My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 63. He was on oxygen but was still walking around and living. He signed himself up for Hospice so when the time came that he was going to be in severe pain that he would have the medications to make him comfortable. A couple of days after he signed up for Hospice and the first time Hospice came into our home and administered Atavan and morphine every 15 minutes for about 3 hours. After three hours of being drugged, he walked to bed and died in his sleep. They came to our home because he was having anxiety. He never told them he was in pain. In their report, it is written that he denied having any pain but had anxiety. The nurse also did not keep track of the amounts of Ativan and morphine she was giving him. I believe that he was overdosed. How can they justify giving him a combination of these two drugs when he was not in pain? I find it very difficult to believe that in the one and only visit to our home that Hospice made, that they killed my husband when he was given at least 6 more months to live by the doctors. Does anyone have any suggestions on how this can happen when a person has not reached the point of pain yet with their illness?

You need to find a Malpractice Lawyer, most of these lawyers don't get paid unless they win. (Make sure that is the one you get) I am am never one to jump the gun, but something just feels wrong. They can investigate your case to see if there was misuse of drugs or mistakes.

Morphine is a strong drug to be given every 15 minutes to someone who was able to walk around.
I am very aware that someone in your husband's condition could be up walking & talking than pass away, however, that nurse has to legally write down everything she is doing and what she giving your husband. Most people don't realize that medical records are legal records.

How do you know your husband did not state he wanted anything for pain?

My father had pancreatic cancer and was in severe pain he was given morphine 3cc every 4hrs which kept him comfortable and he lived for a week. He passed away because of the cancer not the drug!

You have enough people here who don't understand what happen. It seems to me she didn't know what she was doing.

If I was you: write down everything that happen that day while it is still fresh in your mind. Date, times ( when she showed up), what she did, time she gave the first dose; I mean write down everything even if you think it is not important, let the lawyer determine that.

I am sorry for your lost. I can't even imagine what you are going through.

May God be with you.
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Reply to Shell38314

Char59, I'm very sorry that you lost your husband at such a young age. Wishing you comfort.

When did this happen? As you've had sight of the records and had time to think this through, I'm guessing it hasn't only just taken place; but it still must feel very immediate to you all the same.

At first I would have thought that the likelier possibility is that: your husband may have felt able to tell the nurse things about how he was feeling that he couldn't tell you; because of the lung cancer the morphine would have been given less for pain relief than to improve the quality of his breathing (this is counterintuitive but true, you can find good articles online explaining how morphine acts to slow but deepen respiration); and he may have been much sicker than he or you realised.

But there are points you mention that are disturbing, especially the poor record-keeping. Have you referred your husband's history to any official investigators?
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Reply to Countrymouse

The combination of drugs is not unusual. I don't know about the dosing schedule. I'm sure it's not the policy of hospice to overdose patients.
If you think your husband suffered from medical malpractice, I think you should bring that to the attention of your state medical board.
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Reply to Marcia7321

I don't understand, either. We are approaching the end of Year 2 on hospice for my MIL. I was provided a comfort kit with morphine and other meds to be stored in the fridge in case of crisis. She was given a prescription for Ativan to take as needed for anxiety caused by her COPD/dementia. I had to log everything given. She's still on hospice. Medication is never pushed at all, and she has the right to refuse, dementia and all.

In my father's partner's case, he was sent to at-home hospice for 1 night, then moved to a hospice facility the second night (he died that night). He wasn't given any sort of medication to that level. I didn't even get one dose of morphine for that first night at home (an oversight by the hospice team - and the reason he went to in-facility after one night at home) and it was truly needed!

And that much medication every 15 minutes? No, that's simply not normal. Even at the actual hospice facility, my father's partner had Ativan to start, and a small dose of morphine twice over the course of 18 hours. I think you may want to talk with someone if multiple doses over mere minutes occurred. State ombudsman? Your personal MD? Hospice management? State regulator for the hospice? Attorney? What's your comfort level? Do you have a contact at the hospice facility to discuss the situation?

I'm sorry for your loss and I hope you can find the answers you seek, because based on what you've written, this does not sound normal at all.
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Reply to RebeccaCP

I don’t understand this either because my MIL had pulmonary fibrosis and was on hospice for 3 months and they never once pushed the meds. 5 days before she passed, the nurse strongly suggested morphine 3 times a day. The final day, she was getting it on the hour. I don’t understand why he was being given meds every 15 minutes? That is definitely not normal.
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Reply to worriedinCali

I can't understand how it happened. My sister refused the morphine, she told them it would kill her, they tried to push it but she pushed back. She was always given the choice of getting meds or not.

This nurse sounds like she should not be dealing in hospice. Every 15 minutes is a HUGE RED FLAG. We also had to keep a written log of every medication that my sister took.

Can the Director of the hospice explain how your husband's care was decided? Could be this nurse needs to be investigated.

I am so sorry that you have to go through the trauma of a sudden death when you thought you had some time.

May God grant you grieving mercies and peace.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Char59 - I really can't answer your question about Hospice because I haven't been there yet. Hopefully someone will chime in.

I do want to say I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you have support for the days ahead.
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