People are often surprised to hear that it is possible to file a wrongful death suit against hospice, but if the hospice provider causes the premature death of your loved one, you can hold them liable. The confusion lies in the assumption that if a person is terminally ill with a shortened life expectancy, there are no damages since the person was going to die soon anyway. This way of thinking is false, for these reasons:
- A person’s life has value, whether the patient is young and healthy or old and sick. Your last weeks or months are precious, and if the hospice takes away that time, it can be liable for wrongful death. For example, the doctor expects a cancer patient to live for about six months. If the hospice caregiver accidentally gives a patient a fatal overdose of pain medication, the patient’s loved ones can sue hospice for wrongful death.
- People often live for six months or longer in hospice. Initially, hospice meant getting plenty of painkillers and other palliative care to make the patient more comfortable during their final few days in the hospital or nursing home before death. If hospice makes a mistake, such as forgetting to give the patient heart medication and the patient suffers a fatal cardiac arrest as a result, hospice can be liable.
- If a patient dies as the result of a medical mistake in hospice, the family can have a wrongful death claim.
- Many people get misdiagnosed with cancer or other diseases. There have been cases of people getting a misdiagnosis of a terminal illness, and then dying in hospice from over-medication or other mistakes. If the autopsy reveals that the person was not terminally ill, but died because of the negligence of hospice, it can be liable.
Grounds for Lawsuits Against a Hospice
In addition to wrongful death actions, you can sue a hospice for these claims:
- Breach of contract, if hospice fails to provide the services they promise in the contract or if the hospice fails to follow Georgia’s hospice rules
- Negligence, if your loved one gets injured due to caregiver’s mistake in hospice
- Malpractice, if hospice fails to provide the level of care that another health care provider would have under similar circumstances
- Elder abuse, if they intentionally cause physical or emotional harm, neglect, or financially abuse your loved one
How to Get Help
Your family is already going through an emotional time when your loved one is sick and not expected to get well. If someone else’s mistake takes away the limited time she had left, you have suffered a double loss.
If you think you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit against hospice, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC for a review of your claim. We will treat you with compassion and dignity, and we will not charge to let you know if you might be eligible for compensation.
Call 404-474-0804 today, and we will set up your free, no-obligation consultation.