Bioethics Blogs

Unwanted Treatment Case Going to Trial – Alicea v. Augusta Doctors Hospital

Bucilla Stephenson

I recently published a summary of new lawsuits against healthcare providers who administered end-of-life treatment contrary to patient wishes.  


This 2017 article updated my 2013 comprehensive legal review of unwanted end-of-life treatment.  Some of these cases were profiled last month in the New York Times. One is now heading to a jury trial on June 12. 


The case, Alicea v. Augusta Doctors Hospital, already reached the Supreme Court of Georgia, last year, on a question of immunity.  The court issued a strong decision on the duty to honor advance directives.  “A clear objective of the Act is to ensure that . . . it is the will of the patient or her designated agent, and not the will of the health care provider, that controls.”


Bucilla Stephenson did it right.  She completed an advance directive with clear and specific instructions.  And she appointed a faithful and diligent agent.  But all this was not enough.


Contrary to her wishes, the attending physician had Bucilla intubated and put on a ventilator.  The nurses urged the physician to call the agent.  But the physician refused.


The plaintiff is seeking the $200,000 in medical expenses charged after the March 7, 2012, intubation, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Bucilla Stephenson

I recently published a summary of new lawsuits against healthcare providers who administered end-of-life treatment contrary to patient wishes.  


This 2017 article updated my 2013 comprehensive legal review of unwanted end-of-life treatment.  Some of these cases were profiled last month in the New York Times. One is now heading to a jury trial on June 12. 


The case, Alicea v.

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.