Until about a month ago, my 99-year-old mother was walking, reading the newspaper, doing crossword puzzles in the newspaper, watching television, being conversational with a good sense of humor, and being entirely present with no confusion or dementia noted.
Then about May 25 or so, her ankles began swelling, she had much more difficulty walking, stopped reading the newspaper, stop doing crossword puzzles, and had periods of confusion and memory loss.
On June 2, based on results of a 4-day earlier set of blood tests and urinalysis obtained at home, her nurse practitioner, Susan Ward, urged me to call paramedics to take her to the emergency room at Banner Boswell Hospital, due to blood test results such as BMP, an indicator of congestive heart failure, which read 1,176, while highly normal was 500, and the D Dimer test, indicative of blood clots, with a high normal of 499, but hers was reading over 7,000. Susan Ward arranged for calling the paramedics, as she thought my mother was critically ill.
Long story short, ER refused to admit her for congestive heart failure, or for potential life-threatening clotting, performing only a CT scan of her brain to see if clots were there causing a stroke.
I have just recently found out, that blood test taken at the ER in medical documents that I have requested to review, indicated that the D dimer test, with the normal high of 499, in a previous high of over 7,600, was now over 12,000. This is the test for clotting. Her BNP with the normal high of 500, and which had read 1,176, at the ER on June 2, was 1,818!
The social worker at the Banner-Boswell ER told me my mother was being released and she would not be admitted, as my mother had no acute illness that could be treated at the ER. I asked how they could possibly release her to home when she had only very part time caretakers at home, she could not walk now, and was quite confused and incoherent. I felt at least they could stabilize her condition rather than just push her out the door.
The social worker told me, that that does not matter, the doctor stated that she was going to be released now as there was no acute medical condition that could be treated at the ER, the doctor said she had to go home now. She told me that my mother should never have been brought to that ER, because there is no acute condition that could be medically treated. Yet that same doctor, Matthew Jones, had said to release her to home with only part-time caretakers would be dangerous. Later, the social worker said my mother would be released to home anyway.
Subsequently I found out that the reason my mother was not admitted, is that during a previous hospitalization after a fall which put her into a convalescent home for 17 days, is that she had signed a “do not resuscitate” document which precluded aggressive treatment in cases where there is heart failure or stroke, or coma. However, the hidden or unspoken protocols of the banner-Boswell ER was that any elderly person with a DNR would not be admitted to the hospital for treatment of the underlying issues such as congestive heart failure, potential clotting, or whatever other condition had led to the patient seeking help at the ER.
That is, the ER had a protocols which made it impossible for an elderly person such as my mother in a very fragile state of health, to receive healthcare, because she was too fragile to be moved to a doctor’s office by car, sit in a waiting room waiting to be seen, and then be transported back. That is why Susan Ward had her taken by ambulance to the banner by ER, because she thought she was too fragile to be moved by any other mode of transport.
Because of my mother’s fragility, she had failed to make an appointment with a cardiologist when one was scheduled a year before. My mother perceived doctors’ visits as being too stressful and is perhaps life-threatening because of the stress did imposed.
Thus, the Arizona healthcare system along with the protocols of Banner-Boswell, have ensured that my mother will soon die of congestive heart failure and possible blood clotting, because now she is far too weak to attend any medical appointment except by ambulance, and apparently no ER in the Banner system, which is most of them in the area, will admit her for treatment of the underlying conditions, because she does not have a cardiologist to order a direct admission to the hospital. All of her care would have to pass through an ER, and all have the same protocol of not admitting those who have signed a do not resuscitate document.
So at this point, my mother is dying and there is nothing I can do about it. However, I am going to cause pain to the Banner-Boswell ER that has ordered her death, and is refused to provide treatment because they did not want someone to die in their hospital. It would ruin their statistics.
Not only that, at no time did anyone at the hospital or at that hospital ER tell us what the true state of my mother’s health was. They did not tell me a diagnosis. They did not tell me that she had congestive heart failure. They did not tell me she had potential clotting. They did not tell me that she was as sick as she was. They only stated they are not going to treat her because she does not have an acute condition other than the bladder infection, that could be treated at the ER. They said she must go home, that she should never have been brought into that ER.
There was no frank discussion of the state of her health, or her terminal trajectory, especially if not provided by any stabilization within the hospital. To them, she was just dead meat. And I am very angry.
I am even more angry now today, seeing that the new Senate Republican health bill is even more evil than the Congressional Republican health bill, and would result in the decimation of Medicaid, of which my mother is a beneficiary. I see that the Republican move is pure evil, cutting 900 billion out of Medicaid and giving it back to wealthy taxpayers in the form of a tax-cut. I see the same indifference is what my mother received at the ER, a total indifference to her life and health.
My mother is now lying in her bed at home waiting to die, on hospice. Michael and I go over to her house frequently to see how she is doing and make sure she is receiving care, and once in a while we stay with her overnight to make sure she is okay during the night. However, I am 75 years old, with the collapse left lung, and on the CPAP machine, and an oxygen machine at night, awaiting surgery for a left hip replacement operation that I delayed due to my mother’s health problem. So my mobility, and my strength are much diminished compared to five years ago.
This must not stand!
Please, call Jessica, at Banner-Boswell hospital, who is in charge of patient relations and a complain about my mother’s treatment and state your opinion about how rotten my mother is being treated, and that you consider this a prime example of medical malpractice and elder abuse. Her phone number is:
and also leave a message for Warren, chief social worker there at
Asked them for email addresses to the CEO and to the ombudsman through which you can mount a complaint.
Thank you very much!