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I was taking care of my 86 year old father who had macular degeneration and prostate cancer. He had a mini stroke in November 2017 and we basically had to have my daughter (his world) talk him into letting the paramedics take him to the hospital. When he came out they put him on home health and he did well the first 2 visits but then showed signs of not being able to walk with the therapist or even sit up for the nurse. The home doctor suggested hospice care since he always refused the hospital. I was hesitant but decided I would rather him have 24 hour care then none at all besides myself. Hospice had a chaplain come out the first day we signed up and she stated that they would send a priest out (as my dad was catholic and grew up as an alter boy at his church) to give him the anointing of the sick prayer. This never happened we also never saw a chaplain again even though she promised to come out weekly and pray with him and read the Bible with him. We never saw the social worker and were never told what to look for as signs of death approaching (supposedly I was to be given a book and never was) my dad passed away January 14,2018 and I had no idea he was leaving us that day. He was vomiting and it was brown almost looked like stomach bile. I began calling hospice at 7 am that morning to get the 24 hour nurse out they told me to give him morphine and when I told them he wasn’t in pain they never said anything about him actively dying or anything but give him morphine. My dad refused the morphine and said he was ok just wasn’t feeling well. I called numerous additional times trying to get the nurse out. My dad passed away very traumatically at 2:34 in the afternoon and the nurse showed up 15-20 minutes later. When my dad passed he lost consciousness sitting up and brown fluid began pouring out of his mouth like a faucet. We were yelling his name and he still had a pulse but was definitely not conscious. I sat next to him held his hand and said daddy at that moment the fluid stopped and so did his pulse. It was the hardest most traumatic moment of my life and no one can tell me why it happened that way or what that fluid was or if he suffered. I sent a complaint letter to hospice and I’ve heard nothing back.

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Rovana thank you for your kind words unfortunately my dad started hospice in late November after a mini stroke and passed away January 14th. So by the time I realized they hadn’t done anything it was too late and I couldn’t find a priest that could come out. It breaks my heart.
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Reply to Novallentjsmom
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I'm sorry to hear of your father's suffering. He is at peace now. Were you able to call the nearest Catholic church and ask the priest to come?
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Thank you HolidayEnd I hope he wasn’t suffering. I can’t move forward in my grief since I have so much anger that hospice wasn’t there and didn’t remotely prepare us.
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Reply to Novallentjsmom
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They seemed to be in an altered consciousness. This happened very close to death, I used to spend a lot of time praying and holding their hand, just in case they were aware.

Death usually seemed peaceful for most people. Your dad is not suffering anymore. I question the hospice leaving you alone to face this with your dad. Death is frightening, especially if something unusual happens.
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Thank you all for your responses. @JoAnn29 we actually never saw the social worker even in the beginning. He called a few times and scheduled face to face meetings but always rescheduled never attended them. The nurse came out every few weeks and the aide did come out and wash him twice a week. However the last time we saw the nurse was 2 weeks before he passed and she told me he had at least 2 months. Still never told me what to look for. She said he would probably get weaker and then fall asleep and not wake back up


@HolidayEnd do you think those patients suffered when the fluid was coming up at the end or they were unconscious and didn’t know. I’m so worried that he suffered
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Nova, some further thoughts on suing...

1. You have to have a basis, based on standards of care for certain illnesses, conditions, and (it used to be and may still be ) on those standards in the geographic area, such as state. A key issue used to be whether or not the hospice violated the standards of care for similar situations.

Based on what you wrote, it does seem as thought the standard of care wasn't maintained. It also appears that what care would be provided was misrepresented, or wasn't properly carried out.

2. You'd have to discuss suit with a medmal attorney, who could suggest that there is no basis for suit, or that records would be obtained and reviewed to determine the feasibility of suing.

While there may have been improper and neglectful behavior, there has to be a "cause of action", i.e., something that contributed to your father's death.

Pain and suffering would be listed as attendant factors, but I no longer remember whether they're causative factors in and of themselves.

3. Good medmal attorneys will obtain hospital/hospice records, have them reviewed by a medical practitioner in a similar field, and rely on that recommendation as to whether or not suit is appropriate. Some med mal firms were hiring their own nurses for internal review of medical records.

4. It is possible to sue and get a "nuisance settlement", in which the medmal insurance carrier settles just to get the suit dismissed and out of the way, as opposed to going through discovery and trial, which increases the insurer's and the client hospice's exposure.
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The hospice here has aides come out and a nurse sees the patient about 3x a week. I think the Social Worker only makes an initial meeting but should have been available when needed. Same with the Nurse. A call wouldn't hurt even to say, I am with another patient. Tell the doctor who set up this Hospice that you would not recommend them. I just got a nine month letter from the Hospice used for Mom explaining where I might be in my grief and how I can get help if I need it.
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I am a retired registered nurse and worked in Oncology (cancer) my entire career. I had a few patients vomiting before death and a dark liquid was present.

I’ve always thought as the organs shut down the GI tract backs up and the ‘bile’ is either vomited or it comes up at the end, while the death is taking place.

You say your dad had cancer. This last horror is seen in the poor patient with cancer. This is a guess on my part but perhaps the cancer spreads to the GI tract at the end.

I’ll let the others on this site discuss the poor service your dad received from the hospice.

I’ve never discussed this phenomenon with anyone else. No medical or no non medical people. I deduced what was happening on my own. To witness these rare deaths was traumatic to me too.

I’m so sorry this happened.
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Reply to HolidayEnd
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Some aspects of hospice are reimbursed by Medicare. File a complaint with them.

Research the company you hired (through the state records of corporations, assumed names, etc.) Find out which Catholic unit owns the hospice company, go directly to the top and file a complaint. Name names of those who promised but didn't deliver.

How did you find this company? Was it recommended by anyone? If so, contact that person/entity as well.
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