On October 6, 2014, Sally Jordan executed her living will, which is a document that provides physicians with a patient’s healthcare wishes in the event the patient is unable to communicate those wishes. Sally’s directive contained do-not-resuscitate provisions, which clearly demonstrated her desire to terminate all life-sustaining treatments other than palliative care.
In April 2015, Sally was rushed to the hospital. On arrival, Sally’s daughter, Amanda Norris, delivered a copy of Sally’s power of attorney and living will documents to the hospital, which was then put into the hospital’s filing system.
At the end of April 2015, Sally was transported to a temporary nursing facility until a more permanent facility would be available. Amanda, again, personally delivered copies of Sally’s health care documents the temporary facility with the understanding that those documents would be transferred to the permanent facility.
On May 4, 2015, against Sally’s expressed wishes, she was administered life-sustaining treatment, which was only the beginning of a series of invasive procedures that were in complete violation of Sally’s living will. En route to the hospital, EMS continued to keep Sally intubated. Once Sally arrived at the hospital, she was attached to a ventilator and feeding tube. Were it not for the unauthorized medical intervention, Sally Jordan would have died of natural causes.
While Sally was at the hospital, she regained consciousness and attempted to communicate, despite the tube in her mouth. She weakly pointed to various letters and spelled “who placed this tube. Finding out her living will was not followed, she reacted in an extremely pained and frustrated manner.
From May 4 through May 14, 2015, Sally was subjected to a number of painful and unwanted procedures, all of which would have been unnecessary had Sally’s living will been followed. On May 14, 2015, Sally Jordan was pronounced dead.
Due to Compassion & Choices’ experience in litigating cases of unwanted medical treatment, Amanda Norris and James Jordan, Sally’s son and health care agent, retained the organization to represent their interests. Working with our co-counsel in Texas, we filed suit on January 19, 2017.
Amanda and James are continuing to work with Compassion & Choices as advocates for families and patients to inform themselves of what their healthcare wishes are and how to best ensure those wishes will be honored in their chosen facilities.
This matter demonstrates the importance of advance directives, as well as the need to ensure each medical facility and doctor not only has a copy of those documents, but also completely understands your wishes. For more information regarding advance directives and other health care planning documents visit our Plan Your Care Resource Center.