Bioethics Blogs

Shooting in the ICU after Hospital Refused to Follow Advance Directive

Katherine Lavoie was battling depression, and apparently tried to commit suicide on Sunday night.  Her husband, Mark, called 911.  Katherine Lavoie ended up on life support at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in New Hampshire.  (NECN)

But Mark soon regretted calling for help:  “now because of my selfishness in dialing 911, she is experiencing the only thing she feared more than her illness, life-support on a respirator.”

Around 6:03 a.m. Tuesday, Dover Police responded to a 911 call from Wentworth-Douglass Hospital reporting shots fired inside the facility. The responding officers found a Mark & Katherine Lavoie dead in a room inside the hospital’s critical care unit.

In a Facebook post, Mark indicated that his shooting was motivated by the hospital’s refusal to honor Katherine’s advance directive.  “Even though I brought her living will, the doc said her wishes didn’t apply because depression isn’t a non-reversible state. I however did not see that stipulation.)”

As illustrated in similar cases like Kerrie Wooltorton, the duty to follow an advance directive after a suicide attempt remains unresolved.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.