This Georgia case involves the protracted death of Bucilla Stephenson, who had a formal Advance Directive stating her request that her life not be prolonged under certain critical conditions, and specifically that she didn’t want to be intubated in such circumstances. She also designated her granddaughter, Jacqueline Alicea, as her healthcare proxy to make healthcare decisions if she could not. In March 3, 2012, Stephenson developed a persistent cough and was admitted to the Doctors Hospital of Augusta. Alicea agreed to a thoracentesis procedure to drain her lung infection, but specifically stated that her grandmother did not want intubation or ventilation. The hospital did the surgery, which included intubation and put Stephenson on a ventilator during the procedure. Alicea was never told of this. Although she was extubated after the surgery, two days later, she experienced respiratory distress again, and the attending physician intubated again, without even contacting Alicea. Stevenson never regained consciousness and died on March 17, 2012.
The case is noteworthy for the settlement of $1,000,000 in favor of Alicea. For a fascinating interview with Harry Revell, the plaintiff’s attorney, click here.
For a detailed, in-depth overview of the case, click here.