Bioethics Blogs

Another California Brain Death Dispute – Lisa Avila

Last month, Lisa Avila went to Anaheim Regional Medical Center while pregnant with her eighth child. Her family says that the hospital sent her home.  A day later, Avila slipped into a coma due to an undiagnosed ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. (Family website)

In the past few days, hospital clinicians have determined that Avila is now brain dead.  Consequently, they have told the family that they are planning to remove Avila’s physiologic support on Friday afternoon. 

But like the December 2013 Jahi McMath case, the family is resisting the hospital’s plan.  After all, this is the very same hospital that (the family claims) botched her treatment and put her on life support in the first place.  “They shouldn’t be pressuring us, because the reason we’re here, is because of their mistake.”  “Pretty much they’re trying to kill her to reduce them from having to pay the bill that it would cost to keep her alive.”  (CBS News)

The hospital has limited obligation to accommodate family objections.  I reviewed those obligations in Los Angeles just a few weeks ago.  It need not continue to provide physiological support after 24-48 hours. But it might have an obligation to facilitate a transfer which is what the family is looking for.  (CBS News)  

[embedded content]


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.