In recent news Aden Hailu, a 20-year-old woman and student at the University of Nevada, Reno, died on January 4, 2016. In brief, Aden admitted herself to Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada (the “hospital”), in April of 2015. Through a series of tests, it appears doctors could not initially determine the cause of Aden’s illness. Aden appeared to be normal except she was not responding to IV fluids and she had inconsistent vital signs. Doctors determined that they should perform surgery on Aden to detect the source of her illness. During surgery, Aden went into cardiac arrest and fell into a coma. From the time Aden fell into a coma until her death, Aden’s family and the hospital were engaged in a court battle to determine Aden’s proper end-of-life treatment.
Although it is not clear to this author whether or not Aden had expressed her desires for end-of-life treatment in a Power of Attorney or otherwise, this case is a good reminder that clients should have Powers of Attorney and Directive to Physicians prepared for their children who have recently attained the age of majority. This can help foreclose the need for guardianships in cases like Aden’s and also add clarity to such child’s intent for end-of-life procedures. If you have not thought about having Powers of Attorney or Directive to Physicians prepared for your children who have recently become adults, please contact an attorney at Jeffrey Burr to assist you in that regard.