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In re Jane Doe

Supreme Court of Georgia
418 S.E.2d 3 (1992)


Facts

Scottish Rite Hospital (the hospital) (plaintiff) filed an action for a declaratory judgment, seeking guidance from the trial court regarding whether to follow a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order for a terminally ill 13-year-old girl, Jane Doe, who suffered from a degenerative neurological disease. Jane’s physicians described Jane’s condition as fluctuating between states of stupor and coma due to a failing brain stem. The physicians concluded that there was no hope for Jane’s recovery. As Jane’s condition worsened, Jane was placed on a respirator and had to use feeding and breathing tubes. The physicians asked Jane’s parents whether they would agree to a DNR order in the event that Jane suffered cardiac arrest. The DNR order would allow the hospital to refrain from providing life-saving measures to Jane. Jane’s mother consented to the DNR order, but Jane’s father did not. The hospital’s bioethics committee recommended the DNR order and the de-escalation of Jane’s medical treatment. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court found that the hospital had standing to bring a declaratory action but entered an order enjoining the hospital from de-escalating Jane’s medical treatment or enforcing a DNR order unless both parents agreed. The state appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clarke, J.)

Concurrence (Hunt, J.)

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