Can I sue for my mothers death?

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Can I sue for my mothers death?

My mother was in a house
fire and was put on life
support. Her brother, my
uncle told the doctors
that she had no kids and
no family but him. Then
told the doctors to take
her off the life support.
He didnt notify me until
she had passed. The
doctors never ran any kind
of tests to see if she was
really brain dead. Is
there anything I can do?

Asked on March 31, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Virginia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother.
Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
It is terrible that you were not notified and did not have the opportunity to decide whether your mother should continue on life support, but the doctors had no way of knowing about you because your  uncle said your mother had no kids and no family except him.
A reasonable medical practitioner would have most likely made the same decision if the person claiming to be the only surviving family member said to take your mother off life support.
Being on life support means being in very bad shape even if there is brain activity.  If there is little or no expectation of recovery, the quality of life would be very poor being on life support.  Another factor to consider is the quality of life versus the quantity of life.
Although there may not be a case for medical malpractice, you could sue  your uncle for negligent infliction of emotional distress for lying to the doctors that he was the only family member and making the decision without consulting you to have your mother taken off life support.
 


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