Many people have advanced directives that indicate that they do not want to receive life-sustaining treatment in the event they contract a terminal illness or suffer an acute medical event. Thus, if a doctor in a hospital prolongs the life of a person with a living will, it may go against the person’s ultimate wishes. It likely does not constitute medical malpractice, however, as discussed in a recent New York ruling in which the court stated that New York does not recognize a cause of action for wrongful life and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a hospital. If you or a loved one sustained losses because of negligent care in a hospital, it is prudent to meet with a Syracuse hospital malpractice lawyer to assess your rights.
The Decedent’s Care
It is reported that in 1993, the decedent drafted a living will that stated he did not want to receive life-sustaining treatment if he was terminally ill. In 2017, the decedent’s health had deteriorated to the point that he would likely soon die. The defendant hospital, which was tasked with caring for the defendant, was notified of the living will by the decedent’s health care agent. The defendant nonetheless provided the decedent with antibiotics and intravenous treatment, prolonging his life by twenty days.
Allegedly, after the decedent passed away, the plaintiff instituted a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging it unnecessarily prolonged the decedent’s pain and suffering. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff was asserting a wrongful life claim which was not a valid cause of action under New York law. The court agreed, granting the defendant’s motion. Continue reading