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Angry at the hospital
Old 11-09-2019, 08:51 AM   #1
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Angry at the hospital

My father just passed away at the age of 87. He had a lot of medical problems as well as severe nerve damage that reappeared later in life due to being a polio survivor which he had when he was very young.


While my wife and I were out of town he had a fall and was take to the hospital where he was also diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. He failed a swallow test due to the polio nerve damage and because he refused a feeding tube (which I can identify with) they stopped all food and water. They didn't want the liability of him getting pneumonia from aspirated food or choking. They wouldn't agree to him signing a waver. He was in the hospital for 5 days without food and water by the time we arrived home. (During that time when my brother stopped by on day 3, a nurse had disconnected his IV so he was not even receiving hydration or the antibiotics for the UTI. He threw a fit and they hooked him up again).


Dad was alert and mentally pretty sharp considering everything
. We had a plan to get him discharged that day to a care facility that would feed him pureed food or regular food if he would sign a release. The hospital couldn't get that arranged right away so he would spend another night at the hospital without food or water. I was pretty aggressive in demanding they get him at least some pureed food. I asked the floor administrator when was the last time she went a week without food or water. I wanted to know what it was like because I never had experienced it. They finally got a doctor to sign off on the meal.


Fortunately I got to spend his last day with him. I called him from home at 7:00 PM to see how he was, but he couldn't get too much down - it was just too unappetizing for him.


He died shortly after. His heart gave out. The final indignity that capped off the day was that in the time I called him to the time my brother reached the hospital at 10:30PM, someone had stolen his wallet. I knew it was in his gown pocket, because I had him give it to me so I could take a picture of his medical card so I could call his insurance company about the transfer delay. I helped him put it back.


What is really maddening is that this is a high profile Hospital in Northern Illinois and you have to literally walk around posters on easels in the hallways proclaiming they are one of the best hospitals in the state.



We filed a police report, but the hospital has been non responsive. The wallet must have been lost in the laundry was their comment. My daughter tells me "Dad, if you want to get their attention - make complaints on social media, they have people watching for that". Aside from just venting - I am wondering what you might think about that approach. We are not looking for a lawsuit, but we want them to know for this patient their care sucked.


Thanks for listening.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:03 AM   #2
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Condolences for the loss of your father. Hopefully these details will fade and your positive memories of your time together will remain strong.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:09 AM   #3
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I'm beginning to think this treatment is normal in hospitals for the elderly. Very similar experiences with dear mother, dear mother in law, grandfather, sweet lovely lady down the street. I was furious when I heard the lady down the street (just 2 weeks ago) who was 92 at the hospital, could not swallow, very weak, had the flu or pnuemonia. They shoved an NG tube down her throat. Do you know how painful that is? I know. And I'm relatively young and healthy (it's hell).

IMHO, when it's time to let go, let it be pleasant in hospice with loved ones near. There is no reason to stress the natural progression of life. Procedures that cause pain and stress are inhuman to an elderly person. To extend their life a week or two? It's malpractice IMHO.


So sorry your father had to suffer.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:16 AM   #4
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I'm beginning to think this treatment is normal in hospitals for the elderly. Very similar experiences with dear mother, dear mother in law, grandfather, sweet lovely lady down the street. I was furious when I heard the lady down the street (just 2 weeks ago) who was 92 at the hospital, could not swallow, very weak, had the flu or pnuemonia. They shoved an NG tube down her throat. Do you know how painful that is? I know. And I'm relatively young and healthy (it's hell).

IMHO, when it's time to let go, let it be pleasant in hospice with loved ones near. There is no reason to stress the natural progression of life. Procedures that cause pain and stress are inhuman to an elderly person. To extend their life a week or two? It's malpractice IMHO.


So sorry your father had to suffer.
I tend to agree, but that means, the hospital basically did the right thing in the OP’s case. Aside from stealing the wallet, of course.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:27 AM   #5
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I tend to agree, but that means, the hospital basically did the right thing in the OP’s case. Aside from stealing the wallet, of course.
Maybe, but the treatment was abrupt and stressful. Gradual co decisions with the family and doctors. Where's the communication? Hospitals are so hush hush and do what they think it best without explaining, making decisions with the family. Do they think family members are stupid? It's inhuman to abruptly make decisions and create panic. DRs should discuss, explain, get permission and empathetically go forward with a plan. None of this was done with my family members and friend down the street.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:42 AM   #6
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Condolences for the loss of your father. Hopefully these details will fade and your positive memories of your time together will remain strong.
+1

You're going through a very difficult period. I agree the wallet disappearing is not right. All sorts of sh*t happens in such environments. Don't let it spoil positive memories of the time with your father.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:48 AM   #7
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Sorry for your loss. Sounds terrible to deny someone food or water because they are afraid of a lawsuit.

Many larger companies do watch social media. Normally it is a robot, a peice of code that looks periodically, for key words and phrases. I'm not sure what is the most effective way to get them to review their policies but you will get their attention.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:00 AM   #8
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Who had legal authority over his health care? Did you or other family member have Power of Attorney for his health care?

All hospitals have a risk management department. I would contact them and ask for a review of his care related to withholding all nourishments, and the IV being removed.

