End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

Tomlinsen v. BCC

What We Do > In the Courts > Tomlinsen v. BCC

Lester Tomlinsen was a patient suffering from a progressive and painful form of cancer. Mr. Tomlinsen had executed an advanced directive requesting aggressive pain management and other aspects of his end of life care. When he was hospitalized, Tomlinsen’s attending doctor made a notation for pain medication “as needed.” After being moved to a nursing home, the staff failed to provide him with pain medication for three days after admission. With his family in attendance, Lester frequently cried out for help due to the pain.

After seeing his suffering, Tomlinsen’s daughter called his oncologist, who then prescribed a much stronger pain medication. Lester died four days later. The family was aware of the Bergman v. Eden Medical Center case in which a dying patient was found to have suffered elder abuse. The family filed suit against the nursing home and caregivers for failure to provide sufficient pain management. The Bergman case prompted the defendants to settle out of court to avoid a large judgment against them.

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