Bioethics Blogs

Bad Healthcare Surrogates Kill Patient for the Money – Victorino Noval

Three years ago, I blogged about the Victorino Noval case.  The case (actually multiple cases) are still being litigated.  An appellate decision issued a few days ago summarizes the key alleged facts.  

Three siblings, Lourdes, Tania, and Victor, allegedly directed a hospital to take their father, Victorino Noval, off life support and administer fatal doses of morphine, without the consent of their brother, Hector Noval (Hector), whose permission was required under a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Lourdes, Tania, and Victor also allegedly absconded with cash and other personal property of Victorino while he was hospitalized.

“Decedent was a fully functioning 78-year-old with about $60 million in assets and $3 million in annual income. On April 28, 2010, decedent was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. He was intubated and, when sedated, became temporarily incapable of making his own medical decisions. By the end of the 10-day hospitalization, decedent had overcome the pneumonia, had had his intubation removed, had become distress free, and could make ‘eye contact for more than 10 seconds.'”

“Nonetheless, Lourdes, Tania, and Victor ordered hospital staff to terminate decedent’s treatment and administer fatal doses of morphine on May 7, 2010, causing his death that day. The only reason the threesome so directed hospital staff was to hasten decedent’s death and collect their inheritances.”

“According to Hector, decedent had a durable power of attorney for health care (health care power) that named Hector and Lourdes as joint attorneys-in-fact, such that the unanimous consent of the two of them was required for action to be taken. However, Lourdes, Tania and Victor falsely represented to hospital staff that Hector concurred in their decision to end decedent’s life, and concealed the existence of the health care power from Hector himself.

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.