Bioethics Blogs

Medical Futility Lawsuit in Philadelphia Proceeds

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania just permitted a plaintiff’s medical futility lawsuit (including claims for punitive damages) to proceed against Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and several individual clinicians.

Bernice Goldberg was admitted to TJU Hospital in August 2011.  At some point, her son and POA, Gary, discovered that his mother was not being provided nourishment.  Allegedly, after seeking an explanation, a physician told Gary: “The team has decided that your mother is going to die anyway so we are not going to feed or hydrate her.”

Gary went to the Philadelphia District attorney to report that a murder had been committed.  In his civil lawsuit, he alleges that clinicians “intentionally killed” his mother.  “They intentionally took away the family’s right to make medical decisions for their mother.”

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