Doctors and hospitals need to be held accountable for ignoring and mistreating the elderly. I feel helpless to get answers.

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My 89 year old father died last month because of basically giving up. He had prostate cancer for 10 years and a stint coming out of his belly to empty his bladder. He went in for a routine catheter change and bled for 2 days. He got passed off to a urologist for tests, a cardiologist for AFIB, an oncologist for bone and ct scans and his primary doctor that should have kept it all together. He couldn't eat, or drink and lost 2 units of blood but was discharged from the hospital. One day later he was back. He had gotten so weak that he went down hill fast. No one would tell us about the results to the bone tests until that doctor got hounded into by 3 weeks after the tests. It showed that the cancer had spread to many parts of his body. He got a diagnosis of 6 months to live without medicine and 3 years with. He refused medicine. The next day he was moved from the hospital to a nursing home. He perked up a little after they transfused 2 units of blood in the hospital but his immune system was terrible and he was anemic. He had no strength to even try to eat or do therapy and died 2 weeks later. Every doctor that cared for him for years dropped him like a hot rock when he went to the nursing home. It was impossible to get the right medicine for him to be comfortable because no one would answer the nursing homes calls. Granted he had had been in pain from many things for a few years. He was tired and couldn't muster the will to fight. But that didn't give the doctors the right to give up on him. When the question was put to the primary doctor why he was released after loosing so much blood he said he didn't admit him and when he got around to seeing my father his AFIB was better and all tests indicated that he was well enough to leave the hospital. The subject didn't come up that he had been bleeding out for days. My father went in for a routine catheter change on Jan. 1st and was dead on Feb. 16th. I cant shake the feeling that he could have had at least a few good months left if he hadn't been classified over and over again as "well he is 89 and has a lot wrong with him."
Now I'm left with, where is the line draw between neglect for the elderly and out and out neglect. I have joined the ranks of loosing a parent and have since heard nothing but horrible stories from other children that have lost elderly parents. I want to complain but don't know who to complain to. I want this treatment to be brought to light so it doesn't happen over and over again. I feel like none of the doctors had the time to pay attention to someone who wasn't going to live very much longer. And the break down between the doctors and the nursing home was deplorable. There was NO communication between them and I know for a fact that it wasn't the nursing homes lack of trying.
If someone out there knows of a advocate group for this kind of situation, I would be grateful for the information. Doctors need to be held to certain standards just like any profession. If the elderly are just a thorn in their sides then they need to quit practicing. I want to get answers from the doctors involved but I live in a different state and expecting a return phone call from them is next to impossible. Their staff seems to be schooled in evasiveness. I want to get medical records but cant without my Mothers signature and she is in no state to ask.
Any help with this would be much appreciated.


I'm sorry for the loss of your dad. It always hurts to lose a parent, but it's rspecially hard when you feel no one is helping.

Did you have a HIPAA release so that the doctors were able to share medical information with you? I'm also surprised that pa I n meds weren't simply prescribed by the doctor aor Nurse Practitikners at the nursing home. In general, once a person is admitted to a nh, they become the patient of the facility doctor.

I would contact the Patient Advocate at the hospital and ask how to go about having your father's case reviewed.

Did anyone suggest hospice care for yourcdad?
elderlyadvocate, so my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family regarding your Dad's passing.

There was one thing that stood out in your post when you said that your Dad refused any cancer treatment to help him live.... that speaks volumes about how your Dad felt about his life at that time. He was tired, he wanted to let go. He wanted peace.

At 89 your Dad had beat the odds by 10 years, as the life expectancy for a person in the U.S. is 79 years old. The doctors weren't giving up on him, there is only so much a doctor can do once someone gets over a certain age and depending on the medical issues involved.

As for your Dad's doctors, once a person goes into a nursing home, only the nursing home physician can take care of your Dad. The other doctors had to drop your Dad, they had no choice.

Curious why Hospice wasn't called in? Or was it? Did you accept Hospice?

My Mom passed on this past December due to a serious brain trauma as a result of a fall. There was nothing any doctors could do for her at that point. Surgery was out of the question because she was 98, she would die on the table. Hospice was called and she had a peaceful death. Now my Dad was thinking the same way as you, but Dad didn't do all the medical research that i did, and Dad didn't want to listen to me. To this day Dad still feels something could have been done. I am at peace knowing the doctors did everything humanly possible for her.

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