A judge Wednesday directed UCLA doctors to continue for now giving an ill woman life-sustaining care rather than “comfort” steps that her son says her physicians were considering for implementation as soon as Friday, possibly leading to her death.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff stopped short of issuing a temporary restraining order against the UCLA doctors sought by David L. Carey of Chatsworth, the son of Jeanne M. Carey. The lawsuit was brought Tuesday against the UC Regents and several UCLA physicians.
After hearing testimony from David Carey, the judge continued the TRO hearing until Monday afternoon, but said the regents and UCLA are ordered in the meantime to “maintain the status quo and (Jeanne Carey’s) current level of care and not institute comfort care measures pending further order of the court.”
Beckloff’s order allows David Carey to transfer his mother to another facility if he wishes.
According to the lawsuit, should UCLA be allowed to withhold Jeanne Carey’s current medical treatment, she “will almost certainly die.”
David Carey wants time to find another medical facility, such as Barlow Respiratory Hospital, to provide his mother with life-sustaining medical needs, or a trial extubation and/or tracheostomy placement if an alternate place of care is not found, the suit states.
A UCLA representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
David Carey brought his mother to UCLA Medical Center on Oct. 13 from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and she has been intubated since that time, according to the suit, which does not describe her illness.
Using his power of attorney, David Carey signed a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment document directing that his mother was to be provided with full treatment “by all medically effective means under any situation, including CPR and full respiratory support, including intubation,” the suit states.
However, on Nov. 15 UCLA physicians decided that “comfort” measures would be implemented as soon as Friday, according to the suit.
“By doing so, UCLA would not attempt to resuscitate Ms. Carey if the need were to arise, would not re-intubate her if the need were to arise, and would stop all supportive measures such as suctioning, giving feeds, medications and water, all of which is in contravention of the … POLST,” the suit states.
An MRI of Jeanne Carey’s brain shows she is not “brain dead,” according to the suit, which further states that she breathes with the assistance of a ventilator, is able to follow commands and is responsive to her son.
Within the past week, UCLA doctors told David Carey that they will not agree to re-intubate his mother if she fails a breathing trial in alleged violation of the POLST, the suit states.
On Nov. 18, UCLA doctors stopped taking lab tests to monitor Jeanne Carey’s condition, her son states in a sworn declaration in support of the request for a TRO.