End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

Hallada v. Lakeland

What We Do > In the Courts > Hallada v. Lakeland

Compassion & Choices is co-counsel in a case seeking damages from a hospital and nursing home whose staff members failed to honor the patient’s advance directive.

Marjorie Mangiaruca was 91, had lived a long, full life and told her daughter Sharon Hallada she was ready die when the time came.

Before Marjorie’s dementia became acute, she entrusted Sharon with medical decision-making. Sharon made sure a doctor signed a “do-not-resuscitate” order (DNR). But her medical providers let Marjorie’s DNR fall through the cracks. When she experienced a heart attack, instead of a peaceful death, Marjorie was subjected to aggressive resuscitation.

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Emergency medical technicians performed CPR on Marjorie and cut a hole in her neck to insert a tube to force air into her lungs. They injected drugs to restart her heart and to paralyze her so she wouldn’t fight back.

Sharon was then faced with a heartbreaking choice. Should she keep the breathing tube in place — knowing it contradicted her mother’s wishes — or ask doctors to remove it and let her die? A few days after the failures of the hospital and nursing home robbed Marjorie of the natural death she had hoped for, doctors followed Sharon’s direction to remove the tube. Marjorie’s dying process continued, stretching out over five more long days.

Compassion & Choices represents Sharon in this case against Lakeland Regional Medical Center and Oakbridge Healthcare Center in Florida. The hospital failed in its duty to Marjorie by not transmitting her DNR at discharge; Oakbridge failed its duty to ascertain if this extremely elderly, seriously ill patient had documented her wishes for life-prolonging treatment. The complaint alleges these failures resulted in violation of Marjorie’s wishes for end-of-life care, and that she was subjected to aggressive, invasive resuscitation and other interventions despite her clear instructions against such treatment.

Recent Developments

Plaintiff to Oppose Motion to Dismiss Suit for Traumatic, Unwanted Medical Treatment; Daughter of Elderly Woman Subjected to Unwanted Resuscitation Fights Lakeland Hospital Effort to Dismiss Civil Charges

A hearing on a motion by the Lakeland Regional Medical Center to dismiss a suit against the hospital for failing to transmit a dying woman’s Do Not Resuscitate order to her nursing home. The suit claims 91-year-old Marjorie Mangiaruca was not allowed to die naturally as she wished. Marjorie had made her wishes clear to her daughter, Sharon Hallada, when she learned that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Due to defendant’s negligence, Marjorie was forced to endure days of unwanted, aggressive treatment, including having her lip split open, having a hole cut in her throat, receiving paralyzing drugs, having tubes inserted into her throat and her stomach, and having air forced into her lungs. Sharon was put in the painfully stressful situation of directing the hospital to remove her mother’s ventilator and held a bedside vigil with her for five days before she died, finally ending her suffering. More…

The news release about the case is available here.

The complaint is available here.

The motion to dismiss brief is available here.

The brief opposing the motion to dismiss is available here.

The court’s rejection of the motion to dismiss is available here.

Read more:

Woman Says Mother’s End-of-Life Choices Ignored
By Barbara Peters Smith
The Herald-Tribune
Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Daughter Is Suing LRMC and Nursing Home for Disobeying ‘DNR’ Order
By Robin Williams Adams
The Ledger
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Family Sues Hospital for Violating Do Not Resuscitate Order
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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