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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My sister had a "do not resuscitate/do not intubate" order

Customer Question

My sister had a "do not resuscitate/do not intubate" order on file at her nursing home. While being transported by ambulance to a hospital for a high fever, the ambulance personnel intubated her. They had supposedly left her Advance Directive form behind at the nursing home. When she arrived at the hospital, she was placed in the ICU, attached to a ventilator, and given medications to support her vital functions. As her guardian, I did not wish for any of this to happen to her. I have filed a complaint with the MA Dept. of Public Health. They are investigating. The owner of the ambulance company will not reveal what happened in the ambulance. I have requested but not yet received the record of her transport. My sister expired 6 hours later when I requested that life support be withdrawn. If I wish to take legal action against the ambulance company and/or its personnel, what remedies could I seek?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am very sorry to learn of your sister's death.

Unfortunately these cases are difficult to prosecute ("wrongful life" cases do not typically garner very much in damages claims, and you must retain a lawyer to prosecute the case - you cannot do this "pro per" (without a lawyer)), and you have already made the appropriate complaints the governing agencies so that they can investigate and take administrative action.

However, you can speak with a local personal injury attorney (also called "plaintiff's lawyers" or "trial attorneys"). Fortunately the majority of these attorneys will provide you with a free consultation, and many will represent you on a contingency basis (they will advance the costs of litigation and legal services in exchange for a portion of your successful settlement or judgment). You can find local attorneys using the State and Local Bar Association directories, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com; www.FindLaw.com; or www.Martindale.com (I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).

While this may not be an ideal case for litigation, it may at least be worthwhile to pursue something in mediation, and a lawyer should be able to assist you in getting the pre-hospital medical records.

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