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Causey v. St. Francis Medical Center

719 So. 2d 1072 (1998)

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Causey v. St. Francis Medical Center

Louisiana Court of Appeal

719 So. 2d 1072 (1998)

Facts

Sonya Causey (plaintiff) was a quadriplegic in a coma. Causey also had end-stage kidney failure that required continuing dialysis treatment for her to stay alive. Causey had a heart attack and then also needed a ventilator to stay alive. At that point, Causey was being treated at St. Francis Medical Center (St. Francis) (defendant). Causey’s doctor, Dr. Herschel Harter (defendant), estimated that Causey had a 1 to 5 percent chance of coming out of her coma and that she might live another two years with dialysis and the ventilator. Based on these estimations, Harter believed that there was no benefit in continuing Causey’s life-prolonging treatment. However, Causey’s family wanted to continue all possible life-sustaining care. Harter tried but was not able to transfer Causey to a facility that was willing to continue the treatments. After consulting with St. Francis’s Morals and Ethics Board, Harter discontinued life-sustaining treatment for Causey, and Causey died that day. Causey’s parents and husband sued St. Francis and Harter. St. Francis and Harter filed a motion asking the court to stay the court case and to send the case to a medical-review board to evaluate whether they had followed the correct standard of care.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

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