Compassion & Choices filed a groundbreaking legal case in April against a hospital and nursing home for failing to honor a patient’s end-of-life wishes. The complaint alleges Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) violated the late Marjorie Mangiaruca’s wishes for minimal end-of-life care and subjected her to aggressive, invasive resuscitation and life-prolonging treatment despite her clear instruction to refuse such treatment.
Compassion & Choices works in courts to advance patient choice in end-of-life care. This case aims to ensure medical professionals respect their patients’ wishes. Director of Legal Affairs Kathryn Tucker and Florida trial attorney Jeff Badgley filed a civil suit in Polk County, Florida, on behalf of Marjorie and her daughter Sharon Hallada. The case contends LRMC didn’t transmit Marjorie’s end-of-life medical instructions when staff transferred her to a nursing home run by Oakbridge Healthcare Associates, and Oakbridge didn’t determine if she had advance directives. Their combined failure resulted in EMTs delivering aggressive treatment that prolonged and aggravated Marjorie’s death. More
Married for 59 years and dedicated to civil rights issues even longer, Mary Fran and Peter Libassi of Connecticut are directing their energy and passion to advancing end-of-life choice in the East. They are both longtime supporters of Compassion & Choices, with Mary Fran’s views shaped as a young woman in the conservative South.
“I really can’t remember how it started,” said Mary Fran, “but it was when I was in my early 20s – and I grew up in the South, a really conservative community, Presbyterian church. I have just had this sense for a long, long time that it is really an inalienable right that everybody should have.”
Peter, a retired attorney who held positions in the Johnson and Carter administrations working to advance desegregation, women’s rights and disability rights, and Mary Fran, a former social worker and professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, saw the recent campaigns in their area as a great opportunity to get more actively involved. “It was the Massachusetts initiative that came up,” noted Peter. “In Massachusetts we lost, which surprised people in Connecticut. But we made phone calls on behalf of the Massachusetts campaign urging people to support it.” More