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Cancer patient's parents accuse hospital of medical malpractice

In June 2016, a state on the West Coast enacted a new law concerning a highly controversial and much debated topic: assisted suicide. There is no current law in Tennessee allowing medical doctors to assist terminally ill patients to take their own lives; however, based upon the new law that was implemented in this other state, a cancer patient apparently requested the hospital's assistance so she could die. Her parents have since alleged that the hospital committed medical malpractice.

The woman succumbed to cancer in Sept. 2016 (the law became effective in June of that year). The disease killed her rather than her taking her own life as she wanted to do . The hospital reportedly never supplied the drugs she needed to carry out her plan which, according to the law, doctors may opt out of doing.

Her parents were very upset about that. They say their daughter made her wishes perfectly clear and complied with requirements to make two oral requests, at least 15 days apart. The hospital reportedly agreed to help her end her own life by giving her drugs she could then administer to herself. The parents' claim states that their daughter was left to suffer and die of her disease, instead of the peaceful way she wanted to go and that the hospital was negligent in her care because they failed to honor their agreed upon plan, consistent with the new law.

This medical malpractice lawsuit relates solely to the California assisted suicide law. This type of death is sometimes referred to as mercy killing. It is  illegal in Tennessee; however, the idea that parents would file a lawsuit against a hospital deemed negligent in a son's or daughter's death is certainly not new, and anyone currently facing such problems may reach out for support by requesting a meeting with a personal injury attorney.

Source:, "Family sues UCSF following death of cancer patient", Michael Bodley, July 19, 2017

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