigdor, told the Post.

Rabbi J. David Bleich, a professor of Jewish law at Cardozo Law School and an expert in biomedical ethics, told the Post that brain dead patients on respirators typically die in three to 12 days and that “there is room for error in everything, including neurological criteria.”

New York-Presbyterian did not comment to the Post on the case.

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