Doctors Hospital of Augusta v. AliceaAnnotate this Case
In March 2012, 91-year-old Bucilla Stephenson died at the end of a two-week stay at Doctors Hospital of Augusta, LLC (“Hospital”). In May 2013, Jacqueline Alicea, Bucilla's granddaughter, acting as the administratix of her grandmother’s estate, sued defendants the Hospital and Dr. Phillip Catalano. Alicea alleged among other things that they intubated her grandmother and put her on a mechanical ventilator, which prolonged her life when she was in a terminal condition and caused her unnecessary pain and suffering, contrary to her advance directive for health care and the specific directions of Alicea, her designated health care agent. The Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing among other things that OCGA 31-32-10 (a) (2) and (3), a part of the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care Act, gave them immunity from liability. The trial court rejected the immunity argument and denied summary judgment. On interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the portion of the
order denying immunity. The Supreme Court then granted Defendants’ petition for certiorari to review that aspect of the Court of Appeals’ decision. After review, the Court concluded the appellate court skipped over one important point: "[t]he correct analysis makes it even clearer, however, that the Defendants were not entitled to summary judgment based on their claim of immunity under OCGA 31-32-10 (a) (2) and (3), and we therefore affirm the Court of Appeals’ judgment as to that issue."