When May Clinicians Override the Healthcare Agent? Supreme Court of California May Clarify

A growing number of parties are now briefing an important medical consent case before the Supreme Court of California (Stewart v. St. Joseph Health System, No. S245579). In February 2012, clinicians at St. Mary Medical Center proceeded with a pacemaker procedure for an incapacitated patient despite the agent's specific objection.  Hospital officials told the agent that they had proceeded without her consent, because she was not acting in the patient's best interest. But the hospital never notified the agent of the ethics committee meeting in which this decision was reached. In October 2017, the Court of Appeal held that triable issues of fact existed that defendants’ conduct constituted elder abuse. This case may clarify: 1. Under what circumstances may a hospital refuse to comply with a healthcare agent? 2. What is the appropriate procedure for overriding a healthcare agent? 3. Is administering…

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