Request to see the physician orders and notes. Request the nursing notes as well. They cannot legally deny you access if (and it's an important if) you have legal authority over your father's health care. If your father retained that authority for himself, he basically gave his rights over to the health care system when he entered it. And the health care system will do what is in their best interest, not his. And then protect that information through their risk management division.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:08 AM   #9
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I am sorry to hear how you DF's last days were so difficult. Being in Northern Illinois myself, I would appreciate knowing which hospital it was. If you feel more comfortable telling me via PM, please do so when you feel up to it. I'm sure you have more pressing things to attend to at the moment. Thanks.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rianne View Post
Maybe, but the treatment was abrupt and stressful. Gradual co decisions with the family and doctors. Where's the communication? Hospitals are so hush hush and do what they think it best without explaining, making decisions with the family. Do they think family members are stupid? It's inhuman to abruptly make decisions and create panic. DRs should discuss, explain, get permission and empathetically go forward with a plan. None of this was done with my family members and friend down the street.
Did he have a POLST? Did the hospital know about it? FIL had one once hospice entered. It has sections on if you want tube feeding and one on extraordinary measures. MIL saw FIL form and did one right away with her wishes

https://polst.org/national-form/
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:29 AM   #11
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My condolences on the loss of your father.

If there were no healthcare POA or signed ROI to family members, then the hospital has the legal requirement not to share information.
I worked in the healthcare field. Nowadays, I would not have any family member in the hospital without another family member there overseeing care on a daily basis. Too many things can and do go wrong, sad to say.
Agree with scrapr--as we age, a POLST is definitely something to think about. My Dad had one, bright pink paper on his refrigerator. Copy went with him every time the EMTs came to the house his last year of life.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:38 AM   #12
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I'm so sorry for your loss. Was anyone from the family there at the beginning of his hospitalization or during his stay who could have been involved in the care decisions? You mention your brother stopped by on day 3 and your wife and you were out of town until day 5, so not sure if your family was available to discuss care options. Your father was obviously mentally alert if the hospital allowed him to refuse a feeding tube. Was he getting nutrition and hydration through the IV that was hooked up until day 3 (and then reconnected, it sounds like).

You could name the hospital but I have a feeling it was following protocol, uncaring as it may seem. DH and I already have documents on file with the hospital we would go to that outline what we want when the end is near. I hope if your father had provided that information, the hospital tried to follow it.

Take care of yourself.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:00 PM   #13
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.........Nowadays, I would not have any family member in the hospital without another family member there overseeing care on a daily basis. Too many things can and do go wrong, sad to say.
...........
My first DW was an RN and this was exactly what she said - the patient has to have an on site advocate or they will not get proper treatment. Between under staffing and just all of the daily hand offs, there is no one looking out for the patient.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:06 PM   #14
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I am sorry about all that happened with your dad. The stolen wallet would be the straw that broke the camel's back with me. I agree with your daughter. Since the hospital has not responded to your request for help on the wallet I would go to social media about it--the hospital's facebook account is were I would start. Also Yelp and there are probably some places to review/file complaints specifically about hospitals. I have had success with social media when big businesses ignore my complaints. I would also name the hospital on this site. People need to know which hospitals to avoid. Believe it or not, I complained about a big business on this site, it was picked up by the business and I was contacted the next day with an apology and a settlement.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:07 PM   #15
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I can’t imagine not having water for that long. Ugh! I would be posting all over social media and talking to the hospital. So sorry for your loss.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:57 PM   #16
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No food, no water might have been specified in a DNR (do not resusitate). Those who have witnessed dehydration generally recommend to not deny water via DNR.
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:49 PM   #17
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I tend to agree, but that means, the hospital basically did the right thing in the OP’s case. Aside from stealing the wallet, of course.


+1
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:36 PM   #18
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I can’t imagine not having water for that long. Ugh! I would be posting all over social media and talking to the hospital. So sorry for your loss.
I'm finding it tough to assign blame in all this. If OP's father failed a swallow test and refused a feeding tube, it leaves the hospital staff in a tough spot as to how to proceed. For example, if the hospital disregarded the results from the swallow test and provided nourishment orally and that turned out to be detrimental to OP's father, would that have been acceptable? Dunno........

I'm walking away from this thread thinking that I'm going to be very sure that responsible family (with POA) can always be quickly contacted by medical personal if I'm in a similar situation.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:27 PM   #19
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My first DW was an RN and this was exactly what she said - the patient has to have an on site advocate or they will not get proper treatment. Between under staffing and just all of the daily hand offs, there is no one looking out for the patient.

This is exactly my take away from this. I feel tremendous empathy for someone looking at going thru difficult health and/or end of life issues by themselves in our medical system. I believe your basically screwed. You need some one to be your advocate and that someone has to have the personality to forcefully ride point for you and do some shouting when necessary.



My dad was a VP of a large insurance company. He was not adverse to reading complex legal documents and had all of his T's crossed and i's dotted. POA, Health Care directives, etc. He was willing to sign a waiver to waive liability to the hospital from complications for eating and drinking, but they refused. (The care facility he was heading to had no problem with doing than). He was cognizant but wasn't able to make himself heard.



Thank you for the replies everyone. I appreciate it.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:29 PM   #20
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No food, no water might have been specified in a DNR (do not resusitate). Those who have witnessed dehydration generally recommend to not deny water via DNR.

His DNR stated and listed no heroic measures. That did not include withholding food and water.
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