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Can a hospital remove life support against a family’s wishes?

Medical professionals dedicate their entire lives to helping others live long and stay healthy. Unfortunately, being directly responsible for the health of community members sometimes means having to make incredibly difficult decisions.

When patients are put on life support, families and doctors hope the patient will recover and no longer need assistance breathing or functioning. However, what happens when family members and a health care provider disagree on the best treatment for a patient?

Detroit hospital decides to end life support for teen

A Michigan family recently filed a restraining order against Beaumont Hospital when the hospital declared 16-year-old Titus Cromer Jr. brain dead and decided to end his care. Titus’s family, however, believes he may still make a recovery and live without life support.

An additional medical expert working with the family claims Titus can regulate his heart rate and other critical bodily functions, meaning he is not legally dead under the state of Michigan’s definitions. As such, the hospital cannot make the decision to end his care.

Titus’s family hopes to maintain their right to make the decisions regarding his care after a full hearing on the issue takes place.

Who gets to decide?

Deciding how to care for a loved one after a life-changing injury or illness requires a level head and good judgement. Typically, the person the patient designated as the medical power of attorney gets to decide whether life support should remain active or not.

In the event that the patient has not designated medical power of attorney to anyone, the patient’s closest relative or friend receives the responsibility.

Michigan law allows hospitals to terminate life support for a patient if they meet the determination of death conditions under state law. Unfortunately, this may mean going against the wishes of the patient’s family and friends in some circumstances.

The standards and practices for how a health care facility handles life support vary by state. If your loved one becomes ill or severely injured, make sure you understand your rights and consider reaching out to a medical malpractice lawyer if necessary.

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