"I'm very upset," said Sherman, who cared for her son at home for 17 years until he was transferred three years ago to Mayo Nursing Home in Philadelphia. "I'm just sick at heart over this."
"My son has no life," she added. "He's just a total vegetable. I cannot understand why they are allowing this nightmare to continue."
Fiori was first injured in 1971 when he was still in the Navy. Just back
from Vietnam, he sustained head injuries in a motorcycle accident. He was in a coma for a year.
He recovered, but suffered a second head injury in a veterans hospital five years later that left him in a permanent coma.
Although two doctors declared that Fiori cannot experience pain or pleasure, cannot think and will never recover, the nursing home has refused to remove life supports.
At issue: Fiori never signed a living will and had never indicated whether he wanted to be kept alive by artifical means if he ever lapsed into a coma.
The attorney general's office decided to appeal because "this is an area in which we do not have good case law," spokesman Robert Gentzel said.
He said this area of law required guidance.
"We think it's important to get some direction from the state Supreme Court, whatever that direction may be," he said. "Unfortunately, these are not easy decisions. They involve a very difficult area and a very emotional area."