LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The daughter of ailing 82-year-old deejay Casey Kasem has decided to withhold food, hydration and his usual medication from him following a Los Angeles judge’s decision on Wednesday to let her do so, her spokesman said.
Kerri Kasem and her brother and sister, the “American Top 40” host’s children from his first marriage, chose to transition Kasem back to comfort-oriented end-of-life care at a Washington state hospital where he has been in hospice care.
Kasem’s care has been a legal tussle between Kerri Kasem and his current wife Jean Kasem, who initially won a court order on Monday allowing Kasem food, water and his usual medication. Kasem’s wife has opposed withholding food and water from her husband. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy determined that giving Kasem food and water would be detrimental to his health, agreeing with the deejay’s physicians and daughter Kerri Kasem, who is in charge of her father’s healthcare.
“Transitioning our father’s treatment to comfort-oriented care was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make,” Kasem’s children from his first marriage said in a statement.
The statement included part of Kasem’s health directive, which stated that he desired no form of “life-sustaining procedures, including nutrition and hydration.”
Kasem, who also voiced also voiced the character Shaggy in the “Scooby-Doo” cartoons, had been on comfort-oriented care, which manages pain and withholds food and water that could be harmful to Kasem’s health, Kerri Kasem’s attorney Martha Patterson said.
Patterson said food was running a risk of giving Kasem pneumonia while water was flooding his lungs.
Kasem’s court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham, supports putting his client back on comfort-oriented care.
Kasem - who suffers from Lewy body disease, a form of dementia with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease - is also suffering from an infected bedsore, an ulcer on the skin that is often difficult to treat.
Jean Kasem’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Editing by Will Dunham