End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

DeArmond v. Kaiser Permanente

What We Do > In the Courts > DeArmond v. Kaiser Permanente

Compassion & Choices’ case against Kaiser Permanente is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation that seeks to hold a provider accountable for failing to honor a POLST (physician orders for life-sustaining treatment).

Emily DeArmond lived with brain cancer for most of her young life. As Emily approached her final months, her doctor documented her parent’s wishes in signed physician orders for life-sustaining treatment, called a POLST. Among other things, the POLST clearly stated, “Do not intubate.” The POLST should have ensured those wishes would be followed.

But a physician at a Kaiser emergency department failed to follow the orders and passed a breathing tube down Emily’s throat. It remained in place until Emily’s mother got her transferred to another Kaiser facility. Only then did doctors withdraw it and allow her to die.

The DeArmonds can’t recover the peace and comfort they sought for Emily in her final hours. But in bringing this case, with help from Compassion & Choices’ legal team, they can change the policies of large providers like Kaiser so others don’t share the same fate.

Compassion & Choices is helping bring this case against Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest health plans. The suit seeks monetary damages and an order that Kaiser institute policies to ensure their providers respect patients’ treatment instructions.

Compassion & Choices champions cases like this to raise awareness of critically important healthcare issues, improve end-of-life experiences and create needed social change. These cases establish important principles of end-of-life care and choice.

Read more:

Court Action Targets Kaiser for Failure to Honor Treatment Instructions: Doctor Forces Breathing Tube on Dying Girl
November 7, 2011
Compassion & Choices today announced intent to seek accountability from Kaiser Permanente for failure to honor a patient’s end-of-life treatment directive.

DeArmond v. Kaiser Permanente Complaint

Kaiser’s Response

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