Get The Help You Need (504) 586-5200

Do Families Have the Right to Make Hospice Personal Injury Claims?

November 5th, 2018
By Zach Christiansen of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation on Monday, November 5, 2018.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana. Medical malpractice claims can often provide a recovery to cover a family member’s personal injury resulting from medical errors. This money can cover additional medical care that may be needed, nursing care, or rehabilitation expenses. Wrongful death claims can also provide families with additional compensation for funeral expenses. But what happens when hospice staff make a mistake? What happens when a family loses a loved one sooner than expected or if a loved one suffers when a funeral is already being planned? Do families have the right to sue when a loved one is hurt due to negligent hospice care?

When hospice staff fail to train family how to respond in a medical emergency, patients can needlessly suffer or even needlessly receive heroic (and expensive) medical care they may not want. One doctor writing for the New York Times wrote a personal account about how patients can sometimes fall through the gaps when they are discharged from the hospital. When hospice care takes place in the family home, ideally the family should be provided with support staff to help them administer medicines and prepare them for an emergency. When hospice takes place in an institutional setting, families expect that there will be enough staff to provide adequate care for their loved ones.

According to WebMD, there are different levels of hospice care: routine home care, continuous home care, inpatient care, and respite care. Inpatient care and respite care will take place in a nursing home or hospital setting while home care takes place in the patient’s home. In all cases, the goal of staff is to provide comfort for the patient and to improve quality of life.

One of the more common crises that arise in hospice is when a patient has trouble breathing. Dyspnea, or trouble breathing is common as a patient nears death. This aspect of the dying process can lead to anxiety in patients. Fortunately, hospice care offers treatments to alleviate pain and anxiety associated with this condition. Administering oxygen or morphine to the patient can often alleviate symptoms and anxiety. When medical help doesn’t arrive fast enough or when patients get rushed to the hospital because their advance directive is ignored, they can suffer needlessly.

Do families have the right to sue if hospice care fails? Families may have the right to pursue a lawsuit in the case of negligence. For example, if doctors fail to honor your loved one’s advance directive, the hospital or doctors may be required to pay additional medical bills your loved one incurs as a result. However, everyone’s death process is different, and while hospice is designed to alleviate suffering, it cannot eliminate all symptoms of death and dying. The best you can do is prepare for emergencies and plan ahead by speaking to hospice staff and by taking the time to interview hospice staff if you plan to place a loved one in a nursing facility.

The The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm are medical malpractice lawyers in New Orleans, Louisiana who help families facing a range of concerns if they have been hurt due to negligent medical care. If you have questions about your rights, visit us at to learn more.

The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation

1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112

Phone: (504) 586-5200

Toll Free: (504) 586-5200

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Please enter your name.

Please enter a valid e-mail address.

Share On



Recent Posts

Skip to content