Sylvia Sodden, 78, was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn but converted to Roman Catholicism when she was just 20 years old. In 2011, Sodden appointed her godson, Joe Arrigo, 53 as her healthcare proxy. Sodden is now on life support. Consistent with her wishes and after consulting with two priests, Arrigo instructed clinicians to withdraw the ventilator.
But, on Monday, Sodden's sister Esther Feigenbaum filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to become her sister’s sole health care proxy. “It is anathema to Orthodox Jewish belief to shut down life support from a person in Ms. Sodden’s condition … to do such would be nothing short of murder. . . . Ms. Sodden, despite her mental illnesses, remains devoted to the religion of her ancestors and her family.”
Yesterday, a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge stripped Arrigo of his role as health care proxy and gave it to Feigenbaum, citing Arrigo’s absence in court as part of the reason.