A family from Wisconsin declared their intent to file a lawsuit against an Appleton-based hospital, alleging the deliberate killing of their 19-year-old daughter with Down syndrome.
Family alleges hospital issued do-not-resuscitate order without consent
Grace Schara passed away at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in 2021. The Schara family, in a Facebook post, stated that a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order had been issued for Grace without their awareness or approval.
Furthermore, they claimed Grace had been administered a combination of medications —Precedex, Lorazepam, and Morphine — known to induce hypoxia or diminished oxygen levels in body tissues.
The family’s statement elucidated, “As Grace experienced acute respiratory failure and her sister pleaded for assistance, the nurses declined to initiate CPR immediately, citing that Grace’s physician had independently classified her as a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR).”
The family further explained, “This DNR order was penned without the family’s consent, blatantly disregarding the Schara family’s explicit desire that every possible life-saving measure be employed for their daughter with Down syndrome.”
Our Amazing Grace's Newsletter — MEDIA ALERT PRESS RELEASE: First of Its Kind, Landmark Lawsuit against St. Elizabeth's Hospital where Appleton, Wisconsin Down Syndrome Teen Died as a DNR without Informed Consent https://t.co/zlU7kfaIXU
— DeprogrammingWithGracesDad (@GraceEmilysDad) March 29, 2023
Initiating the legal proceedings, the family has submitted the necessary documents to the state of Wisconsin.
Scott Schara, Grace’s father, expressed, “St. Elizabeth’s not only violated the Standard of Care, but their unethical conduct directly resulted in Grace’s demise.”
Grace, a beautiful young lady with Down syndrome, was at first denied a patient advocate and later given an unconsented DNR order — both resulting in her death by lethal medical discrimination.
This is more than unacceptable, this is criminal. https://t.co/NsFXbCHGrE
— Saving Down Syndrome (@SavingDowns1) April 9, 2022
Nurses dismissed family member’s concerns and refused to help
Amid the pandemic, both Grace and her mother contracted COVID-19. When her oxygen saturation dipped below 90, they decided to take her to the emergency room. Upon evaluation, it was advised that she be admitted to the hospital.
Schara expressed, “We never would have imagined this would be a perilous place for her.”
He also mentioned that doctors attempted to put Grace on a ventilator based on blood gas draw results, but he requested a retest.
When performed, the results fell within normal limits. He then recounted that the hospital staff started pressuring the family to provide preauthorization for ventilation, should they deem it necessary; however, the family refused.
One of the medications administered to Grace, Precedex, is not intended for use beyond 24 hours; however, they had given her the maximum dosage for four days.
On her final day in the hospital, they added lorazepam and morphine, which Schara noted is known to be lethal. “They gave Grace a mixture of drugs that none of us could have survived,” he said.
During this time, Grace’s sister observed that Grace’s hands were becoming cold, but the nurses dismissed her worries.
Eventually, she noticed she couldn’t detect a pulse and Grace’s eyes began rolling back. Despite Vander Heiden’s pleas for the nurses to help, they refused. When the Scharas urged them to assist, the nurses replied that Grace was designated DNR.