Sally Jordan of Wylie, Texas, had an explicit living will with a “do not resuscitate” order, and made sure her family and healthcare providers were aware. Yet she suffered exactly the kind of death she did not want.
Jordan was found unconscious on May 4, 2015. Paramedics took her to the hospital, which led to a series of unwanted interventions that left her on life support, intubated and catheterized. She was finally allowed to die May 14.
“Sally Jordan suffered an artificially prolonged death which was repugnant to her values and directly against her wishes and advance directive,” said Compassion & Choices Staff Attorney Jonathan Patterson. “She and her family made clear that when it was her time to leave this earth, she wanted to pass as comfortably and peacefully as possible. Yet when that time came, her medical providers ignored her stated wishes, failed to adequately apprise her family of her condition, and ultimately prolonged her suffering during her final days.”
“My brother and I had to watch our mom needlessly suffer for over 10 days before she died. We had to make decisions we shouldn’t have had to make because she received unwanted medical treatment,” said Amanda Norris. “At one point, our mom woke up in the hospital with a tube coming out of her throat and we had to explain to her why. She looked so hurt that her final wishes to die in peace were ignored. We are bringing this action because she wanted us to fight to make sure others don’t have to suffer needlessly at the end like she did.”
Compassion & Choices has joined as co-counsel representing the legal interest of Norris and her brother, James Jordan, in a civil suit with the Dallas law firm Modjarrad Abusaad Said, who approached C&C because of our experience with such cases. The defendants include Garnet Hill Rehabilitation and Skilled Care, The Plaza at Richardson nursing home, and the Methodist Richardson Medical Center hospital.
“So many people, like Sally Jordan, have done everything right – not only filled out their directives but shared them with family and care providers, made copies, made sure they were accessible – yet they have those directives violated anyway,” explained Patterson. “It’s important to raise awareness that this problem is way more common than people realize. And facilities need to know that if they ignore a person’s end-of-life wishes, there will be consequences: People like us will help the families of these victims get justice.”