Living will: court finds fault with care planning.


The patient was a disabled veteran who had lost both of his feet.

Years before he died he was operated upon for bladder cancer and received an ileostomy. Eight years later he began having cerebrovascular accidents and falling at home. He had aortofemoral bypass graft surgery and mitral valve replacement two years after that and was diagnosed with renal artery stenosis, COPD, atrial fibrillation, DVT, degenerative joint disease, peripheral vascular disease and dementia.

Home care was not working out so he was placed in a Veterans Administration nursing facility.

Patient's Living Will No Life-Sustaining Treatment

On admission to long-term care he signed a living will directing that life-sustaining treatment be withheld or withdrawn in the event he suffered from a terminal illness. He expressly told a VA social worker he did not want a feeding tube.

After he passed his widow sued the US Government for negligence.

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas would not award damages for the patient's significant weight loss, breakdown skin integrity and pressure sores. Those developments were...

To continue reading