Children of a deceased woman are suing her healthcare providers for causing her to needlessly suffer “over 10 days of anguish, agony, and torment.” The suit alleges the healthcare providers ignored the dying woman’s explicit wishes to be allowed to die comfortably without painful, unwanted medical treatment, as stipulated in her advance directive they had in their possession.
Nearly one out of four older Americans say that either they or a family member have experienced excessive or unwanted medical treatment, the equivalent of about 25 million people, according to a 2014 poll by Purple Insights.
Modjarrad, Abusaad, & Said, a Dallas law firm, has teamed with Compassion & Choices, a national end-of-life choice advocacy organization, in order to represent the legal interest of Amanda Norris and James Jordan, the children of the deceased woman, Sally Jordan. Sally Jordan died on May 14, 2015. The defendants include Garnet Hill Rehabilitation and Skilled Care, The Plaza at Richardson nursing home, and the Methodist Richardson Medical Center hospital.
“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.”
“Sally Jordan was forced to endure violent and painful medical interventions, insertion of multiple tubes into her throat and her stomach, the delayed removal of life-sustaining tubes in her throat and lungs, bear a feeding tube, forced catheterization, and have air forced into her lungs,” said attorney Mohamad Said.
“Sally Jordan suffered an artificially prolonged death which was repugnant to her values and directly against her wishes and advanced directives,” 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.”
The suit seeks more than $1 million “for all damages suffered by Sally Jordan,” including compensatory damages, medical bills incurred in the violation of her advanced directive, her mental anguish, for her pain and suffering, for the violation of her rights as a patient, and punitive damages. More than a monetary award, the family seeks justice for their mother’s suffering.
“Nothing will compensate our family for the senseless torture we witnessed our mom suffer for over 10 days,” said James Jordan. “A major reason we are filing this case is to raise awareness that healthcare providers may be violating the advance directives of other patients and prolonging their suffering without fear of retribution. We owe it to our mom to try to deter all healthcare providers from inflicting this kind of unforgettable trauma on other dying patients and their families.”