A hospital accused of intentionally killing a teenage girl with Down syndrome has lost its last chance to dismiss, and the case will now move forward, in what her family says is a “first-of-its-kind” jury trial.
Earlier this year, the tragic death of Grace Schara came to light. In 2021, Grace died at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Appleton Wisconsin; she had been given a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order without her or her family’s knowledge or consent; additionally, she was administered a cocktail of drugs — Precedex, Lorazepam, and Morphine — which are known to cause hypoxia, or low levels of oxygen in body tissues.
Grace had been diagnosed with COVID-19, but her family said she had been doing relatively well, despite being in the hospital. Yet they said hospital staff repeatedly tried to force ventilation on Grace without their consent, even as tests came back normal, indicating she didn’t need to be ventilated. Eventually, her parents were banned from being in her room at all. Despite the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requiring the right to an advocate, and though her sister was on-site to serve as that advocate, Grace’s family said the staff made decisions for her supposed treatment without consulting them.“No doctor or nurse came to me and said anything they were doing,” Grace’s sister, Jessica Vander Heiden, said. “I had to overhear what they were saying. They were just making decisions on their own, without even communicating with Grace’s power-of-attorney, which was my mother.”
Many experts have suggested that it wasn't COVID-19 itself, but rather the use of ventilators that led to numerous fatalities. Could this be another instance of that scenario? Or is there a different explanation? Regardless, for the sake of the family involved, we can only hope that the full truth emerges in court - but these days “truth” and “courts” don’t always go hand-in-hand, do they?