Legal Question in Elder Law in California

Recently my father had a stroke, and soon afterwards was put on hospice. He died from hospice care a few days later. My brother and I were excluded from any decisions and discussions about him going on hospice to die. No one from the hospital, his doctors, his wife (not our mother), and hospice included us in any of the decisions, even when we asked. I think he was put on hospice way too soon and not given a chance to live or make his own decision, and we definatly were excluded from our fatherís decision to live. We do not think he had any kind of living will. I personally think his rights were violated and our rights may have been infringed upon. Does anyone have an idea if they were? And if so what can we do legally to make those responsible pay.

Asked on 8/26/13, 1:54 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

His wife is the one with legal right to make those decisions on his behalf, unless he had specific written will and instructions to the contrary about his care. Whether she included his other heirs in the process is up to her. Keep in mind that hospice care is customarily ordered for patients where no further medical treatment would be of value in restoring them to health or function. It is for patient comfort through pain management during their last days, however many that may be. IF and only IF his heirs could prove there was medical malpractice in the 'hospice care', would the heirs have any merit in a claim regarding his death. That would require you hire an 'independent medical expert' to review the medical records and charts and give an opinion that would support a claim of malpractice.

If you are serious about pursuing such claim and hiring counsel to do so, and believe you can prove malpractice, feel free to contact me.

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Answered on 8/26/13, 12:25 pm

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