Can my family sue my mothers Christian Science Practitioner for her death?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my family sue my mothers Christian Science Practitioner for her death?

My mother was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer after years of not seeing a Dr, due
to Christian Science. She was diagnosed in January, spent countless hours
praying and talking to her practitioner and decided not to have treatment. The
practitioner eventually told my mother that it was because of the ‘negative
environment’ she was in that she was not being healed. The rest of the family
is not Christian Science so he was putting the blame on us. This made
everything more difficult. She would not discuss anything related to her final
wishes, her health, and became very upset and almost bitter towards us at the
end. We hardly got to see her, spend time with her or anything near the end.
The Dr had stated that she could have 3-5 years if she had treatment but 12-18
months without it. She was gone in 8 months. After diagnosis she found a
‘Christian ‘Science Retreat’ that she was very excited to go to, she wanted
the time and resources to read and pray and make decisions about her health.
The Retreat put her through the application process, then told her she would
not be able to come because they were currently unable to house ‘clients’ due
to some issue they were not able to discuss. They made it sound like it was
some kind of structural issue with the building and said they could not give
her any kind of idea how long it would last. This broke my mothers spirit and
she just gave up. I feel that they rejected her because they knew she was
terminal and it would appears as though they didn’t save her. As far as I know
the practitioner stopped taking her calls/texts as she became more ill. This
entire situation has robbed us of so much more than the final months of my
mothers life. We were not able to discuss where she wanted to be, what she
wanted done with her things, and I feel she passed feeling like it was all our
fault. Can I file a suit against the practitioner and/or the retreat?

Asked on October 25, 2016 under Personal Injury, Wisconsin


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother.
Unfortunately, since your mother voluntarily decided not to have conventional medical treatment which would have extended her life, there isn't any claim for wrongful death (negligence resulting in death)  against the Christian Science practitioner or the retreat.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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