The website abcnews.go.com reported in a story on March 6, 2009 that the parents of an 18 year old who sustained a brain injury during a snowboarding accident are suing the doctors claiming they “intentionally killed” him to harvest his organs. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District of Western Pennsylvania by Michael and Teresa Jacobs claiming that doctors “hastened” their son Gregory Jacobs’ death by impeding treatment and eventually removing his breathing tube, causing him to suffocate. The family claims that their son had not been officially declared brain dead when doctors began the transplant process. The Jacobs are seeking $5 million in damages against doctors at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa. and a representative from the Center for Organ Recovery and Education in Pittsburgh.
Both Hamot Medical Center and the organ center expressed condolences to the family for the Pennsylvania wrongful death in a prepared statement. Hamot insists that their doctors performed treatment that was “timely, appropriate, and well documented.”
In addition the Hamot said, “Proper consent was received in order for his organs to be donated and the protocols that were followed were consistent with all established donation procedures,” it read. “Any claims otherwise are completely baseless. While we have yet to receive formal notification of a lawsuit having been filed, we will vigorously defend against any accusations of wrongdoing.”
Dennis Boyle, the Jacobs’ lawyer, said, “Essentially, the family was told that Greg was brain dead and he would not recover and therefore, they signed a document that agreed to an organ transplant. Greg was not, in fact, brain dead.”
The Jacob’s family claim that their son was listed brain dead “retroactively” as life support was being removed in preparing for organ harvesting.
Hospital officials recognized in an interview with the media in 2007 that the recorded time of death was a mistake.
In many cases, as careful as a medical team is, they won’t be able to protect the patient from the need for more medical treatment. To be liable for medical malpractice in Philadelphia, the doctor has to have been negligent. However, as a patient or the family of a deceased patient, you have the right to explore legal options. Sometimes, a wrongful death claim is cut and dry. Other times, you may not be sure of the best option.
A personal injury lawyer who has experience with medical malpractice can look at the basic information and determine whether or not you have grounds to sue a doctor, medical team, pharmacist, or hospital for medical malpractice. Anapol Weiss has successfully represented clients for over 30 in Pennsylvania, and they can help you. Please call Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at 1-866-735-2792 for a free consultation.