Medical Malpractice and Improperly Ending Life-support By John Macfarlane on July 19, 2022

patient on life-supportThe body is made up of many organs and systems that are crucial to keeping it healthy. Some are so vital that, if they fail, a person cannot live without life support. When someone is on life support, their family members must make medical decisions on their behalf, including when to end life support. These decisions are guided by medical advice. 

If individuals in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area suspect that a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice involving improperly ending life support, they can work with wrongful death lawyers at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, to pursue compensation for resulting damages.

When Is Life Support Needed?

Life support refers to medical procedures that keep vital systems and/or organs running until they are able to take over for themselves again. A person will require life support if the lungs, heart, or brain fail. Common life support methods include emergency care such as CPR and defibrillation, as well as longer term assistive devices like a ventilator or feeding tube. 

How to Know When to Stop Life Support

Family members or medical staff must make the decision when to end life support. When the decision falls on loved ones, they must rely heavily on the advice of doctors or other medical professionals, since they have no expertise in the area. Medical professionals may recommend stopping life support when there is no hope that organs will recover and function on their own, or when continuing life support may prolong the process of dying. When life support ends, the patient usually dies within a matter of hours or days.

Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If medical professionals end life support prematurely, or if family members suspect that they have improperly ended life support based on poor medical advice, they may have a medical malpractice claim. To prove a medical malpractice claim, four elements must be established:

  1. There was a doctor-patient relationship (i.e. a professional duty was owed to the patient).
  2. The medical professional breached their duty by failing to provide care that met up to the accepted standard (that which would be delivered by a similarly trained medical professional).
  3. The breach of duty caused injury or wrongful death.
  4. The injury or death resulted in physical and/or financial damages for the patient and/or surviving loved ones.

Anyone who suspects that a family member has been the victim of medical malpractice involving improperly ending life support should consult with our Salt Lake City lawyers to discuss the details of their case. 

Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death Damages 

When medical malpractice causes wrongful death, descendants of the deceased have the right to pursue financial compensation for resulting damages, which may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income and/or benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Loss of consortium

Contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC

Medical malpractice attorneys at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, have helped countless individuals collect financial compensation for damages related to negligent medical care, and they would like to do the same for you. To find out if you have grounds for a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim, send us a message online or call our law firm at (801) 335-6467.

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Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC

Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC

At Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, our attorneys have decades of combined experience in complex cases. We represent clients in all types of personal injury cases, with a special focus on medical malpractice claims. Our firm is associated with the following professional organizations:

  • Utah Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Salt Lake County Bar Association
  • American Trial Lawyers Association

To schedule an appointment, please contact us online or call (801) 335-6467.

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