Can Gary Coleman’s Parents Sue the Hospital?

By Lee R. Phillips

As Gary Coleman was unconscious in the hospital, his ex-wife, Shannon, gave the order to cut off life support.  Now Coleman’s parents have come forward accusing the hospital of stopping the life support prematurely without the proper permission, saying Shannon no longer had the right as she was not his wife.  The hospital is not worried because Mr. Coleman had a living will giving Shannon the authority.  It is an unbelievably sad situation to have someone taken so young, but just such a situation is the reason that you do your estate planning now.  Have you signed your own living will?

A living will is the legal document that defines your “right to die.”  It usually states that you do not want to have your life artificially prolonged by modern medical technologies.  You can specifically define the means which you do not want used or do want used.  Increasingly hospitals are reluctant to stop life support on the order of a family member, unless a living will grants this permission, because they don’t want to be held responsible in a lawsuit.   Gary Coleman’s case is a good example of why they want the document in place. Let this case act as a cautionary tale for you to get your own living will in place.  I have a living will document available in My Accumulation and Preservation of Wealth Course so you don’t have to leave the house to get it done. Or you can simply go to your local hospital and get their fill in the blank form.  Whichever course you choose, get it done today.

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