Hospice care (also known as palliative care, when begun at diagnosis) is for terminally ill people who have stopped life-saving treatment. It is intended to keep recipients comfortable and cared for during their final days. However, without proper caution, training, and attention, caregivers can make major mistakes and do great harm to terminally ill patients. Patients can contract serious infections, experience additional pain and suffering, and even die sooner than necessary when hospice care is administered inappropriately.
Can I Sue for Hospice Care Negligence?
Yes. However, the sort of claim you file will depend on the nature of the harm caused and the resulting suffering.
- Breach of Contract: If the agency providing hospice care did not provide contractually agreed-upon services, they may have violated your contract. In such cases you may be entitled to a refund.
- Wrongful Death: There is no irony in suing a hospice agency for wrongful death, especially not if the negligence of an agency or individual caregivers contributed to your loved one's death. While it is understood that the person receiving hospice care is preparing for the end of their life, you may be able to make a case for wrongful death if your loved one passed away as a direct result of failure or error by a hospice care provider.
- Medical Malpractice: Hospice care providers will sometimes help administer medication, medical treatment, and some forms of therapy, depending on the needs of the patient. You may have a case for medical malpractice if hospice has provided any medical services to your loved one without exercising appropriate care and your loved one suffers needlessly or dies as a result.
Can I File a Claim for a Family Member or Friend?
Depending on the circumstances of your loved one's negligence-related injury or death, you may be able to file a claim on their behalf. If you have power of attorney or are the legal guardian, you are able to take legal action in their defense. However, the type of claim you should file and whether or not you should be the one to file it depends entirely on the circumstances of the case.
We strongly advise that you not stay silent about hospice negligence or attempt to deal with it on your own. If you aren't entirely sure you have a solid case, reach out to our Austin injury attorneys and let us help you evaluate your options.
Call Komie & Morrow, LLP at (512) 640-2050 or fill out this short form to receive a free evaluation.