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Scheible v. Joseph L. Morse Geriatric Center, Inc.

988 So. 2d 1130 (2008)

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Scheible v. Joseph L. Morse Geriatric Center, Inc.

Florida District Court of Appeal

988 So. 2d 1130 (2008)

Facts

The Joseph L. Morse Geriatric Center (Morse) (defendant), a nursing home, admitted as a patient Madeline Neumann (plaintiff), an elderly woman diagnosed with senile dementia and a seizure disorder. Neumann’s granddaughter and healthcare surrogate, Linda Scheible (plaintiff) was present at the time of Neumann’s admission and provided Morse with a living will or advance healthcare directive signed by Scheible and Neumann. The advance healthcare directive stated that Morse staff members were not to prolong Neumann’s life through treatments or resuscitation because she had a terminal condition. Almost three years later, Morse staff members found Neumann unresponsive due to respiratory arrest and called emergency-medical-services technicians who resuscitated Neumann, intubated her, and transported her to the hospital. Two days later, hospital staff members removed the tube from Neumann’s airway. Four days later, Neumann died in the hospital from cardiopulmonary arrest. Scheible filed a complaint, alleging that Morse willfully disregarded Neumann’s advance healthcare directive in violation of Florida’s Nursing Home Resident’s Rights Act (NHRRA). Morse moved for summary judgment on this claim. The trial court granted the summary-judgment motion on the basis that the personal representative of an estate could not bring an action against a nursing home for violation of a patient’s bill of rights under NHRRA if the deprivation or infringement did not cause the patient’s death. Scheible appealed the trial court’s ruling and argued that it misinterpreted NHRRA.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Shahood, C.J.)

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