Bioethics Blogs

Supreme Court Sanctions Lawyer for POLST Fraud

In late December 2016, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Washington State Bar Association Office of Disciplinary  Counsel to disbar attorney Donald Peter Osborne for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

One of the five counts against Osborne concerned his purporting to have authority to execute a client’s POLST.  While hospitalized, Elizabeth Hancock gave Osborne power of attorney over her financial affairs, but not over health care decisions.  Hancock indicated that she wanted her daughter to have decision-making power over her health care.

However, Osborne signed a “Physician’s Order for Life Sustaining Treatment” (POLST) on Hancock’s behalf, despite not having power of attorney over her health care.

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