The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined there were questions of fact concerning which of two contradictory healthcare proxies applied and whether one of the healthcare proxies was revoked by decedent’s conversations:
Plaintiff commenced an action against defendants alleging medical malpractice based on the various health proxies and forms. Plaintiff claims that defendants breached their agreement with the decedent by administering antibiotics and IV Hydration from April 15, 2017 onwards that prolonged his life.
Here, there are issues of fact that preclude summary judgment. It is unclear whether the 1993 healthcare proxy (and the living will), the 2016 healthcare proxy or the 2017 FLST [Forgoing Life-Sustaining Treatment Including DNR] governed this dispute and whether the 2016 health care proxy was revoked by decedent through conversations with his agents, pursuant to Public Health Law § 2985(a). Significantly, it is not clear from the record whether the treatment prolonged decedent’s life, as neither side submits an expert affidavit. There is also a question as to whether decedent’s health care agents approved the very treatment for which they now seek to hold defendants liable. Lanzetta v Montefiore Med. Ctr., 2022 NY Slip Op 06554, First Dept 11-17-22
Practice Point: Failure to follow a decedent’s directives in a living will or healthcare proxy can constitute medical malpractice. The directives can be orally revoked.